February 27, 2012
New York Times
Letters to the Editor
Subverting the Truth of Genocide
Regarding “Defuse the lexicon of slaughter” (Views, Feb. 24): David Scheffer’s proposal to avoid political conflict by labeling the murder of over 1.5 million Armenians as “atrocity crimes” amounts to an unacceptable diminution of historic and legal standards.
Raphael Lemkin coined the term “genocide” with two mass slaughters in mind: the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust. Winston Churchill referred to the extermination of the Armenians as a “holocaust.” From the pre-Lemkin description of the killings as “race extermination” by the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, to the categorization of the elimination of the Armenians as “genocide” by the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the nature of the destruction of the Armenians has been well-established for nearly 100 years.
Attempts to recast the 20th century’s seminal instance of genocide only serve those who seek to subvert the truth of what happened to the Armenians.
Antovk Pidedjian, White Plains, New York