Archive for January, 2007

Genocide Resolution Lands in Congress

The Armenian Genocide resolution was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today, January 30, 2007, reports Associated Press via Los Angeles Times.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have introduced a resolution urging the government to recognize as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the end of World War I.

Turkey has adamantly denied claims by scholars that its predecessor state, the Ottoman government, caused the Armenian deaths in a genocide. The Turkish government has said the toll is wildly inflated, and Armenians were killed or displaced in civil unrest during the disarray surrounding the empire’s collapse.

After French lawmakers voted in October to make it a crime to deny that the killings were a genocide, Turkey said it would suspend military relations with France. Turkey provides vital support to U.S. military operations. Incirlik Air Force Base, a major base in southern Turkey, has been used by the U.S. to launch operations into Iraq and Afghanistan and was a center for U.S. fighters that enforced the “no-fly zones” that kept the Iraqi air force bottled up after the 1991 Gulf War.

The resolution (H. Res. 106) calls “upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes.” The full text of the resolution is available online.

Interestingly, one of the first to respond to the reintroduction of the Genocide resolution was Armenia’s tiny Jewish community. According to Global Jewish News,

Leaders of Armenia’s small Jewish community praised the resolution and expressed solidarity with the approximately 1.5 million ethnic Armenians killed between 1915-17, “because the histories of our people are similar and we too have gone through discrimination, tragedy and a genocide.”

This is perhaps in response to some Jewish groups (especially from Turkey) that lobby against the Genocide resolution, although at least one cosponsor of the resolution is of the Jewish faith. Israeli scholar Yair Auron’s “Banality of Denial: Israel and the Armenian Genocide,” which I finished reading last week, states that the resolution was pulled out in 2000 because Shimon Perez had written a letter to Clinton saying that Jewish lives in Turkey would be under danger if it passed. But more recently, a former Turkish FBI translator has claimed that then House speaker Hastert pulled out the resolution because he was bribed by nationalist Turkish groups in America.

In the name of love

Cem Ozdemir, a columnist with the Turkish Zaman, has published a surprising yet very welcoming entry about Armenian and Turkish relations. He asks important questions, and I think his column is the essence of a Turkey that the world wants to see.

Everybody — journalists, party leaders, the president of the republic, the chief of general staff — found harsh words to condemn the murder of Hrant Dink. But don’t they see that there is a link between what they are writing, saying and preaching in their daily professional lives and what happened to Hrant? How can one condemn his murder and still argue for the absurd Article 301, which brought him to court multiple times for nothing but his opinion?
How can one continue to argue that the border to Armenia should remain closed? Some are against opening the border because of the Armenian occupation of Azeri territory. But that’s all the more reason to take the initiative and establish good relations with your neighbors, thereby becoming the good broker in the process to negotiate a fair and just solution.
Those who continue to oppose the recent legislation on foundations don’t understand that treating Armenians and other Christians as second-class citizens was exactly what Hrant was fighting against.
How can one still be against Christians becoming officers, generals and members of parliament?
How can one still continue to declare as an enemy everybody who has another opinion than the official one on the events of 1915?
Just before Hrant was murdered, Sylvester Stallone became the new enemy. What did he do wrong? He supported the views of the majority of historians and experts in the world and described the events of 1915 as genocide. Even if one doesn’t agree with him, has anyone bothered to read the script of the movie he is planning? How many people have actually read Franz Werfel’s book about the 40 days of Musa Dag? Or does the fact that Werfel and Stallone don’t share the official views of the state automatically make them enemies? And if so, is it treason if I watch Stallone’s new film, “Rocky Balboa”? Recent commentaries on TV and in the papers that say this film too is now bad, even though it has nothing to do with his announced movie about Werfel’s book, are incredibly shortsighted.
In case it matters: I am still a fan of Stallone and his movies (OK, except for the Rambo series) and I look forward to seeing “Rocky Balboa,” just as I was looking forward to it only a couple of weeks ago. The difference now, of course, is that since last Friday, I don’t feel much like going to the movies?.
There is enough sadness in Hrant’s death. But it increases my pain even more to watch people talk about him and his heritage who never understood Hrant while he was alive. For all the talk about Hrant’s legacy let’s not overlook Agos, his Turkish-Armenian newspaper, which should persevere. Hrant’s death should not be used to make arguments in favor of or against Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Obviously, Turkey’s EU prospects were for Hrant — and remain for other people of different origins in Turkey — a chance to improve their rights. Nor should the death be employed in the debate surrounding the events of 1915. Hrant did not insist on recognizing the genocide as a precondition for a dialogue as some people in the diaspora do. But remember his words when he said that the Armenians know what happened to them.
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss
U2 sang this song for Martin Luther King, Jr. I would like to dedicate it to my brother Hrant Dink.
Do they who betrayed him with a kiss know what they did?
Turkey produced both Hrant Dink and the 17-year-old boy who killed him. And let’s not forget the thousands of people who marched in solidarity and chanted, “We are all Hrant Dink! We are all Armenians!”
This is Turkey, and its future depends on whether it produces more Hrant Dinks — who live in the name of love — or more 17-year-old boys who kill in the name of hate.

