One photographer has said, “Photographs don’t lie, but liars take photographs.” Every photograph is indeed subjective, because it has a certain subject. But if a subjective photograph captures people or cultural monuments being exterminated, I am for such kind of “biased photographs” (as the Azerbaijani government refers to the evidence showing their destructive policy against the Armenian heritage) because even human rights can be considered subjective.

I have this thing about photographs. I often engage in conversations with people who deny the accuracy of some photographs, let it be the Abu Ghraib atrocities, the Julfa vandalism or politician Kaloogian’s photo with Mount Ararat.

What I get irritated with is the fact that photographs, that are not pleasing somebody, get labeled “manufactured,” “fake,” or “Photoshop.” I don’t say there are not these kinds of things out there, but it is not as common as most people think.

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Why Abu Ghraib? My “smart” sociology professor (about whom I once wrote) was discussing “cultural war” today and saying how bad the “bad guys are.” What about Abu Ghraib atrocities committed by our soldiers, I wondered. “Most of those photos were manufactured,” my professor responded. I confronted and said that even the Pentagon did not claim such a thing. I guess she understood she was wrong (though last week she was enthusiastically arguing that she had read 1800s literature where the word “genocide” was used despite my great efforts of trying to explain her that the term “genocide” was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin!).

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Well, my sociology instructor is not THAT off her mind. She says smart things too: for example, when she read my paper on “cultural genocide,” she said that I should “definitely become an author!” My psycho-racist philosophy professor Jeff Broome should be SO HAPPY that I was not blogging while taking his “Intro to Philosophy” class and learning about “Indian savageries against the poor white settlers.” Don’t you guys think I have problems with all of my professors; in fact it is just the opposite and most of them are really great teachers!

Getting back to the photographs. I don’t want to go into details of how Azerbaijani nationalists “dismiss” the photographs that show the ancient cemetery of Old Jugha (Julfa) being destroyed. I just want to gladly note that after I posted links to 48 several photos at an Azerbaijani forum, the forum users finally stopped saying that those were fake.

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Getting back to Kaloogian. This is a Republican guy, with Armenian roots, who wants to become a congressman. He made a huge mistake and put Istanbul’s photo at his campaign website saying that was in Baghdad. Almost every single blogger in this world pointed out the fact and Kaloogian apologized for the mistake. Some people went ahead. Voch Me Ban posted Kaloogian’s photo with Mount Ararat at his background and joked whether this was Baghdad too. Some bloggers did the same thing but they did it seriously.

Dr. C. for example, posted a photo of Mount Ararat (taken from west Armenia – now Eastern Turkey) and alluded that this was another fabrication! After I posted some explanatory comments at Dr. C.’s blog, he said, “Alright, Blogian, you are probably right.”

Blogian’s big request to everyone: don’t argue with him about photographs unless you are Onnik Krikorian or Lewis Hine.