White House Refuses to Display 88-Year-old Rug Made by Armenian Genocide Orphans, Probably Because Turkey Might Get Mad

Over there is the underground warehouse we will store it in 70 years from now on the odd chance that Turkey joins NATO and we need to fly over their air space in order to maintain military hegemony over the Middle East and North Africa. |||Whether in refusing
to call a coup a “coup,
” or
declining to call a genocide a “genocide
” (despite

multiple promises to the contrary
) the willingness of the
American government to torture the English language and evade basic
truths in order to lessen some short-term diplomatic hassle is
indicative of a deeper and more consequential moral rot, one that
enables questionable foreign policy while invariably screwing over
the little guy.

Or, if the White House’s largely Democratic critics are to be
believed, the little orphan. Or more accurately still, the
great-grandchildren of genocide-orphans. I wish I was kidding.
Foreign Policy

In 1926, Vartoohi Galezian — a 15-year-old refugee from the
genocide in Armenia — arrived at the White House to pay a visit to
President Calvin Coolidge. She had come to view the rug she and
1,400 other orphans living in Ghazir — then part of mandate Syria,
now in Lebanon — had woven as a gift to the United States in
thanks for the humanitarian assistance provided to the refugees of
the ethnic cleansing of Armenians during World War I. In June 1995,
the Ghazir rug, a huge, beautiful work exemplary of the Middle
East’s legendary weaving traditions, was shown once more to
Galezian and her family, but it’s now been more than 17 years since
the White House has displayed what has come to be known as the
Armenian orphan rug. Now it is unclear when the rug will ever be
shown again.

The rug is now caught in a tug-of-war with historians and
Armenian advocates on one side pulling for the rug to be displayed
and the White House on the other, which seems reticent to release
the rug for an exhibit. […]

We regret to inform you that whatever we said about "the problem from hell" was just a way to get back into power, PSYCH! |||“We regret that it was not
possible to loan it out for this event,” Laura Lucas Magnuson,
assistant press secretary for the National Security Council,
told Foreign Policy. “Displaying the rug for
only half a day in connection with a private book launch event, as
proposed, would have been an inappropriate use of U.S. government
property, would have required the White House to undertake the risk
of transporting the rug for limited public exposure, and was not
viewed as commensurate with the rug’s historical significance.”

Huh. So what was this not-appropriate-enough exhibit? A
Dec. 16 event at the nearby Smithsonian
to mark the release of
A BOOK ABOUT THE RUG IN THE QUESTION. Swear to God. It is called
President Calvin
Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug
, by Dr. Hagop Martin
Deranian, who the L.A. Times
as “a 91-year-old Massachusetts dentist.” And yes,
the same administration that is blocking this utterly sensical
request is one that originally came to power by making pious
promises like this:

More from the L.A. Times after the jump:

You should see all the stuff swept under it! |||Rep. Adam
Schiff (D-Burbank), who helped gather the signatures of 30
other lawmakers on a letter to the White House, called the White
House decision “as inexplicable as it is hurtful to the Armenian

“It is difficult to express in words how deeply troubling it is
that a historical and cultural treasure accepted by President
Coolidge on behalf of the people of the United States may be being
kept behind closed doors because of Turkish desire to keep
discussion of certain historical facts out of the public
discussion,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J), co-chairman
of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, wrote the White
House in a separate letter.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) also wrote the
White House urging that the rug be put on permanent display at the
Smithsonian: “We must acknowledge and learn from the tragic crimes
against humanity that orphaned the weavers of this rug to ensure
that they are never repeated.”

The White House’s
first public statement
in response to this criticism was as
dismissive as it was terse:

The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between
the peoples of Armenia and the United States. We regret that it is
not possible to loan it out at this time.

I am sure the historically significant artifact is safely being
studied by Top Men.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/21/white-house-refuses-to-display-88-year-o

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