Saturday, August 30, 2008

Anti-Defamation League: We Do Not Deny Genocide

Abraham H. Foxman National Director

Wicked Local
Aug 25 2008

With the appointment of a new boss for the New England region of
the Anti-Defamation League, the question of whether his organization
effectively denies the Armenian Genocide is again front and center.

On Friday, the ADL released another statement on the Armenian
Genocide. Readers, please take a look.

At least one Armenian-American advocate has found the statement
"disingenuous" on these grounds: The letter does not address the
fact that the ADL lobbies against Congress calling the deaths of 1.5
million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks "genocide."

No Place for Hate Date: August 22, 2008

Through our partnership, communities have implemented thousands of No
Place for Hate® activities, which have engaged tens of thousands of
Massachusetts residents. Additionally, No Place for Hate® training
has provided cities and towns with the framework and the support to
respond to hate crimes when they do happen. Our network of No Place
for Hate® communities is critical to building a welcoming, inclusive
and safe Massachusetts for all residents.

We are deeply concerned by ongoing questions about our organization's
position with regard to the Armenian Genocide. ADL has never denied
the tragic and painful events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire
against the Armenians, and we have referred to those massacres and
atrocities as genocide. All of ADL's anti hate programs classify
genocide as the ultimate crime against humanity.

There is simply no basis for the false accusation that we engage in
any form of genocide denial, and we believe this characterization of
ADL crosses the boundary of acceptable criticism and falls into the
category of demonization.

It is our sincere hope that this clarifies our position, and that we
can continue to work together to bring this awareness and education
to communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Genocide Denial Issue Sent Back To Policy-Making Board

Genocide Denial Issue Sent Back To Policy-Making Board

The Mashpee Affirmative Action Committee has passed back to the
selectmen the question of the town's continued participation in a
program linked to an organization that some residents claim denies the
occurrence of a historical genocide. In what seemed like a political
hot potato maneuver, the chairman of the affirmative action committee
sent the Mashpee Board of Selectmen a letter last week arguing that,
since the selectmen make up the town's "policy making entity." they
should make the decision about the No Place for Hate program, its
sponsorship by the Anti-Defamation League, and the organization's
refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century. A
group of residents asked selectmen last month to sever the town's ties
to the No Place for Hate program.

Selectmen in turn asked the
affirmative action committee, the local sponsor of the pro-tolerance
program, to consider the issue and bring a recommendation back to
them. Despite the controversy, the affirmative action committee this
week continued its pursuit of a grant through the No Place for Hate
program. The committee is currently seeking contributions that would
match a $1,000 grant from the ADL. John J. Cahalane, chairman of the
board of selectmen, said this week that the issue would likely not be
on the agenda of the board's upcoming meeting, on Monday, other than
to acknowledge the board's receipt of the correspondence from the
affirmative action, committee. He said board members are still
researching the matter and are in need of more information before they
can come to a decision. "We are not ready for it yet is basically what
it is," he said. "It is not a priority subject right now by any
means. "Mr. Cahalane said he reviewed the No Place for Hate program
proclamation, which describes a pledge to combat racism, bigotry,
prejudice, and bias, and found he did not disagree with anything in
it. "You read that proclamation and there is no way you could disagree
with it," he said. "It is a national issue, and there is a lot of town
business for us to consider.

We have never before gotten into national
issues, and we haven't discussed yet if we want to now," Mr. Cahalane
said. The Anti-Defamation League, which hosts the No Place for Hate
program, has not only refused to acknowledge that the Turkish
slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I is
unequivocally "genocide," but it lobbied against a Congressional
resolution that would have identified it as such, Shahkeh Yaylaian
Setian told selectmen last month. Calling the ADL "genocide deniers,"
Ms. Setian implored the selectmen to cut the town's relationship with
the national organization. "[Participants in the No Place for Hate
program] have been duped by ADL, because ADL has not been transparent
about its work to deny the Armenian genocide," she said. Mashpee first
joined the program in 2000, then let its membership lapse because of a
lack of participation, and then re-earned membership last year. The
affirmative action committee never met to discuss the question of
sending the issue back to selectmen, but Town Manager Joyce M. Mason
said this week that it is the chairman's prerogative to make such a
decision without a public meeting. "After careful consideration of the
role of the volunteer members for both the Affirmative Action
Committee and the No Place for Hate Program, of which the members are
to conduct activities and events only, along with the fact that the
Board of Selectmen is the policy making entity, it is recommended that
the request of Shirley Setian relative to the Armenian Genocide
recognition by the Anti-Defamation League and the Town's further
involvement in their No Place for Hate Program be sent back to the
Board of Selectmen," according to the memorandum, written by Chairman
Janice Rhoden.

