Monday, October 03, 2005

Armenian skeletons, Balkan ghosts

"Moving the discussion of what happened to Armenians out of the realm of politics and back into history will certainly demolish some hallowed nationalist myths. We will learn how it came about that many hundreds of thousands of Armenian civilians were killed and who planned and carried out the crime. We will also learn more about the war during which those events took place and in particular about the part played by the great powers, especially Russia, and their plans to partition the empire. We may learn, too, more about the long-forgotten backdrop – the decades of Muslim dispossession from former Ottoman lands in Europe and the millions of refugees this generated. The end result will be less serviceable to the political concerns of this or that side, but far more beneficial to both Armenian historical memory and the vitality of Turkish intellectual life.

As important, it may offer a precedent for how to deal with the most neuralgic aspects of one’s past that not a few European countries could learn from. Democratisation and glasnost need not be a one-way street".

-Mark Mazower: Europe can learn from Turkey’s past, 2 Oct.

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