April 28, 2007


A unique exhibit of religious Armenian art is now taking place in the Louvre museum located in Paris, France.

Entitled "Armenian Sacra", the exhibition, the first of its kind, is devoted to Armenian Christian art, dating from Saint Gregory the Illuminator’s conversion of the country in the early 4th century to the dawn of the 19th century.

Running through till the end of May, the exhibition would not have been possible without the exceptional loans from the Museum and Treasury of the Holy See in Etchmiadzin and from the National History Museum and the Matenadaran (Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) in Yerevan, Armenia.

While Armenian illuminated manuscripts are a prime focus of the exhibition, there are also some 30 "khatchkars" - massive stone slabs carved with lace-fine crosses - that dotted that Armenian plateau as early as the 4th century.

One, the Djulfa Khatckar, is one of the few surviving stone crosses from the extensive Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan, that has been systematically vandalized by Azeri soldiers. Recently, Azeri troops were videotaped destroying what "khatchkars" were left in the cemetery.

The exhibit is part of the so-called year of Armenia in France. French President Chirac and his counterpart Armenian President Robert Kocharian, opened the exhibit which Chirac called "sublime".

April 25, 2007


(Editors Note: The following article authored by a group calling itself RAHAGEETS, first appeared in the Armenian press some 25 years ago. Some of our readers will remember the events and developments taking place at that time, most notably the emergence of Armenian political violence, which created a deep division with the Armenian community. Since those tumultuous years much has changed in both the Armenian reality and psyche. However, we believe that the issues raised in the article regarding the 1915 Genocide and its aftermath, remain for the most part valid today and thus deserving reexamination. We agree with the article's primary argument that the Armenian pursuit of Genocide Recognition , as presently constituted, fails to address the real meaning and import of the events of 1915.)

Genocide, Eviction, and Exile

Too often, the overpowering effect of the fact of the near extermination of our people in their ancestral lands submerges our presently evermore important and continuing collective experience - forced exile. Armenians as a group no longer face the danger of physical annihilation. 1915 is behind us. Although alive in the eyes of our grandparents, 1915 is history and while we must strive to counter those revisionists who would rewrite history to justify the status-quo, it is a mistake to accord 1915 the centrality which it now enjoys in Armenian self-definition. Focus on the past has overshadowed most perception of the great and more pressing injustice of today, when the American-armed Turkish army, much of it stationed in occupied Armenia, obstructs our return.

The Turkish policy of 1915 was to tear the Armenians from their land such that Armenia without Armenians be incorporated into an expanded Turkish homeland. But the crime did not end with the last massacre of an Armenian village or the last human convoy to set out on the death march to Deir ez-Zor. The crime continues still today for it is, in essence, the disassociation, the eviction, of the Armenian from the land. Massacre and deportation formerly served as instruments of that crime. Today, it is the prohibition against our return which functions as the final stage in its implementation. If, over time with the assimilation into the life of their countries of exile, Armenians give up all claims of their right of return, the crime will be complete since then Armenians will have been completely disassociated from their lands: their eviction, final and unchallenged.

The media understandably finds it awkward and difficult to relate the attempted genocide of 1915 with the assassinations and bombings today and so it often attributes actions by ASALA and others to motives of revenge or retaliation. References in newspaper editorials to "innocent Turkish diplomats not even alive during the massacres" illustrates the failure of Armenians to properly project their grievances. If the crime addressed by the Armenians was the attempted genocide of 1915 and that alone, then of course the present Turkish government and its diplomats are innocent or at least guilty of nothing more than distortion of history. If such were the case, a journalist might rightly consider Armenian attacks after the passage of so many years astonishing, inexcusable, and racist. But the crime is eviction of a people from their homeland, and, by seeking to ensure our continued exile, the present Turkish Government, along with its tanks and diplomats, is a party to that which began in 1915 and continues to this day.

When we Armenians perfunctorily look to April 24 activities as central to our struggle or when one of our well-intentioned Armenian underground groups refers to itself as "Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide", we tend only to reinforce impressions that Armenians protest against or seek revenge for events which occurred over 60 years ago. The Genocide is the how and why of our exile and enhances our moral right of return, but it is our forced exile, then and now, which must serve as the substantive basis of our claims to the occupied territories.

