The Woodrow Wilson Centre and the Orthodox fascist lobby
Picture: The Woodrow Wilson Centre’s award ceremony chairman, Alexandros Lykourezos, with his friend, the architect of the Srebrenica massacre and indicted war-criminal Ratko Mladic.
The Woodrow Wilson Centre invited the Greek lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos to chair its award ceremony in Athens on 15 May. Lykourezos has boasted of his friendship with the indicted war-criminal and terrorist Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander who organised the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995. Lykourezos, who worked as Mladic’s defence lawyer, denies that the Srebrenica massacre ever took place. The scandal of a supposedly respectable institute of learning collaborating in this manner with such an individual has provoked a storm of protests from Bosnian citizens, academics and journalists. Michael Van Dusen, deputy director of the Woodrow Wilson Centre, justified its collaboration with Lykourezos on the grounds that ‘Mr. Lykourezos is, we are told, a significant presence in Greek society, and in that context he had been asked by the Awardees to chair and help support this internationally acknowledged event.’ Sharon Carter, director of ‘outreach and communications’ at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, justified its collaboration with Lykourezos on the grounds that ‘the Centre notes that Mr. Lykourezos’s views on the Bosnian crisis of the 1990s are views shared by much of the Greek population and that in fact he has indicated that he had no direct or indirect contact with General Mladic after 1997 or with Slobodan Milosevic after 2000.’ Precisely how support for genocide can be reconciled with the ideals of Woodrow Wilson is unclear.
In the controversy provoked by the action of the Woodrow Wilson Centre, the latter received uninvited solidarity from a certain Mike Averko, a Russian nationalist, Soviet apologist and columnist for the Serb-nationalist website Serbianna. Averko turned up at Veronica Khokhlova’s blog at Global Voices to attack the Woodrow Wilson Centre’s critics – by denying that genocide occurred at Srebrenica and by questioning the figure of 8,000 Srebrenica victims. His ill-informed arguments were then comprehensively demolished by other commenters, including myself. Rather than continue the debate publicly, Averko then chose to email his reply to his circle of friends from the ranks of the Orthodox fascists and ultra-nationalists and their fellow travellers on the American far-right and far-left. And he kindly included me on his email recipient list.
I’m not going to post Averko’s reply here, and will say only that it included an apology for the Soviet Union’s decision to sign an alliance with Nazi Germany in 1939. Averko is a peculiarly ill-informed champion of the Russian-nationalist and Great Serbian causes, as demonstrated by the attack he made on me in his email:
‘In his ongoing political diatribes, note that Hoare doesn’t seem to use the term “genocide denier” to describe the stance taken by Turkish officials vis-à-vis what happened to the Armenians. Instead, he has had a penchant for sugar coating Turkey, in comparison to his comments about Russia and Serbia.’
I feel no need to justify my record on Turkey and the Armenian Genocide, and bring this up only to demonstrate Averko’s ineptitute.
On 8 May of this year, I wrote: ‘The establishment of the Turkish nation-state involved the genocide of the Armenians, followed by the expulsion of at least one and a quarter million Greeks (or Turkish-speaking Christians)… Turkey’s difficulty in functioning as a democracy is closely related to its unwillingness to face up to the Armenian Genocide or to the existence of a Kurdish people within its borders – hence it cannot fully permit freedom of speech, as this would result in open discussion of the Armenian Genocide and open expressions of Kurdish national politics.’ In my first published article about Turkey, back in September 2005, I several times referred to ‘Turkish genocide-denial’. In fact, Turkey’s deficiencies as a democracy, and the poisonous nature of Turkish ultra-nationalism, are subjects I have written about at some length.
In essence, Averko is an apologist for Russian and Serbian crimes, who attempts to defame those who expose these crimes by falsely accusing them of apologising for other crimes carried out by other nations. It’s a familiar dishonest debating technique that falls broadly under the category of whataboutery.
