Archive for the 'Terrorism' Category

“Samsung” Lighter Projects Bin Laden Image

At least one imported lighter in Armenia, an American ally in the war of terror, has an extra button that projects number one terrorist Bin Laden’s image while pushed, reports A1+

Lighters allegedly made by “Samsung” company are sold in Yerevan stalls. The mysterious picture of Usama Ben Laden is hidden under the lighter. When you turn on the lighter you see Ben Laden’s picture.

While Armenia’s officials are not able to verify where the lighter is from, many goods in Christian Armenia are imported from Muslim countries such as Turkey, Iran and Syria.

In the stall, were the lighter was bought, no one was able to tell as were they bought it for the purposes of resale. They ensured that they saw it for the first time, and that might be the only lighter with the picture of Ben Laden in the whole pack. Abgar Eghoyan, Chairman of the Consumer Rights Protection Union said that it was difficult to find out the country where the lighter was imported from, since it was a commercial secret. He also said that it might be imported illegally. “It is very difficult to find it out in our country. Unfortunately, there are goods in the country that are not certified and the sellers will hardly have the invoice of the goods”.

Samsung’s official website has no information on the lighters allegedly made by the techno giant.

Click here to watch the video that demonstrates the confiscated lighter’s projection of Bin Laden.

Hate in Art: Touring Worst of anti-Armenianism

Cartoon source: “Ermenistan,” seen on the shirt of a Ku Klux Klan member, means Armenia in Turkish and Azerbaijani

What do Ku Klux Klan, Terrorism, Narkomania, Snakes, Swastika, Evil, blood thirsty Scarpions, Weapons, Death, Beasts and Big Nose devils have in common? They equate to Armenians and their country, according to a supra-talented Azerbaijani oil “investigator” and cartoonist who has received many honors from his government.

In October of 2005 I posted an article from Agence France Press telling about the president of Azerbaijan’s National Geophysicists Committee, Kerim Kerimov, who, the article said, is better known for signing treaties to open Azerbaijani oil to American and western markets than for his anti-Armenian cartoons.

Much of his work targets Armenia, against which Azerbaijan fought a bloody war, and in large parts complements the government’s official information campaign against the Caucasus nation.

Anyone in Baku will tell you that Azerbaijan has many enemies: Armenia with its Russian backing, Armenia’s wealthy diaspora, Azerbaijan’s own opposition forces and perhaps a few loose clerics from Iran.

Kerimov goes further and puts the enemies into pictures, with horned and bewarted horrific caricatures of Armenians clawing at the map of Azerbaijan or driving a wedge between the country and its ally Turkey with a giant bomb.

If you are surprised that you have not heard of Kerimov before, don’t feel bad. I mean what is wrong making hundreds of cartoons depicting Armenians as snakes, scorpions and Ku Klux Klan members? After all, Armenia has won the war over Azerbaijan, hasn’t it?

Cartoon: Azerbaijan holding Armenia’s swastika knife

This is exactly what you hear all the time. Azerbaijan hates Armenians to death, smashes their ancient monuments to dust, jail its own Azeri journalists for writing the truth about the war with Armenia, and even deports a Turkish pianist with Armenian roots because of the war of Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. Who dares to ask why the war started in the first place? Who dares to remember the anti-Armenianism in Azerbaijan and the pogroms against Armenian citizens and the destruction of monuments before there was even word about war?

If you are still surprised that you have not heard of Kerimov before, you are missing something big. According to his official website, “Prof. Kerim Kerimov for the first time in the world found the right way and method for prediction earthquake approximately 4-5 hours before the starting of this process.” This is not Borat, it is true.

And there is more, in case you are interested. According to his official website, Kerimov is:

President of National Committee of Geophysics of Azerbaijan (read about Committee)
• President of Azerbaijan Section of SEC
Member-corresponding of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
• Doctor of Geology and Mineralogy sciences, Professor • Head of scientific works and author of many inventions
• Honored man of science and techniques
Real member of Eastern International Oil Academy
\fs20cf4Real member of Ecoegenetic International Academy
Real member of European Academy Sciences
• He is an editor and chief of “Geophysics news in Azerbaijan” magazine An author of more than 550 scientific works, including different monographs, atlases, maps, inventions, articles and other.
He is an author of more than 4500 political cartoons, which have been published in different countries.
Since 1998, he has been awarded with a lot of medals including gold medals from the government and several times was appointed with the following titles: the man of the year, inventor of the year, scientist of the year.
He was conferred the cold order “Glory”, by government.

Pretty amazing. Did you catch the part that he is “author of more than 4500 political cartoons”?

Cartoon: Turkic countries – Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan – killing the Nazi snake, Armenia. The cartoon is reflective of Pan-Turkism, a racist-linguistlic idea to establish a pan-Turkish Empire from Turkey to Kazakhstan that some scholars have argued has contributed to the planning of the Armenian Genocide.

