After Freeing PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) from yoke of denialists, activists are ready, eager to drive Turkish denialists to new
By Appo Jabarian
Managing Editor / Executive Publisher
Hye Kiank Armenian Weekly
My original intention in writing my column this week was to discuss non-genocide related Armenian and international topics. However, when I read The Californian Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian's latest column titled “VP Leaves PBS after Providing Airtime to Genocide Deniers,” I couldn't help but refocus my attention on the Armenian Genocide issue.
Why? The Armenian Genocide is a super issue. It's a make-it-or-break-it issue for the victims, the Armenians.
It is a complex issue. Well, how can we expect it to be any less than the magnitude of the genocidal calamity that has befallen the Armenians? Not only a great segment of the Armenian people was annihilated but an entire homeland was usurped by the Turkish perpetrators of the genocide and their denialist descendants. The remnant of the surviving Armenians were dispersed in a land-locked
To his credit, Sassounian is one of the many devoted activists who have been and continue to pursue their people's just Cause with integrity, intelligence and courage. Sassounian along with millions of Armenians in USA and around the world, recognize that the future of the land-locked remnant of historic Armenia and the dispersed Armenians, as the indigenous people of the Turkish-occupied Western Armenia, also hinges upon the way the Armenians and friends handle the super issue of the Armenian Genocide. They also recognize that the ancestral lands were usurped from the indigenous Armenians by the Turkish occupation forces. Therefore, Armenians shouldn't allow the denialist Turkish descendants get away with a new murder: silencing of and obstruction of justice for the Armenians.
Sassounian and fellow activists realize that any act of “innocent” mutilation of the veracity of the Armenian Genocide through ?balancing debates,? carries the heinous intent by the Turkish denialists and their cronies like Jacoba Atlases, to systematically pacify the victims. Their perverted “reasoning” is that the mitigation of the devastating effects on
To the deep frustration of the denialist Turkish leaders in Ankara, the new Armenian generations, led by individuals like Sassounian, are on high alert not to let the denialist Turks and their cronies like then PBS VP Jacoba Atlases mislead the people of the free world, and gradually burry the Armenian Cause.
Sassounian wrote: “The New York Times reported on June 14 that Jacoba Atlas, the Senior Vice President of Programming at PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), would be leaving her post at the end of this month. She told the newspaper that she 'did not know what she would do next.' Her departure should not come as a surprise to those who have been following the recent controversial developments at PBS. As Senior Vice President of Programming, Ms. Atlas was the PBS executive that arranged the airing of a debate on the Armenian Genocide with the participation of two genocide denialists after the broadcast of Andrew Goldberg?s documentary on the Armenian Genocide on April 17. By doing so, Ms. Atlas not only raised questions about the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, but also caused serious harm to PBS itself by antagonizing a large number of its viewers and supporters as well as many members of Congress who provide a major portion of its budget.?
Sassounian also reported: “Ms. Atlas completely mishandled this highly controversial situation. When more than 30,000 viewers sent e-mails and signed a petition asking her not to provide a national platform to genocide deniers, she ignored them. When a major Armenian-American organization — the ANCA ? wrote her asking for a meeting in order to discuss this serious matter, she turned down its request. When 30 members of Congress sent a joint letter expressing their strong objection to the airing of the panel discussion, she dismissed their concerns, knowing full well that the Congress could cut the millions of dollars it provides in federal funding to PBS every year. She also ignored the dozens of articles on this nationwide controversy that appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications.”
Sassounian concluded: “According to reliable PBS sources, Ms. Atlas was let go after top management at PBS concluded that she mishandled the panel discussion and the resulting controversy, alienating many longtime PBS viewers and supporters. … Following the departure of Ms. Atlas, Armenian-American community leaders should meet with Paula A. Kerger, the newly installed president of PBS, and patch up their differences. ? After relations with PBS are patched up, the Armenian-American community should ask the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues — more than 150 House members — as well as the U.S. Senate, to reinstate the budget for public broadcasting when the proposed bill involving this issue reaches the House and Senate floors.”
Several Armenian and non Armenian activists have greeted Sassounian?s article with much appreciation. Dr. Hovsep Fidanian, a long time community activist in
Arby Ted Siraki of “[email protected]” wrote: “Although I disagreed with some of Ms. Atlas' comments and actions, it wasn't until I read this column [by Sassounian] that I realized just how poorly she handled the situation. Bravo to all the Armenians who took those few moments and did what they could to make their voice heard during this ordeal. Ultimately the Armenians were victorious, and this is an example of what the nation is capable of when they are united.”
Edward Sarafian of “[email protected]” underlined: “This should become a paradigm of how we Armenians react when people disrespect us, sabotage our efforts, or work behind the scenes against our interests.”
To their deep disappointment, the denialist Turks and their cronies have masterminded the PBS “balancing debate” trap and miserably slipped and fell in it. And to add insult to their self-inflicted injury, they have unwittingly awakened the dispersed roaring political lions of
You can reach Appo Jabarian at [email protected]