Category Archives: Memorials

US Army Tweet Inadvertently Triggers Responses Revealing ‘Real, Painful, and Horrifying Human Costs of War’

“How has serving impacted you?” the Army asked. The responses poured in.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-26-2019

“This Memorial Day,” said Win Without War, “let us remember the real, painful, and horrifying human costs of war.” (Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Army may have gotten more than it bargained for when it recently asked on Twitter, “How has serving impacted you?”

The question, posed just before the nation officially marks Memorial Day, brought attention to “the real, painful, and horrifying human costs of war,” said advocacy group Win Without War. Continue reading

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Just Like Trump, Media Outlets Rarely Label Far-Right Attacks ‘Terrorism’: Study

A rare exception in the glaring trend came last month when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was swift to characterize the massacre in Christchurch as the work of a white nationalist terrorist

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2019

Governor Wolf Joins Pittsburgh in mourning after the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/flickr

A new study shows that media outlets frequently echo the instinct of political leaders like President Donald Trump when they refuse to label the violence of far-right assailants as “terrorism” while showing significantly less reluctance if an attack was carried out by an Islamic extremist.

The British media monitoring firm Signal AI found that most news sources are quick to draw links between incidents identified as “Islamist” attacks and terrorism, but are far less likely to do the same when an attack suspect is linked to far-right ideologies like white nationalism. Continue reading

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This Memorial Day, support our troops by stopping the wars

By Kevin Basl. Published 5-25-2018 by People’s World

Vietnam Vets Against the War take part in an antiwar rally – 1970. Photo: flickr

“How do you motivate men and women to fight and die for a cause many of them don’t believe in, and whose purpose they can’t articulate?”

That’s what Phil Klay, author and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, asks in an essay published this month in The Atlantic. Unfortunately, he points out in a recent New York Times op-ed, “Serious discussion of foreign policy and the military’s role within it is often prohibited” by what he calls “patriotic correctness.”

In a well-functioning democracy, Klay argues, citizens must debate and question how their elected officials employ their military, an organization which ought to represent the values of the people. But it seems many Americans remain unconcerned about the wars the United States is currently fighting (at last count, we’re bombing at least seven countries) though they foot the bill both in tax dollars and lives. Continue reading

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The March for Our Lives in Pictures: Demonstrators Mourn Those Lost to Gun Violence and Condemn Complicit Politicians

“Who here is going to vote in the 2018 election? If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-24-2018

Photo: Twitter

Taking the stage on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, high school student David Hogg offered hundreds of thousands of audience members a visual representation of his reasons for helping to organize the March for Our Lives, a worldwide gun control advocacy demonstration.

“I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida,” Hogg said, placing a price tag reading “$1.05” on the podium. Continue reading

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Ahead of ‘March for Our Lives,’ Student Manifesto Outlines Steps to Eradicate ‘Plague of Gun Violence’

“We will be marching this Saturday for those that we loved and lost, and we write this in the hope that no other community or publication will ever have to do the same.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-23-2018 

“We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce,” Parkland student journalists wrote in The Guardian. (Photo: March for Our Lives)

Ahead of the historic “March for Our Lives” demonstrations taking place nationwide on Saturday, student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—the site of a shooting last month that left 17 dead—published a manifesto in The Guardian on Friday declaring that they can no longer “stand idly by as the country continues to be infected by a plague of gun violence.”

“We have a unique platform not only as student journalists, but also as survivors of a mass shooting. We are firsthand witnesses to the kind of devastation that gross incompetence and political inaction can produce,” wrote the students, who work for the Stoneman Douglas school newspaper The Eagle Eye. “We will be marching this Saturday for those that we loved and lost, and we write this in the hope that no other community or publication will ever have to do the same.”

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Because ‘Nothing Has Changed Since Columbine,’ Students, Teachers Call for Nationwide School Walkouts

“The time to act is now.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-17-2018

Image: National Student Walkout

As families continue to grieve and hold funerals for the 17 victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., students and educators are calling for a nationwide day of action including school walkouts to protest lawmakers’ deadly inaction on gun control legislation.

