Statement on Dismissal of Andy Tarsy
The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project is saddened to learn that the New England Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Andy Tarsy, was summarily fired by the organization?s national office on Friday. Tarsy is universally respected by area civil rights activists for the outstanding bridge-building work he has done. He was a driving force behind the former Governor?s Task Force on Hate Crimes, and is assisting the Patrick Administration as it moves to reconstitute the Task Force. Tarsy is an outspoken supporter of GLBT equality, and made tremendous contributions to improving the civil rights and public safety of GLBT citizens over the years he served as Civil Rights Director and Executive Director of the New England ADL.
The circumstances of Tarsy?s termination warrant the concern of all New Englanders interested in preserving accurate historical memory and protecting civil rights. The Boston Globe reports that Tarsy was removed because the New England Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League broke with its national office, to call the mass murder of Armenians during World War I what it was: Genocide. Commenting on the firing, Anti-Violence Project Chair Don Gorton said: ?As gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders, we know all too well the pain that is caused by the denial of history and of truth. Many to this day will not admit that GLBT people were among the victims of the Holocaust.?
The public controversy stirred in Massachusetts should bring attention to the murder of between 500,000-1,000,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during a campaign of ethnic cleansing during World War I. The present-day nation of Turkey has persisted in denying that a Genocide took place, and exerts international pressure against recognition of the Armenian massacre as a Genocide. Gorton urged gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders to support efforts to expose the truth of the Ottoman Empire?s crimes against humanity. No one has articulated the imperative better than George Santayana: ?Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.?