22 April 2006

SBS documentary ruffles Turkish feathers

Tonight SBS TV screened a documentary on the Armenian Genocide, a large scale killing, chiefly in 1915, of Armenian citizens of the Ottoman empire by Turks.

I was surprised to see that SBS put a disclaimer at the end of the program and also on its website:

SBS will be screening The Armenian Genocide at 7.30pm AEST, Sat 22 April. After the program, have your say on the documentary here. The producers of the program acknowledge that there is controversy and debate surrounding the historical record of events.

Author Addison Whithecomb's advice may be an apt reminder to forum members:

"When you resort to attacking the messenger and not the message, you have lost the debate." :

IMO this was unnecessary as I don't see why we should have to walk on eggshells to avoid giving offence to those who disagreed with the view presented in the program.

I submitted this to the forum:

I was surprised to see the comment at the end of the program about some of the information presented possibly being disputed by Turkish people. They may feel that their position was not presented as they'd have liked, but so what? Many other contentious matters are discussed in the media without an automatic right of reply bring given to those who feel aggrieved.

I'm of northern European descent as far back as I can tell, so have no emotional involvement in the matter, but what I've read, including Samantha Power's "A Problem From Hell", Orhan Pamuk's "Red" and Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilisation", is enough to convince me that especially in 1915, the Turks killed large numbers of Armenians. Some images shown and some statements read in the documentary reinforced my views, which is not to say that I believe that Turkish people of today should have to bear a burden of guilt forever and a day: an acknowledgement that bad things were done would be a good next step for them to take.

For some unexplained reason it has not yet been published.

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