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The Michi-an Daily Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Two allegiances, one truth BsHaiostian
n ninth grade, my world stud-
ies teacher was delivering a
requisite "We are the melt-
ing pot of the world" lecture when
he said something that jarred me
away from my old-school Nokia cell
"I mean, if there was a war, most
immigrants in this country would
fight for America's army," he said, or
something along those lines.
Not so fast, I thought. It can't be
As a third-generation Armenian,
and ever since I spent my first sum-
mer transitioning abruptly from
country club tennis matches to sing-
ingthe Armenian anthem at culture
camp, I've been playing some sort
of identity hopscotch game, never
quite knowing on exactly which
square to land.
It's no surprise that there's a
blurring of national loyalties for
someone who grew up, as I did, with
steadfast ties to an ancestral home-
land, but who also waves the Ameri-
can flag, as I do, as high as the rest
on the Fourth of July.
But for many Armenians, there's
an especially strong devotion to
our ethnicity because of an unrec-
ognized, unaddressed and often
unknown genocide that's been
stinging our people for more than
While the passing of almost a cen-
tury might seem to dim the catastro-
phe for most, it only sharpens it for
Armenians of my generation. The
survivors and-witnesses to the sys-
tematic killings are all but gone, and
most countries still won't go on the
record to call it a genocide. Many
young Armenians feel it now falls
to them to make sure the atrocities
aren't blotted out of history forever.
By now, I hope you've heard.
the years of 1915 and 1918, in Darfur as genocide, the United
man Turks killed an esti- States has yet to condemn the Arme-
5 million Armenians. Many nian killings as such.
her brutally murdered or In October, the U.S. got sort of
starvation or exhaustion close when the House of Represen-
forced marches to concen- tatives nearly brought to a vote a
amps in the Syrian Desert resolution condemning the Otto-
t never reached. man Turks' actions against Arme-
icerns me that most stu- nians as genocide.
But for me, the resolution repre-
sented both a step toward the ful-
.t e fillment of a longtime hope and a
ng both sides, personal identity crisis.
Immediately after the U.S. House
en realizing Committee on Foreign Affairs
-ere's still a passed the resolution, there was
backlash from President Bush,
ght answer prominent politicians and others
who insisted that, while what hap-
pened was regrettable, relations
with Turkey were too crucial to be
nt read about the genocide harmed. And relations with Turkey
ooks. Despite the scholarly were what mattered.
us, overwhelming evidence This isn't the right time, they
rst-hand , accounts of the insisted. Not when Turkey is an ally
ties, Turkey's government in an ongoing war, they decreed.
s the mass killings were At the risk of making the Arme-
ic conflicts" due to World nian community's collective jaw
. Only 22 countries to date drop, I found myself a bit conflicted
officially recognized the while sifting through the many
nian genocide. news articles and columns on the
impossible for me not to issue..I'd been grappling with the
the "Save Darfur" e-mails genocide since I was five years old,
ig my inbox to my own eversincemySundayschoolteacher
ry, which, almost a hun- explained it as I crafted a cross out
years later, still needs some of dry macaroni noodles. I'd written
g of its own. the letters to my congressmen. I'd
hile President Bush has offi- held my candle during the vigils on
acknowledged the killings the Diag.
But I'm an American, too, I
thought. As government official
after government official warned
of violence and a ricochet of conse-
quences felt round the world, I won-
dered whether it would be best if we
waited just a few more years. Maybe
this isn't the right time. What if the
resolution was adopted and the next
day, Turkish syndicates launched an
attack on the U.S.? I felt un-Arme-
nian and un-American at the same
tim', and suddenly I wasn't even on
the 1,opscotch board at all.
But soon I understood that I
was ir such a state of flux because
I wasi 't looking at the situation
properly. I realized that it does more
harm than good for the U.S. to con-
tinue denying that the massacres
were genocide and to condoning the
millions of dollars the Turkish gov-
ernment spends trying to convince
people it never happened. Sitting
center stage in the global arena, the
U.S. can send a message to the world
that there are actual consequences
for committing genocide. It doesn't
matter that ours was in the past.
Genocide is still happening today.
I also realized that it's OK to have
can flag and an Armenian key chain.
There's no need to pick between
countries, and if there was, I'd fight
for whichever needed me most.
-Lisa Haidostian is an associate
news editor for The Michigan Daily
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From PAGE 7B
like Iowa and Rutgers. For a few
weeks, it was at best a circus.
Many alumni and people on
campus still fault Martin for not
getting Miles, and some attribute
the problem to Martin's relative
inexperience with athletics.
Martin may be remembered
for the way he balanced the
department's finances. He may
be remembered for renovating
the Big House, fixing Crisler
Arena (if he does) and building
the Stephen M. Ross Academic
Center. He may also be remem-
bered for some unforeseen scan-
dal, the kind that tend to pop up
every so often in the Michigan
Athletic Department. But the
irony is that the businessman,
for better or worse, will likely be
widely judged by the success or
failure of two coaches.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008