No Gold Medals For War, Occupation & Genocide

By Gideon Polya

MWC News
Aug 27 2008

Olympic Medal Tally Analyzed

The top dozen countries in terms of 5 or more Gold medals were the
host nation China (#1, 51 Gold medals), the US (#2, 36), Russia (#3,
23), the UK (#4; 19; the next Olympic host nation), Germany (#5,
16), Australia (#6, 14), South Korea (#7, 13), Japan (#8, 9), Italy
(#9, 8), France (#10, 7), Ukraine (#11, 7), the Netherlands (#12,
7), Jamaica (#13, 6), Spain (#14, 5) and Kenya (#15, 5).

The outcome of the Olympic Games as measured by the Olympic Medal
Tally of the marvellous athletes involved is heavily determined by
a number of major factors as briefly set out below.

1. Wealth i.e. how much countries invest in particular sports. This
is best illustrated the remarkable success of China (#1 for Gold
medals), as well as that of the US (#2), UK (#4) and Australia (#
6). China invested billions in the Olympic Games and both the UK (the
next host) and China made intelligent "investment decisions" that are
reflected in their Success. Australia did disproportionately well in
terms of population size due to its sports-mad culture and massive
investment in science-based sports training through the Australian
Institute of Sport.

2. Population i.e. the size of the genetic pool from which the athletes
are drawn. The biggest gene pools in the top dozen are those of China
(#1, 2005 population 1.3 billion), the US (#2, 300 million) and Russia
(#3, 140 million).

3. Population genetic factors. Thus West African or West
African-derived people (notably from the Caribbean and the Americas
e.g. Jamaica, #13) do very well at short-term endurance events such as
boxing and short-distance running while East African-derived people
(notably from Ethiopia and Kenya, #15) do very well at long-term
endurance events such as long distance running. However the bell-shaped
curve of "numbers" versus "attainment" for each country for particular
sports means that many other countries and regions can also deliver
athletics champions.

4. Sports culture and "cultural sport" are extremely important. Thus
Australia (#6) is sports-mad with a high level of participation. China
(#1) has stepped up participation in sports. As indicated under
population genetic factors above, particular populations go for what
they are good at (e.g. long-distance running for East Africans). While
most countries have joined the "World Game" of football (soccer),
the "top 15" at Beijing included 8 top football countries, namely
Russia (#3 in the Gold Medal Tally), the UK (#4), Germany (#5),
Italy (#9), France (#10), the Ukraine (#11), the Netherlands (#12)
and Spain (#14). Wrestling and weightlifting are major "cultural
sports" in a swathe of Middle East and Asian countries from Turkey
to Mongolia. In contrast, cricket was not an official Olympic event
but is an extremely important sport in the UK (#4) and Australia (#6)
as well as in countries not in the "top 15", notably India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.

5. Serendipity was important in many event outcomes. Thus astonishing
baton-change failures by the Jamaican women and US men allowed lesser
competitors to gain medals. Some swimming events were decided by as
little as 0.01 second.

