e/columnists/x57961993/Boyajian-Mass-media-butcher -the-Armenian-Genocide

Boyajian: Mass media butcher the Armenian Genocide

David B. Boyajian, Guest Commentary

Wicked Local
WatertownWatertown TabWatertown, Massachusetts

Posted Apr 21, 2010 @ 02:28 PM

WATERTOWN - Most reporters and other journalists in the mass media
failed to do due diligence and misled their audiences regarding last
month's U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee vote in favor of
Resolution 252, which would reaffirm the Armenian genocide of

Nearly all media, prior to and after the vote, falsely said or implied
that the House and the Federal government had never before recognized
the Armenian genocide.

The full House, in fact, passed resolutions in 1975 and 1984 that
acknowledged the Armenian genocide as `genocide.' Proclamation 4838 by
President Reagan in 1981 also affirmed the veracity of the
genocide. In 1996, the House limited economic aid to Turkey until it
recognized the genocide.

In a brief filed with the International Court of Justice (World Court)
at The Hague in 1951, the U.S. government cited just two genocides in
modern times: the one committed by Turkey against Armenians and that
committed by Nazi Germany.

Even when told of these earlier Armenian genocide acknowledgments, few
media reported them. Significantly, after each such genocide
reaffirmation, Ankara's threats of retaliation against Washington
amounted to nothing and were quickly forgotten. No reporter, it
appears, has ever bothered to mention this fact.

For Turkey to complain obsessively about the House committee's vote
reaffirming the Armenian genocide makes little sense considering that
the U.S. has already recognized that genocide at least five
times. Incredibly, it appears that no mainstream journalist has ever
asked Turkish leaders for an explanation, not that they could provide
a coherent one.

At the same time, the media obligingly volunteered their ideas about
how Turkey could (or is it should?) retaliate, such as shutting down a
NATO airbase or preventing American troops exiting Iraq to transit
Turkey. Nonsensically, journalists implicitly portrayed America as
having no leverage against Turkey and as being at its mercy.

Just the opposite is true. Ankara depends heavily on Washington for
advanced weaponry, investments and economic aid by U.S.-backed
institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund,
political support to join the European Union, and more.

Following the recent House committee vote, former British ambassador
to Armenia David Miller accurately observed that Turkey, like a
`bully,' will `bluster [and] threaten and in the end nothing will

Nearly all media also `forgot' to mention that Turkey's threats had
fallen flat against the nearly twenty countries whose legislative
bodies had already acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Indeed, insofar
as is known, Turkey's trade with such countries went up substantially,
not down, after genocide recognition.

Among the many genocide acknowledgers that the media nearly always
`forget' to mention are Canada, France, Lebanon, Switzerland, and
Uruguay, as well as a UN sub-commission, World Council of Churches,
the Vatican, and the European Union Parliament.

Most reporters have also long preferred to depict the genocide issue
as a mere he-said-she-said quarrel between Armenians and Turkey. Yet
the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the foremost
organization of its kind, has recognized the Armenian genocide several
times and roundly criticized Turkey. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish
scholar who authored the UN Genocide Convention of 1948 and who coined
the word genocide, once declared on national television, `I became
interested in genocide because it happened to the Armenians.' Most
journalists choose to `forget' these facts.

Media also dutifully reported Turkey's opinion that academia, not the
U.S. Congress, is the proper place to discuss and recognize
genocides. They `forgot' that one or both houses of Congress have
recognized the Holocaust, and the Bosnian, Cambodian, Darfurian, and
Ukrainian `genocides.' Thus, the public is unfairly led to believe
that Armenian Americans are asking Congress to do something
unusual. Somehow the media also `forgot' to report that over 50
American human rights, ethnic, and religious organizations support
Congressional acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide.

In short, most mass media have done an abysmal, unprofessional job.

If the House, a U.S. president, and a federal filing with the World
Court have already affirmed and reaffirmed the Armenian genocide, does
Congress really need to pass the present genocide resolution? The
current resolution, which is non-binding, describes the genocide's
history and America's traditional support of Armenia in more detail
than previously approved ones.

Congressional reaffirmation will help to counter Turkey's unending,
immoral denial campaigns and send a necessary signal to the U.S. State
Department that genocide denial harms American interests in the

For two decades, stability in the oil and gas-rich Caucasus/Caspian
region - undoubtedly the major flashpoint between the U.S. and Russia
- has been one of Washington's most cherished goals.

Stability is impossible, however, as long as Turkey refuses to face up
to its crimes against Armenians and continues to needlessly blockade
Armenia. Turkey, 25 times larger and more populous than Armenia and
with 50 times the Gross Domestic Product, truly is a `bully.'

The U.S. and other countries recently forced a set of `protocols' onto
Armenia that would allegedly `reconcile' it and Turkey. Contrary to
Turkish claims, Armenia quite rightfully maintains that it will not
let the protocols' proposed joint Turkish-Armenian historical
commission question the veracity of the genocide. The genocide issue
cannot be wished away by sham U.S.-backed protocols, which, in any
case, Turkey presently refuses to ratify.

Without an unequivocal acknowledgment by Turkey of its hyper-violence
against Armenians, the region cannot be stabilized - with serious
geopolitical consequences for Washington and its allies.

The media, and the Obama administration, can help to avert this simply
by telling the American people the truth about the Armenian
genocide. The whole truth.

David Boyajian of Belmont is an Armenian American freelance writer.

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