The day set for the actions is April 20, which will be the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School. Continue reading

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ACLU Shifts Position on Defending Armed Demonstrations After Charlottesville

In wake of violence at white supremacist rally in Virginia, legal group revises policy for demonstrators who insist on carrying weapons

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-18-2017

Photo: Inverse

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will no longer defend groups that insist on marching with firearms, following violent gatherings of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief, and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Anthony Romero, the ACLU’s long-serving executive director, told the Wall Street Journal Thursday evening. Continue reading

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The West’s Silence Is Deafening as Worst Nightmare Unfolds in Post-Coup Turkey

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 7-28-2016 by The Anti-Media

Tayyip Erdogan, John Kerry and Barack Obama; Wales, 2014. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Tayyip Erdogan, John Kerry and Barack Obama; Wales, 2014. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish mission to weed out every possible element of dissent continues, with the government of Turkey reportedly dismissing close to 1,700 military personnel and shutting down 131 media outlets throughout the country.

Of the servicemen recently fired in Turkey, 149 were generals and admirals, meaning approximately 40 percent of all of generals and admirals in Turkey’s military are now without jobs. Continue reading

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101 Years Later, Turkey Gets United States to Suppress Truth About Armenian Genocide

“Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide because it strives to kill the memory of the event; denial seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators; denial creates what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has called “a morally counterfeit universe for the survivors and their legacy.”

Peter Balakian

Written by Carol Benedict.

"THOSE WHO FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms---massacre, starvation, exhaustion---destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation." Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“THOSE WHO FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation.” Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama declined Friday to call the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, breaking a key campaign promise as his presidency nears an end, reports now say.

“Armenian-American leaders have urged Obama each year to make good on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2008, when he said the U.S. government had a responsibility to recognize the attacks as genocide and vowed to do so if elected. Obama’s failure to fulfill that pledge in his final annual statement on the massacre infuriated advocates and lawmakers who accused the president of outsourcing America’s moral voice to Turkey, which staunchly opposes the genocide label.

“It’s a Turkish government veto over U.S. policy on the Armenian genocide,” Aram Hamparian, head of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in an interview. “It’s like Erdogan imposing a gag rule very publicly and an American president enforcing that gag rule.” He was referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

In 2015, during remarks observing the 100th anniversary of the event, Pope Francis describes it as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” Turkey responded by recalling their ambassador to the Vatican.

Turkey recalled their ambassador to Austria after the Austrian parliament passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, also in 2015.

One hundred and one years ago this month, the Ottoman Empire began carrying out a systematic plan to exterminate its minority Armenian population. Approximately 1.5 million people were killed or died of starvation. On April 24, 850 intellectuals, doctors and writers of the Armenian community were rounded up in what was then Constantinople and later executed. That was just the beginning.

The spring and summer of 1915 became the bloodiest in Armenian history. Men and older boys were separated from the rest of the population and killed without question. Women, children the elderly and the disabled were forced into long death marches into the Syrian dessert with no food or water given them, and those that survived the march were placed in annihilation camps.

For a documentary that is worth watching, please view the following. We can not write a summary that can do better justice to the Armenian Genocide controversy than this.  The images and descriptions of the methods used to carry out the extermination of the Armenian peoples by the ruling Turkish government presented in this film are the blueprint for the subsequent genocides of the past one hundred years. Warning: Not for the weak of stomach or those who seek “quick videos” to explain things. Running time: 93 minutes.

The man who invented the word “genocide”— Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin — was moved to investigate the attempt to eliminate an entire people by accounts of the massacres of Armenians. He did not, however, coin the word until 1943, applying it to Nazi Germany and the Jews in a book published a year later, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.”

Long before humanity knew about the horrors of Auschwitz, the Turkish government demonstrated the depravity of government force over vulnerable populations. Long before we knew of the term, genocide became a practice so routine that the Turkish government remains in denial of it to this day.