I must admit I have not seen all 4,500, although I had the displeasure to go through hundreds of them available at his website (added in October of 2006). Besides the boringly self-repeating few figures, there is something else that Kerimov’s cartoons have in common. Most of them say in four different languages, “Terrorism, narkomania and armenism are the same diseases.”

These ones are worth no words:


Cartoon source


Cartoon source













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.

Murder Mastermind Trained in Azerbaijan

According to the International Herald Tribune, “One of the suspects [in Hrant Dink’s assasination], Yasin Hayal, an alleged Islamic militant who learned to make bombs from Chechen militants at a camp in Azerbaijan and who served 11 months in jail for the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant in Trabzon in 2004, is suspected of masterminding the attacks on both Dink and Father Santaro.”

The Turkish Haber Vitrini has an article on Yasin Hayal and a photo of him.


Ayse Gunaysu, a Turkish human rights champion and a contributor to Blogian, has written an angry article about shameless Turkish officials’ self-victimization in Hrant Dink’s death. The original was written in Turkish; this is a translation by another Turkish fellow.  Ayse’s article is especially interesting given the fact that the nationalist Turkish media has now overcome its self-victimization stage and is now comparing Hrant Dink’s murder to the assasination of the main organizer of the Armenian Genocide – Talaat Pasha.


Everyone who says that this was an attack on Turkey, everyone who talks about the sinister games played on Turkey, everyone who talks about the timing of this attack coinciding with foreign parliaments’ making decisions on the “alleged” genocide, and thus trying to disguise the fact that Hrant Dink was being tried because he said “genocide” and was receiving threats because of this, and everyone who is protecting the real murderer, that is the ones who are allowing Union and Progress’ covert operator, lyncher, rabid spirit to still live on, has a share of responsibility.

The Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk, who yelled from the podiums of the congress that the ones who were organizing the Armenian conference were stabbing the Turkish people in the back, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer who vetoed the law proposal dealing with minority foundations on the grounds that it would strengthen minorities, the district attorneys who turn a blind eye on thousands of cases of torture, convictions without trial, unknown culprits taken into custody and lost, but processed and tried the alleged “notices of guilt” that are devoid of the most elementary notions of universal law, the newspaper Hurriyet that in the days Hrant Dink declared he was going to look for justice in the European Human Rights Courts, made front page news with the head of the Greek foundations who said he wouldn’t go to European Human Rights Courts as he trusted the Turkish Justice system, called him a true citizen, and therefore whomever tried to look for justice in the European H.R. Courts was shown as a target, branded as “so-called/pseudo” citizen, and, before Hrant’s blood was even dry, the Turkish Television stations that for hours debated a litany of provocation by relating it to the law proposal pending in the United States Congress, are all a part of this murder, they have a responsibility.

Everybody who says that this was an attack on Turkey is lying. Because this attack was made possible by Turkey herself therefore, Turkey is responsible. This attack was made possible by the government that has implemented article 301, as protection against only the denigration of Turkishness, not of all identities, thus providing a legal basis for aggression, and it was made possible by an entire population of Turkey who didn’t reject this article.

Everybody who, instead of feeling shame faced with the murder of Hrant Dink, instead of saying “we are all guilty”, worried about Turkey’s dignity, from the officials to the opinion leaders, they are all lying, they are trying to disguise their guilt. Let all the liars shut up.

And you shut up too please, democratic journalists like Altan Oymen. If you are not refusing to answer questions that link the murder of Hrant to the genocide recognition proposal in the US Congress, and do not see a problem replying to them, if you are not refusing to be disrespectful to the pain of the Armenian people by making such connections, if you are not rejecting to thus support the ones who are trying to fool people with conspiracy theories by foreign influences aimed at the Turkish people, just to exonerate our own murderers, shut up, all of you shut up.


Original source in Turkish


The Murderer

UPDATE: The suspect is arrested.  

UPDATE: Turkish TVs are saying the name of the murderer is OGUN SANMAZ from Trabzon.

via ArmenNews The photo of Dink’s possible murderer has been released. In contrary to earlier reports, the assasin doesn’t look like a teenager, but his outfit does.

Dink’s Last Words

Dink’s last editorial was translated from Turkish by Fatma Gocek today (received through e-mail from the translator):

“The Pigeon-like Unease of My Inner Spirit”

By Hrant Dink AGOS Newspaper 10 January 2007 (translated by F.M. Gocek)

I did not at first feel troubled about the investigation that was filed against me by the Şişli public prosecutor’s office with the accusation of “insulting Turkishness.”

This was not the first time. I had been familiar to the accusation because of a similar lawsuit I had filed against me in Urfa . I was being tried in Urfa with the accusation of “denigrating Turkishness” over the past three years for having stated in a talk I gave at a conference there in 2002 that “I was not a Turk…but from Turkey and an Armenian.”

And I was even unaware about how the lawsuit was proceeding. I was not at all interested. My lawyer friends in Urfa were attending the hearings in my absence.

