Friday, October 13, 2006
France and Armenian Genocide
Before anyone goes to far, the link above neglects to point out that the French Assemblee Nationale passed the voted, analogous to the House of Representatives passing a bill. It still has to be passed without amendments by the French Senate, and then ratified by President Chirac, who until very recently was the EU's staunchest supporter of Turkish entry into the EU. [Here it must be said that Chirac last week visited Armenia, where he pandered in his shameless manner by insisting that the Turks accept the genocide rap before being allowed EU entry. But everyone knows Chirac's lack of moral character exceeds even that of Bill Clinton's character defects, and the old sot may reverse again, depending on his mood of the moment.]
France has 450,000 Armenians who are wealthy and influential. So don't count out a final vote by the Senate and the senescent prez passing the bill.
When I was working at Dem National HQ for Mondale for President in '84, I was sent on a snipe hunt to research and write a speech for Fritz on the National Armenian Day. He was speaking in Fresno, which along with Watertown MA are the two population centers for US citizens of Armenian descent. I did a quick study with some help from Middle East experts [I was Resident Fellow at the Middle East Institute the year before and still had live contacts]. The memo I wrote was long and the Armenians were killed, but not so much by the Turks, who forcibly moved them out of the war zone where the Turks were fighting the Russians [who had a sizeable number of Armenians fighting for the Czar]. The Ottoman Turks [or rather the "Young Turk" military leadership] didn't want the war zone in the Armenian population center full of citizens who might go either way. So they violently deported the population of several million southward into Kurdish territory, where the Kurds were their mortal historical enemies. The Kurds killed many more Armenians than the Turks, according to this version. The remainder of the Armenians made it to Arab territory, where they were fed and clothed and treated well [the Arabs and Kurds were also hereditary enemies]. Even today, a large population of Armenians lives in Lebanon and Syria, vestiges of the forced diaspora.
But of course, the Ataturk regime did not commit the crimes, just as the German government after 1945 did not commit the Holocaust. As with everything in the Middle East, the tangled history of the region goes back millenia, which is why we are so flummoxed by Iraq. When Rumsfeld got rid of Jay Garner and the State Dept experts because he wanted "fresh thinking," he was demonstrating just how unconscious Americans are of the millenia of historical enmity spread all across the region.
Which may be one argument for NOT admitting the Turks into the EU, as the Europeans may sensibly want to quarantine such an infested collection of hateful hellholes from exporting riffraff into the EU countries. Because the Turkish borders are porous and will leak millions of emigrants just passing through to gain a foothold in the impossibly wealthy [to them] lands of the west.
And believe me, assimilation is not on the list of goals of these perennial losers.