The Weasel Words of Genocide Denial (poem)

By Alan Whitehorn
Just Poems: Reflections on the Armenian Genocide (Winnipeg, Hybrid, 2009)

The Weasel Words of Genocide Denial

“These were exceptionally difficult times
and we should not dwell upon them.”
“It was a period of great suffering on all sides
and everyone suffered equally.”
“It was a time long ago
and it is best left to historians.”
“All peoples suffered during those times.”


By Alan Whitehorn
Just Poems: Reflections on the Armenian Genocide (Winnipeg, Hybrid, 2009)

The Weasel Words of Genocide Denial

“These were exceptionally difficult times
and we should not dwell upon them.”
“It was a period of great suffering on all sides
and everyone suffered equally.”
“It was a time long ago
and it is best left to historians.”
“All peoples suffered during those times.”

“It was wartime
and terrible things happen to all in war.”
“The full record is yet to be written.”
“Prominent historians disagree about the events of those years.”
“Historians who specialize in this country offer vastly different interpretations.”
“It was another regime in power at that time
and thus, we have no responsibility.”
“A large number of so-called victims were disloyal and rebelled.”
“These people were aiding the enemy and threatening our state.”
“Some of these people, who claim to be victims, were armed and massacred others.”
“Their leadership was fomenting disobedience and revolt.”
“In the temporary relocations, some mistakes were made.”
“It was only a few militant officials who got carried away.”
“No government orders were given to eradicate that nation.”
“Diaspora propagandists have fostered unnecessary divisions and discord.”
“Ambitious diaspora zealots are just out to acquire land and money.”
“To acknowledge genocide at this time
would jeopardize important strategic interests in the region.”
“To acknowledge genocide
would significantly harm long-standing relations between our countries.”

These phrases repeated so many times that we cannot count them all.
But we can, nevertheless, start.
And we can recognize these statements for what they are.
They are words intended to distract, mislead and deny.
To deny what happened to countless victims
who warrant a proper memorial
and deserve far more respect.
 

***

 

Prof. Alan Whitehorn has taught in the areas of Canadian parties and public opinion, comparative politics and political theory at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario for over three decades. His latest book is ‘Just Poems: Reflections on the Armenian Genocide‘ (Winnipeg, Hybrid, 2009). He is well connected with the Armenian Community in Canada. Each summer he regularly visits Armenia for vacationing and research. He extensively takes part in the various workshops organized by the Zoryan Institute, and he was one of the panelists of public discussion devoted to
Policy Directions in Post-Election Armenia in Montreal – 20 June 2008 (video clip).
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