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" Something Remembered Is Never Forgotten." Mixed media installation. 1993. Robert Barsamian
The Armenian Genocide of 1915 was the supremely violent historical moment that removed a people from its homeland and wiped away most of the tangible evidence of its three thousand years of material and spiritual culture. The calamity, which was unprecedented in scope and effect, may be viewed as part of the incessant Armenian struggle for survival and the culmination of the persecution and pogroms that began in the 1890s. Or, it may be placed in the context of the great upheavals that brought about the disintegration of the multiethnic and multireligious Ottoman Empire and the emergence of a Turkish nation-state based on a monoethnic and monoreligious society. The Ottoman government, dominated by the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) or the Young Turk party, came to regard the Armenians as alien and a major obstacle to the fulfillment of its political, ideological and social goals. Its ferocious repudiation of plural society resulted in a single society, as the destruction of the Armenians was followed by the expulsion of the Greek population of Asia Minor and the suppression of the non-Turkish Muslim elements with the goal of bringing about turkification and assimilation. The method adopted to transform a plural Ottoman society into a homogeneous Turkish society was genocide.”
Richard G. Hovannisian, “Denial of the Armenian Genocide in Comparison with Holocaust Denial,” in Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide, ed. Richard G. Hovannisian (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1999) 13-14.
“It is important to understand the immorality and the harmful consequences of denying genocide. As prominent scholars of genocide such as Israel Charney, Robert J. Lifton, Deborah Lipstadt, Eric Markusen and Roger Smith have noted: the denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide; it seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators; and denying genocide paves the way the way for future genocides by making it clear that genocide demands no moral accountability or response.”
Peter Balakian, “Combating Denials of the Armenian Genocide in Academia” in Encyclopedia of Genocide Volume I, ed. by Israel Charney (Jerusalem: Institute on the Holocaust and genocide, 1999) 163-165.
On March 30, 2011 U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Turkish Coalition of America against the University of Minnesota. The lawsuit arose from materials posted on the university’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (CHGS) website, including a list of websites CHGS considered “unreliable” for purposes of conducting scholarly research. The Turkish Coalition claimed the university violated its constitutional rights, and committed defamation, by including the Turkish Coalition website on the “unreliable” websites list.
“This is an important victory for scholars and educators all over the United States. I want first to express my gratitude to General Counsel at the University of Minnesota, and in particular to Brent Benrud, for his outstanding work on this case. I applaud Judge Frank’s decision, as it bears witness to the high esteem in which the judicial system in this country holds academic freedom. This outcome honors the principles of freedom of speech, and is a remarkable example of the law’s protection of free inquiry into matters of public interest.”
Bruno Chaouat, CHGS director 2011
International Affirmation of the Armenian GenocideStatement by 126 Holocaust Scholars, Holders of Academic Chairs, and Directors of Holocaust Research and Studies Centers. March 7, 2000
View image of the petition appeared in New York Times, June 9, 2000.
126 Holocaust Scholars Affirm the Incontestable Fact of the Armenian Genocide and Urge Western Democracies to Officially Recognize it. At the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Scholar's Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches Convening at St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 3-7, 2000, one hundred twenty-six Holocaust Scholars, holders of Academic Chairs and Directors of Holocaust Research and Studies Centers, participants of the Conference, signed a statement affirming that the World War I Armenian Genocide is an incontestable historical fact and accordingly urge the governments of Western democracies to likewise recognize it as such. The petitioners, among whom is Nobel Laureate for Peace Elie Wiesel, who was the keynote speaker at the conference, also asked the Western Democracies to urge the Government and Parliament of Turkey to finally come to terms with a dark chapter of Ottoman-Turkish history and to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This would provide an invaluable impetus to the process of the democratization of Turkey.