The most interesting thing about Averko’s email, however, was its list of recipients: a veritable rogue’s gallery of the most extreme members and sympathisers of the Orthodox fascist circle in the US, both from the ranks of the far right and the far left (NB not everyone on this list is a member of this circle; the list appears to include completely innocent people such as myself who were thrown in by Averko, and who may not be at all pleased to receive his unsolicited emails).
cmaclay@NOSPAMcyber.law.harvard.edu; solana.larsen@NOSPAMgmail.com; rebecca.mackinnon@NOSPAMgmail.com; neekas.backlog@NOSPAMgmail.com; caucasus@NOSPAMglobalvoicesonline.org; ethan@NOSPAMglobalvoicesonline.org; advocacy@NOSPAMglobalvoicesonline.org; ****@NOSPAMsiberianlight.net; djurdjevich@NOSPAMyahoo.com; Jon Hellevig (hellevig@NOSPAMhku.ru); irastraus (irastraus@NOSPAMaol.com); info@NOSPAMnarochnitskaia.ru; jegorin@NOSPAMerols.com; jjatras@NOSPAMssd.com; Liz Milanovich (lizmilano@NOSPAMshaw.ca); lselinsk (lselinsk@NOSPAMoptonline.net); mark.mardell@NOSPAMbbc.co.uk; Oluic, S. LTC G&EnE (Steven.Oluic@NOSPAMusma.edu); Rachel Ehrenfeld (ehrenfeld@NOSPAMfastmail.us); rachel.rawlins@NOSPAMgmail.com; sheleta@NOSPAMgmail.com; seansrussiablog@NOSPAMgmail.com; serbianna@NOSPAMserbianna.com; trifkovic@NOSPAMnetzero.net; unwrittenhistory@NOSPAMhotmail.com; vladsobell (vlad.Sobell@NOSPAMdir.co.uk); sirivanhoe98 (sirivanhoe98@NOSPAMyahoo.com); draskoj@NOSPAMaol.com; nick1159@NOSPAMhotmail.com; *****************@NOSPAMyandex.ru; pkirill88 (pkirill88@NOSPAMhotmail.com); neboysha.malich@NOSPAMverizon.net; mitarvuich@NOSPAMmsn.com; photo@NOSPAMrussellgordon.net; brandjo@NOSPAMgmail.com; rieasinfo@NOSPAMgmail.com; jedbabbin@NOSPAMaol.com; gm@NOSPAMgmbooks.com; diana.jostoNOSPAM@yahoo.fr; konstantinsemin (konstantinsemin@NOSPAMrcn.com); martin.dewhirst@NOSPAMgmail.com; joelgaines@NOSPAMaol.com; lopusina@NOSPAMEUnet.yu; jasoncooper (jasoncooper@NOSPAMtiraspoltimes.com); Georgebogdanich@NOSPAMaol.com; darren@NOSPAMgscgrouppr.com; dbinder@NOSPAMverizon.net; justin (justin@NOSPAMantiwar.com); matt@NOSPAMantiwar.com; hermane@NOSPAMwharton.upenn.edu; davidepet@NOSPAMcomcast.net; st_sava (st_sava@NOSPAMalumni.fdu.edu); ckcuboba@NOSPAMyahoo.ca; ira@NOSPAMthecia.net; georgeszamuely@NOSPAMaol.com; michaletos@NOSPAMserbianna.com; gcthomas2@NOSPAMyahoo.com; jpmaher@NOSPAMneiu.edu; averich@NOSPAMhotmail.com; sparta13 (sparta13@NOSPAMix.netcom.com); malich@NOSPAMmlmpclaw.com; djordjevic_nikola (djordjevic_nikola@NOSPAMyahoo.com); emperorsclothes@NOSPAMtenc.net; msieff@NOSPMupi.com; yuri (yuri@NOSPAMdiscovery.org); lozansky@NOSPAMgmail.com; frolovvl@NOSPAMawax.ru; andrei.liakhov (andrei.liakhov@NOSPAMnortonrose.com); edwardlucas (edwardlucas@NOSPAMeconomist.com); ludmila001@NOSPAMcomcast.net; robertvbridge (robertvbridge@NOSPAMyahoo.com); markohoare@NOSPAMhotmail.com; admopar1@NOSPAMaol.com
Readers may wish to test their knowledge of this lovely group of people by seeing how many names they can recognise. The reader who recognises the largest number may receive a prize. First prize is a ticket to this year’s annual official celebration of the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in Moscow on 23 August. Second prize is a package holiday-tour of the Republika Srpska’s Ottoman mosques.
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