6. Socio-economic and geopolitical factors such as war, occupation,
devastation and genocide were extremely important. Thus of the "top
15" countries only China (#1), Jamaica (#13) and Kenya (#15) were
not involved in the invasion and occupation of other countries in the
21st century and Russia (#3) only recently invaded Georgia (and then
mostly withdrew) in response to genocidal, civilian targeting, US- and
Israeli-backed Georgian invasion of South Ossetia and destruction of
the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali during the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games. All 11 of the other "top 15" countries have been variously
involved in the ongoing Iraqi Genocide (post-invasion excess deaths
2 million, refugees 4.5 million) and/or the ongoing Afghan Genocide
(post-invasion excess deaths 3-6 million, 4 million refugees). In
contrast, lack of performance at the Beijing Olympics can be directly
related to colonial, neo-colonial or current devastation by imperialist
powers. Thus Occupied Afghanistan and Mauritius (which hosts the poor
people who were 100% ethnically cleansed from Diego Garcia by the UK
and the US) each won a Bronze medal but Occupied Iraq (soccer Asian Cup
winner in 2007), Occupied Haiti, Occupied Somalia, Occupied Palestine
and Pakistan (whose Waziristan villages are being bombed by the US)
gained no medals of any kind.

For a detailed breakdown of Beijing Olympics involvement by country
see here: for the latest on the Beijing Olympics medal tally -
subject to drug tests - see Yahoo.

The superb Beijing Olympics finished with China leading the World in
the Olympic medal tally (51 Gold, 100 Total) over the US (36, 110),
Russia (23, 72), the UK (19, 47), Germany (16, 41), Australia (14,
46), South Korea (13, 31), Japan (9, 25), Italy (8, 28), France (7,
40), the Ukraine (7, 27), Netherlands (7, 16), Jamaica (6, 11), Spain
(5, 18), Kenya (5, 14), Belarus (4, 19), Romania (4, 8), Ethiopia (4,
7), Canada (3, 18), Poland (3, 10), Hungary (3,10), Norway (3, 10),
Brazil (3, 15), Czech Republic (3, 6), Slovakia (3, 6), New Zealand
(3, 9), Georgia (3, 6), Cuba (2, 24), Kazakhstan (2, 13), Denmark (2,
7), Mongolia (2, 4), Thailand (2, 4), North Korea (2, 6), Argentina
(2, 6), Switzerland (2, 6), and Mexico (2, 3). I'll call this Group
A - the group of countries that generally includes the top past
Olympics performers and all the countries we expect to score gold
medals because of national wealth and size (China, the US, the UK,
Germany, Japan, Italy, France and the Ukraine), wealth coupled with
keen sporting traditions (Australia, Netherlands, Spain, Belarus,
Romania, Canada, Poland, Hungary, Norway, Brazil, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, New Zealand, Argentina and Switzerland) and much poorer
countries with well-established track records in particular sports
that relate to the genetic predispositions of their populations
(e.g. Ethiopia and Kenya in long-distance running and Cuba and Jamaica
in short-distance running).

These successful countries were followed by a number of countries
(I'll call this Group B) who only gained 1 gold medal, namely Turkey
(1 Gold, 8 Total), Zimbabwe (1, 4), Azerbaijan (1, 7), Uzbekistan (1,
6), Slovenia (1, 5), Bulgaria (1, 5), Indonesia (1, 5), Finland (1, 4),
Latvia (1, 3), Belgium (1, 2), Dominican Republic (1, 2), Estonia (1,
2), Portugal (1, 2), India (1, 2), and Iran (1, 2). Group B contains
many countries that don't lead the world in general sporting prowess
but which are both very keen about and very good at particular sports
such as football (Turkey, Belgium, Portugal and Iran), weightlifting
and wrestling (Turkey and Iran) and cricket (Zimbabwe and India).

My Group C contains countries that obtained no Gold medals but which
nevertheless scored Bronze and/or Silver medals, namely Armenia (6
non-Gold medals), Sweden (5 non-Gold medals), Croatia (5), Lithuania
(5), Chinese Taipei (4), Greece (4), Nigeria (4), Austria (3), Ireland
(3), Serbia (3), Algeria (2), Bahamas (2), Trinidad and Tobago (2),
Colombia (2), Kyrgyzstan (2), Morocco (2), Tajikistan (2), Chile (1),
Ecuador, (1), Iceland (1), Malaysia (1), Netherlands Antilles (1),
Singapore (1), South Africa (1), Sudan (1), Vietnam (1), Afghanistan
(1), Egypt (1), Israel (1), Mauritius (1), Moldova (1), Venezuela
(1), and Togo (1).

