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Lies, Damned Lies, and Genocide



This article analyzes the claim that “deliberate denial [of genocide] is a form of aggression that ought to be regarded as a contribution to genocidal violence in its own right.” Its objective is to demonstrate that the claim is substantially correct: there are instances of genocide negation that are genocidal acts. The article suggests that one such instance is contained in a letter sent to Professor Robert Jay Lifton by Turkey's ambassador to the United States. The article is divided into three parts. In the first part, it delineates and discusses the unexpected contents of the letter to Lifton. In the second, it primarily deals with three topics: lying, genocide, and Austinian performatives. In the third part, it takes the points made in the second part and applies them to the contents of the letter to Lifton, and demonstrates that the letter is an instance of genocide negation that is genocidal.