Thursday, October 18, 2007

Education, Armenians, and the Turks/Ottomans 

King has posted about the Armenian genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks after WW I. It was an example of atrocious, murderous behavior by one ethnic group towards another.

Upon rereading some of King's posts, I was struck by a key point about education that King made. Most western nations over the centuries have practiced one kind of self criticism or another. Whether it's the Judea-Christian heritage and the concept of sin, forgiveness, and change that causes the self criticism, I don't know. But, I'm willing to bet this kind of self-criticism does not exist in very many cultures.

The US, through its MSM and much education, has taken self criticism to an extreme, to the point where our children often only hear of our errors, mistakes, etc. but not the incredible achievements we have made. What other country has gone to war, against itself, to free a part of its population? You can debate the main causes of the Civil War but one key result was slavery was outlawed. We still struggled but our ancestors fought, died, and outlawed one of humanity's most degrading practices.

This paragraph from King's post says a lot. I did once attend a commemoration at Claremont for the 80th anniversary of April 24, what we call Martyrs Day. Armenian-American students whom I was advising organized a panel, emceed by Mrs. Scholar -- while I held our infant Littlest in the back -- and to which we had brought a survivor who was 85 by this time and was six during the march to Der el-Zor. While he spoke we got treated to people with their own placards and shouts. Tempers flared as they said we were liars. My aunt, who lives in southern California and was in attendance, became very angry. But instead we talked with these Turkish students, who said they were told about this meeting not by our signs around campus but by letter. They never said who sent it, but I have a guess. When asked what they know about the history of the Armenians and Greeks of their country during and after World War I, they said they did not really know the stories, they were not taught. We eventually settled down, shook hands and went on our way, we back to our memories and parents telling us stories, and they back to their fatherland and ... nothing.

What is very important in this paragraph is that these anti-Armenian protesters, by their own admission, WERE NOT TAUGHT the murderous parts of their history. Ethnic groups will be around forever and all have their embarrassing and often cruel practices in their history. Ignoring horrendous acts against others by ancestors or current representatives is wrong and bodes poorly for peace or any other positive development for human kind.

All ethnic groups or nations cheat their societies when they teach only the negative or the positive. When people are denied the chance to learn true history, the good and the bad, all lose. If and when those mistaught learn the truth, as ugly or enlightening as it may be, they can rightly question everything else they were taught.

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