Untold Secrets

Uncyclopedia – the stupid and funny encyclopedia – is worth browsing. I came across to it accidently, and enjoyed the entries about Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Saakashvili, the democratic hero of the World

Again, this is supposed to be funny so no hard feelings.

Writing about Armenia, Uncyclopedia notes:

Armenia is a huge country located in between the Black and Caspian oceans. It is huge. Huge. It is popularly regarded that Armenia is its own continent, sitting between Europe and Asia, though this notion has no “official” status. The continent on which the continents of Armenia, Europe, and Asia lie can in some contexts be called Armeneurasia.

Armenians all walk around in public with a group of 10 because mexicans will kill them.

They think they are all related to alcapone or tupac shakur

They smell like garlic and have a big enough nose to stuff bombs(armenians are terrorists)

The entry on Armenia also teaches Armenian and how to become Armenian:

Investigate Armenia, decide where you came from sucks, decide to stay (this last part, the staying decision, has a 100% likelihood of happening and is irreversible since Armenia is the place to be). If you can’t find the country (which would be strange, because Armenia is also a continent and it’s where the action is), it’ll suffice to move to Southern California.Step 2: Add ‘-ian’ (or ‘-yan’) to the end of your last name. Examples:

  • Bill O’Reilly = Bill O’Reillian
  • Achmed Chalabi = Achmed Chalabian
  • Dick Cheney = Dick Cheneian
  • Joe Kowalski = Joe Kowalskian
  • John Smith = John Smithsonian (note slight twist)
  • Kate Moss = Kate Mossian
  • Brian Eno = Brian Enoian
  • Armin Tamzarian = Armin Tamzarianian
  • Ching Chong = Ching Chongian

Coming to Azerbaijan, Uncyclopedia writes that it “is a friendly country that loves company; it has frontiers with Russia and Matrioshka in the north, Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west, southeast, southwest, northeast and even inside and Iran in the south.” It later tells about Azerbaijan’s porn industry and the Armenian heritage.

Georgia’s entry seems to be the funniest, with a great picture of the rose revolution.

Posting the Georgian alphabet, Uncyclopedia says, “The Georgian alphabet has 2 question marks, but noone knows why..”
Coming to Turkey, we find out that “Turkey is actually a myth; no country exists with such a name.”

And yes, Paris Hilton has decided to become Paris Hiltonian and move to Azerbaijan because she knows that Azerbaijan had proclaimed Holy Slap against Armenians.

Welcome to Julfa!

A self-described independent blogger from Azerbaijan and Doctor of History Vulgar Seidov is writing in Russian the circumstances under which European parliamentarians and UNESCO would be allowed to visit Djulfa (Julfa or Jugha) – the site of the largest medieval Armenian cemetery that was wiped off the face of the Earth in December of 2005:

Путь в Джульфу европейским экспертам лежит только через разрушенные азербайджанские могилы и памятники в сегодняшней Армении и оккупированных азербайджанских территориях. Только после того, как каждый до последнего разрушенный и осквернённый азербайджанский объект будет наведан, задокументирован, зафиксирован европейцами, только после этого можно будет им сказать Welcome to Julfa!

(The road to Djulfa for the European experts lies only through [the examination] of destroyed Azerbaijani graves and monuments in modern Armenia and [in] occupied Azerbaijani territories. Only after that, when the very last destroyed and desecrated Azerbaijani object is visited, documented, and noted [fixed?] by the Europeans, only after that they can be told, “Welcome to Julfa!”)

Ironically enough, Armenia has agreed to the examination of the state of Azerbaijani monuments in Armenia by European experts. During such a visit last year to Armenia and Azerbaijan, the delegation was denied access to Nakhichevan where Djulfa lies. But you don’t tell this to Azerbaijani academicians, because they know it very well.