Palestinians suffered eviction from their homeland in 1948 and again in 1967, but despite the passage of over 30 years, the media would never suggest that the motivational underpinnings of Palestinian military activity rest in vengeance for deaths and orphans of the past. Journalists depict Palestinian actions as part of their struggle for self-determination and an end to their exile. However, instead of likening the struggle of the Armenian seeking to return to Van with that of the Palestinian seeking to return to Jaffa, the media likens Armenian attacks on Turkish targets to what would be today - were they to take place - senseless attacks by Jews on German targets.

But if journalists are confused on this point, perhaps it is because so many Armenians, dazed by the enormity of the horror that was the Genocide, have themselves failed to develop a perspective and orientation that looks beyond 1915. A people cannot struggle against an historical event. We no longer struggle against the prospect of physical annihilation and once our presentation to outsiders centers upon our exile of today and not events of the past, then there can be no more talk in the media of innocent Turkish diplomats, the passage of so many years, race hatred, vendetta, and the desire for revenge.

April 24, 2007


Many of you will have heard the news regarding the April 19th brutal killing of 3 Christians in Malatya, Turkey.

It is alleged that those zealots who did the killing were angered that their victims were distributing bibles and had lead a church service in a local hotel a week before.

The above photo shows the burial of the slain German evangelical minister on the premises of the Armenian Church in Malatya.

The minister and two Turkish converts to Christianity were found with their hands and legs bound and their throats slit.

The Hurriyet columinist Bekir Coskun ( see video) asks whether the Turkish educational system is ultimately to blame for these and similar acts of violence which stem from a deep fear and hatred of anything non-Turkish and non-Islamic. Paradoxically, Christians make up a fraction of 1% of the country's 71 million population.

Coincidentally, slain Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink was born in Malatya and was working towards reopening the local Armenian Church there.

April 23, 2007





Today, on the eve of the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 we pause to remember the one and a half million men, woman and children whose lives were brutally extinguished merely because they were Armenians living on their ancestral lands. We remember their stubborn perseverance over decades of misrule and repression to remain on the lands of their ancestors and thus remain Armenian. And finally, we commemorate their courage and will to survive when confronted with those forces of evil, racial hatred and nationalistic xenophobia whose desire it was to wipe Armenia and the Armenian people off the face of the map. We honor their memory and the ultimate sacrifice they made.

We remember all those who resisted, in deed and word, so that out of the ashes of 1915 the Armenian nation would rise again . We salute all our dedicated freedom fighters, intellectuals, community activists, religious leaders, artists, and all Armenians from all strata, who sought to reinstill in our people the noble notions of struggle in the name of justice and truth. We salute their efforts to reforge a new, revitalized Armenian consciousness that might be better able to tackle and comprehend the new set of realities that faced the Armenian nation in a post 1915 world.

Today, hopefully, Armenians in both the homeland and globally, will take the time to reflect on what truly transpired in 1915 and its aftermath - GENOCIDE, EVICTION, EXILE. It is a history that we collectively share and it presents us with a host of challenges and unresolved issues that we must collectively tackle.

This is a responsibility that none of us should shy away from . For there is no better way to immortalize the memory of our "martyrs" and the legacy they bequeathed us but to... SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.


April 19, 2007


Reports today in the Armenian and Azeri press quote Vardan Oskanian, Armenia's Foreign Minister, declaring that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict could be close to a resolution.

Oskanian, who is on a working visit to Austria, supposedly made the statement at a meeting of the OSCE's Permanent Council where he discussed a variety of issues, including the upcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia.

Regarding Karabakh Oskanian said, " We could be close to a resolution. I have seen all the proposals that have ever been produced by the mediators. I can assure you we have never been this close."

Hot on the heels of Oskanian's statement regarding an imminent deal in Karabakh, the Azeri press lambasted his declarations as mere political propaganda in light of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia.

No less a figure than Novruz Mammadov, the Chief of the International Relations Department of the Azeri Presidential Administration, described Oskanian's optimism as mere 'speculation" noting that, " Armenia's leadership very frequently resorts to such measures."