An article by the New York Times dated 15 December 1915 states that one million Armenians had been either deported or executed by the Ottoman government. Image via Wikipedia.

Even the Jewish community has taken pause. In a recent commentary regarding the Armenian genocide, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin writes, “Why should Jews be talking about this? Because when we look at the Armenians, it is as if we are looking in the mirror.”

Standing on arguments of the numbers of deaths and whether it was intended to eliminate the entire Armenian group, the Turkish government refuses to accept the term “genocide” in reference to the Armenian slaughter. It is not part of their official recognized history; existing laws in Turkey basically prohibit and criminalize mentioning or talking about the Genocide. According to Turkey, “our memory does not support the Armenian narrative on the events of 1915, [but] it is only Turks and Armenians who can effectively address their issues together and work jointly to find ways forward. Turkey is ready to do its part”. They argue there is no “evidence”, no one is demanding the recognition, and that the death count could not possibly be as high as claimed.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has compiled figures by province and district that show there were 2,133,190 Armenians in the empire in 1914 and only about 387,800 by 1922. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

Entrenched so deeply in denialism, in 2007 the Turkish government threatened the United States with closing bases in their borders if the US were to officially recognize this as a genocide. We also know, “The United States isn’t the only target of this censorship effort. At their government’s prompting, Turkish diasporan organizations in 2009 mounted a campaign to stop the Toronto school board from including the Armenian genocide in a human rights curriculum. In 2010, Ankara succeeded in pressuring the Rwandan government to scrap a presentation on the Armenian genocide at a panel on genocide at the United Nations. In 2012, the Turkish government was successful in demanding that the British government order the Tate Gallery to remove the word “genocide” from the wall text of an Arshile Gorky exhibit.”

This year, the Wall Street Journal published a full page advertisement denying the event as a genocide.

Despite these efforts, currently there are 20 countries that officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

In the United States, more than 40 states, including California, have passed proclamations recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, the House of Representatives has passed legislation also recognizing the Genocide, lastly in 1996.

Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers. Image via Wikipedia.

Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers. Image via Wikipedia.

In 1915, the New York Times alone ran 145 articles reporting the Armenian crisis. The world was aware. No one did anything.

Turkey is now doing this to the Kurds in SE Turkey. The main stream media remains silent. Will you?

READ MORE ABOUT IT: Resource Articles
Turkey Rights Groups Demand Apology, Compensation, and Restitution for Genocide
Amal Clooney’s latest case: Why Turkey won’t talk about the Armenian genocide
On Armenian genocide, go ahead and offend Turkey
UN: Slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians is not genocide
Why the Armenian genocide holds a lesson for Jews (COMMENTARY)

Editorial Note: This article is comprised of numerous quotes from the Resource Articles listed above. Review of these articles will provide even broader perspectives than those represented here.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an independent researcher and human rights activist. She has been studying Kurdish history, culture and politics for over 3 years.

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We love being Lakota

“The Native and the Refugee” documentary project explores the similarities between the struggles and experiences of Native Americans and Palestinians.

By Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny. Published 4-12-2015 by ROAR Magazine

Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Entrance gate to cemetery. Photo: Napa (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. Entrance gate to cemetery; the location of the Hotchkiss gun used during Wounded Knee Massacre and later a mass grave for the victims. Photo: Napa (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

In December 2014, we visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in what is now South Dakota. We chose to begin our project at the archetypal site of struggle for land, sovereignty and autonomy among natives in the United States. It was the Lakota people, including warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who put up some of the most historic fights against the US military forces in the nation’s expansion westward.

In the 1876-1877 Black Hills War, the US intervened militarily on behalf of settlers searching for gold in the Lakota’s most sacred site, now known as the Wind Cave National Park. It was in this context that the Battle of Little Bighorn took place, when the Lakota famously defeated George Armstrong Custer’s Battalion of the 7th Cavalry. Pine Ridge was later the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre, in which that same 7th Cavalry killed hundreds of Lakota in its struggle to disarm and forcibly relocate them to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Continue reading

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