Yesterday, the United Nations dismantled an exhibit for their visitors center about the 1994 Rwandan genocide of its Tutsi inhabitants, and cancelled a planned ceremony for its opening to be led by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. They did so due to objections by the Turkish government over a single phrase in the exhibit’s display, describing how the word ‘genocide’ was coined by Raphael Lemkin, "Following World War I, during which one million Armenians were murdered in Turkey."
There is no doubt among any serious scholars about the truth of that statement. Some excellent organizations provide scaths of information about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, such as the Armenian National Institute and the Zoryan Institute. Naturally, there is an active movement whose purpose is the denial of the Armenian genocide. To call for the recognition of the Armenian genocide in Turkey is a crime, for which many writers and journalists have been prosecuted.
Recently, the denial of the German Shoah against the Jews by the government of Iran drew widespread anger, condemnation, and derision by the world community. Yet, the longstanding denial of of the Armenian genocide, which took place over twenty years before the Shoah, is permitted by a nation which is ostensibly an ally and which is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. And now, the inclusion of a single phrase acknowledging it has proven enough to grind the United Nations belated efforts to recognize and teach about the Rwandan genocide to a halt.
It seems long past time for us all to recognize that the denial of one genocide is no different from the denial of another. To deny the Armenian genocide is to deny that of the Jews in Europe, the Tutsis in Rwanda, or that in Darfur today. It is just as intolerable for decent people wishing to live in a world without mass murder. Therefore, I ask that you call the Turkish Consulate in New York City, as well as the United Nations, and let them know that Holocaust denial by anyone is something to revile and abhor.
Phone :(212) 949-0160 (4)
Fax :(212) 983-1293
You may call the consular call-center (1-888-566-7656) between 8.30am-5.30pm central time from anywhere in the U.S.
(I am unable to find a telephone contact for the UN – if anyone has one, please let me know.)