FRESNO — To mark the publication of a new special edition of Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, Ara Sarafian (Gomidas Institute, London) will speak at 7:30PM on Wednesday, February 17, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.
The lecture is co-sponsored by the Armenian Studies Program and the Leon S. Peters Foundation.
The Armenian Genocide remains one of the seminal events that defined the modern Middle East. It entailed the destruction of thousands of Armenian communities in what became the Turkish Republic. The modern Turkish state was built on such a genocidal legacy, including the denial of such a past.
Starting in the 1980s, Turkish authorities embarked on a concerted forward policy to deny the Armenian Genocide in the United States. One of their objects of denial was the legacy of Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador to Ottoman Turkey between 1913 and 1916. Morgenthau had much to say about the destruction of Armenians and his memoir, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, was a devastating indictment of the Young Turks for such a crime.
The main references in the attack on Morgenthau was a work by Heath Lowry of the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington DC. According to Lowry, Morgenthau had been an uninformed observer to the fate of Armenians in 1915. He had been duped by Armenian advisers at the American Embassy in Constantinople. He had disseminated false information to others. He had been a racist and a liar whose private papers did not support what he claimed in his later memoirs. Morgenthau had written a false account of events.
Fortunately, we have access to a great deal of archival and published evidence regarding Morgenthau relationship to the Armenian Genocide. This evidence does not support the denialist assertions made by Heath Lowry and others. It shows Morgenthau in a very favorable light. Indeed, an examination of Heath Lowry’s critique of Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story allows us to create a useful typology of denial as a political exercise within, as well as outside, academia.
In his presentation, Sarafian will provide a clear analysis of how Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story was written in 1918; how it was made into the object of denial; and how deniers of the Armenian Genocide still claim that Morgenthau was an errant witness to the Armenian Genocide.
Ara Sarafian is an archival historian specializing on late Ottoman history. He is the director of the Gomidas Institute, which is a leading research and publication center related to modern Armenian history.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is available at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6 with a free parking pass using code 273615.
For more information please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669 or visit the ASP website at fresnostate.edu/armenianstudies.