Before accusing an ordinary Turk of Armenian genocide denial, you may want to consider the possibility that the person has never heard a word about the Genocide, says Melis Erdur.

Erdur, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the New York University, says when she goes back to her native Turkey this summer “it’ll be a whole different place” for her. This is because she has recently┬ádiscovered the greatest cover-up of her country’s history – the wipe out of Turkey’s indigenous Armenian Christian community during World War I, otherwise known as the Armenian Genocide.

Almost everyone I know (including me) became aware of the very existence of 1915 in the last several years, and started learning and thinking about it (unfortunately) only after [Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant] Dink’s [January 2007] assassination.

It’s unbelievable (and a “success” story for those who made it happen) that we grew up in Turkey without hearing one thing about the genocide (not even as a “deportation” of Armenians), and being completely unaware of such a significant Armenian presence in Anatolia (until recently, I never thought of anything in Turkey as Armenian; not even Armenian people–only now I’m noticing the Armenian last names of some famous people, for instance. Maybe some of my friends in the past were Armenian–I have no idea. I’ll go back to Turkey this summer–for the first time since I started learning about all this–and it’ll be a whole different place for me, believe me.)I’m ashamed of myself for being this ignorant, and really angry with everything and everyone who made such ignorance possible.

But was I a denialist for all these years?

Erdur’s above e-mail was posted in a discussion group and I contacted her for her permission to publish it.