Group C is similar to Group B in that it contains some countries with
well-known expertise in particular sports notably short-distance
running (Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, and Bahamas), long-distance
running (Algeria), tennis (Croatia, Serbia, Sweden, and Austria),
football (Sweden, Croatia, Serbia, Greece, Nigeria, Columbia),
weightlifting (Armenia), wrestling (Armenia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan) and winter sports (Sweden and Austria).

Finally, my Group D contains countries who sent athletes to the
Beijing Olympics but which gained no medals at all, namely Albania,
American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antigua/Barbuda, Aruba, Bangladesh,
Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darusallam, Burkina Faso,
Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African
Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus,
Côte D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Djibouti, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji,
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,
Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iraq, Jordan, Kiribati, Kuwait,
Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
Macedonia (FYROM), Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall
Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan,
Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
Puerto Rico, Qatar, Rwanda, St Kitts/Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent
and Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi
Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia,
Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Tonga,
Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu,
Virgin Islands, Yemen and Zambia.

All the Group D countries (with the exception of Peru and Saudi Arabia
and the tiny European principalities of Andorra, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino) have been subject to European
colonial occupation and its horrendous consequences in the post-war

For a detailed history of the US contribution to this carnage see
William Blum's "Rogue State". For a detailed history and "body
count" of this horrendous burden of war, occupation, devastation
and genocide imposed by the "democratic Nazi" imperialist powers
since 1945 see "Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1905": 1990-2005 avoidable deaths (excess
deaths,deaths that should not have happened) in non-European countries
total 1.2 billion, this including a Muslim Holocaust involving 0.6
billion avoidable deaths.

It is useful to sum the 1950-2005 excess deaths in all the countries
occupied by foreign occupiers in the post-war era - country-by-country
analysis. Most of the perpetrators have been European countries and
are listed below alphabetically with both their number of Gold Medals
from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and their "body count" of 1990-2005
excess deaths in the countries they occupied as major occupiers for
some time in the post-war era (excluding Germany and Japan as occupied
countries): Australia (14 Gold, 2.1 million in Papua New Guinea and
Solomon Islands); Belgium (1 Gold, 36.0 million); Ethiopia (4 Gold,
1.8 million in Eritrea); France (7 Gold, 142.3 million); Indonesia
(1 Gold, 0.694 million in Timor Leste); Iraq (0 Gold, 0.1 million
in Kuwait); Israel (0 Gold, 23.9 million); Netherlands (7 Gold,
71.6 million); New Zealand (3 Gold, 0.04 million in Samoa); Pakistan
(0 Gold, 52.2 million in Bangladesh); Portugal (1 Gold, 23.5 million);
Russia (23 Gold, 37.1 million); South Africa (0.7 million in Namibia);
Spain (5 Gold, 8.6 million); Turkey (1 Gold, 0.05 million in Cyprus);
the UK (19 Gold, 727.4 million); and the US (36 Gold, 82.2 million).

For the record, neither China (51 Gold medals, Iran (1 Gold medal)
nor India (1 Gold medal) have occupied any other country over the
last few centuries.

If there were Gold Medals for War, Occupation and Genocide, the
leading Gold medallists scoring over 1 million on this 1990-2005 excess
mortality score would be, in descending order, the UK, France, the US,
Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Belgium, Israel, Portugal and Spain
... or if Gold, Silver and Bronze were given for "total body count"
the UK would get Gold, France the Silver and the US the Bronze.

Dr Gideon Polya, MWC News Chief political editor, published some
130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge
pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive
Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003),
and is currently writing a book on global mortality ---

Turkey Decries Toronto School Board Genocide Course

EuropeNews, Denmark Aug 27 2008
The killings of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 is being taught alongside
the Holocaust & 1994 Rwandan genocide

In a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and the province's
Ministry of Education, the Turkish Embassy has voiced strong objections
to a Toronto District School Board decision to teach students that
the killing of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 was genocide.

