Episode 70 – Academic Freedom at risk

Silencing Dissent and suffocating free speech Ignoring, dismissing, or censoring one side of an argument, while totally committing to another, may lead to division, polarization, and antagonism, which, in turn, may result in intimidation, bullying, and even terrorism. Case in point: the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Some people readily take the flawed Armenian narrative, totally oblivious to the Armenian war crimes, hate crimes, revolts, treason, terrorism, territorial demands, and the resulting enormous Turkish suffering. According to the USCourts.com website, freedom of speech, a right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, allows individuals to express themselves without government interference or regulation. Freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment, in the following immortal words: “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.” The five freedoms the First Amendment protects are speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government. Together, these five guaranteed freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest in the world. The problems arise, though, when the Armenian lobby tries very hard to restrict these freedoms to the Turkish Americans, by systematic defamation, discrimination, intimidation, and political resolutions. I covered Armenian Terrorism (Episode 1,) documented Armenian falsifications (Episodes 2, 3, and 4,) detailed how the European Court of Human Rights, decided in 2015 that Armenian genocide is just an opinion and rejecting it is free speech (Episode 8,) and explained how critical thinking was missing in the official Armenian narrative was ( Episode 67.) We, the people of Turkish-American heritage, do not see eye to eye with Armenians on the characterization of 1915 events. But every time we try to present our case, we are defamed, bullied, harassed, and even subjected to assault and battery. Speakers who scholarly refute the genocide claims in university settings are slandered, threatened, and subjected to endless campaigns of vilification and character assassination. In the summer 2008 issue of its Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, was part of a network of persons, financed by the Government of Turkey, who dispute that the tragic events of World War I constituted an Armenian genocide. Apparently, an Armenian employee ill-informed and misled the SPLC. Thus, the SPLC which has made important contributions to the rule of law and the struggle against bigotry, was sued by the good professor. The SPLC lost and had to publish a Retraction and Apology and pay an undisclosed sum as fine. In the winter of 2015, two esteemed intellectuals, Professor of History, Justin McCarthy, and constitutional legal scholar Bruce Fein, were scheduled to deliver talks at an academic platform at the University of Toronto, expressing their views on a controversial historical event that took place 100 years ago in the Ottoman Empire. When the Armenian students found out about the event, they immediately waged vicious campaigns, harassing the university president for allowing the scholarly lectures and vilifying the two intellectuals. If we cannot openly discuss a controversial matter, any issue, from abortion, immigration, gun control, gay rights, and economy, to wars, global warming, politics, and others, then what good is a university campus? What side of an issue shall be deemed right and what views shall be suppressed? And who will decide on that? Will we have an “opinion police” made up of screaming Armenians regulating thought? Two of the biggest challenges to free speech, Anti-Turkism and Islamophobia, should be checked at the door prior to discussing the Turkish-Armenian conflict, a complex human tragedy engulfing all the people of the era and area, not just Armenians. Furthermore, Armenian war crimes and hate crimes can no longer be swept under the rug. Armenians had resorted to terrorism, revolts, treason, and caused 519,000 Turks and other Muslims to meet their tragic ends at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries between 1914 and 1920. Lacking historical evidence and legal support, Armenians focused on propaganda and political pressure, using deceptive comparisons with Holocaust to establish “credibility by association.” That is why the UN, the UK, Israel, and many other countries do not accept the use of the term genocide to describe the Turkish-Armenian conflict. History cannot and should not be enforced by “opinion police.” This concept was eloquently expressed by the French historians who opposed the draconian denial laws in Appel De Blois: Quote “… History must not be a slave to contemporary politics, nor can it be written on the command of competing memories…” Unquote

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