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Letter to the Editor - TIME Magazine (Europe) - 10 June 2005

Dear Madam / Sir :

As Chair of the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the UK, and also Chair of the 90th Anniversary Committee for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, you would not expect me to agree with the content of the DVD distributed with the 6th June edition of the Time magazine. 

Disagreements and disputes can often have two sides to them, but I believe that I have the solid advantage in that the vast majority of independent expert organisations (including the Association of Genocide Scholars, the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, the Middle East Studies Association of North America and the International Center for Transitional Justice) have unequivocally recognised the fact of the Armenian Genocide.

In turn, I would not have expected an august magazine such as yours to distribute under the suggestive cover of tourism promotion what amounts to gratuitous libel against the Armenian nation. I refer to such items on the DVD as the claims that the Armenian education system sows the seeds of hatred, blaming religious intolerance in Turkey on Christian missionaries or implying that Armenians are the inheritors of Nazi racial ideology.

I would anticipate a statement from your magazine that the stirring of ethnic tensions, let alone the distribution of extreme rightwing and unsustainably dangerous propaganda, are completely inconsistent with the long-held standards of Time - more so when your own magazine reported on 6 June 1960 that Tala'at had introduced genocide to the 20th century by ordering the massacre of 500,000 Armenians. 

Furthermore, I would like an assurance that your legal department viewed the DVD in its entirety before sanctioning its distribution in its present format, and in its one-sided, overwhelmingly one-theme, content. After all, the DVD is being distributed Europe-wide within the covers of your magazine and could be a worrying example of imputation by proxy.

Though you might believe that your action represents freedom of information, are you aware that publishing the counter-arguments to this DVD in Turkey would render any publisher / writer / individual liable for up to 10 years imprisonment under the discriminatory articles of the Turkish Penal Code introduced on 1 June 2005?  Do you also know that Turkish children are taught genocide denial as part of the official curriculum by teachers who are under threat of dismissal and disciplining (as has happened already) if they object as a matter of conscience?  Did you perchance report in Time that all the leaders of Christian denominations, including the Armenian Patriarch, complained directly to the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2004 about ongoing routine discrimination against their churches and properties?

The distribution of propaganda with such an offensive tone, and in the process causing at the very least injury to a whole nation, should not be the business of Time in spite of any putative commercial advantages.  I hope on reflection that you would accept that this was a gross error of judgement, and publish a major article that corrects the distasteful impression given to your readers. Surely they deserve better than what they have been offered so far!

Yours sincerely

Raffi Sarkissian
London

Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (CRAG)

E-mail: info@24april.org - Websites:  w3.crag.org.uk / w3.accc.org.uk

Tel: 020 8747 1465 - Fax: 020 8994 7363

Sample of other Letters to the Editor of Time Magazine

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