Christine Flowers, 4/16/2015 [Archive]

Sometimes Genocide Really is Genocide

By Christine Flowers

Pope Francis recently annoyed the Turkish government by making the politically incorrect observation that it had exterminated a generation of Christian Armenians.He used the word "genocide," which is something that the Turks have been rejecting for decades.

Turkey's response to the millions of Armenians who were massacred and forcibly relocated during the days of the Ottoman Empire is something along the lines of "They just left. It was a bad time, you know.But we didn't force them out.We were kind of sad to see them go. And anyway, there was a war going on, and they weren't the only ones who suffered.Geez, um, Allah."

But according to Samantha Power in her Pulitzer-Prize winning book "A Problem From Hell," it was indeed a "genocide" and these Armenians were targeted for extermination precisely because of their ethnic and religious identity.It has generally come to be known as the first true genocide of the modern era.

There is so much evidence that what occurred was a crime against humanity that it shouldn't be noteworthy that a man with the political and personal clout of Pope Francis acknowledges the fact. But we have become a society that traffics in gentle admonishments and strategic ignorance because we can't stomach the thought of bruising an ego.

Take, for example, the Cubans. Now that President Obama is all about making them our BFFs in the western hemisphere, it stands to reason that he'd take the Castro boys off of the Terror List.I mean, it's hard to have a Mojito Summit with someone you've called a terrorist, especially when they are. Who cares that there are still political prisoners in jail cells in Havana and the ghosts of drowned refugees haunting the coast of Florida?Who cares that there are generations of Cuban-Americans who have lost pretty much everything they earned because Nikita Khrushchev's best buddy stole it from them, "in the name of the people."

And those Christians who were massacred in Kenya? We can lament the fact that they were brutally killed by a renegade group of Islamists from Al-Shabab, but we have to make it seem as if this was some generic attack.After all, it's Christians who won't bake cakes and pizzas for gay couples, so it wouldn't do to actually point out that in some parts of the world, they are the ones being hunted.

Oh yes, and we really can't go after that young girl named "Jackie" who lied about being raped and whose story was used to destroy a fraternity and the reputations of its members.Granted, those brothers weren't exactly choir boys, just like the Duke Lacrosse Players weren't in line for canonization, but there is a wide canyon between being a misbehaved college student and a criminal rapist.

Strangely, we don't worry about the effect Jackie's lies will have on them in the future, because they don't have the types of egos we worry about bruising.But we must be certain not to upset that delusional and delicate little female flower any more than she's already been traumatized, so we simply gloss over the fact that she destroyed a number of lives and, with its own complicity, the reputation of a magazine because there are too many feathers we can't ruffle.

And then we have that mother from Philadelphia who abandoned her severely disabled son in the woods with no food or water while she went off to have a rendezvous with her boyfriend in Maryland.There were enough people willing to call her what she truly is, in a string of four letter words, but there were still those who persisted in bringing up the red herring of just how difficult it "must be" to raise a child with disabilities and "we shouldn't judge."I got some of that on my Facebook Page and had to explain (seriously?) that we disrespect the good parents who struggle to bring dignity to their children's lives by associating them in any way with criminals like this sick chick.

It really takes a lot of effort to avoid calling a spade a spade, a genocide a genocide, a terrorist a terrorist, a liar a liar, or monster a monster.Perhaps we should all give ourselves a break and just tell the truth.


©2015 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at

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