Thursday, August 23, 2007

More on: Armenian Genocide and the Jews

Isn't it a rather crude title? I deliberately made it so, in order to emphasize the coarseness of the debate in the recent melee.

The New Centrist assembled an interesting post about the recent storm concerning some Jewish organizations, Armenian genocide and the pending USA Congress resolution recognizing the historical validity of this event.

Bob provides a little known context to this history in the comments sections, which deserves to be repeated here:

As a very minor footnote, one of the first people to champion the Armenian cause was the great maverick Jewish nationalist Israel Zangwill, who said that in the face of the Armenian suffering, Jewry must take off its crown of thorns, i.e. that Armenian suffering outweighed even that of the Jewish people. And, as another very minor footnote, the man who gave us the word “genocide”, was the Jewish Raphael Lemkin, who took the Armenian massacre as his model.

__________

Sidebar:

The New Centrist and The Contentious Centrist are not related. Though both are self-styled as "centrists", the one is newly arrived at the center and the other is contentious in her centrism.

Centrism, as I see it, does not mean straddling a fence in an attempt to appease and please both sides of it. Centrism means that one has liberated herself from any allegiance to either thesis or anti-thesis. Centrism means independent thinking relying on moral clarity and principled support for universal human rights, verifiable history and truth.

For Dante told us, with the knowledge of one who went to Hell and came back with a report, what fate awaits those who straddle fences, the appeasers who remain silent when injustice masquerades as universality, when defamers and maligners are coddled and indulged:


All of these made a tumult whose presence
Whirled darkly through the timeless air like grains
Of sand in permanent turbulence.

And I, seeking to ease my brain's
Horror, said, " Master, what am I listening to?
Who are these people so defeated by their pains?"

And he to me: " The dismal souls who
Suffer this condition had lives neither odious
Nor commendable; having embraced neither of the two,

They mingle now with that chorus
Of cowardly, self–serving angels who were
Neither faithful to God nor rebellious.

To preserve its beauty heaven kicked them down here,
While deep Hell refused to take them,
Lest they be scapegoats for the wicked there."

"Master," I asked, "what is their problem
That they moan so grievously?"
He answered: " Lament is forever their anthem.

With no hope of death, their lives are so piteously
Blind and full of degradation
That they leer at every other fate enviously.


In the world they receive no mention;
Mercy and justice show them no regard:
We too will pass them by with little attention."

And I, who glanced at them, saw a whirling standard
Which streaked ahead with a velocity
Nothing seemed able to retard.

Behind it a queue seemed to stretch to infinity,
So that I could hardly imagine
How death had undone such a quantity.

When I'd surveyed several of those in line
I recognized that cowardly creature
Who, chosen for greatness, opted to decline.

At once I was absolutely sure
These were the loathesome cowards neither
God nor his enemies could endure.

These naked wretches, who had never
Been truly alive...

(Dante's Inferno, Canto III)

1 Comments:

At 3:13 PM EDT, Anonymous The New Centrist said...

"Centrism, as I see it, does not mean straddling a fence in an attempt to appease and please both sides of it. Centrism means that one has liberated herself from any allegiance to either thesis or anti-thesis. Centrism means independent thinking relying on moral clarity and principled support for universal human rights, verifiable history and truth."

A brilliant articulation of centrism.

 

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