Today, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan were scheduled to meet in Belgrade, Serbia, for their second meeting within the Prague process of 2007. Their first meeting was held in Geneva on March 14th.

We doubt that anything groundbreaking will come out of the Belgrade meeting given that a presidential election will take place in Karabakh on July 19th. Azerbaijan has already declared the election as illegal and damaging to the peace process.

April 18, 2007


While Armenia is enmeshed in an election campaign for the National Assembly, things are also heating up across the border in Turkey in a lead up to the nomination of candidates for a new president.

Last weekend some 300,000 so-called secularists converged in Ankara to protest any presidential aspirations of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, whom many view as a closet Islamist. Many secular Kemalists (followers of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of ther modern Turkish Republic) feel threatened by the possibility that Erdogan's Justice and Development Party will use its majority in parliament to elect an Islamist to the post of president. (In Turkey the parliament elects the president.)

Erdogan is seen as the leading contender for the presidency despite not having declared himself as a candidate. And what would an Erdogan presidency mean for democratic reform in Turkey, and by extension a reappraisal of the Armenian Genocide of 1915?

When Erdogan was Istanbul's mayor he compared democracy to a bus..." You ride it until your destination and then you get off."

Of particular interest is how political pundits and government analysts in the West view developments in Turkey. It appears that the dominant view in the ruling circles is that despite all its flaws Turkey remains the best model for Islamist and secularist coexistence within a 'democratic' state that is friendly to the West. Simply put....better the devil we know than the democrat we don't.

For many in the West, Turkey's strategic importance in the Middle East cannot be minimized in a post 9/11 world. In other words Turkey , if managed correctly, could serve as a cooperative proxy for various western interests in the Middle East and the Caucasus.

Thus, the introduction of Armenian Genocide recognition legislation in the United States and genocide denial bills in France only serve to alienate Turkish popular opinion even further against the West. Continued pleas for some form of "closure" vis-a-vis Turkey's responsibility for the Armenian Genocide are viewed as mere irritants to be dismissed in the context of keeping Turkey as a major ally in the U.S.-led global war against terrorism and the neo-cons fantasized concept of democracy building through regime change.

Redressing the wrongs of the past may seem the right thing to do after all these years of collective silence and official neglect. But for the politicians and their moneyed backers, such periodic urges remain no more than that. Nice sentiments with no real chance of being realized.


We've stayed away from the political circus that comprises the pre-election campaigning and confusion surrounding the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Armenia. We try to keep up with the parties, their leaders and what exactly they propose to do in the name of the country and the people but.......IT'S ALL TOO MUCH TO FATHOM!!!!!!!

Who exactly was it who said that a given electorate deserves what they get for electing a bunch of clowns and buffoons into office?

We haven't read any real analysis, anywhere, regarding the main political contenders and what they actually represent and why they would be either good or bad for Armenia.

It's all form and no substance. Who looks good; whose ads are well prepared; who attracts the most onlookers to rallies; etc..........

Can someone out there pick a party or local candidate and rationally explain why they should be elected to represent the will of the people in the National Assembly??

April 17, 2007


In an April 16th interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE INTERNATIONAL, Tayip Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister made the following outrageous statement when asked about freedom of religion in Turkey:

SPIEGEL: Brussels complains that the pace of reforms in Turkey has slowed. For example, you still have the infamous Article 301, which makes the denigration of Turkishness prosecutable and limits freedom of opinion. The EU is also demanding complete freedom of religion.

Erdogan: In Turkey the religious minorities have more rights than they do in Europe. What aspect of their faith are they not allowed to live out here? Do we tear down their churches?

Actually Mr. Erdogan that is exactly what you and successive Turkish governments have been doing for decades. Please do not insult our intelligence. We suggest you go to the following website for a partial list of destroyed Armenian churches: The Genocide Education Project

Further along in the interview the following give and take took place regarding the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and the murder of Hrant Dink earlier this year:

SPIEGEL: Why are authors still tried in Turkey under Article 301?

Erdogan: I see that you are influenced by the Turkish press! Please check how many have been sentenced under this law or are in jail.

SPIEGEL: But people have been convicted. For example, murdered journalist Hrant Dink, who had Armenian roots, was sentenced to probation.

