Episode 12 – LAUSD & April 24th – Against History, Law, and Democracy

Turkic-American communities across America are deeply disturbed by the calls to recognize the long-discredited political claim of “Armenian genocide” on 24th of April. Such a recognition would make a mockery of History scholarship, international law, and democracy in America. Furthermore, it would not contribute to peace efforts in the Caucasus, Turkey, America, and elsewhere, as it is based on a racist and dishonest reading of History. Such calls are generally driven by ethno-religious discrimination, anti-Turkish prejudice, and Islamophobia. The highest court in Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, issued a milestone of a verdict on October 15, 2015, that Armenian genocide is an opinion, as such, it can be rejected. Such rejection would be an exercise in free speech, not hate speech. Furthermore, the Court ruled that the alleged Armenian Genocide could not be compared to the court-proven Holocaust, as the latter had gone through legal scrutiny at a competent tribunal via due process where the intent to destroy was proven and documented. A formidable array of world-renowned historians also dispute the Armenian claims of genocide. Some 69 of them signed a public statement that was published in the New York Times and Washington Post on May 19, 1985. They said “the weight of evidence so far uncovered points in the direction of serious inter-communal warfare perpetrated by Muslim and Christian irregular forces, complicated by disease, famine, suffering, and massacres in Anatolia and adjoining areas during the First World War.” Against this backdrop, it is baffling to see the Los Angeles Unified School District Board pass two resolutions in 2020, Res-008-20/21 and Res-010-20/21, to declare 24th of April a school holiday calling it “Genocide Remembrance day,” totally ignoring international law and History scholarship. LAUSD resolutions were passed without consulting the Turkish-American or Azerbaijani-American communities about the other side of the story. After all, these communities will be negatively impacted most. So the LAUSD Board failed on all fronts: History scholarship, international law, and democracy. Meanwhile the Turkic-American parents are deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing of their children attending the LAUSD schools and the long-term effects of trauma that will result from bullying, racial discrimination and hate speech.

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