I was even quite nonchalant when I went and gave my deposition to the Şişli public prosecutor. I ultimately had complete trust in what my intentions had been and what I had written. Once the prosecutor [had the chance] to evaluated not that single sentence from my editorial alone which made no sense by itself but the text as a whole, he would understand with great ease that I had no intention to “denigrate Turkishness” and this comedy would come to an end.

I was certain that a lawsuit would not be filed at the end of the investigation. I was sure of myself. But surprise! A lawsuit was filed.

But I still did not lose my optimism.

So much so that at a television show that I joined live, I even told the lawyer [Kemal] Kerincsiz who was accusing me “that he should not get his hopes too high, that I was not going to be smacked with any sentence from this lawsuit, and that I would leave this country if I received a sentence.” I was sure of myself because I truly had not had in my article any premeditation or intention – not even a single iota – to denigrate Turkishness. Those who read the entirety of my collection of articles would understand this very clearly.

As a matter of fact, the report prepared by the three faculty members from Istanbul University who had been appointed by the court as experts stated exactly that. There was no reason for me to get troubled, there would certainly be a return from the wrongful path [of the lawsuit] at one stage of the proceedings or the other.

So I kept asking for patience…

But there was no such return.

The prosecutor asked for a sentence in spite of the expert report. The judge then sentenced me to six months in prison.

When I first heard about my sentence, I found myself under the bitter pressure of the hopes I had nurtured all along the process of the lawsuit. I was bewildered… My disappointment and rebellion were at their pinnacle.

I had resisted for days and months saying “just you wait for this decision to come out and once I am acquitted, then you will all be so repentant about all that you have said and written.”

In covering every hearing of the lawsuit, the newspapers items, editorials and television programs all referred to how I had said that “the blood of the Turk is poisonous.” Each and every time, they were adding to my fame as “the enemy of the Turk.” At the halls of the court, the fascists physically attacked me with racist curses.

They bombarded me with insults on their placards. The threats reaching hundreds that kept hailing for months through phones, e-mail and letters kept increasing each time.

And I persevered through all this with patience awaiting the decision for acquittal. Once the legal decision was announced, the truth was going to prevail and all these people would be ashamed of what they had done.

My only weapon was my sincerity. But here the decision was out and all my hopes were crushed. From then on, I was in the most distressed situation that a person could possibly be in.

The judge had made a decision in the name of the “Turkish nation” and had it legally registered that I had “denigrated Turkishness.” I could have persevered through anything except this.

According to my understanding, racism was the denigration by anyone of a person they lived alongside with on the basis of any difference, ethnic or religious and there was not any way in which this could ever be forgiven.

Well it was in this psychological state that I made the following declaration to the members of the media and friends who were at my doorstep trying to confirm “as to whether I would leave this country as I had indicated earlier:”

“I shall consult with my lawyers. I will appeal at the supreme court of appeal and will even go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. If I am not cleared through any one of these processes, then I shall leave my country. Because according to my opinion, someone who has been sentenced with such a crime does not have the right to live alongside the citizens whom he has denigrated.”

As I voiced this opinion, I was emotional as always. My only weapon was my sincerity.

Dark Humor

But it so happens that the deep force that was trying to single me out and make me an open target in the eyes of the people of Turkey found something wrong with this press release of mine as well and this time filed a lawsuit against me for attempting to influence the court. The entire Turkish media had given my declaration but what got their attention was what was writ in AGOS alone. And it so transpired that the legally responsible parties in the AGOS newspaper and I started to be tried this time around for attempting to influence the court. This must be what people call “dark humor.”

As I am the accused, who has the right more than the accused to try to influence the judiciary? But look at this humorous situation that the accused is this time tried for trying to influence the judiciary.

“In the Name of the Turkish State ”

I have to confess that I had more than lost my trust in the concept of “Law” and the “System of Justice” in Turkey .

How could I have not? Had these prosecutors, these judges not been educated in the university, graduated from faculties of law? Weren’t they supposed to have the capacity to comprehend [and interpret] what they read?

But it so transpires that the judiciary in this country, as also expressed without compunction by many a statesman and politician, is not independent.

The judiciary does not protect the rights of the citizen, but instead the State.

The judiciary is not there for the citizen, but under the control of the State.

As a matter of fact I was absolutely sure that even though it was stated that the decision in my case was reached “in the name of the Turkish nation,” it was a decision clearly not made “on behalf of the Turkish nation” but rather “on behalf of the Turkish state.” As a consequence, my lawyers were going to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeals, but what could guarantee that the deep forces that had decided to put me in my place would not be influential there either?

