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Old 04-17-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
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I Love PBS....

Ever since observing the end of the 40 days of mourning for my Mom back in December, I have dropped out of (that is, not attended) my chruch for a while. That is, the local Armenian Church. I get the weekly newsletters, but only glance thorugh them. Some things that remind me of Mom I can take, others I still can't go near. Too painful.

So it is that only TODAY I have found out that tonoght, at 10 PM ET, PBS is showing a much publicized and "controversial" documentary on the Armenian Genocide. To anybody of Armenian descent, anybody who cares, public discussion, let alone programming, of this subject is a BIG DEAL. Considerng I lost somewhere around 70% of my mom's side of the family in 1915 (and I have the interview with my grandpa on tape, before he died, with his childhood recollections...his "bearing witness" so to speak)

I have been trying to get hold of my uncle and have him tape this for me, but so far I can't. I have to work tonight, and won't be home to record it. I am typing this from a library, and have to be at work in half an hour, so I can't set the VCR.

Can ANYBODY tape this for me!?!?! Just a favor I'm asking..

PS. I hope some of you remember me. I used to be a frequent contrributor here, but have been going though my own private mourning ritual, and haven't been online ANYWHERE as much.

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Old 04-17-2006, 03:40 PM   #2
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I'd do if my VCR was working. Alas, it broke on me during the Olympics and man, was I ever pissed, I had shell out some serious bucks to get tapes.

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Old 04-17-2006, 04:08 PM   #3
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Recordable DVD player or Tivo.
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Old 04-17-2006, 05:11 PM   #4
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I have neither a TV nor a VCR so I can't help out there, but if anyone is in a position to tape this, it airs at 10 PM Eastern and Pacific, and at 9 PM Central.

This documentary was actually in the news today (as well as in the PBS ombudsman's column) due to controversies over a panel discussion meant to be aired after the documentary--as a result of which many PBS affiliates will not be airing this followup panel discussion.

IMHO, the PMS ombudsman's column takes a considerably more nuanced view about the panel discussion controversy than the following article does; however, the article does give a good sense of what the actual documentary covers. Oddly, PBS' website has no detailed descriptions of either program that I can see, just the ombudsman's column and some letters he received about it (scroll towards bottom).

A PBS Documentary Makes Its Case for the Armenian Genocide, With or Without a Debate

By Alessandra Stanley
The New York Times, April 17, 2006

It is impossible to debate a subject like genocide without giving offense. PBS is supposed to give offense responsibly.

And that was the idea behind a panel discussion that PBS planned to show after tonight's broadcast of The Armenian Genocide, a documentary about the extermination of more than one million Armenians by the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War I. The powerful hourlong film will be shown on most of the 348 PBS affiliate stations. But nearly a third of those stations decided to cancel the follow-up discussion after an intense lobbying campaign by Armenian groups and some members of Congress.

The protesters complained that the panel of four experts, moderated by Scott Simon, host of Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR, included two scholars who defend the Turkish government's claim that a genocide never took place. The outrage over their inclusion was an indication of how passionately Armenians feel about the issue; they have battled for decades to draw attention to the genocide.

But the fact that so many stations caved is a measure of something else: PBS's growing vulnerability to pressure and, perhaps accordingly, the erosion of viewers' trust in public television. The camera lends legitimacy, but as Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's performance on Edward R. Murrow's See It Now famously showed, it also can undermine credibility. Panel discussions in particular give people with outlandish views a hearing--and also an opportunity to expose the flaws in their arguments.

That is certainly the case with the discussion program Armenian Genocide: Exploring the Issues. It turns out that there is only one articulate voice arguing that Armenians died not in a genocide but in a civil war between Christians and Muslims--that of Justin A. McCarthy, a history professor at the University of Louisville. His Turkish counterpart, Omer Turan, an associate professor at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, tries ardently to back him up, but his English is not good enough to make a dent. And the two other experts, Peter Balakian, a humanities professor at Colgate University, and Taner Akcam, a visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota and a well-known defender of human rights in Turkey, lucidly pick Mr. McCarthy's points apart.

Mr. Balakian, who is one of the experts cited in the documentary, gets the last word. "If we are going to pretend that a stateless Christian minority population, unarmed, is somehow in a capacity to kill people in an aggressive way that is tantamount to war, or civil war," Mr. Balakian says, "we're living in the realm of the absurd."

Tone and appearance on television can be as persuasive as talk. Mr. McCarthy mostly sounds condescending and defensive, while Mr. Balakian is smooth and keeps his cool.

The Armenian Genocide, which was made by Andrew Goldberg in association with Oregon Public Broadcasting, does not ignore the Turkish government's denial, or its repression of dissidents in Turkey who try to expound another point of view. One of the film's merits is that it tries to explain both the circumstances that led to the atrocities of 1915 and the reasons why Turkish officials are still so determined to keep that period unexplored. "There is a feeling that Turkey would be putting itself permanently in the company of Adolf Hitler," Samantha Power, the author of A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide says. "That same stain would envelop Turkey as it seeks, of course, to be a major player on the international stage."

