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Watertown is no place for hate, but definitely a spot for controversy

Posted by Ralph Ranalli August 1, 2007 03:10 PM

WATERTOWN

As far as town proclamations go, the one that declared Watertown a No Place for Hate community in July 2005 seemed like a pretty innocuous one. The goal was to celebrate diversity and challenge bigotry. And the program, in place in 67 Massachusetts communities and hundreds of others nationwide, has generated very little controversy elsewhere.

But that has not been the case in Watertown. In recent weeks, the town that bills itself as No Place for Hate on a sign outside Town Hall is abuzz with anger and frustration, especially among the large Armenian population, reporter Keith O'Brien of the City & Region staff writes in a story today.

At issue is not the program itself, but the group behind it, the Anti-Defamation League, and in particular the ADL's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide at the hands of Turks during World War I.

"It's kind of the worst hatred to deny genocide," said Nayiri Arzoumanian, a woman of Armenian heritage who has lived in Watertown for eight years. "It's the worst kind of hypocrisy."

Read more about the war of words over genocide in the online edition of today's Globe.

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