And was it the case that the Supreme Court of Appeals always reached right decisions?
Wasn’t it the same Supreme Court of Appeal that had signed onto the unjust decision that stripped minority foundations of their properties? [And had done so] in spite of the attempts of the Chief Public Prosecutor.
And we did appeal and what did it get us?
Just like the report of the experts, the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals stated that there was no evidence of crime and asked for my acquittal but the Supreme Court of Appeals still found me guilty.
The Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals was just as certain about what he had read and understood as I had been about what I had written, so he objected to the decision and took the lawsuit to the General Council.

But what can I say, that great force which had decided once and for all to put me in my place and had made itself felt at every stage of my lawsuit through processes I would not even know about was there present once again behind the scenes. And as a consequence, it was declared by majority vote at General Council as well that I had denigrated Turkishness.

Like a Pigeon

This much is crystal clear that those who tried to single me out, render me weak and defenseless succeeded by their own measures. With the wrongful and polluted knowledge they oozed into society, they managed to form a significant segment of the population whose numbers cannot be easily dismissed who view Hrant Dink as someone “denigrating Turkishness.”

The diary and memory of my computer are filled with angry, threatening lines sent by citizens from this particular sector. (Let me note here at this juncture that even though one of these letters was sent from [the neighboring city of] Bursa and that I had found it rather disturbing because of the proximity of the danger it represented and [therefore] turned the threatening letter over to the Şişli prosecutor’s office, I have not been able to get a result until this day.)

How real or unreal are these threats? To be honest, it is of course impossible for me to know for sure.
What it truly threatening and unbearable for me is the psychological torture I personally place myself in. “Now what are these people thinking about me?” is the question that really bugs me.
It is unfortunate that I am now better known than I once was and I feel much more the people throwing me that glance of “Oh, look, isn’t he that Armenian guy?”

And I reflexively start torturing myself.
One aspect of this torture is curiosity, the other unease. One aspect is attention, the other apprehension.

I am just like a pigeon…..

Obsessed just as much what goes on my left, right, front, back.

My head is just as mobile… and just as fast enough to turn right away.

And Here is the Cost for You

What did the Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül state? The Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek?
“Come on, there is nothing to exaggerate about [legal code 301]. Is there anyone who has actually been tried and imprisoned from it?”
As if the only cost one paid was imprisonment…
Here is a cost for you… Here is a cost…
Do you know, oh ministers, what kind of a cost it is to imprison a human being into the apprehensiveness of a pigeon?… Do you know?….
You, don’t you ever watch a pigeon?

What They Call “Life-or-Death”
What I have lived through has not been an easy process… And what we have lived through as a family…
There were moments when I seriously thought about leaving the country and moving far away.
And especially when the threats started to involve those close to me…
At that point I always remained helpless.
That must be what they call “Life-or-Death.” I could have resisted out of my own will, but I did not have the right to put into danger the life of anyone who was close to me. I could have been my own hero, but I did not have the right to be brave by placing, let along someone close to me, any other person in danger.
During such helpless times, I gathered my family, my children together and sought refuge in them and received the greatest support from them. They trusted in me.

Wherever I would be, they would be there as well.
If I said “let’s go” they would go, if I said “let’s stay” they would come.

To Stay and Resist
Okay, but if we went, where would we go?
To the Armenian Republic ?
How long someone like me who could not stand injustices put up with the injustices there? Would not I get into even deeper trouble there?

To go and live in the European countries was not at all the thing for me.
After all, I am such a person that if I travel to the West for three days, I miss my country on the fourth and start writhing in boredom saying “let this be over so I can go back,” so what would I end up doing there?
The comfort there would have gotten to me!
Leaving “boiling hells” for “ready-made heavens” was not at all right for my personality make up.
We were people who volunteered to transform the hells they lived into heavens.
To stay and live in Turkey was necessary because we truly desired it and [had to do so] out of respect to the thousands of friends in Turkey who gave a struggle for democracy and who supported us.
We were going to stay and we were going to resist.
If we were forced to leave one day however… We were going to set out just as in 1915…Like our ancestors… Without knowing where we were going… Walking the roads they walked through… Feeling the ordeal, experiencing the pain….
With such a reproach we were going to leave our homeland. And we would go where our feet took us, but not our hearts.

Apprehensive and Free

I wish that we would never ever have to experience such a departure. We have way too many reasons and hope not to experience it anyhow.

Now I am applying to the European Court of Human Rights.
How long this lawsuit will last, I do not know.
The fact that I do know and that somewhat puts me at ease is that I will be living in Turkey at least until the lawsuit is finalized.
If the court decides in my favor, I will undoubtedly become very happy and it would mean that I would never have to leave my country.
From my own vantage point, 2007 will probably be even a more difficult year.
The trials will continue, new ones will commence. Who knows what kinds of additional injustices I would have to confront?
While all these occur, I will consider this one truth my only security.
Yes, I may perceive myself in the spiritual unease of a pigeon, but I do know that in this country people do not touch pigeons.
Pigeons live their lives all the way deep into the city, even amidst the human throngs.
Yes, somewhat apprehensive but just as much free.

