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RACISM DIDN?T HAVE A PLACE IN TURKISH OR OTTOMAN HISTORY

Renee ABRAMSON
16 October 2007 - Today's Zaman
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I am an American and I feel very strongly about what the House in the US did and wish to submit this letter. It is not enough that this country did not learn from Vietnam and Iraq, as the House now wants to rewrite history concerning the Armenian Turkish conflict. The problem is, the West is trying to judge history with respect to its own historical and cultural references. Racism is a Western concept which didn’t have a place in Turkish or Ottoman history and the West cannot understand anti-racist Ottomans. Annihilation is a Western concept and the West cannot understand the Ottomans which chose to let live instead of wipe out. Assimilation is a Western concept and the West cannot accept the fact that different ethnic groups could have lived together.

The mainstream Western understanding has given the word “culture” a specific meaning and does not understand culture beyond that. It chooses to denigrate what it does not understand. The problem is, the last real empire that the West had was the Roman Empire. Later so-called “empires” were only colonial formations, not real empires, and depended on exploitation and repression. Like Ilber Ortayli said, the last Roman-type empire was the Ottoman empire.

You can’t really expect the (declining) Western powers to understand and appreciate something that is really different from their understanding of politics. That’s like Americans appreciating Martian culture and politics. However, while the House voted to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, it disregarded the Azerbaijan Genocide of 1905-1907 by the Armenians.

When will the House stop robbing Peter to pay Paul?

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