For the last two years I have been living and studying in Cairo. It seems ironic, but Middle East Report was my only source of political analysis of the Mideast region, including Egypt. Censorship in Egypt is alive and well and many Egyptians told me that the way they get information about their own country is to listen to the BBC broadcasts in Arabic. Certain issues of Middle East Report would be censored as well and I would not be able to find them anywhere except at the American University in Cairo library where I studied. I had access to Time and Newsweek, but they left a lot to be desired in the analysis department. We rarely heard news about the intifada in Egypt, from TV, radio or newsprint. The whole thing was happening next door to us and I had to wait for the next issue of Middle East Report to read about it! I thank you for the invaluable coverage and analysis you’ve brought me over the last two years and I wish to continue receiving more.
It is 2075. Palestinian attempts to reclaim their homelands have failed, and Zionist aggression has successfully incorporated the Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank and most of Lebanon into Greater Israel.
A progressive US journal on the Middle East devotes a special issue to Israel. In a section on Israeli minorities, we read: “Palestinians were once numerous but a series of Palestinian rebellions and violent clashes between 1987 and 1994 ended with massacres and forced expulsion that left perhaps as many as a million Palestinians dead and most of the rest in exile.”
Outrageous reporting to be sure, and yet if we change the dates and substitute Armenians for Palestinians, we have, word for word, a quote taken from Martha Wenger’s discussion of minorities in Turkey (MER 160).
Wenger’s use of equivocating language conveniently sidesteps the question of what happened to the Armenians of Anatolia. It conceals the fact that the “massacres and forced deportations” were the result of a systematic policy of genocide committed by the Young Turks against its indigenous Armenian population.
Given the generally excellent record of Middle East Report on social justice issues in the Middle East, I would like to believe that Wenger and the editors are merely ignorant of the history of the last days of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. On the chance that this and not something more insidious is at work, I would like to suggest that the editors inform themselves on this question, and as a good starting point I would recommend the Permanent People’s Tribunal, A Crime of Silence: The Armenian Genocide (London: Zed Books, 1985).