The 1,500,001st

(The homepage of Google News several hours ago)

At this point, almost everybody knows that Turkey’s outspoken journalist and the most famous Armenian of that country was shot to death several hours ago.

I was so shocked the entire day that could not prepare an entry for the blog. It has been several hours, and I am finally able to share some thoughts and information.

Hrant Dink kept his promise of leaving Turkey. When he was convicted in “insulting Turkishness” (saying that he was an Armenian, not a Turk), Dink said he would leave the country if he were not cleared off the charge.

The shots of a nationalist Turk killed Dink today.

As the news is the main story of the international media, there are not, perhaps, new details of the murder that can be posted at this time, and the point of this post is to actually commemorate and provided underreported information.

I turned on my work computer this morning, and as I opened the Internet homepage (, a headline struck my heart: Turkish-Armenian Journalist Shot Dead in Istanbul.

I breathlessly opened the link and found out that Hrant Dink had been assassinated. Although not having met Dink in person, I was in such a pain and anger as though as I had just lost a close friend.

I went ahead to check my e-mail where I knew I would find many messages of anger and mourning by Dink’s friends and colleagues received through a private but publicly known group discussion.

Fatma Gocek, a Turkish professor in America, had written,

it is in tears and with great remorse that i try to write you this e-mail,
the worst one i have written in my entire life, to share with you the
news of the assassination of a great friend, hrant dink, the editor of the
agos newspaper and a champion of human rights in turkey.

(The homepage of The New York Times several hours ago)
A good friend, Amberin Zaman, a prominent Turkey-based international reporter, informed that she had

just returned from Agos where hundreds of Turks are keeping vigil, lighting candles and laying down red carnations around his picture, singing Sari Gul, crying, chanting “We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians” Hepimiz Hrantiz, Hepimiz Ermeniyiz.”followed by Katil Devlet, Killer State. Inside Agos the mood was predictably sombre. A clutch of young people were holding up copies of todays’ Agos from the balcony overlooking the crowd.

I am amazed that Erdogan was shameless enough to call Hrant’s slaying “a bullet aimed at free speech.” Its the laws his government passed that have created the atmosphere in which Hrant became a target. And of course Cemil Cicek, the Justice Minister immediately hints at some kind of plot revolving aroud Armenian efforts to get US congressional recogition of the genocide. Well the excuse for not passing the resolution–that it would make it harder for Turkey to reach out to the Armenians–no longer holds.

Dikran Abrahamian, a close friend from Canada, wrote,

Personal feelings and emotions aside, Hrant Dink is the latest victim of the Armenian Genocide. The atmosphere of hatred, intolerance and deplorable stance of the Turkish establishment regarding Human Rights and Freedom of Speech paved the way to such a tragic end.

Dikran’s spirit was seen in an Independent article by Robert Fisk, where the latter wrote, “Hrant Dink became the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian genocide yesterday.”

Videos from Hrant Dink’s commemoration and his murder’s condemnation are available at (I learned about this link from a Yahoo’s Armenia group). Photographs are available at

What is Your Dream?

The past 24 hours seemed a day some people would dream for. It was an interesting chain of historical and not-so-historical events, great and surprising encounters, with a nightmare, though, at the end: I realized that school starts tomorrow (and I had thought that it started in a week).

My Martin Luther King Jr. Eve was unforgettable. Since I would not be able to attend the annual commemoration at my former college due to work, I decided to meet with the keynote speaker of the day – Daryl Davis, who will be talking on CNN tomorrow or sometime this week.

Daryl Davis is a Grammy-winning musician and also the author of a famous book about the racist militant and sometimes terrorist organization Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and his encounters and conversations with Klansmen. The African-American writer has KKK friends, and has even converted many of the robe and hood people to humanhood. His journey in the Klan has been and is his desire to understand and fight racism.

First time I met Daryl last year when he lectured at my former college earlier in 2006. Actually I didn’t meet him personally on that day. But I ended up e-mailing him and told him I enjoyed the lecture and learned a lot. After I finished reading his book, I continued staying in touch.

“How are your films going?” said Daryl yesterday after I finally made it in the snowroad to his hotel and received a friendly hug from my huge friend (he has some stories of fighting with Klansmen – I guess the only time in my life I would feel sorry for those racist pigs). I guess he had taken the time to watch “ForstFree 2024” and “The New Tears of Araxes” on YouTube.

We drove around 30 minutes on the same streets and finally decided to go and have some desert. He told me a story I had read in his book about his encounter with what turned out to be a KKK member. Although I knew the story, it seemed so interesting that I would listen to it over and over again. I guess that is the reason that my former college invited him the second time in 12 months to speak at two different events. You just can’t get enough of Daryl’s adventures and life stories. He is amazing and so is his journey in racist America (during his 2006 lecture he said that from all of the 50 countries he had visited and lived in he felt most racist was his home – America).

