Debating whether the Armenian genocide happened is like debating whether the French revolution happenedIn response to the September 12 article “Egoyan’s Ararat brings controversy to Toronto Film Fest” by Liz Ben-Ishai, we wish to point out that the enigmatic use of the words “contested genocide” contradict what is historical fact. The Armenian genocide of 1915 was thoroughly documented when it happened and in the years that followed. Look at reports from German diplomatic and military personnel stationed in Turkey during the First World War, when Germany and Turkey were allies. These were based on countless eyewitness accounts and discussions with Turkish government officials. The Armenian Students’ Association (ASA) urges students to view Egoyan’s Ararat (Egoyan is an ASA alumnus), read about the evidence of the genocide in historical texts and hold discussions with academic historians, many of whom can be found in our own backyard. These include Professor Michael Marrus (dean of graduate studies) and Professor Jacques Kornberg (acting director of the Jewish studies program). Students who conduct their own research into the Armenian genocide will find conclusions very similar to what Armenians, and scholars of the genocide, have stated and restated for over 87 years.U of T Armenian Students’ AssociationBirgeneau soft on terror?In President Robert Birgeneau’s open letter to the University of Toronto community “Our institution’s unique role: building tolerance and civility” he said: “I affirmed the community’s need to condemn those acts of terror and those individuals who perpetrated them.” This is a weak statement that implies they were the work of individuals rather than a well-funded terrorist organization that still threatens us. The rest of his letter gives aid and comfort to the enemy. President Birgeneau is a coward in the face of political correctness. If this were the 1930’s, he would be saying “don’t harass the Nazis.” I am ashamed to be an alumnus of an institution that has such a person at its helm. I demand that he be removed immediately from his post and be replaced with someone who better understands the university’s role in society at large; THIS society, the one the university operates in, not the society of terrorists he is protecting.Breck Carterre: “U.S. vs. Iraq: which is the real terrorist nation?” (Sept. 9)Is Saddam Hussein building weapons of mass destruction? We are uncertain, since no U.N inspectors have been in Baghdad since 1998. It is understandable that Bush’s war on terrorism includes ousting evil regimes that manufacture lethal weapons, yet a military approach in dealing with this is not the best method. Saddam Hussein’s regime is not the Taliban, and his military is far more potent. Any U.S attack on Iraq would be a dangerous and ineffective action. In addition to awakening more anti-Americanism in the region, the U.S may lose its few Muslim allies if it makes such an attack. Palestine, which receives economic aid from Saddam, would feel further abandoned, and this would give Ariel Sharon stronger justification in his own “war on terror.” Similarly, an attack on Iraq may cause Saddam to retaliate by attacking America’s closest ally in the region: Israel. This would increase the prospect of greater war. Perhaps Washington’s motive for dislodging Saddam was aimed at frightening him into allowing U.N. inspections; but moving militarily will only be justified if he continues to refuse the U.N. inspections, and only if U.S diplomacy fails. Mitch Mcdeere
Netanyahu got a bum rapStudents who are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause may want to take a closer look at former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record before they lash out at him. Netanyahu talks tough, but during his mandate he was scorned for giving up land to the Palestinians. He gave up eighty percent of Hebron and then afterwards conceded more land under the Wye Accord. Under Netanyahu, Israeli textbooks were re-written to do away with the old historical Zionist myths associated with the ongoing Israeli-Arab conflict. Last time I checked, the Palestinian Authority did not revise their textbooks, which do not even mention the existence of Israel. Netanyahu was responsible for building more Israeli settlements, but his successor Ehud Barak, a so-called leftist, built many more than Netanyahu ever did. Netanyahu is talking tough now because he wants to be Prime Minister of Israel again. He was talking the same way when he ran for the office the first time. If he becomes Prime Minister again he won’t be acting as tough as he sounds now. Thus, his critics may want to consider that he has a history of not practicing what he preaches.Jason Shvili

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