Museum of Tolerance Reacts to ANCA WebMails

WASHINGTON–DC–Mobilizing Armenia’s to respond to a February 3,2003 Los Angeles Times article that raises the issue of the absence of the Armenian Genocide in the Museum of Tolerance–the ANCA encouraged Armenia’s to forward WebMails to the Museum through its site

Responding to the forwarded WebMails–the Museum’s director Liebe Geft has written to the ANCA in an attempt to justify the absence of the Armenian Genocide exhibit. Geft cites "limitations of time–space and funding," as reasons for the exclusion of a permanent exhibit on the Armenian Genocide.

In the Times article–however–Times staff writer Christopher Reynolds reveals that the Museum pledged to include the Armenian genocide of 1915–the first genocide of the 20th century–as a part of its "permanent exhibition."

The article continues to shed light as to why the Armenian Genocide was excluded: "That genocide is effectively absent–some of those critics suggest–because of a 21st century political alliance between Jewish leaders and the Turkish government whose predecessors carried out that genocide."

The following is the full text of Geft’s response–albeit inadequate–to Armenia’s.

"Thank you for your thoughtful letter expressing your concerns. The Museum of Tolerance is equally concerned that every shameful–murderous episode in modern history should not be ignored–but must be made part of the historical memory of current and future generations.

As you may know–when the Museum of Tolerance opened its doors in 1993–the exhibits in the Tolerancenter featured a film on profound examples–other than the Holocaust–of man’s inhumanity to man–including the tragedy suffered by the Armenia’s. Committed to addressing contemporary issues–the Tolerancenter continuously revises its exhibits. In fact–none of the original Tolerancenter exhibits is still on display as it was at the time the Museum opened. Sadly–new horrors on the world scene compelled us to produce another film–entitled In Our Time–in 1997–drawing attention to current tragedies in Rwanda–Bosnia–and Kosovo–as well as incidents of violence and hate in the headlines. The original film was kept as part of the Museum’s Learning Center. It is often viewed by groups of high school students and teachers. Our Library and Archives augment the Multimedia Learning Center with extensive bibliographic references and other resources that include the genocidal Armenian experience. The new Teachers’ Guide to the Museum of Tolerance offers a keyword reference in the Vocabulary and Concepts section. Our docent training has also incorporated several sessions focusing on this bitter history–taught by scholars within the Armenian and the Turkish communities and affiliated with local universities.

Despite limitations of time–space and funding–the Museum recognizes its responsibility to portray significant–seminal events as part of the learning experience. A new space is being provided to view the films presently available in the Multimedia Learning Center–as that location will be impacted by the opening of the Museum’s newest major exhibit–Finding Our Families–Finding Ourselves. Also–a new display listing the events that made the twentieth century the bloodiest of all will be completed soon.

The Museum of Tolerance is an educational institution that works hard to be true to its mandate without allowing any political agenda to intrude. Now more than ever–we must redouble our efforts to promote tolerance and respect among the prodigiously diverse communities we are privileged to serve. As we–ourselves–continue to learn and grow–we welcome your input and appreciate your opinions."


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