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Turkey Preventing U.S. Institution From Displaying Genocide-Era Artwork

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Turkey, pressure U.S., cover-up Armenian genocide )

- 1644 days ago -
Turkey has reportedly pressured the Obama Administration into forcing the Smithsonian Institution to cancel an official display of the historic Genocide-era "Armenian Orphan Rug." The ANCA is deeply troubled that foreign interference, from Ankara, appears

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Beth S (330)
Thursday October 24, 2013, 2:39 pm
Turkey has reportedly pressured the Obama Administration into forcing the Smithsonian Institution to cancel an official display of the historic Genocide-era "Armenian Orphan Rug." The ANCA is deeply troubled that foreign interference, from Ankara, appears to be preventing the Smithsonian from displaying this historic Genocide-era artwork.

"We hope and expect that our government will, as a matter of principle, reject foreign efforts to censor how Americans view a truly pivotal chapter in the history of America's emergence in the early 20th Century - notably during the Armenian Genocide - as an international humanitarian power," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Any barriers to the display of the Armenian Orphan Rug should be removed, and this important piece of artwork made available to the American public."

In an article in The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Philip Kennicott says: "If you can read a carpet's cues, the plants and animals depicted on the rug may represent the Garden of Eden, which is about as far removed as possible from the rug's origins in the horrific events of 1915, when the fracturing and senescent Ottoman Empire began a murderous campaign against its Armenian population. Between 1 million and 1.5 million people were killed or died of starvation, and others were uprooted from their homes in what has been termed the first modern and systematic genocide. Many were left orphans, including the more than 100,000 children who were assisted by the U.S.-sponsored Near East Relief organization, which helped relocate and protect the girls who wove the "orphan rug." It was made in the town of Ghazir, now in Lebanon, as thanks for the United States' assistance during the genocide."

"There was hope that the carpet, which has been in storage for almost 20 years, might be displayed Dec. 16 as part of a Smithsonian event that would include a book launch for Hagop Martin Deranian's "President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug." But on Sept. 12, the Smithsonian scholar who helped organize the event canceled it, citing the White House's decision not to loan the carpet. In a letter to two Armenian American organizations, Paul Michael Taylor, director of the institution's Asian cultural history program, had no explanation for the White House's refusal to allow the rug to be seen and said that efforts by the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John A. Heffern, to intervene had also been unavailing," Kennicott says in the article titled "Armenian 'Orphan Rug' is in White House Storage, as Unseen as Genocide is Neglected."
"Although Taylor, Heffern and the White House curator, William G. Allman, had discussed during a January meeting the possibility of an event that might include the rug, it became clear that the rug wasn't going to emerge from deep hiding. This week I spoke again with the White House curator asking if there was any indication of when a loan might be possible again but he has none," wrote Taylor in the letter. Efforts to contact Heffern through the embassy in the Armenian capital of Yerevan were unsuccessful, and the State Department referred all questions to the White House. Last week, the White House issued a statement: "The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between the peoples of Armenia and the United States. We regret that it is not possible to loan it out at this time."

That leaves the rug, and the sponsors of the event, in limbo, a familiar place for Armenians. Neither Ara Ghazarians of the Armenian Cultural Foundation nor Levon Der Bedrossian of the Armenian Rugs Society can be sure if the event they had helped plan was canceled for the usual political reason: fear of negative reaction from Turkey, which has resolutely resisted labeling the events at the end of the Ottoman Empire a genocide. But both suspect it might have been."

Hamparian says the president has had "a very negative reception across the board in the Armenian world, and that includes both Democrats and Republicans." The principal emotion is profound disappointment. As a candidate, and senator, Obama spoke eloquently about the Armenian genocide, risking the ire of Turkey and Turkish organizations. But since taking office, says Hamparian, Obama has avoided the word, making more general statements about Armenian suffering. Critics of his silence point to the geopolitical importance of Turkey in a region made only more complex by the Arab Spring and a brutal civil war in Syria.

. (0)
Thursday October 24, 2013, 2:50 pm
Why is it so hard for this man to stand by his word?

Beth S (330)
Thursday October 24, 2013, 7:29 pm
For a very long time, Turkey has been extremely sensitive about this genocide. Turkish leaders have thrown great temper tantrums, threatened countries that acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and whenever it can tries to deny it and sweep it under the rug.

However, the photographs are there. The beheaded children, adults and elderly, the naked children piled atop each other in mass graves, the burning cities. I'm not sure what the penchant is for beheading amongst Muslims, but it seems to be a universal trademark among them.

The photographs and records seem not too dissimilar from the Nazi atrocities. I guess the people from the Religion of Peace would rather not have these inconvenient things known.

One wonders how children's rugs are so threatening to the Turks that they demand they be taken out of exhibition. I guess it goes against the grain of Erdogan's problem filled "No Problem Policy".

Tom Y (33)
Thursday October 24, 2013, 11:35 pm
All the more reason to display the Armenian Orphan Rug. Let Turkey's shameful episode be Erdogan's torment! This story needs to spread.

Friday October 25, 2013, 1:17 am
Obama, Obama Obama!

Stan B (123)
Friday October 25, 2013, 1:44 am
If true, this is an absolute disgrace and an insult to the million Armenians butchered by the Turks.

Waltraud U (84)
Friday October 25, 2013, 9:30 am
no comment - I live in AUSTRIA - .................................


Winn Adams (179)
Friday October 25, 2013, 10:41 am
Disgusting and despicable

Past Member (0)
Friday October 25, 2013, 11:17 am
pressure from muslims nothing unusual

S S (0)
Friday October 25, 2013, 1:38 pm
Thank you.

Birgit W (160)
Friday October 25, 2013, 2:00 pm

. (0)
Friday October 25, 2013, 3:08 pm
It's a touchy subject and a lot of the nations and peoples are guilty of genocide; not just the Turks. The best thing for the Turks to do is to admit that yes it was done just as other nations did it.

Sheila D (194)
Friday October 25, 2013, 6:58 pm
Obama has proven he cares nothing about Freedom of Speech...censorship seems to be his goal in everything.

*** PLEASE flag all of these ads when you see them. Thanks.

Twyla Sparks (208)
Friday October 25, 2013, 8:10 pm

Dogan Ozkan (5)
Friday October 25, 2013, 11:18 pm
noted and spam flagged

Helen Porter (39)
Friday October 25, 2013, 11:43 pm
Obama needs to find out who his friends are.

The ones he now befriends would happily destroy him.

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Saturday October 26, 2013, 10:55 am
Noted. TY Beth

Debra G (0)
Saturday October 26, 2013, 11:32 am
Hitler pointed to the Armenian genocide as proof that the world doesn't care about mass exterminations. Indeed, Armenians are STILL fighting to prove this happened. That said, geopolitical reality often trumps truth. Turkey is an important key ally in a very unstable area. Their sensitivity to acknowledging genocide is disgusting; acknowledging it is overdue. Someday the Ghazir rug will be displayed.
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