The Final Solution to the Armenian Question. We conservatives should not automatically oppose a resolution condemning the Armenian holocaust. We should rather think about how the resolution is worded.
The Armenian holocaust was very real and very horrible. It deserves rememerance, but it deserves remembrance for the reason it was committed. The whole issue is not as simple as it seems.
I cannot completely concur in my conservative friends who object to a resolution condemning the Armenian holocaust. What happened in 1915 was simply the Turkish equivalent to the “Final Solution to the Armenian Question.” Anyone who has studied the horrific treated of Armenians in the decades before 1915 and the holocaust that followed in 1915 can only come away aghast or can come away as morally indifferent to Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize for not reporting the Ukrainian holocaust during Stalin’s reign.
Quite rightly conservatives complain about the Hitler of Teheran denying the Holocaust, but if we do that then we cannot totally ignore the fact that the Turkish government is, to a large degree, denying the Armenian Holocaust. Denial of holocausts is denial of holocausts. Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, the Japanese military and, yes, the Turks about ninety years ago committed holocausts. In different ways, each can be said to be the worst of the holocausts. All were evil beyond human imagining.
But the situation with Turkey is rather like the situation with Japan, a democratic ally which has not done anything bad in a very long time. Japan essentially denies its holocaust against, especially, the Chinese people and its horrific treatment of POWs in the Second World War. Japanese textbooks leave out critical facts. Is this bad? Yes, of course. But if every nation in the world today behaved as well as Japan, we would have prosperity, peace and general goodwill.
Turkey committed genocide against the Armenian people. Since then, however, it stayed neutral in the Second World War when its alliance with the Nazis, who most other Moslems supported, would have probably prevented us from defeating Hitler. Turkey has been on decent terms with Israel, in stark contrast to other Moslem nations. During the Cold War, Turkey was a stalwart ally of the good guys. And Turkey has been, really, the closest to a success story in terms of Islamic democracy.
While Turkey is threatening to attack Kurdish nationalists in Iraq, it is not threatening the nation of Armenia at all. And, of course, its cooperation is very important in terms of winning the war on global terrorism, which is something all sensible people should want. Finally, there is the question of whether or not America might want a truly united Kurdistan, which would necessarily include a major part of Turkey, a good chunk of Iran, and parts of Syria as well – the Kurds are much more tolerant and pluralistic, much more likely to be democratic, and are not Arabs. Kurdistan could easily become a truly stable and potent ally of America, a nation friendly to Israel, and a check on all mischief of Islamic extremism. It is surely something to think about.
All of which is to say that “The Armenian Question” is not simple and that conservatives should weigh everything before deciding – in principle, not in timing (which is clearly partisan) – to reject the idea of condemning the very real holocaust of the Armenian people on the grounds of expediency. The answer may lie in exploring the reasons for the Armenian holocaust. Why were millions of Armenian men, women and children tortured, raped, murdered and enslaved during the last decade of the Nineteenth Century and the first two decades of the Twentieth Century?
The reason for their persecution was the same as the reason for the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis: Armenians were the wrong race, but more importantly, Armenians were the wrong religion. If Leftists in Congress want to condemn the Armenian holocaust, then it should condemn the Armenian holocaust on the same grounds that Shoah has long been condemned. Shoah, the German Holocaust of the Jewish people, was caused by anti-Semitism. The Armenian holocaust was caused by irrational hatred of Christians and Christianity. The Armenian survivors and the chronicles make this abundantly clear.
So any congressional resolution that ignores the historical hatred of Christians around the non-Christian world is phony and lame. The Armenians were the victims of genocide because they were Christians – Armenia was the very first Christian nation in history, the Christian Israel, if you will. The hatred of Christianity continues today. Witness the persecution of Christians in Iraq. Witness the persecution of Christians in Iran, in Pakistan, and even in normally tolerant India.
Witness the persecution, harassment and mocking of Christians in America today. Witness the accommodation of Moslem religious requirements alongside the removal of all Christian symbols from public places. If the Armenian people suffered, and they did, for their Christian beliefs (conversion to Islam was a way out of being tortured, raped, murdered or enslaved), then surely their sacrifice, their witness, needs to be remembered, but it must be remembered as that: Christian witness.
The German Holocaust of the Jewish people has made anti-Semitism, thankfully, no longer chic or cute or popular. If the Left wants to make a statement about the Armenian holocaust, then that statement should be a defense of Christianity, a condemnation of the long hatred of Christians by Moslems and by others. Perhaps Congress should ask first the Hitler of Teheran whether he condemns the Armenian genocide as a monstrous Islamic persecution of Christians. Why not ask Speaker Pelosi to visit the Teheran (wearing a burqa, of course) and see if he will. Or will he deny the Christian Holocaust as he did the Jewish Holocaust?
Hatred of Christians and Jews is not one of the biggest problems we face in this century: it is, in many ways, the only problem we face in this century. If remembering the millions of pitiful, dehydrated, emaciated Armenian women and children – yes, all dead now – is a way of fighting those two ancient hatreds, then that cause transcends everything else. That is our victory.
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.