Erdogan: I met the writers who say that Article 301 must be completely eliminated. I asked them: Do you want to make it easier to decry the state, the parliament or the prime minister? I am saying yes to criticism, but no to insults. There are similar laws in Europe -- but for us it is about Turkishness, and for you it is about the German nation.

SPIEGEL: But we are protecting the state, there is no protection for "Germanness." So you don't want to change 301?

Erdogan: I don't think it should fall completely. The article also protects the right to criticize.

OK - The man is evidently smoking something in transit from Afghanistan to Europe. But Erdogan might actually be elected Turkey's next president. In fact, voting in Turkey's parliament for the next head of state will start after the closing date for nominations, April 25th.

So far, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) which has a clear parliamentary majority has not yet announced whether Erdogan will be its candidate.

This past Saturday a demonstration in Ankara protesting a possible Erdogan candidacy rallied some 300,000 "secular Kemalists". Many in Turkey view Erdogan as a closet Islamicist who if elected will slowly dismantle the bureaucratic state structures and secular nationalism founded on the teachings and tenets of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Read the entire SPIEGEL interview HERE


Daniel Fried, the United States Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European Affairs, during a press briefing held today, commented that, " We think that Turkey ought to open the border with Armenia and restore normal relations."

Continuing the official said, " We're pleased by recent steps Turkey has taken, like restoring the Armenian Church in eastern turkey, even if as a museum."

Fried described Turkey as a "good ally" and a country where the transformation towards democracy has lately taken deep roots. According to Fried, it is this growing "freedom of expression" that has permitted a greater discussion in Turkey about its past, especially the mass killings of Armenians in 1915.

In conclusion Fried commented that, " We encourage them (Turks) to examine their history and the painful, what can be called "dark spots", and they're not the only country that has them. The U.S. has plenty of its own."

Now, what is painfully apparent to the astute reader is the double speak of this U.S. bureaucrat.

This is the same Daniel Fried who on March 15, 2007 stated that passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution would " undercut those voices emerging in Turkey who call for a truthful exploration of these events in pursuit of Turkey's reconciliation with its own past and with Armenia."

This is the same Daniel Fried who that same day attempted to hold the Armenians in Turkey hostage by stating that passage of the Genocide Resolution at this time would only serve to threaten their security .

While we agree with Fried's call for Turkey to open the border and sit down with Armenia to normalize relations, with no preconditions, the fact remains that, We have to admit this is the United States encouraging its Turkish ally to undertake some necessary
" damage control " and not much else.

Then too, the entire Akhtamar Church restoration farce, which Fried points to as an example of Turkey's desire for reconciliation, was nothing more than a base public relations move on the part of Turkey to appease the conscience of various European powers on the eve of Turkey's ascension negotiations regarding the European Union.

What forces in Turkey does Fried consider " open to exploring Turkey's dark spots"? Those handful of intellectuals who have broached the Armenian Genocide issue have either left the country for fear of their lives or have been intimidated into silence. Is this the flowering of democracy that Fried so eloquently speaks of?

The degree of Fried's hypocrisy boggles the mind but is to be expected on the eve of April 24th. In essence not much has really changed!

April 15, 2007


International news agencies are abuzz with the news that Gary Kasparov, the former world chess champion, was detained in Moscow on April 14th during an anti-Putin demonstration in central Moscow.

Kasparov (see photo), along with scores of other protesters, were rounded up by the thousands of riot police and Interior Ministry camouflaged soldiers that locked down the city to prevent a march by the "Other Russia" coalition of groups that accuse President Vladimir Putin of dismantling democracy in Russia.

Mr. Kasparov, one of the leaders of "Other Russia" was detained as he tried to lead the demonstrators into historic Pushkin Square, despite a ban to do so by city authorities.

After several hours of detention, Kasparov was finally released from police custody.

For more pictures of the demonstration see BBC

April 13, 2007


According to a April 11th report in the Azeri Trend News Agency, Jonathan Henick of the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Baku has declared that the United States will not recognize presidential elections scheduled to take place in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) on July 19, 2007

Mr. Henick (see photo) allegedly stated that the United States continues its policy of not recognizing the legitimacy of the NKR and views it as Azeri territory "occupied" by Armenian forces.