But Daryl’s odyssey in the Klan has not always brought him omnipraise. He has been criticized and misunderstood by members of his own black community. I still remember how an African-American girl from my school shockingly told me, “there was a Ku Klux Klan meeting at the college yesterday!” I asked her whether she was there, and then it turned out she was referring to Daryl’s lecture but had not attended it. When I told Daryl the story, he laughed and said that it happens a lot, and that an American college newspaper had written an article about one of his lecture (mis)titling the report “A Klansman Speaks…”
I asked him what state had the most active KKK. Daryl said, “Pennsylvania,” and explained that is was due to economic depression that people in the state are facing. Is there a state that has never had KKK, I asked? “Hawaii,” laughed Daryl.

When I was driving him back. Let me say it again, when I was trying to drive him back and find his hotel (seriously, I made U-turns on the same street 7 times and every time I was sure I was headed to the right direction – I guess Daryl thought I was totally crazy) I asked him what his dream was. As always, Daryl had a sincere answer, “To continue doing what I am doing.” He told me the best thing to do is to do something about things you feel passionate about. “If there is something going on in Armenia,” he referred to my human responsibility and passion, “make a film about it.”

I told him I was not into making films and was actually a Political Science major, but I still agreed to his offer to send me professional movie making software from his home in Maryland.

As he would go back to Maryland in late Martin Luther King Jr. Holliday afternoon, on Tuesday Daryl was going to visit a KKK friend, with whom he celebrated the past Christmas, with the CNN for a program that I forgot the name of. The first part of the CNN interview was going to be conducted in Colorado, today.

I went to work this morning kind of upset for not being able to participate in the annual community breakfast where Daryl was going to speak. As I went to the first floor desks, I saw a group of international students wondering around. I checked the schedule, and saw that this was a group of Japanese and Russian exchange students. Although I had already assigned one of my staff to conduct the tour, I approached the High Schoolers and asked, “Where are you guys from?”

“Japaan,” – was the first answer, followed by my broken “You Kosou Kolorado Kapitolei” (Welcome to Colorado’s Capitol in Japanese). The next welcome was easy when a cute girl answered, “Kazakshtan.” Although my Russian sucks, I guess they understood me. As these kids learned I was from Armenia, they told me there was an Armenian girl in a green coat in their group who had went to the restroom.

As the short girl in the green coat came to the first floor, I turned around and said, “Ia, Lilit jan! Inchqan jamanak a chem. tesel qez: Vonc es?” (Hey, dear Lilith! I have not seen for such a long time. How are you?) The poor thing got confused and didn’t get the joke. After telling me she was from the city of Sisian, she asked me whether I knew where it was. “Is she OK?” – I whispered to myself and said that I had been to Sisian indeed.

They left for the tour after the teacher, Courtney, decided to take my picture with the exchange students with 10 cameras (not so fun).

Very shortly, a lady with a beautiful smile came by (if I didn’t have a girlfriend and if she were 30 years younger that would have been a greater scene) and said, “Are you Simon?”

After getting a positive response, the lady with the beautiful smile said she was the new Lieutenant Governor (like the Vice President) of Colorado (she was sworn in last Tuesday), Ms. O’Brien.

I was surprised at her down-to-the-earthness and niceness. After we talked a bit, the Lt. Governor left.

The next thing I noticed was lot of noise coming from the Capitol rotunda on the first floor. I went to check out what was going on. It turned out that U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-Colorado) was going to have an announcement about the 2008 election year.

Sen. Allard had promised not to seek a third term long ago, and the announcement would make it clear whether he was going to keep his promise or not. Unlike the infamous Colorado Representative (my own representative) Tom Tancredo, Allard said he had made a promise to the people of Colorado and was going to honor it: he would not be running for a third term. The question is who will run and fill in for this open Senate seat next year.

The press conference had no more than 50 people, but I made enough noise to get all of them mad at me. As he had started to talk, I pulled out my cell phone, stood behind the camera crews and took a photo… with a horrendous digital noise that was much louder than Allard’s voice. Since my phone was on vibrate, I didn’t think it would make a sound while taking a picture.

Right after the Sen. Allard’s announcement I went back to our working stations and saw people marching outside. I knew this was the Marade – the annual MLK Denver parade that despite the horrible cold had gathered 1,200 attendees. Since it was lunchtime, I ran outside and ended up walking down with part of the Marade and took many photos with my cell phone, which you will never see because I don’t use Internet on my phone and therefore cannot transfer them to a computer.

It was such a good feeling to see people marching on MLK day. The black High School bands made you forget about the cold and the snow all around you.

As I was leaving work for home, I saw the Lt. Governor again. We started to talk and I asked her where the governor was (his office was closed, I have never seen it closed before). “He took off to participate in the Marade and sent the rest of his staff to vacation today.”

Enjoy the Honeymoon period, I said to Ms. O’Brien as she confessed that the media had not given her hard time yet.

