Academic journal article et Cetera

Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past

Academic journal article et Cetera

Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past

Article excerpt

Peter Balakian. Black Dog of Fate: An American Son Uncovers His Armenian Past. New York: Basic, 1997.

"Time-binding" is a general-semantics formulation that indicates the unique ability of human beings to use language and other symbols to transmit information across time. It allows each generation to profit from the experiences of prior generations in order to build richer and more enlightened cultures. How is time-binding affected when a government denies and distorts history?

An answer to this question can be gained from reading Black Dog of Fate by Peter Balakian, an English professor at Colgate University. The author, who was raised in suburban New Jersey, describes how he learns of the Ottoman Turkish government's extermination of more than one million Armenians in 1915, the century's first genocide. Not only does the Turkish government deny the evidence of that atrocity, they subsidize historians in major American universities to help in that effort. The recent case of Heath Lowry provides a good example.

In 1986 Lowry, who has a Ph.D. in Ottoman Studies, became the director of the Institute for Turkish Studies in Washington, DC. This is an organization set up by the Turkish government to promote Turkish culture in the United States. Lowry devoted lots of time to writing articles and oped pieces denying the Genocide, lobbied in Congress to defeat Armenian Genocide commemoration bills, and published a ninety page booklet that attempted to discredit the Genocide memoir of Henry Morgenthau (the American ambassador to Turkey at the time of the barbarity). …

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