Archive for September, 2007

State Department Report Fails to Mention Vandalism

In its second report (since the Djulfa destruction) on religous freedom in Azerbaijan, the U.S. State Department has failed again to mention the wipe out of the world’s largest Armenian Christian cemetery by the Azeri authorities in December of 2005.

Released on September 14, 2007, the International Religious Freedom Report on Azerbaijan is a copy-past of at least 6-year-old reports in regards to the condition of Armenian churches in Azerbaijan stating that “all Armenian churches, many of which were damaged in ethnic riots that took place more than a decade ago, remained closed.”

Even outside the Azeri exclave of Nakhichevan, where the Djulfa cemetery existed, the statement did not reflect actuality. A church in central Azerbaijan’s Nizh village, for instance, was reopened in early 2006 for the Udi Christian minority after a publicized restoration eliminated the Armenian letters on church walls and nearby tombstones.

What’s the purpose of the report?

The report is available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2007/90164.htm.

“Worse Than Child Pornography”

With over 42,397 views in just a day after being posted online, a YouTube video   based on a new Turkish song is praising the killing of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

“Even child pornography is innocent compared to this,” Gökhan Özgün, a columnist for the Turkish Radikal daily, is quoted as saying.

Today’s Zaman, a newspaper from Turkey, reports

A new song by folksinger İsmail Türüt, which covertly praises the men involved in the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, has caused anger, resentment and grief throughout much of Turkish society.

Three ministries have also taken action following news stories on the ultra-nationalist song that an anonymous fan used to make a video showing Hrant Dink and Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest who was killed in the Black Sea region. The Justice Ministry and the Interior Ministry have started an investigation; meanwhile Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuğrul Günay issued a stern statement, saying he had read the news reports “in horror.” Günay said the government would do everything within its power to make access to the online video clip impossible.

“The song includes intentional cues to fan feelings of hatred and enmity within society,” Günay observed. The Human Rights Association (İHD) called for a boycott of Türüt and announced that it would be filing a criminal complaint against the singer.

“Is it possible for society to function well as long as people who are bold about praising a cowardly and abject murder are respected in various sections of society and have their own television shows?” questioned journalist Ergun Babahan.

[…]

Although the video was produced by a fan, the lyrics of Türüt’s song, written by Ozan Arif, a much-loved poet of the ultra-nationalists, are clearly praising the teenager who shot Hrant Dink on Jan. 17. Türüt denies his song has any racist implications, but references to the names of the teenager and Yasin Hayal, accused of soliciting the hit man, are present in the song — concealed in rather basic wordplay.

The song also makes a clear reference to the Santoro murder. “Stop ringing bells/stop being pro-Armenian/the people won’t swallow that/not in the Black Sea region.” A picture of Father Santoro is shown in the video when Türüt sings the line “Stop ringing bells,” and footage from Dink’s funeral is displayed, in which hundreds of thousands of mourners holding banners reading “We are all Armenian” formed a long procession on the streets of İstanbul. A photo of Dink’s dead body in front of his newspaper Agos is shown as the words of the song “If somebody sells out the motherland/they will immediately die” are being sung.

Meanwhile, Star daily reported that the fan who made the video clip to the song was a Turkish worker living in Vienna.[…]

$4,800 for Excavating Armenian Carthage

In a country where some oligarchs spend an average of $5,000 a week on clothing, $4,800 is the annual government allocation for studying an archaeological site what is now turning out to be the city that Strabo and Plutarch called “Armenian Carthage,” the beautiful capital Artashat (Artaxarta) founded in 190 B.C. by Artashes I.

ArmeniaNow reports,

Armenian archeologists have discovered the second pagan temple in Armenia after Garni.
The temple found 5.5 meters under ground not far from the modern town of Artashat about 30 kilometers to the south-east of Yerevan was devoted to Mihr – the God of the Sun in Armenian mythology. The temple – the symbol of sun-worship was built near Artashat which maintained its status the longest among the capitals of Armenia – from the 2nd century B.C. to the 5th century A.D.