I was so tired from the stressful discovery that my school in fact starts tomorrow, that I slept on the train the entire way back. But I shouldn’t worry about my classes too much. As one of my senior friends says, “don’t give a poop!”

Satellite Armenia: Military or Cultural Security?

We have a unique opportunity to document the Armenian culture and material history before it is completely wiped out in Turkey and in Azerbaijan. This would cost about 1 million dollars, but I highly hope rich Armenian foundations will realize the importance of such a project. In terms of fully satellizing the destruction of the Djulfa cemetery, it would only require about $3,000.

Although having access to American satellites, NATO member Turkey has decided to lunch an 80-centimeter-resolution satellite into the orbit by 2011. According to The Space Review (“Turkey’s military satellite program: a model for emerging regional powers”), “Space-based observation is one important way that they can keep track of activities in places like Armenia” and other places.

In fact it was due to the genocide that Turkey committed against Armenia and the crime’s acknowledgement by the French government that delayed the process of satellitizing Turkey’s military espionage in the region. Back in 2001, “The Turkish Defense Ministry canceled a contract to purchase a US$259 million high-resolution Earth observation satellite from Alcatel Space in retaliation for the French parliament’s vote to condemn the Turkish killings of Armenians in the early 1900s.” An Israeli corporation, according to Space and Tech, was supposed to benefit from the Turkish angriness, but it remains a question why Turkey still wants to lunch its own satellite. Why Israel? According to the report, the Jewish state doesn’t mind doing business on spy satellites: ”Israel seems to be willing to sell spy satellites to other countries. Reports about negotiations with Singapore have appeared in the Singapore and Malaysian press.” Why not Turkey then?

The government-owned Turksat already has several broadcast satellites for promoting “cultural, economic, and political influence” from Turkey to Central Asia – the area that many Turkish nationalists have hoped to unite in a Pan-Turkish empire.

The report says the Turkish military plans to spend 200 million dollars on the project. Turkish personnel have been training in Torrejon, Spain for satellite interpretation and technology. The military satellite will be used for “taking pictures of nations that directly border on Turkey.” According to the Turkish Press, November 17, 2006, was the deadline for “bidding in the tender for Turkey’s first military-purpose satellite project.”

But Turkey has already started documenting its neighbors. It “is already buying imagery from commercial sources” – that are available to everyone for the same price.

The report about Turkey’s satellite ambitions came three weeks after I purchased a 2003 satellite image of Nakhichevan’s (part of the Republic of Azerbaijan) Julfa’s (Culfa, Jugha) region’s western portion – that shows the ancient Armenian cemetery (now destroyed), the village Gulustan, several other monuments such as caravanserais, churches, and a historic Mulsim tomb.

I purchased the image from Digital Globe. Since then I have been wondering whether the Armenian government owns this available-to-everyone satellite images of the region. It would cost Armenia about 1 million dollars to get Digital Globe’s entire coverage of the Armenian Republic and the Republics of Azerbaijan and Turkey, at least the immediate bordering areas.

If you are wondering about the image posted above, it is the September 2003 inverted satellite image of now-gone Djulfa cemetery. Although I have no expertise or training in satellite interpretation, there are still many conclusions that can be made from that image without having professional background:

1. The cemetery was over 70% intact in September of 2003, even after the deliberate acts of official vandalisms in 1998 and 2002 that UNESCO had ordered to stop.

2. The 1998 and 2002 vandalisms were done by heavy technology – the entire level of the soil was scrapped off. The darker side is the most recent and the deepest scrap. This could not have been done by a group of hooligans. This was not done in a search for treasure.

3. The scrapped trace proves the intent of totally wiping out the cemetery even before 2005. A very thick level of the soil had been removed. Hundreds of skeletons must have been exhumed in this process and destroyed.
4. Although it is not too clear – but if it is zoomed in and studied closely it can be noticed that most, if not all, headstones (khachkars) were pushed down to the ground and none were standing in Sept. of 2003. This may have been done either in 1998 or 2003, as a first step of destroying the headstones. In fact, if you compare a December 2005 photograph with the Sept 2003 satellite image you will notice that in both places the khachkars were laying down on the ground instead of standing in their regular positions.

I do have many other images of the surrounding area, but would like to keep them for sharing on possible future presentations about the vandalism. All the images are from the big file that I got from Digital Globe.

The negative aspects of Digital Globe satellite imagery are that these areas are taken on different dates and times. Thus, “coverage” of the region could have been from 2002-2006, and many things might have changed in the meantime. Another problem would be getting detailed imagery. Digital Globe does not provide 80-cm imagery, as the one that Turkey aspires. But even so, the satellite images will provide much information. In fact, Azerbaijan is aware of what I am talking about. When this hostile neighbor accused Armenia of deliberately “burning forests,” they immediately provided several satellite images of the area with different dates of download (these images are available here).