The lessons will come in a new course entitled "Genocide: Historical
and Contemporary Implications" that will be launched with the start
of the new school year in September. The course's three case studies
include the Ottoman's killing of Armenians in 1915, the Holocaust
and the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Although the Canadian Parliament approved a motion in 2004 recognizing
the killings as genocide, the Turkish government has long disputed
the description.

The idea of teaching a course on genocide was first raised three years
ago by a Toronto board trustee, but has since been met with controversy
on all sides. Aside from Turkish objections, the Ukrainian Canadian
Congress advocated that the Holodomor should be included in the course,
and the Muslim Canadian Congress accused the board of religious bias.

As the controversy escalated over what was and wasn't included in
course material, the school board decided earlier this year to strike
a review committee. After a few public meetings, the panel concluded
that the course reading list would need to be approved by a panel of
historical experts.

It's unclear how the Armenian killings were included in the Toronto
school board course proposal, but the inclusion of one book in
particular, Extraordinary Evil: A Brief History of Genocide by Barbara
Coloroso, sparked outrage.

At one point the review committee had agreed to remove Ms. Coloroso's
book from its reading list, which in turn prompted outcry from the
literary community and a letter from Penguin Canada president David
Davidar to the school board defending Ms. Coloroso's credentials as
an educator.

This past June, after months of debate, committee and public review,
the school board decided to include Ms. Coloroso's book as a text
examining the psychology of genocide, and on June 2 gave final approval
for the course to go ahead in 11 Toronto high schools, reaching about
300 Grade 11 students.

Turkish Outrage

That has prompted a backlash from the Turkish Embassy as well as
members of the Turkish community.

"This is a pedagogical thing and goes against traditional Canadian
principles of objectivity, and this is a matter of history...which
should really be immune to political pressures," said Yonet Tezel,
first counsellor at the Turkish Embassy. "That's something for
Canadian educational institutions to consider themselves, we don't
need to remind them of that.

"The school board's decision to go ahead anyway and teach it as
genocide, it's very objectionable, that's why Turkish parents are
concerned, and I sympathize with them."

Mr. Tezel said the Turkish Embassy has communicated its concern to
colleagues at the Department of Foreign Affairs and to provincial
officials that as the school year commences, Turkish Ambassador
Rafet Akgunay will continue to raise his concerns through diplomatic

The Council of Turkish Canadians has also expressed its disapproval,
especially of the inclusion of Extraordinary Evil.

Lale Eskicioglu, executive director of the Council of Turkish
Canadians, launched a formal complaint against the Toronto District
School Board in November. Ms. Eskicioglu also started a petition,
which she said has collected 12,000 signatures.

"It cannot be taught as genocide," she said. "You can teach it as a
dispute or under Ottoman history maybe, but you cannot teach it in
the same category with Holocaust and Rwanda. This is a very serious
crime. You cannot accuse a nation or its people of that which amounts
to slander and hate propaganda because it's not correct."

For Ms. Eskicioglu, this is a personal plight, and a situation in
which she feels she and her fellow Turks have been wronged.

"Why should my daughter, alongside with her Armenian friends, sit in
the same classroom and hear one-sided inaccurate versions of history,
which is categorized with the worst crime in the world?" Ms. Eskicioglu

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sweden’s refusal to recognize Armenian Genocide to harm Turkey

12th june

Vahagn Avedian, Chairman of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden, told PanARMENIAN.Net that he addressed an open letter to Swedish MPs to point out some major flaws in the stated arguments, mentioning that the Foreign Committee members are either poorly informed on the existing data, reports, conventions and resolutions or they simply disregard the broad information which strongly contradicts their assertions.

“The UNCHR Whitaker Report from 1985, the resolutions issued by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), the UN Genocide Convention, its background and meaning, along with the petition signed by over 60 world leading Holocaust and Genocide scholars were some of the attachments as evidence for the erroneous and misleading information the report suggested. But, the debate on June 11 proofed that the decision had nothing to do with the presented facts.