[…]

The expedition comprised of 15 workers of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia had begun the excavations of the territory of capital Artashat in the 1970s. Before that large-scale excavations in the territories bordering Turkey were prohibited by Soviet authorities.

[…]

The archeological team has also managed to find the public bath-house of Artshat with its 7 rooms 75 square meters each.

“There is a mosaic floor and a tiny brook, bases and pools with beautiful ornaments have been found. Also a toilet with sewage system with more than 2,000 years of history, something you can’t find even in modern-day villages, was found,” laughs the archeologist.

The archeological works and others like it, were interrupted by the Karabakh movement in 1988 and the crisis in the later years. The archeological life in the newly independent Armenia gained new momentum in the early 2000s.

An expedition team was formed again in 2003. However, it had only 5 members instead of the former 15 because of insufficient [financial] means to have a larger group.

“We knew from the very beginning there was a temple that was destroyed during the reign of King Tiridates in the 4th century, in times Christianity was spread. But we didn’t know where exactly it was and what was its size,” says Khachatryan.

It’s already five years the archeological team with small financial means excavates the old Artashat. The latest studies concluded: the temple devoted to god Mihr was built on a hill on the left bank of Arax River. The hill was surrounded by walls where the limestone holy place was erected. The excavations disclosed also the 23 staircases leading to the temple.

1,625,000 drams (about $4,800) were allotted by the state budget for this year studies. Khachatryan says the money will hardly suffice to excavate a mausoleum, when they must excavate a whole city.

The archeologist is proud of the work of his team, but picks on the work of community heads as a result of which lands of Artashat that bear one of the most important pages of Armenia’s history are sold today.

“They say exactly 6 hectares are sold, but what we see is a different size – about 60 hectares. Sooner or later they will build castles wrecking our past to the ground,” Khachatryan says with indignation hoping to save at least the remaining territories.

The archeologists think they may find at the end of the excavations that the temple may be reconstructed; however, they are unable to find whether it is possible to find financing for it.

source: http://www.armenianow.com/?action=viewArticle&AID=2486&lng=eng&IID=1151

Italy: Armenian Women in Busted Human Trafficking Ring

It is usually thought that Armenian women and girls are trafficked to UAE (especially Dubai), Turkey and Israel. Apparently, these women and children are also exported to and exploited in Italy. As far as Armenia’s government continues not to give a fuck for the lives of its citizens, tragic news like this will continue arriving. Go talk genocide, unholy whores.

18 arrested in Italy in crackdown on trafficking foreign women for prostitution

© AP
15.09.2007 14:47:10

(live-PR.com) – ROME (AP) – Police raided Italian night clubs to break up an operation which forced hundreds of newly arrived foreign women into prostitution, arresting 18 suspects, authorities said Saturday.

Investigators told a news conference in Florence that the ring’s operators did the paperwork to legally bring into Italy hundreds of young women, mainly from Ukraine, Armenia and Kazakhstan, for what were supposed to be jobs in the performing arts, arranged for their travel and housing, then forced them into prostitution into clubs and sometimes private apartments, including in Tuscany and elsewhere in northern and central Italy.

The suspects were arrested for suspected criminal association dealing in illegal immigration and exploiting and promoting prostitution.

Prostitution itself is not illegal in Italy, but exploiting prostitutes is a crime.
Eight night clubs were shut down, police said.

source: http://www.live-pr.com/en/arrested-in-italy-in-crackdown-r1048147463.htm

Victory for Indigenous People?

In a move that indigenous rights magazine Cultural Survival calls a “victory for indigenous people,” the General Assembly adopted the U.N. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, with only 4 countries – you can most likely guess which ones – casting against the document.

