Volume 76
Number 3

The Romance of the West

Home Away from Home

Burden of Proof

The Moviegoer

CASE Editor’s Forum

Your connection to
Emory University

Emory University

Association of Emory Alumni

Current News and Events


Sports Updates

Use our searchable index to find specific Emory Magazine articles from 1995 to 2000.






































Armenian Genocide Not Debatable

Mr. Pelin Purentepe’s letter “Disputing the Armenian Genocide” (Spring 2000) does the Emory community a grave disservice in denying the truth of the twentieth-century’s first recorded genocide.

This summer, Elie Wiesel was the lead signer of a statement co-signed by 126 Holocaust scholars and intellectuals on “Affirming the Incontestable Fact of the Armenian Genocide” (June 8, 2000, New York Times). Moreover, the Association of Genocide Scholars has ratified a similar Armenian genocide resolution. Not long ago, Israeli Minister of Education Yossi Sarid publicly declared that the Armenian genocide “would have a prominent place in the Israeli school curriculum.” Even twelve thousand Turkish citizens living in Germany petitioned their government last year to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. In short, the world is asking Turkey to confront its moral responsibilities, to stop the violence of state-sponsored genocide denial, and to apologize to the Armenian community.

Unfortunately, the force of economic and political state interests does not always coincide with the truth of historical witnessing. By various methods, including threats of canceling large economic deals, the Turkish government has had success in coercing parliamentary votes into “officially” colluding with its genocide denial. While this is shameful, it cannot erase over eight decades of scholarship and survivor testimony, as well as thousands of government records documenting the Armenian genocide.

Denial of genocide–whether that of the Turks against the Armenians or the Nazis against the Jews–is not an act of historical reinterpretation. Genocide deniers conspire to reshape history in order to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators. Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide; it is what Elie Wiesel has called “a double killing.” Denial murders the dignity of the survivors by destroying the remembrance of the crime.

Genocide denial is an insidious form of intellectual and moral degradation. It violates what a university represents. As Turkey seeks to improve its human rights record–one of the worst in the world today–we are hopeful that all Turkish citizens will work to end their government’s denial of the Armenian genocide and to seek reconciliation with the world community.

Deborah E. Lipstadt

Director, Institute of Jewish Studies

Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies


Wole Soyinka

Nobel Laureate in Literature

Robert W. Woodruff Professor of the Arts

As the granddaughter of genocide survivors and as an alumna of Emory University, I felt great pride in reading about Dr. Walter Kalaidjian’s efforts to document the atrocities of the Armenian genocide of 1915 through his research on genocide literature, poetry, and firsthand survivor testimony (“Ghost Stories,” Autumn 1999).

Over the past eighty-five years, the Turkish government has systematically orchestrated a campaign to rewrite what is the ugliest chapter of its history by denying their role in the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. It is such Turkish propaganda which gives rise to sentiments such as those expressed by Mr. Pelin Purentepe of Mersin, Turkey. . . .

I am proud to be a graduate of Emory University especially because of scholars such as Dr. [Deborah] Lipstadt and Dr. Kalaidjian. I only wish that the publishers of Emory Magazine would have shown more respect towards Dr. Kalaidjian and the Armenian community at Emory University by exercising better judgment in their decision to print Mr. Purentepe’s misinformed and harmful letter. Journalistic balance does not require the printing of falsehood.

Marlyne K. Israelian ’00PhD


As the daughter of a first generation American-Armenian, I was deeply offended when I read Pelin Purentepe’s response to the “Ghost Stories” article. The fact that the British Parliament in 1999 rejected a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide based on a so-called lack of scientific evidence does not alter the reality of the attempt at mass extermination of the Armenian people by the Turks.

This reality was one which my grandmother was reluctant to relate. When she finally did, she balanced the horrifying story of the slaughter of her family with the kindness of those Turks without whom she never would have survived.

By terming it the “alleged ‘genocide’ ” Purentepe denigrates the “tragedy,” rejects these stories, and casts the event back into the shadows, where it has lived for so long only to be repeated in world-wide episodes of “ethnic cleansing” right up to our present day.

If we are ever to learn from our past and move beyond it, I believe we all must accept and embrace both the horrifying and the redeeming aspects of our histories.

Amber A. McAlister ’89C


Not Enough Said

I was saddened to learn in the Summer 2000 issue that two of my more memorable teachers, Jerome Beaty (below left) and Floyd Watkins (below right), died during the past year. I was surprised that you did not devote more space to list their professional accomplishments and contributions to the university. Dr. Beaty was a faculty member for forty years and edited some of the Norton anthologies, and I suspect Dr. Watkins, a well-regarded Faulkner scholar, gave almost as many years to the school as well.

Jane Braverman Hirschhorn ’87C

Newton, Massachusetts


Don’t Forget Schuchard

I read with pride the article “Ted Hughes revealed” (Spring 2000). It is a tribute to the growth of Emory as an international university that the collection of Hughes papers now resides in our library. I regret, though, that Professor Ron Schuchard was not mentioned in the piece. His single-minded commitment to removing the shroud that surrounds Hughes and revealing both the darkness and the light of the poet’s mind inspired many of his students. He brought Hughes’ poetry to Emory twenty-five years ago, and he suggested the first acquisition of Hughes’ work in Special Collections, a copy of the limited edition of Cave Birds, after sending a few of his students on a mission to scout its contents at a London book dealer. Congratulations should go to Professor Schuchard for his devotion to Emory, to his students, and to his subject.

Wayne R. Rackoff ’75C

Weston, Florida

Objectivity for the Confederacy

Thank you very much for publishing the article “Lee’s Miserables” (Spring 2000). It was one of the most interesting I have read in your publication. It is also nice to read something objective about the Confederacy without someone trying to put a “political correctness” slant on it.

Henry Chandler White ’78Ox-’80B




© 2000 Emory University