The more the debate went on, the more it was revealed that no MP could explain, less defend, any of the above mentioned arguments, save for maybe the last one. During the debate, Member of Parliament Hans Linde (Left), talking about the arguments stated in the document repeatedly asked the members of the alliance parties to explain the argumentation in the report and answer three simple and straight forward questions, namely 1) Who are these researchers disagreeing on the reality of the 1915 genocide? 2) If the 1915 genocide can not be recognized due to the chronology of the 1948 UN Convention, how come then the Holocaust is recognized? 3) Why should the fear of extremists inside Turkey dictate the freedom of speech in the Swedish Parliament? None of the defendants could give an answer. This actually might be the only light in the otherwise some what embarrassing situation that the MPs were faced with when trying to evade the questions in whole. Mats Sanders (Moderat/Conservatives) had, literally nothing to add but to refer to the report text. Alf Svensson (Christian Democrats), in regard to the “disagreement among researchers”, was asked to name only one serious researcher who renounces the 1915 genocide. He defended the proposition by stating that he “believes in the information they receive from the Foreign Services… I believe that this is the truth, and if it is proven otherwise, then I am truly sorry.” I am not quite sure if Mr. Svensson really believes in what he stated in that sentence. But then again, who, if not a Christian Democrat would safeguard issues such as moral, human dignity, and stewardship.

Mats Pertoft (Green), one of the co-authors of the motions, pointed out that the 1915 genocide was no different from the climate issue. For couple of years ago, there was a disagreement among researchers about the global warming, but now, even though there are some who still disagree, there is a consensus on the issue among an overwhelming majority of the researchers. The same applies to the 1915 genocide. Mentioning the petition signed by genocide experts, Pertoft joined Linde in urging the MPs to at least deny recognition on political basis and refrain from abusing the name of science and renouncing facts. A day earlier, I, together with Linde and Pertoft, partook in a debate broadcasted live by the Assyrian Satellite TV Station Suroyo. The TV station had invited several other MPs representing the “no” side, but in vain. No one was willing to participate. Linde’s radio debate on the subject, scheduled for the morning of June 11, was also canceled since the MP defending the Foreign Committee proposition had backed out in last second. Maybe, just maybe, the text of the petition, sent to all members of parliament, made a difference by stating that “Today, the data and information about the Genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks are so extensive that no serious politician can honestly cite insufficient or inconclusive research as an excuse to avoid recognition.” This was at least true in the case of those who chose not participate in any of the debates, rather than compromising their honesty by being forced to follow their party line and defend their denial of a genocide.

Two politicians defied their parties. Yilmaz Kerimo (Social Democrat), an ethnic Assyrian was one. The other, Lennart Sacrédeus (Christian Democrat), going against his party line, took the podium defending a recognition of the 1915 genocide and ended his statement by adding: “I know that we will stay here again in one year debating the very same question…Turkey will be hit by bad will for every debate in every parliament where this question is deeply associated with Turkey. I think that we acknowledge and can understand the background for why the issue is locked in Turkey; but the truth will set you free and it applies to Turkey and the legacy after Atatürk.” The truth will set you free, but Swedish politicians today displayed that they are neither ready to acknowledge the truth nor willing to set Turkey free from its dark burdensome past.

The debate lasted over three hours, during which the present audience agreed upon one certainty: no one of those recommending the rejection of a recognition could, based on the alleged arguments in the report, explain, less defend their case. It was soon obvious that there simply were no sustainable arguments to be given to explain why Sweden can not recognize the 1915 genocide. The “no” was purely a political decision for maintaining good relations with Turkey, nothing else. But could such a decision actually benefit Turkey? Or Sweden? Or EU? In my opinion, similar decisions and signals are nothing but doing Turkey, and not least oneself, a disservice. What kind of message do we send to a Turkey in urgent need of reformation and democratization when we tell them that it is actually acceptable to cover up crimes and deny facts and the truth? What kind of a democracy does Sweden and EU nourish in Turkey? Notwithstanding, I can not imagine a single Armenian who would not welcome, by European measures, a reformed and democratized Turkey as their neighbor. The same would apply to Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds etc. But, the kind of signals which the Swedish Parliament today sent surely cause more damage to the Turkish process of becoming a more open society than the opposite.