An e-mail from Cultural Survival (www.cs.org) reads:

The declaration spells out the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples including their right to their traditional lands and resources; their right to give their free, prior, and informed consent before governments take actions that negatively affect them; their right to be free from genocide and forced relocation; and their rights to their languages, cultures and spiritual beliefs. At long last the world’s native peoples have a valuable tool for regaining some of the cultural and physical ground they have lost over the past 500 years.

According to the official U.N. website:

The General Assembly today adopted a landmark declaration outlining the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlawing discrimination against them – a move that followed more than two decades of debate.

[…]
Ambassador John McNee of Canada said his country was disappointed to have to vote against the Declaration, but it had “significant concerns” about the language in the document.

The provisions on lands, territories and resources “are overly broad, unclear and capable of a wide variety of interpretations” and could put into question matters that have been settled by treaty, he said. source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=23794&Cr=indigenous&Cr1=

In addition to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States voted against the declaration. These countries have long been against indigenous activists and are among the main target countries of the activists who started the idea of the declaration. In my own city of Denver, the Police Department has in the past profiled indigenous activists as “terrorists.”

I think the Internet has contributed to the developing solidarity of the struggles of indigenous people around the world. For little or no cost they are able to communicate, share their problems and ask for advice.

Indeed, this is a great success for indigenous people and their long activism. But an old wound is opened in the declaration that nobody talks about. It’s a wound that dates back to 1948 and is actually the essential threat to indigenous peoples’ survival.

My reference is to the dissaperance of the term “cultural genocide” from the final draft of the declaration (http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N07/498/30/PDF/N0749830.pdf?OpenElement).

Although earlier drafts for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples included the phrase “cultural genocide” (http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/E.CN.4.SUB.2.RES.1994.45.En?OpenDocument) the new version has “cultural genocide” changed into “destruction of their [indigenous peoples’] culture.”

History repeats itself? Article III of a Secretariat draft for the United Nations Genocide convention originally defined genocide also as “[d]estroying or preventing the use of libraries, museums, schools, historical monuments, places of worship or other cultural institutions and objects of the group.” But opposition by several states, writes Ana Filipa Vrdoljak, including the argument that “the proposed Genocide Convention would become a tool of political propaganda aimed at their assimilation policies to ‘civilise’ indigenous inhabitants,” excluded cultural elements from the final convention draft that was adopted in 1948.

Interestingly enough, the exclusion of cultural genocide was fundamentally against the idea behind defining genocide.

When in 1933 Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin first formulated the idea of punishing the crime of the crimes – what he later named genocide – he argued that barbarity (“the premeditated destruction of national, racial, religious and social collectivities”) and vandalism (“destruction of works of art and culture, being the expression of the particular genius of these collectivities”) were of “international danger.”

The crime of “vandalism” was not separate from “barbarity,” but was also “an attack targeting a collectivity.” In 1947 Lemkin clarified that “genocide” is not a synonym for “mass murder” because the latter “does not convey the specific losses to civilization in the form of cultural contributions.”

But even with kicking out “cultural genocide” from the declaration the U.S. was not satisfied enough to vote for the document. Perhaps the declaration of independence, that calls the entire indigenous people ‘savages,’ is truly so deemed in our collective conscience that we Americans are blind toward the oppression of the true owners of this land.

And what made me sick today in George W. Bush’s speech on Iraq was the use of the term “civilized nation.” Although I am sure he didn’t mean to do that, but pronouncing that phrase on the same day of voting against the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples was quite sinister.

p.s. although Armenia as a nation-state is not traditionally considered “indigenous,” I see the declaration as an indirect victory for Armenia as well given its aboriginal place in history and geography

Turkish Court: Recognizing Kurds in Turkey is Racism

According to a Turkish appeals court if you say there are Kurds in Turkey:

1. You are stupid because everyone knows there are millions of Kurds in Turkey
2. You are affirming a fact and must be applauded
3. You are a human rights defender and deserve a Nobel Prize for a statement that no one else dares to make
4. You are suggesting Kurds should be killed and are, therefore, inciting genocide
5. You are praciticing your freedom of speech and are free to make any unfounded claims you want, including the myth that there are Kurds in Turkey or that the Armenian Genocide happened
5. You are committing a crime by inciting racial hatred against Turks because there is no other ethnicity but a Turk in Turkey

And the answer is, of course, number 5.

