Recognizing Genocide

–The first step to the eventual elimination of genocide is to recognize it, as is just beginning in Turkey–The genocide of Armenians, which began in 1915, where more than a million people lost their lives through the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Empire, has long been a subject no one in Turkey admits or talks about. Now, Baskin Oran, a professor, began an online campaign apologizing to the Armenians for the war crimes they suffered. Although more than 25,000 people have signed the statement, Mr. Oran receives around 200 pieces a hate mail a day. The Prime Minister has criticized his efforts and many feel he is insulting the Turkish people. He does feel that regardless it is a necessary step trying to compensate for a “collective amnesia” as well as the fact that Turkish children are taught that Armenians killed Muslims. Some Armenians even criticize him for not using the word genocide. Still Mr. Oran persists believing he is eroding one of the country’s biggest taboo.
An online campaign may be a small thing, but is nevertheless a step in the recognition of the century old genocide. On a larger plane, if we are ever to learn to eliminate genocide, it must begin with a recognition of its nature, its history, its manifestations, and small or not this is an effort worth noting.