Another paradox in Sweden became evident, namely the existence of the Living History Forum, a government agency created in the wake of the International and Intergovernmental Genocide Conference in Stockholm, 2004. On their web site the mission of the agency is described as follows: “The Living History Forum is a government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting issues relating to tolerance, democracy and human rights – with the Holocaust as its point of reference. By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” The Living History Forum lists the 1915 genocide as one of the genocides in the 20th century and educates the Swedish society about what really happened in the Ottoman Empire during WWI. It seems highly ironic that the Swedish Government and politicians do not practice what they preach. “By spreading knowledge about the darkest sides of human history, we want to influence the future.” Suddenly, Darfur makes total sense. The world which Swedish politicians, or any other politicians for that matter, shape by influencing the future with their denial of genocide is the kind where we do speak of, not a historic, but an ongoing genocide, that in Darfur; and we will most certainly experience yet many more.

The phrase: “history must be left to historians” is often used by the Turkish state and those politicians around the world who do wish to avoid treading Turkish toes by recognizing the 1915 genocide. I did not realize until today how true that phrase is. Actually, I totally agree with the Turkish state on this one: history must be written by historians, not politicians. Today, however, Swedish MPs wrote their own new version of the history, a revised alternative suiting their political agenda, denouncing a broad data and consensus put forward by the expert scholars in the field. I hope that Swedish leaders, as well as all political leaders, would in future leave the research to researchers and base their decision making on presented facts put forward by scholars. Sacrédeus’ prophecy will be fulfilled as the 1915 genocide will most certainly be discussed in the Swedish Parliament again and again. As an answer to the last question I got in the TV debate, about how we will continue when the highly expected rejection in the Parliament comes, I replied “We will go on remembering the genocide of 1915, even after its recognition. We have already started the preparation for the manifestation on April 24, 2009, which, as the last two years, will take place in front of the Swedish Parliament. But, I hope that this time, instead of calling upon the Parliament to recognize the genocide, we will thank the MPs for having recognized it,” Vahagn Avedian said.

On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish government and parliament to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

On June 12, 2008, the Swedish parliament, with the votes 245 to 37 (1 abstain, 66 absent), rejected a call for recognition of the 1915 genocide in the Ottoman Empire. On June 11, a long debate took place in the Swedish Parliament in regard to the Foreign Committee report on Human Rights, including five motions calling upon the Swedish Government and Parliament to officially recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

In its answer (2007/2008:UU9), a majority consisting of the ruling alliance parties together with the Social Democrats (opposition party) proposed rejecting the motions, whereby the Green (Miljöpartiet) and the Left (Vänsterpartiet) parties announced their reservations, forcing the Parliament to have a debate in the main chamber before the proposal was voted on.

The argumentation for why recognition should be rejected was based on four main assumptions: “no particular consideration regarding the Armenian situation has ever been in form of an UN Resolution, either in 1985 or any other occasion; the Committee understands that what engulfed the Armenians, Assyrian/Syrians and Chaldeans during the reign of the Ottoman Empire would, according to the 1948 Convention, probably be regarded as genocide, if it had been in power at the time; there is still a disagreement among the experts regarding the different course of events of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The same applies to the underlying causes and how the assaults shall be classified; [in regard to the development in Turkey] in the time being, it would be venturesome to disturb an initiate and delicate national process.”

"Christians in Ottoman Empire" international conference to be held in Canada in 2009

13 june

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Canada-based Union of Middle East Christians has organized a reception to honor Arman Hakobian, Armenia’s Charge d’Affairs in Canada, who answered numerous questions of the attendees during the event, the RA MFA press office reported.

The Union is hopeful that the Armenian Embassy will sponsor the “Christians in Ottoman Empire” international conference that will be held in Montreal in 2009.

The Union of Middle East Christians includes the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Chaldean and Assyrian Orthodox Churches and a number of others.