In a related matter, news has surfaced regarding the plans of "SEMA Associates", a U.S.-based private company to draw up an urban revitalization scheme for the town of Sushi in the NKR.

It appears that Baku, after hearing of the actions of SEMA, protested to the U.S. Embassy in Baku. In response, Jonathan Henick commented that the U.S. has nothing to do with the actions of its country's citizens or private companies.

And finally, according to TODAY.AZ (an Azeri on-line news service), a group calling itself the "Public Union of the Azeri Community of Nagorno-Karabakh", has sent a letter to various OSCE officials protesting the actions of the SEMA company. It goes on to say that 547 architectural, 205 archaeological and over 900 libraries have been destroyed by Armenian forces in Karabakh.

April 11, 2007


Some of you will have already heard of Turkey's attempt to shut-down a United Nations exhibit on genocide entitled "Lessons from Rwanda" that included a sentence regarding the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

After official Turkish protests, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon agreed to see to it that the "objectionable" reference be removed.

In dispute was the following sentence, "Following WWI, during which 1 million Armenians were murdered in Turkey, Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin urged the League of Nations to recognize crimes of barbarity as international crimes."

James Smith, the Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, the exhibit's organizer, bravely refused to accede to the Secretary General's request.

“Had we been asked to remove reference of atrocities to Jews because Germany objected, we would have been equally resistant,” said Smith. “We can’t apply one rule to some and not to others because the political wind in the UN is blowing against the Armenians,” he said. Removing the sentence would amount to a “denial of elementary facts.”

Serj Tankian, activist and lead singer of the group System of a Down appears in the film "Screamers" which traces the history of genocide in the last century, starting with the Armenian Genocide.

Tankian had the following to say regarding the exhibit's closing..

“We are very shocked by this decision by the Secretary General to remove mention of a historical event which is well-documented by thousands of official records of the United States and nations around the world, including Turkey’s wartime allies, Germany, Austria and Hungary; by Ottoman court martial records; and by eyewitness accounts of missionaries, diplomats and survivors; as well as decades of historical scholarship. In the U.S., President Bush has called the events the ‘forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians.’

(See more regarding Screamers' reaction)

April 08, 2007


As the 92nd anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey approaches the Turkish , as well as the Azeri, propaganda machine is being shifted into high gear. One merely has to sift through the pages of the Turkish and Azeri press to see examples of how this campaign is being manifested. The anti-Armenian propaganda machine no longer spews out denials of the 1915 Genocide but lately has taken to portray Armenians as the aggressors and not the victims.

The following April 2nd report from the Azeri ANS press website is one example. It describes a recent protest meeting organized by the Igdir Society of Victims of Armenian Aggression that took place in the Igdir region of Turkey, close to the Armenian border.

Participants included Azeris now living in the region as well as faculty of the Nakhichevan State University. What resulted was a blanket condemnation of alleged "historic Armenian aggression" against Turks and Azeris alike which supposedly started in Ottoman times.

It concluded that Armenian claims of a 1915 genocide are false and that Ottoman Turkey was forced to exile its Armenian populace because of Armenian revolts against the Ottoman state at the behest of various western powers. The claim was also made that only 10,000 Armenians died during the exile due to "bad weather".

Jefer Chor, a lawyer for the Igdir Society described the Republic of Armenia as, " a state unaware of democracy, human rights and modern values and where dictatorship reigns."

What should be clear to all, Diaspora and Armenia alike, is that the unresolved issues emanating from the 1915 Genocide affect us all. One can prioritize issues that currently need to be addressed in the Armenia-Diaspora duality, but one cannot naively neglect the interdependence of these issues.

April 05, 2007


According to an April 4th Associated Press report:

Police and soldiers fired warning shots into the air and used tear gas and truncheons Wednesday to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing Kurdish protesters in southeast Turkey.

The protesters wanted to travel to the village of Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan to mark his 58th birthday, reports said.

The clashes erupted when police and soldiers blocked a highway and stopped a convoy of around 4,000 Kurds near the town of Halfeti in Sanliurfa province. Angry Kurds, shouting slogans in support of Ocalan, began throwing stones at the soldiers and police, prompting them to open fire into the air, the private Dogan news agency said.