I agree that the price to visit Djulfa should be through the documentation of all Azerbaijani objects in Armenia (although I am not sure what Seidov means by “all objects”). There are Azerbaijani monuments in Armenia, and even if they all together do not have 1% of the significance of only one of the thousands of medieval Armenian cross stones forever gone in Azerbaijan, in the words of Norwegia’s former Ambassador to Azerbaijan, “Any kind of act of destruction toward any kind of historical monument of any religion, nation or people should be condemned.”

So why not go ahead and do it? Let’s have the delegation examine the ethnic artefacts and cultural sites of both countries. Although I have not seen reports of Armenian army or authorities destroying Azerbaijani monuments, I am sure Armenia is not an angel either – especially given the fact that even Armenian monuments are neglected in Armenia.
Unfortunately, it seems that the examiniation of Azerbaijani monuments is not Azerbaijan’s real intention. They don’t care about these monuments. They just want one thing – no foreigner witness what they have done in Djulfa. And here is how Seidov, for example, makes the transformation:

Да и вообще, я думаю тема памятников исчерпала себя и и её пора закрывать.

(And actually, I think, the topic of monuments has exhausted itself and it it time to close it.)

What was the whole point of Dr. Seidov’s post if he concludes that Armenian and Azerbaijani monuments should not be of concern?

A short quiz about Armenia

Which of the listed don’t pay their gas bill in Yerevan?

1.    The poor
2.    The middle class
3.    The rich

The correct answer is 3 – the rich.  The gas bill collectors in Armenia go from home to home after the payment.  Knowing that my sister is a journalist, one collector complained to her that the prosecutors, judges and the “elite” in their neighborhood (people who have become super rich through corruption, bribes and direct thefts from national and local budgets) don’t pay one cent for their gas bill.  Whereas, the super rich use the most gas to heat their huge houses.

Is this why Armenia’s gas prices keep going?  Still wondering what would happen if the collection office cut their gas off?  If we still remember, one year ago Armenia’s cabinet minister of culture Hovik Hoveyan resigned after reports that he had “attacked and pistol-whipped electricity workers after a brief cut-off in power supplies to his apartment.”

Now, I can’t claim and don’t have evidence that all Armenian oligarchs and the several hundred thieves who own the most wealth in Armenia don’t pay the gas bill, but I am sure the bill collector made a reference to our direct neighbor, a prosecutor who built a huge house taking the site of Ararat from our eyes, and to the rest of our few super rich neighbors.

My sister feels so vulnerable that she expects every minute having their home taken from them of course without just compensation or consent.  One of our neighbors, who apparently doesn’t pay the bill and became relatives with Pres. Kocharian after they married off their children, has started a process of buying the entire neighborhood.  The poor people of the street are being forced to sell their homes – one of them the family of an 18-year-old boy who died in the war.  A cleansing of vulnerable socio-economic people takes place in downtown Yerevan and in other “desirable” areas.

Morgenthau Is Back

American Ambassador John Morgenthau Evans has written a letter to the New York Times:

Re “Editor Who Spoke for Turkey’s Ethnic Armenians Is Slain” (news article, Jan. 20):

Hrant Dink, whom I met in Yerevan, Armenia, in 2005, was a fearless fighter for truth and human dignity. His assassination strikes a heavy blow against Turks, Armenians and all who strive for proper acknowledgment of the 1915 Armenian genocide and for reconciliation between the two nations.

His death should be a wake-up call: the last stage of genocide is denial.

John M. Evans
Sag Harbor, N.Y., Jan. 20, 2007

Dink: I’d Rather Die on Feet

An unseen footage of Hrant Dink, the Armenian journalist whose funeral was attended by over 100,000 people in Turkey, shows the journalist saying in November of 2006 he would rather die on feet than in bed.  He smiled while talking about his possible death.

Prof. Levon Marashlian has prepared a short video, posted at YouTube, in Dink’s memory.

Some of the video (seems has not been shown anywhere before) is from November, 2006 in Glendale, California.  As Prof. Marashlian likes videodocumenting almost everything, I believe this was shot by him.

Dink speaks Armenian, but there is English subtitle too.  With his wonderful smile, Dink adds, “If something is going to happen, I’d rather struggle on feet, and die on feet, and not in bed.”

Interestingly, Dink doesn’t pronounce the word “death/die” but Marashlian still puts it in the subtitle, because no other word could fit in the sentence.

