Good work, Free Press!

If you want to look you'll find no shortage of disparagement of the Burlington Free Press around here, so I think it's fair to give them credit when they deserve it.

Today's paper featured a rare serious piece by Chris Bohjalian about the coverup of the Armenian genocide by the White House.

The facts are clear, and we've written about this before, but just to refresh your recollection, the Turks slaughtered a million and a half Armenians around the time of World War I in what is considered the first act of genocide of the Twentieth Century. 

I've been critical, both here and at Rational Resistance, the reticence chickenshit attitude of the U.S. government toward the legitimate grievances of Armenians and Armenian-Americans in this area. 

When he was running for president Obama was very strong on the issue, even referring to it as genocide, but came out much weaker once he was in office.

Bohjalian's piece incorporates his family history in a story of his visit to see a famous rug woven by survivors of the genocide.

 And so as I stood before the rug the other day at the Visitor Center, I was at once moved and enraged. I’m a descendant of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and the rug’s existence is a reminder of that cataclysmic period in my people’s history when we were nearly erased from the globe. The rug in this regard will always hold totemic power for me. But I was frustrated by the censorship — at the way the rug was made a pawn in power politics. I was saddened that the accomplishments of Near East Relief were not celebrated.

I'm outraged, too. It's not that long ago that Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk was prosecuted for “criticizing Turkishness” because he had the temerity to discuss and write about the genocide.

Here in the United States we're way more civilized: we just ignore you.

You should read Bohjalian's piece in its entirety. 



2 thoughts on “Good work, Free Press!

  1. Here is one Armenian’s tribute to his people, in French on YouTube, with English lyrics below.  

    It’s a sadly compelling song to listen to; it’s brought me to tears many times.


    They fell that year they vanished

    From the earth

    Never knowing the cause

    Or what laws the offended

    The women few as well

    And the babies they tendered

    Left to die left to cry

    All condemned by their birth

    They fell like rain

    Across the thirsty land

    In their heart they were slain

    In their God still believing

    All their pity and pain

    In that season of grieving

    All in vain, all in vain

    Just for one helping hand

    For no one heard their prayers

    In a world bent on pleasure

    Form others people care

    They simply closed their eyes

    They create a-lot of sound

    In jazz and right time measure

    The trumpets screamed till dawn

    To drown the children’s cries

    They fell like leaves

    Its people its prime

    Simple man, kindly man

    And no one new his crime

    The became in that hour

    Like the small desert flower

    Simply covered by the silent wind

    In sands of time

    They fell that year

    Before a cruel foe

    They had little to give

    But their lives and their passion

    And their longing to live

    In their way, in their fashion

    So their harvest can

    Thrive their children can grow

    They fell like flies

    Their eyes still full of sound

    Like a dove its flight

    In the path of rifle

    That fall down were it might

    That holds on with its might

    As if death were a trifle

    And to bring to an end

    A life barely begun and I am of that race

    Who die in unknown places

    Who perished in their pride

    Whose blood in rivers ran

    In agony and fright

    With courage on their faces

    They went in to the night

    That waits for every man

    They fell like tears

    And never new what for

    In that summer of strife

    Of massacre and war

    Their only crime was life

    There only guilt was fear

    The children of Armenia

    Nothing less nothing more

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