May 8, 2012

Exploring the dark side of Turkey’s past

More articles by »
Written by: admin


s one of Queens College’s Year of Turkey events, a lecture disseminating and analyzing the Armenian genocide in Turkey worked to uncover a less pleasant aspect of the country’s past.

After a letter to the editor published by The Knight News last semester lambasted QC’s decision to host Year of Turkey in light of its history of violence, Fatma Müge Göçek was invited to decipher the genocide and the subsequent denial of it by most Turks.

“The Year of Turkey is not a celebration, it’s an exploration. It’s not a triumphant look, it’s an examination,” said history professor Mark Rosenblum, director of the Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding.

The April 25 event — a day after Armenian Martyrs’ Day, which memorializes the death of roughly 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 — garnered enough attention to warrant both a Free Hour and night session.

Göçek was born and raised in Turkey and is one of the leaders in the study of the collective violence perpetrated against Armenians. She is a women’s studies and sociology professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

As a country, Turkey has yet to acknowledge that genocide was committed against their Armenian residents.

“The issue is a festering sore and a sore only stops to fester once you give it attention,” Göçek said. “The Armenian genocide – yes, genocide – needs to be approached in the same way. It needs to be acknowledged first and then the healing process will begin.”

The letter to the editor by Sean Leahy stated that nothing about Turkey should be discussed at QC because doing so would “glorify a nation” responsible for many deaths.

“It is simply lamentable that an academic institution with Armenians amongst both its faculty and student population could send such a callous message of disregard by shamelessly promoting this farcical enterprise campus-wide with banners and online advertising,” Lahey wrote in his letter.

Rosenblum believes Turkey is worthy to study because of its clout in the region. He added that the point of the Year of Turkey was not at all to glorify the country, but rather to explore it.

We wanted to have a discourse about this. Nations are not born on shiny floors with white gloves and that needs to be acknowledged,” said Rosenblum about the decision.

Students and community members seemed to have acknowledged it: the night lecture had 42 attendees and, according to Göçek, the event during Free Hour had more than three times that amount.

Attendee and sophomore Nick Azcona thought the school’s decision to focus on Turkey was a good one.

“Turkey is a country of increasing international relevance and a NATO ally of the United States,” Azcona said. “It’s fundamentally a net good to know more about such countries, especially when they are key international players in various questions.”
Adam Kisting, a senior who attended the Free Hour event, also approved of the choice.

“I thought that perhaps a year was a long time to spend on a single country, but there’s still programs that bring in unique people with very interesting scholarly works, Kisting said. “So it looks like a year was just about right.”

Though the issue is one that often leads to a divided audience, Kisting found that the attendees were all highly engaged and said that people were really just curious to learn more through questioning Göçek.

A historical sociologist by training, Göçek has explored official state and government documents, Turkish and minority literature, oral accounts and memoirs in her research.

“I think it is very important to be able to see beyond one’s national interest and communal interest and to get an interest instead in humanity,” said Göçek of her decision to research the genocide.
Also in attendance was QC Muslim Students Association Chaplain Ali Mermer. Originally from Turkey, Mermer looked at the event from a different perspective: “Every human being is sacred. We need to learn from our past mistakes that by killing a person, one kills his ideas, his faith. We may disagree with the belief of a person but we have to respect her existence.”

However, Göçek added, “violence can only be understood if and when the people experiencing it come to terms with it.”

In the 2012-13 academic year, following the Year of China and the Year of Turkey, QC will begin to explore India.



It’s another fumble by the NFL

The NFL is a financially successful business that continues to grow at a rapid pace. The league brought in $7.3 billion dollars in revenue during the 2014-2015 season and shared it among the 32 teams. Each team received $226.4 ...
by Albert Roman

Photo by Brandon Jordan
The food trucks, like Shah's Halal Food, will soon be leaving the campus because of the winter season.