Dink didn’t fear death and smiled while talking about it.

Rest in peace, Dink pasha.

Eulogy for Dink by his wife

Translated from Turkisb by Fatma Gocek (received in e-mail communication):

Below and attached please find my translation of the eulogy Hrant Dink’s wife Rakel Dink delivered in front of his coffin today, on 23 January 2007, in Osmanbey, Istanbul in front of a very large crowd. I have used the text that was printed in the Yeni Safak newspaper.

Muge [Fatma Gocek]

“Letter to My Beloved” by Rakel Dink

“I am here today full of immense grief and dignity. We are all here today with our sorrow. This silence creates within us a sorrowful contentment.

Today we send off half of my soul, my beloved, the father of my children. We are going to actualize a march without any slogans and without any disrespect. Today we are going to generate immense sound through our silence.

Whoever the assasin may be, either 17 or 27 years’ old, I know myself that he too was once a baby. One cannot accomplish anything without questioning first how an assasasin was created from such a baby.

It was Hrant’s honesty, transparency and love that brought him here. They say “he was a great man.” I ask you, Was he born great? No, he too was born just like us. He did not come from the skies, he too came from soil [like us]. It was what he did, the style he chose, the love in his heart that made him great. He became a great man because he thought great things and pronounced great words.

And you too are great for being here today. But do not let this suffice, do not be content with this act alone! One cannot accomplish a great future through hatred, through offense, through holding one blood superior to another. One can only rise through respect for the other.

My beloved!

You departed without having your body age, without getting sick, without spending enough time with those you loved. We too will join you there, my beloved, in that matchless heaven… Only love can enter that domain. We shall live there together forever with true love.

A love that is not jealous of anyone, a love that does not murder, belittle, hold grudges; a love that forgives, respects one’s brothers; a love found in the Messiah….

My beloved, which darkness is capable of erasing your words and your deeds? Could it be fear? Life? Injustice? The temptations of the world? Or death, my beloved?

I too wrote you a love letter, my beloved! It was very hard to write these [words] my beloved!

You departed from those you loved, from your children, your grandchildren, from us, from my lap, but you did not depart from your country, my beloved!”

Was Dink the One?

There seems to be realistic hope that Hrant Dink’s death could be the ultimate price for bringing the Armenian and Turkish people together.  Armenian officials, first time after Turkey closed down the border, are in Turkey to participate in Dink’s funeral.


Some Turkish legislators are saying they will do their best to get rid of Code 301 – the law under which Dink was convicted of “insulting Turkishness.”

Yet the biggest question remains the acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide – something that Dink was punished for.  And the hope for this last one is a Turkish sign circulated in the Internet for those who want to use it in Tuesday’s funeral.  The sign has the year of Dink’s murder, and the year of the Armenian Genocide.

Maybe Dink was the one?

A Poem for Hrant Dink

Adam Garrie, a UCLA student, has written a poem, posted below, in memory of Hrant Dink.  Originally forwarded by Richard Hovhannisian.

Elegy For An Armenian

A Tribute To Hrant Dink

By: Adam Garrie, UCLA

The questions with answers that dare not speak,

A life dedicated to all who seek,

To lift the veil from tired eyes,

Craving justice’s shelter from both truth and lies.

The adopted children of a wandering world,

Where dreams are written but scarcely heard,

A warrior armed but with a pen,

And by the bullet met untimely end.

The stewardship of a refugee,

So perhaps a shrunken world could see,

The fields of death whose blood is dry,

When overdue tears do cease to cry.

The debt of honour without a price,

Ignorance for paradise,

The consequence of the words one speaks,

In times of bounty when men grow meek.

But undeterred by time and place,

Running marathons in a thankless race,

A progressing world on a circular track,

History is the shadow behind your back.

Modern men with medieval souls,

Could not hallow such noble goals,

The ancient streets a witness bear,

Soldiers are those who dream to dare.

Time makes legends but martyrs are made by man,

Forgiveness is for the living and those who understand,

The shadow that walks behind you—once was a child too,

Your world is always given—but your path you have to choose.

From India ‘s rivers and Persia ‘s ancient sands,

On both sides of the Bosporus to the New World ‘s foreign lands,

A people live not by soil but by unspoken fact,

That no swords, empires, or bullets can from this world extract.

With mourning comes tomorrow,

And duty must fulfill,

To answer destiny’s horn call,

That bows before our will.

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