Some of the protesters and at least one police officer were slightly injured, it said. The group wanted to travel to the village of Omerli, where Ocalan was born, near the town of Birecik.

Another aspect of the story caught our eye. It appears that the local Turkish officials gave food and gifts to the Kurdish kids in school in an attempt to keep them away from the demonstration. "We distributed kebabs at the high school and toys at the primary school to prevent the manipulation of the children", stated Birecik's governor Tuncay Sonel.

Sounds a bit similar in methodology to the "Handouts For Votes" campaign of Gagik Tsarukyan's Prosperous Armenia party. After all it's just a harmless bribe right? No harm done...

April 04, 2007

ARMENIANS SHOULD FLOCK TO AKHTAMAR FOR APRIL 24TH ( Ապրիլ 24-ին Առթիւ - Համահայկական Ուխտագնացութիւն Դէպի Ախթամար )

The time has come for Armenians, if they are sincere in their proclamations regarding Genocide recognition and their desire for justice regarding their being exiled from western Armenia, to take a PRO-ACTIVE stance regarding the unresolved Armenian Question.

We use the term Armenian Question (Հայկական Հարց) because the Armenian dispersion still has not categorically stated what it wants or is willing to do regarding the events of 1915 and its consequences.

Some, if not a majority, who still talk about the injustices done to the Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent initial phases of the Kemalist Turkish republic use the term Hay Dat ( Հայ Դատ) which translates into the Armenian Case ( as in legal case). We have always been repulsed by this terminology since it connotes the idea that the unresolved issues of 1915 will somehow be resolved through arbitration and legal proceedings. Something which is absurd and misleading!!!!!

The diaspora is a reality which is here to stay. It will evolve and develop according to a host of factors both external to it and internally intrinsic to it. In fact, if the number of Armenians in the diaspora number some 5-6 million as guesstimates say, then it is fairly logical to say that there are 5-6million individual mini-diasporas as well. Such is its complexity and scope.

Now, there are Armenians both in the diaspora and Armenia, who are living a set of contradictions, social, psychological and spiritual, etc, due to the forced exile and eviction of Armenians from western Armenia. Some may find answers to their own personal set of contradictions as diasporan Armenians in the Republic of Armenia (ROA). Others, for whatever reasons, may not. In fact, there are those who categorically state that the ROA is not the homeland of their fore bearers and thus not theirs as well by extension. (This is a political and philosophical debate for another time).

Thus, let us for the moment, agree with those who look to eastern Anatolia for answers. What has this segment and their ideological/political leadership done to bridge the gap between dispersion and the reality that exists in Turkey today. PRECIOUS LITTLE.

If the ultimate goal of this segment of the dispersion is their REINTEGRATION into an Anatolian reality, on the land of their ancestors of a mere ninety years ago, then we would say fine, this long term objective goes a long way to conceptualizing what is meant by the Armenian Question.

How will this reintegration be achieved? Through proclamations recognizing the events of 1915 as Genocide?? Of course not. By dusting off the Treaty of Sevres and parading it around the hall of government and courts in Europe? Let's not fool ourselves..

The minimum we can do of an immediate nature would be to take an active and vocal stance regarding the Armenian cultural inheritance that is left in Turkey today. This has to be organized a large scale, with a pan-diasporan scope. The possibilities are varied and can include research, archaeological digs and ultimately pilgrimages to certain important sites . Of course, all this will have to be done in coordination and with the consent of the Turkish authorities. Many will say it's a pipe dream, something Turkey will never consent to. But the attempt must be made!!!!! And each time Turkey attempts to hinder or block these efforts we must expose the government for doing so before the tribunal of world public opinion.

We must make it clear to all involved that we are dedicated to maintaining our links with western Armenia. Anything less would be a clear signal that Armenians have given up the idea of ever returning to the lands that a mere 90 years ago constituted the bulk of the Armenia homeland.

But first we must decide what exactly we mean when we say the unresolved Armenian Question. For the vast majority the Question has been resolved years ago. For those for whom it remains an open wound, what lies ahead is a struggle that will take place on many levels and in a variety of forms.