Agence France Press reports, “A Turkish appeals court yesterday overturned the acquittal of two academics who put out a government-sponsored report urging greater rights for minority groups such as Kurds, opening the way for their possible re-trial for sedition.

The court ruled against the acquittal, saying the October 2004 report by professors Baskin Oran and Ibrahim Kaboglu constituted a threat to the state.”

The glorious Turkish court reasoned that “Creation and recognition of a new minority… would endanger the unitary state and the nation’s indivisibility.”

(http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=World_News&subsection=Gulf%2C+Middle+East+%26+Africa&month=September2007&file=World_News200709143930.xml)

I guess when racist idiots like historian-in-chief Halacoglu (Turks were considering to name a street after him) are heroes in Turkey then human rights defenders like Baskin Orans must be the racists in that country.

Can’t the nationalist Turks see they are advancing the Kurdish cause more and more by their brutal and quite illogical oppression of the Kurds?

Anti-Armenianism in Romania?

Surprising for a county with such a rich Armenian heritage.

Discrimination body to probe remarks Romanian President made about Armenians

The Associated Press

Published: September 11, 2007

BUCHAREST, Romania: Romania’s anti-discrimination organization said Tuesday it would investigate remarks made by President Traian Basescu to determine whether can be considered defamatory to the Armenian community.

Basescu who underwent surgery at the weekend on his thyroid gland on Sunday thanked doctors at a Bucharest hospital, especially the surgeon saying: “At last I see a kind Armenian, a competent Armenian.”

His remarks were apparently directed at a political rival, Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian, who is an ethnic Armenian and a member of the governing Liberal Party. Vosganian accused Basescu of being blinded by petty political squabbles and called him “a risk for democracy.”

Romania’s politicians from all parties have been embroiled in bitter political disputes for years, especially with the popular president, after no party managed to secure a majority in 2004 parliamentary elections.

Basescu’s office said Tuesday that his remarks had intended to highlight the professionalism of the surgeon who operated on him. “The head of state expresses his appreciation and recognition for the extraordinary contribution that the Armenian community has for years in the cultural and scientific life of Romania,” said Basescu’s spokesman Valeriu Turcan in a statement.

Romania has a few thousand ethnic Armenians who emigrated to Romania 1,000 years ago and are well integrated into society.

In May, Basescu was criticized after he called a reporter “a stinky Gypsy.” The National Council for the Fight Against Discrimination can rule whether Basescu’s remarks amounted to incitement to ethnic hatred or discrimination. LINK

The BBC has more.

Not Only Anti-Semite, but Ku Klux Klan Too?

I have written about the idiot anti-Semite Christopher Jon Bjerknes, who threatens to sue me for calling him the former, but apparently Anti-Semitism is not his only hobby.

Where is thy robe, sir jerkness?

One of our readers just sent me a link to the notorious Ku Klux Klan retiree David Duke’s official website where Jon Bjerknes has a post, from August 22, 2007, on his theory that the Armenian Genocide was done by the Jews. 

And, of course, this is not the only “contribution” by Bjerknes to the klansite. He has a post on Jewish bankers (who are, of course, at fault for the Armenian Genocide) and several others.

FYI

Ooo. I am so scared guys. Anti-Semites are after Blogian. Maybe I should ask Foxman for help? Oh, I forgot that Foxman is the head of the Armenian Defamation League; won’t work. Got this e-mail a few minutes ago.