Several of the experts in the film, including Turkish scholars, argue that because Turkey is seeking admission to the European Union, its leaders will eventually have to bend to international will and acknowledge responsibility. But official Turkish denial remains fierce, and intellectuals and even well-known writers like Orhan Pamuk can still be brought to trial for mentioning the treatment of Armenians and Kurds.

The documentary, which is partly narrated by Julianna Margulies, Ed Harris and others, includes rare clips of Turkish scholars acknowledging the anti-Armenian campaign as genocide as well as Turkish villagers recounting their ancestors' stories about participating in the killings. "They caught Armenians and put them in a barn and burned them," a man in a town in eastern Turkey says to an interviewer. There are also shots of ordinary Turks who insist their ancestors were incapable of that level of barbarity.

Mostly, however, the film painstakingly makes the case that a genocide did take place, relying on archival photographs, victims' memoirs and the horrified first-hand accounts of diplomats, missionaries and reporters. The forced deportations and killings did not take place unnoticed--public figures like Theodore Roosevelt and H. L. Mencken spoke out about the horrors. In 1915, the New York Times published 145 stories about the systematic slaughter of Armenians.

Even after World War II, the fate of Turkey's Armenian population was high on the list of crimes against humanity. The film includes a clip from a 1949 CBS interview with Raphael Lemkin, a law professor who in 1943 coined the term genocide. "I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times," he tells the CBS commentator Quincy Howe. "First to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action."

The documentary honors the victims of the Armenian genocide and also pays tribute to dissidents in Turkey who are brave enough to speak out despite government censorship. And that makes it all the odder that so many public television stations here censored the follow-up program as soon as a few lobby groups complained.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:59 PM   #5
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Thank you Yolland. I haven't time to comment tonight, as I am waiting for a call from my uncle (I have to see if he was able to tape it after all), but in the meantime, can you buy this from PBS?

I am going to call my church tomorrow and see if they have anything planned for Monday. Monday, April, 24, is the 91st anniversary of the start of the "chard" (the "storm" as the survivors euphamistically called it). It was the day that the Ottoman gov't secretly arrested about 50 or so of the top intellectual, business and political elite from the Armenian community in Turkey. This is where Hitler got his idea for Kristallnacht, which he moideled it after.

Usually there is a demostration at City Hall in ALbany every year but I have not been able to go. This year, I have the morning and early afternoon off.

Anyway...more on this Thurs....
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Old 04-18-2006, 11:04 PM   #6
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Was it part of the series "The Great War"? That series is available from PBS.org

There are a list of documentaries here
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:30 PM   #7
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Teta 040, you can order the DVD here.

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Old 04-20-2006, 12:00 AM   #8
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I TIVOed this Empire program earlier tonight

hope to watch it soon.

Holy Warriors
Wednesday, April 19 at 9 p.m.

For centuries, England has gloried in the legend of King Richard the Lionhearted and his struggle to save Christendom’s holiest city — Jerusalem — from the clutches of its Muslim conqueror, Salah al-Din (Saladin). This production reveals a different version of events that sheds new light on the Third Crusade. Actor Colin Salmon narrates.

In 1187, a Muslim army battered down the gates of Jerusalem and seized the city from its Christian rulers. The fight that followed created two of history’s great warriors: Richard, England’s king, and Saladin, leader of the Arab world. The Third Crusade was fought over 18 months throughout the Holy Land. Using original Muslim and Christian sources and interviews with experts, this drama documentary, filmed in the Middle East, challenges the popular view of both leaders, reassessing their relationship and reevaluating their war.

King Richard the Lionhearted emerges as a man who earned the epithet as much for his murderous brutality as his chivalry. He fought heroically among his own foot soldiers, but also committed one of the worst atrocities in medieval warfare — ordering the killing of 3,000 unarmed Muslim prisoners after the Siege of Acre. However, this bloodthirsty warrior also understood the value of peaceful negotiation, offering to share Jerusalem under a marital alliance between his Christian sister and Saladin’s Muslim brother.

Saladin also emerges as a character different from the modern popular view. Leading Islamic expert Carole Hillenbrand explains the emergence of Saladin as he became leader of Egypt and Syria, eventually uniting most of the Muslim world under his rule. When Saladin’s armies swept across the Holy Land and captured Jerusalem in 1187, fear of an impending apocalypse spread like wildfire through Christian Europe, and Richard the Lionhearted answered the call for the Third Crusade.

Both Richard and Saladin competed for the right to worship in the world’s holiest city. Many men were sacrificed in the quest for the ultimate prize. Richard and Saladin became legends, defined by the Third Crusade.

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