Pope's Silence on Armenian Genocide Shameful

While this may be the most glaring omission from what most might envision as an item that would have been on a spiritual leader's "things to do list," it was, unfortunately, not the only one.

The pope evidently failed to mention the destruction of some of the oldest remaining Christian churches in the world located in the ancient Armenian city of Ani, located in present day eastern Turkey.

Nor is there any indication that he brought up the issue of the destruction of Greek Orthodox churches in Northern Cyprus, which remains illegally occupied by the Turks after the invasion of 1974.

It is also unclear whether the pope broached the mistreatment of the Muslim Kurds. Of course, in order to be understood by his hosts, the Pope would have had to refer to them as "Mountain Turks," since the Turkish government blanches at the thought of identifying the 8 million to 10 million Kurds living in Turkey as "Kurds."

Mark Geragos is a lawyer who has represented former Rep. Gary Condit, former first brother Roger Clinton, Academy award-winning actress Winona Ryder, pop star Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson.

While the Armenians, Greeks and Kurds may be the minorities with the most well known grievances, the Jewish and Syrian Orthodox Christian communities have legitimate cause to complain as well.

It is no secret that the Christian and other minority communities in Turkey constantly walk a thin line when seeking to preserve their religious and cultural heritage. These minorities have learned to march to the beat of the intolerant Turkish drum, regardless of the indignities they continue to suffer.

No one can blame them for assuming that position, given Turkey's history of intolerance and retribution.

However, it is situations like this where leadership steps in. In fact, the very purpose of leadership is to speak for those who can not. Evidently, such leadership was not on display as the cameras rolled and dignitaries exchanged pleasantries while strolling through the expansive Blue Mosque.

In the hopes of bridging differences that exist between the Christian and Muslim worlds, turning a blind eye to the festering wounds that exist only serve to widen the gap between East and West.

Perhaps we vest too much hope in religious leaders to stand up and say the things that need to be said. However, I can't help but look at the photos of the pope and other religious leaders assembled and feel that the teetering elephant is ready to collapse upon these leader's followers.

Seems to me that if we start accepting something less than success as success, we may end up having to deal with the same type of success as we have in Iraq.

Mark Geragos is a lawyer who has represented former Rep. Gary Condit, former first brother Roger Clinton, Academy award-winning actress Winona Ryder, pop star Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson.

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