About a week ago, President Joe Biden recognized the massacre that the Ottoman Empire committed against the Armenian people as genocide. Biden is the first American president to recognize it, and I think it is a significant decision.
The Turkish government, for its part, resented the declaration and summoned the U.S. ambassador to Turkey to admonish him for his government’s decision. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that his country has “nothing to learn from anybody about our own past.”
Whatever the circumstances that led to the massacre, the fact is that in the course of one year, 1915, the Ottomans killed nearly 1.5 million Armenians in a campaign of extermination. I think the recognition of the massacre as genocide is important for the simple reason that when you recognize the truth, you can grow from there. Until you open the wound, it festers and poisons and prohibits moving forward.
The fact that the U.S. president acknowledged what happened as genocide indicates that the world accepts these events as they are, without covering them up and without agreeing to them.
On this matter, I am in agreement with Biden. In politics, everyone plays with their cards to gain what they can, and until now, it wasn’t worth it for America to officially recognize the massacre as genocide, since Turkey is a member of NATO.
Nevertheless, it’s important that the truth is recognized, even if it is recognized now only because it suits the interests of the current administration. Biden wants to reinforce the Democratic Party, and I’m sure he was pressured to make the declaration, but either way, it is important.
People also compare what happened to the Armenian people with the Holocaust. I think that for all the similarities, and for all the horrors that the Armenians suffered, there are some fundamental differences between the two genocides. The massacre of the Armenian people was a specific, local tragedy. The Holocaust may have been initiated by the Nazis, but it was perpetrated throughout Europe, with active participation of people from multiple nationalities, and with the world being well aware that it was happening, yet choosing to do nothing.
Moreover, while the Holocaust was the most horrific event in the history of the Jewish people since the ruin of the Temple and the deportation from the land of Israel, it was by no means the only one. Jewish history for the past two millennia has been an account of successive extinctions and expulsions. It is with good reason that Jews joke about always having to keep one suitcase packed in case they have to leave in a hurry in search of a new home.
Unlike the Armenians, the Jews were, are, and will be hated and persecuted around the world until they carry out their mission toward the world by setting an example of unity among themselves. In other words, the two hatreds — of the Ottomans toward the Armenians, and of the world toward the Jews — are fundamentally different. One has a local nature, a territorial dispute, and the other is a global, spiritual hatred that all the nations share toward Jews.
Despite what I said above regarding the importance of opening wounds and acknowledging the truth, it should be done only under certain conditions. Opening an old sore requires accompanying it with an educational process that will heal the wound, bridge the hatred, and establish unity.
If the only purpose is to acknowledge the past, but there is no process of healing and bonding over the pains of the past, it is best not to touch it, as it will only increase hatred and struggles, and might even cause resurgence of the violence.
When we open wounds of the past, we must also explain that at the basis of human nature lies the evil inclination — the aspiration to patronize, humiliate, dominate, and even obliterate anyone who challenges me or simply “rubs me the wrong way.” This is the cause behind all the wrongs that humans inflict on one another.
An educational process that reforms human relations on all levels, including between nations and races, is the only way to create real healing. Only in the presence of such a process is it worthwhile to open the wound, so as to heal it, not in order to avenge past wrongs.
In conclusion, I think that Biden’s recognition of the massacre as genocide is the right move, but only if this process is accompanied by a healing process. In the absence of such an endeavor, the U.S. administration’s move will be nothing more than a political ploy to achieve some other goal, but not genuine healing and mending of past wounds.
Michael Laitman is a global thinker living in Israel with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Kabbalah and an MS in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He has published more than 40 books. Laitman believes that only through unity and connection can we solve our problems, creating a better world for our children. Visit www.MichaelLaitman.com for more info. Read Michael Laitman's Reports — More Here.
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