Dear Mr. Maghakyan,

This letter is to confirm that you, Simon Maghakyan, are the author of the libelous statements published at:

http://www.blogian.net/

under the heading:

“Anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Armenian Genocide
Blogian on 09 Sep 2007”

Is this mailing address for you still current?

Simon Maghakyan
P O Box 99800
EmeryVille, CA
94662

What is your regular residential address?

Sincerely,
Christopher Jon Bjerknes

The Road to Djulfa

Over a year and a half after Azerbaijan smashed to dust the largest medieval Armenian cemetery in the world (see “Djulfa” at the top of this blog), the Azeri authorities are preventing again European observers from visiting the site where the cemetery existed.

Whereas in April of 2006 Azerbaijan banned European observers from entering Djulfa with the pretext that accepting any possibilty of the “Armenian claim” that Djulfa is gone and, therefore, giving any credibility to anything that any Armenian says is the biggest crime any human being could make, now Azerbaijan has figured out the stupidest of all methods to prevent the delegation from monitoring cultural properties. It is saying that Europeans must enter Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan otherwise they will not agree to the visit:

ARMENIAN DISAGREES PACE RAPPORTEUR EDWARD O’HARA’S VISITING NAGORNO KARABAKH VIA AZERBAIJAN, THE VISIT WAS PUT OFF AGAIN

Azeri Press Agency
Aug 31 2007
Azerbaijan

The PACE Rapporteur for Cultural Heritage in the South Caucasus,
British MP, Edward O’Hara’s fact-finding travel to Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Armenia from August 28 through September 6 has been
postponed again, Milli Majlis press service told APA.

The statement reads that Azerbaijan has always supported this
initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
and PACE Rapporteur Edward O’Hara’s fact-finding visit to the region,
including Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, Nagorno
Karabakh and the other territories occupied by Armenia.

Azerbaijan objected to Armenian side’s demand at PACE during
preparation for the visit that the fact-finding mission should travel
to Nagorno Karabakh through Armenia (by car from Yerevan).

Related to this issue, Samad Seyidov, head of Azerbaijani parliament
delegation to the PACE, informed the Secretary General Mateo Sorinas
of Azerbaijan’s official stance, underscoring recognition of the
country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the international
community and international organizations like UN, OSCE, NATO, CE etc.

Azerbaijan clearly announced its position that both domestic and
international missions and delegations have to seek permission of
official Baku to travel to its territory of Nagorno Karabakh and
other adjacent regions under occupation, and Azerbaijan will not
change its firm position in any condition.

As a result, PACE didn’t support Armenia’s unconstructive and baseless
stance and postponed the visit.

Now, how technically possible it is for European observers to visit Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan is only for the pious Azerbaijani officials to figure out. What is Azerbaijan’s response to the fact that its own Ambassador to Russia visit Nagorno Karabakh, and logically through Armenia, in June of this year?

Of course the one and only logic behind any of the illogical Azerbaijani attempts to stop the monitoring of cultural rights in both Armenia and Azerbaijan is because they know they have smashed Djulfa to dust and can’t cover it up. For one reason they know there are satellite images, that are as objective as anything else can get in the world, that show the cemetery before the destruction. For another reason, they can’t admit that they committed an act of cultural vandalism, or cultural genocide, against a people they consider the creators of all evil on Earth. And most badly, they have lied so many times on the destruction of Djulfa that accepting they lied would undermine their very authority.

Anyhow, although I have been in touch with Mr. O’Hara (the head of the delegation who was supposed to visit and of course never will) and although he doesn’t sound interested in the faith (well, I guest in the past a lot) of Djulfa, I still believe it is to much extent the fault of Armenians that the world doesn’t know about the silenced story of Djulfa.

Well, I should go back to my homework. That’s the best I can do for Djulfa at this minute. But of course there is a reason I have not been really active on the blog recently. So yeah, Azerbaijan, I don’t know about the rest of my kin, but I have not forgotten Djulfa and never will.

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