Amended/2007—Press Release #10 regarding:
The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New Yorker magazine book reviews of A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility
Washington, DC—After having received two objections to my omitting the last paragraph of The New Yorker book review I am including it below. I had stated that I omitted the paragraph because I believed the author had unreasonably and erroneously compared the Armenian Genocide with the relations between the European settlers of America and the indigenous population; and because it took away from a very good book review with an irrelevant last paragraph. I gave the citation to the book review so any reader could look it up.
The omitted paragraph follows:
“That being said, Akcam clearly has a point, and one that Americans, in particular, ought to be able to appreciate. Before the arrival of the first Europeans, there were, it is estimated, at least forty million indigenous people living in the Americas; by 1650, fewer than ten million were left. The decline was the result of casual cruelty on the one hand—diseases unwittingly spread—and systematic slaughter on the other. Every November, when American schoolchildren are taught about Thanksgiving, they are insistently told the story of how the Pilgrims, in their gratitude, entertained the kindly Wampanoag. We now know that the comity of that original Thanksgiving was entirely atypical, and that, by 1621, the Wampanoag were already a dying nation. While it was cowardly of Congress to pull H.R. 596, passing it would, in its own way, also have been problematic. We may side with the Armenians, but, historically speaking, we probably have more in common with the Turks.”
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Amended/2007: The Philadelphia Inquirer and The New Yorker magazine book reviews of A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility (2006) by exiled Turkish author Taner Akcam