Winter is coming, but food trucks are going

The distinct smell of Shah’s Halal Food on The Quad at Queens College will soon disappear as winter approaches. During the winter, a few trucks will not appear on campus. However, they will return in the spring. “I’m de...
by Sara Scheidlinger

Photo by Phil Vallone
From left to right: School Certifying Official for Veteran Student Services Lorraine Rosenfeld, retired Colonel Gregory Gadson, Veterans Outreach Specialist Dennis Torres and Executive Director of Student Life John Andrejack

Retired Army officer speaks to students about overcoming obstacles

The New York Giants faced the Washington Redskins, their rivals, in the third week of the 2007-2008 season. Before the game, retired Army colonel Gregory Gadson, invited by a former West Point classmate, spoke to them about h...
by Phil Vallone


Photo by Brandon Jordan
Caption: The Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding hosted an event on responses by different religions to climate change. From left to right: Librarian and Greening Coordinator at Central Queens Y Peggy Kurtz, Executive Director of American Society for Muslim Advancement Daisy Khan, Director of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation for Sisters of Charity of New York Sister Carol DeAngelo and Co-Founder of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program Rabbi Lawrence Troster.

Faith groups provide local solutions to climate change

Religious and secular groups joined together on Nov. 11 at the Blackbox Theater in Rathaus Hall to talk about climate change and solutions to it. The Center for Ethnic, Racial & Religious Understanding, along with other ci...
by Brandon Jordan

Photo by Yongmin Cho
The Feminist Press was founded in 1970 and became a part of CUNY in 1985. They publish works related to feminism.

Feminist Press still relevant after 45 years

At the CUNY Graduate Center is a small, educational non-profit organization that fought and still fighting for big social changes. The Feminist Press, located at 365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5406, publishes feminist classics, offer...
by Yongmin Cho


Photo by Mahnoor Mirza

Humans of Queens College created to highlight student stories

Humans of Queens College is a thing. An adaption from Humans of New York, the popular blog which highlights the lives of New Yorkers, HOQC seeks to exemplify the concept for QC students. Shiran Cohen, junior, Solomon Shapiro, ...
by Mahnoor Mirza

Photo by Christina Cardona
Joyce Carol Oates holds up a copy of her latest memoir, which she spoke about at LeFrak Concert Hall on Nov. 10

Author Joyce Carol Oates discusses memoir at Evening Readings

Joyce Carol Oates read from her latest memoir, “The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age,” on Nov. 10 at LeFrak Concert Hall for the Evening Readings Series. “The Lost Landscape” is a memoir about her childhood a...
by Christina Cardona



College students struggle to balance jobs and education

Franklin Rodriguez, a senior, applied to four to five jobs since his freshman year. For him, it was difficult selling himself to employers. “The hardest thing when applying for jobs and internships, for me, would be the proc...
by Brandon Jordan

Photo courtesy of Netflix
"Beasts of No Nation" is the first feature film of Netflix and deals with the horrors of war in West Africa.

“Beasts of No Nation” provides insight for fighting in West Africa

There are more than 120,000 child soldiers under the age of 17 enlisted in rebel and government fighting forces in West Africa. Americans may ignore that fact. They may even feel surprised and cite it as a reason why the wor...
by David Rafailovich

Photo by Edis Radoncic
Students in attendance were asked to rank photos of women from least feminine to most feminine.

Dealing with gender and sexuality in education

Queens College Professor Leslee Grey spoke with students on Nov. 4, at the “Multiplicities in the Classroom: Understanding Gender & Sexuality Among Multiple Identities” event held at Powdermaker Hall 119. Grey discuss...
by Edis Radoncic


Photo by Brandon Jordan
Kirsten Weld spoke about looking into the archive of the Guatemalan dictatorship. In the above photograph, Weld shows one document she discovered.

Harvard professor explains value of Guatemalan archives

Historian Kirsten Weld visited Queens College to discuss archives found in Guatemala, specifically ones during its civil war. Weld, a history professor at Harvard University, released a book last year titled “Paper Cadavers:...
by Brandon Jordan


Students share their lives with diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which highlights a disease at least 29 million Americans have, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are two main types. Type 1 diabetes is when the body canno...
by Shira Rosner



“The Cherry Orchid” teaches lessons on regrets and letting go

The Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts held a production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” directed by Lisa Rothe earlier this month. At Rathaus Hall M-11, the play firs...
by Lea Passione


Queens College is center of America’s Got Talent auditions

Jugglers, singers, musicians and break dancers were some of the 1,600 applicants at the Q Cafe and Rathaus Hall on Nov. 14. They all were applying for America’s Got Talent, the popular reality show on NBC that first began i...
by Erica Finocchio



CUNY affiliates with The Rubin Museum

Students and faculty could, on a Friday night, learn about Himalayan Asian culture thanks to a recent partnership between The Rubin Museum and CUNY. “What this partnership provides, which is really exciting, is that in addit...
by Philipp Regala