Peace through penance

Ari Terjanian
is a sophomore majoring in business and a member of the Armenian Diaspora.

Countless times through our adolescence, as we sat through another boring world civilizations lecture, we questioned the purpose of learning about history at all.

What’s the point of learning about the past when it is only the future that matters?

Adolf Hitler knew his history. In a speech he gave to his commanders, a week before the German invasion of Poland, to convince them of his purpose, he said “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Already, by 1939, the genocide of the Armenians, swept under the rug by the Turks under the guise of military conflict, had been forgotten, and Hitler saw no reason why the genocide he intended to commit would not be forgotten as well.

Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide will dissuade future attempts at genocide, as well as cleanse a nation of its guilt, which will ultimately benefit it.

At first glance, Turkey stands to lose a lot by recognizing the genocide — they’d be put on the same level historically as Germany and would face giving up territory to Armenia, as well as paying compensation to families that were affected.

For this reason, they deny all accusations and try to muddy the history. In addition, they do not want the United States to recognize it, given that it is the most influential nation in the world.

For this reason, they leverage their strategic position in the Middle East to prevent American recognition.

Letting this go unchallenged shows great cowardice on America’s part, and in my opinion, is comparable to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claims that the Holocaust never happened.

Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Lebanon, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.

What do these countries have in common?

They all recognize that from 1915-1923, the Ottoman Empire, which encompassed present-day Turkey, murdered 1.5 million Armenians.

These countries’ recognitions, as well as an overwhelming consensus by today’s historians, including some Turkish historians, such as Taner Akcam, should put to rest any questions of the validity of the occurrence of the massacres.

It is insulting to even debate whether it happened or not. At this point, it’s not a question of determining history; instead, it’s just pure politics.

Turkey is a country which is seen as a model Muslim country.

However, its modern day practices of ultra-conservatism, as well as the lack of safety for Armenians in Turkey, prevent it from reaching its ideal status on a global scale.

When Turkey tried to join the European Union, one of the reasons it was not admitted was because of its policy of denial.

It has been said that the last chapter of genocide is its denial.

In other words, by denying it happened, Turkey is carrying out the genocide to this day.

If there is to be peace between Armenia and Turkey, Turkey must admit its wrongdoings.

Admission of genocide may cause bad short-term ramifications, but in the long run, Turkey will emerge with a clear conscience and much more respect in the world, and millions of innocent souls will finally be able to rest in peace.

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