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[E] NY Times Acknowledges The Armenian Genocide, Sassounian

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 PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:40 am    Post subject: [E] NY Times Acknowledges The Armenian Genocide, Sassounian Reply with quote Back to top

The California Courier | April 20, 2004 | Harut Sassounian, Publisher

N.Y. Times Acknowledges The Armenian Genocide

The editors of the New York Times adopted last week a new guideline instructing all of their reporters to henceforth use the term “genocide” when referring to the Armenian Genocide.

The internal memo outlining this policy states: "After careful study of scholarly definitions of 'genocide,' we have decided to accept the term in references to the Turks' mass destruction of Armenians in and around 1915." The guideline states that "the expression 'Armenian Genocide' may be used freely and should not be qualified with phrasing like 'what Armenians call,' etc."

The New York Times thus abandons its shameful refusal in recent years to refer to the Armenian Genocide as “genocide” and reaffirms the integrity of the 145 articles it published in 1915, as the genocide was unfolding. More than 20 years ago, Karl E. Meyer, one of the editors of The Times, published two powerful editorial notes on the Armenian Genocide. The first was dated April 23, 1983, and titled, “Armenian Memory, Turkish Amnesia.” In that note, Meyer referred to the Armenian Genocide as “the century’s first official genocide.” When a Turkish official objected to his choice of words, Meyer wrote a second editorial note on May 14, 1983, simply titled, “Turkish Amnesia.” He urged the Turks to acknowledge the truth about the Armenian Genocide, “instead of blaming the victims.”

Under the new policy guidelines, the editors of the New York Times suggest that when referring to the Armenian Genocide, their reporters "should normally add a few phrases of explanation for the many readers who have forgotten what they were taught about the Ottoman Empire (or who were perhaps never taught): By most historical accounts, the Ottoman empire killed more than one million Armenians in a campaign of death and mass deportation aimed at eliminating the Armenian population throughout what is now Turkey."

The shift in The Times' long-standing policy of not using the term Armenian Genocide is partly the result of the dedicated efforts by several renowned scholars as well as many Armenian-American individuals and organizations. Over the years, they collectively provided to the ever-changing staff of The Times a vast amount of information and documentation on the basis of which the editors were able to arrive at this new guideline.

Another factor that probably contributed to the reconsideration of The Times' policy is the expanding circle in recent years of international organizations, legislatures of several countries, as well as some Turkish scholars who have acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. Due to these same factors, the Boston Globe last year adopted a similar policy on the "Armenian Genocide."

Given the fact that the New York Times is one of the leading newspapers in the United States, its editorial policies and positions have a great influence on the coverage of issues by the media nationwide and even worldwide. The Times also helps shape the opinions of policy makers as well as the public at large. Consequently, its acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide will have a devastating effect on the Turkish efforts of denial and reaffirm the historical facts. To amplify this effect, the news of the New York Times acknowledging the Armenian Genocide should be disseminated worldwide to all members of the media, government officials, and international organizations.

In this effort, Armenians can count on valuable assistance from an unexpected source -- the Turkish government and its lobbyists. They will probably embark on a massive muckraking campaign against The Times. As part of their standard bullying tactics, the Turks will threaten to boycott the newspaper and shut down its bureau in Turkey.

There is very little chance, however, that the T
urks will succeed in forcing a newspaper with the stature of The Times to back down. Such rude attacks would only serve to offend and antagonize the newspaper's editors, and help further publicize the fact that the New York Times has decided to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

In order to counter and balance the expected deluge of negative e-mails from Turkish denialists, whose sinister aim is getting more and more hopeless every day, we urge all readers to send e-mails to the editors of The Times (nytnews@nytimes.com), commending their acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.
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