As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There Is Still Power In What America Does

On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Ergodan announced he was happy with the President's offers of support, through intelligence and military contacts, to finally help manage the situation at the border with PKK rebels. By the way, the Turks still want more done to stop the rebels, calling for Iraq and the United States to arrest the commanders. So this could still blow up big. But I want to look at something else right now.

Ergodan also had this to say.

Erdogan also criticized a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee resolution passed last month that labeled the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I as "genocide." Under heavy pressure from Bush, House Democrats retreated from sending the measure to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

"There is no such thing as genocide. Those who claim it must prove it," Erdogan said.

Yet a day later, Turkey amended their own law restricting freedom of expression and banning "perceived insults to Turkish identity," which has been used in the past to arrest and imprison anyone speaking in public about the genocide, such as authors Orhan Pamuk and Hrant Dink.

There is no question in my mind that the amending of this law is a direct result of Congress' pushing to recognize the fate of the Armenians. Despite eventually derailing, this was a noble effort that bore fruit and had positive consequences for human rights globally. There is still soft power available to America, for some reason the Bush Administration has not wiped it all out. Under a Democratic President we will need to wield it more judiciously and toward the principles of justice. I hope we're up to the task.

Labels: , , , , , , ,