(To be Continued)

April 02, 2007

THE PERILS OF BOILERPLATE LEFTISM...Or Why Certain Left Intellectuals Fail To Characterize Turkey As A Colonialist, Racist State???

The following article by Thomas Lifson, a lecturer of political science at Columbia University (New York), appeared in the April 1st issue of American Thinker, a daily internet publication devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans.

April 1st, being April Fools Day, what Lifson has done is to take an article by Joseph Massad, a faculty member at Columbia's Middle East Studies Department, that appeared in the Cairo paper Al Ahram, which asks why more European intellectuals and leftists have not spoken up in defense of the Palestinians and their struggle against Zionist aggression. Lifson then substitutes the word Turkey for Zionism (Israel) and Armenian, Kurd or Greek everywhere the word Palestinian appears in the original. The result makes for interesting reading despite the fact that Massad's original critique raises some important issues.

Below is Lifson's article in its entirety

Joseph Massad is a member in good standing of the Columbia University Middle Eastern Studies faculty, teaching Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History. He is up for tenure soon, by the way Just for April Fools' Day fun, we took one of his intemperate essays on Israel (from al Ahram no less) and substituted Turkish everywhere he had Zionist or Jewish, and wrote Kurds, Armenians and Greeks when he had Palestinians, cut out the rambling middle paragraphs and - voila. The headline "Turkey is a Racist, Settler-Colonial State" is not based on his, however, which focused on Sartre.

Until European intellectuals take on board the racist basis of the Turkish State, their support for the struggle of native peoples will always ring hollow, writes Joseph Massad.

What is it about the nature of Turkish nationalism, its racism, and its colonial policies that continues to escape the understanding of many European intellectuals on the left? Why have the Greek, Armenian, Kurdish and Roma peoples of Anatolia received so little sympathy from prominent leftist intellectuals such as Jean- Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault or only contingent sympathy from others like Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, Etienne Balibar, and Slavoj Zizek?

While most of these intellectuals have taken public stances against racism and white supremacy, have opposed Nazism and apartheid South Africa, seem to oppose colonialism, old and new, most of them partake of a Sartrian legacy which refuses to see a change in the status of Turks, who are still represented only as a nation deserving entry into the European Union.

The status of the Turk as a colonizer who has used racist colonial violence for the last several centuries against the native peoples of Anatolia is a status they refuse to recognize and continue to resist vehemently. Although some of these intellectuals have clearly recognized Turkish violence in Anatolia, and the deliberate genocide committed against the Armenians, they continue to hold on to a pristine image of a Turkish State founded by democratic secularists rather than by armed colonial settlers.

Despite Derrida's opposition to White supremacist South Africa in the mid-1980s, he believes that Turkey, a racist Turkish state, should be recognized by all. Clearly, Derrida is attached to a certain image of Turkey that is defiled by some of its actions, like the occupation of Kurdish, Greek and Armenian land.

April 01, 2007


The film medium, if properly utilized, can be not only an artistic experience for the viewer but can be a means to convey more substantive, dare we say philosophical, messages on a host of issues both current and historical.

A case in point is director Ken Loach's fine new film, The Wind That Shakes The Barley.

Set in Ireland during the 1920's, it is a story of a people ravaged by the cruelties of British colonialism and the liberation war they wage to free themselves from foreign occupation. It is a brutal, but honest depiction, of how common people decide to take action to liberate their country and themselves from the powers and restrictions imposed by others and the ruling elites. It is also the story of how ruling elites, in this case the British, sought to divide and conquer the rebellious Irish, by offering them " Home Rule ", something less than total independence. What ensued was a civil war in Ireland between those who rejected the British offer and those who did not.

Today, the six northern counties in Ireland still remain under the control of Britain.

Today, many are proposing, similar compromises regarding Artsakh. That is to say, a semi-autonomous status but not totally free of Azeri colonial rule and jurisdiction. Of course, Azerbaijan, just like Great Britain, is loathe to acquiesce to total political independence for its colonial possessions.

The Easter Rebellion in Ireland took place in 1916. Today, some 90 years later, Ireland still waits for total independence.

Let those Armenians who are deciding the fate of Artsakh and its people take Ireland as just one example of promises betrayed before they sign on to any document that will ultimately betray the hopes and aspirations of Artsakh as well.