How did Azerbaijan get this imagery (that didn’t really “prove” anything other than that the forests were really destroyed due to a fire)? Digital Globe, as far as I know, would not have been able to provide information that fast. In fact, it takes them up to 60 days to download a current image of an area. So, Azerbaijan either used U.S. technology with the help of its ally and NATO-member Turkey, or has another secret access to satellite imagery, OR, there is another simple access to such images that Armenia is not even aware of. The images say “Space image,” but my Google search did not provide such a copyright holder. I doubt that Azerbaijan has its own satellite in the orbit, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had one very soon.

The text released by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry gives confusing details about the satellite imagery they obtained. According to the statement, the satellite imagery show that “[o]n the 132,2 square km area a number of towns, villages, agricultural lands, cultural and historical monuments, existing flora and fauna, living dwellings have been destroyed or burnt by the fire.” Interestingly, the statement also mentions the possibility that the fires “are nature-caused,” yet it holds Armenia accountable and says “these actions by Armenia constitute a gross violation of international humanitarian law.”

I have discussed it earlier that there is no reason that Armenia would have burnt forests. But an Azerbaijani blog says that the fire was deliberately done “perhaps in an attempt [to] clear land mines at the perimeter of the disputed area.” This wouldn’t make sense either, because there are no people living in these areas, and, as far as I understand, Armenia is planning to give up the particular territory to the Azerbaijanis in the future peace deal. Nor does Nagorno Karabakh President’s assertion – that Azerbaijanis have shot fire starting balls to the forests to blame the Armenians – make sense. Again, I don’t think any side would have deliberately started destruction of forests – although both Armenian and Azerbaijani governments are infamous for environmental degradation in their countries. Though, wait a minute, I may have double thoughts about Azerbaijan on this… I mean, it would be totally “worth” to cause forests fire in Karabakh to blame on Armenia in Azeri officials’ eyes, to balance the pressure on Azerbaijan for destroying the Djulfa cemetery. But, no, I don’t think they are that sick. What if ones of those mines blew up and started the fire? In any case, I think had the conflict was solved earlier the forest fire would have not been so widened in the area. Now let’s get back to satellite wars.

I wonder whether the Armenian government knows that satellite images can be purchased. By didn’t the foreign ministry purchase satellite images of the Djulfa cemetery before and after the destruction? As I already mentioned, I purchased the before image for “The New Tears of Araxes,” but I haven’t found a sponsor to help purchase a current satellite image that would cost between $1,200 and $2,000. It would cost only $1,500 years to have a final documentation of the vandalism, but interested parties are either not genuinely interested or don’t know they can do this.

After all, sometimes satellite images are not helpful at all. Look at the satellite image of Iran’s Embassy in Armenia.

Would you be able to figure out from this that a small Armenian Nazi group (the “Armenian Aryans”) gets financial support from this building?

In fact, not really having much hope for the current Armenian government, I hope an Armenian organization (a library, museum, etc.) in America will find ways to document historic Armenia in satellites (and then perhaps share the info with the Armenian government). We have a unique opportunity to document the Armenian culture and material history before it is completely wiped out in Turkey and in Azerbaijan. This would cost about 1 million dollars, but I highly hope rich Armenian foundations will realize the importance of such a project. But first we need people who would be interested to communicating and organizing all these. An Armenian Research Center at a U.S. university sounds the best option here. One non-Armenian university professor, according to the CNN, has already purchased many photos of Mount Ararat with the ambition to find Noah’s ark.

Finding Noah’s ark would not be the next cool thing after documenting the Armenian monuments. The non-Armenian monuments of historic Armenia should also be documented. If Armenia ever ends up liberating more historic lands, these monuments must be preserved, and we need to document them today so that we take care of them tomorrow. I don’t want the non-ingenious people of historic Armenia (the Turkic-Mongoloid peoples) die and disappear, but history shows that, in the long-run, Armenians end up staying in their homeland, while the newcomers continue their journey.

djulfa-gulustan-tomb.gif The Muslim tomb Gulustan (middle ages) not too far from now-gone Djulfa

More realistically, this (80 million Turks leaving the region) will not happen, but future liberation of Nakhichevan – the region that Stalin gave to Azerbaijan and the region where the Djulfa cemetery was wiped out along with thousands of other ancient Armenian monuments – is realistic, so even though all of the Armenian culture has been wiped out there, we should document the Muslim culture to preserve it in the future.

khorvirap_tonir.JPG Tonirtrash

Speaking of preserving culture, let’s talk about our own. A Blogian reader from the Czech Republic has visited Armenia lately and got shocked after seeing the treatment of the Armenian monuments in Armenia. He sent us a photo of a tonir (the well where the traditional Armenian bread – lavash – is made) from one of Armenia’s most ancient monasteries – Khor Virap, where Grigor Lusavorish (Krikor the Illuminator) was imprisoned for many years before he converted Armenia to Christianity in 301 A.D. The tonir in the sacred site has been used by a garbage bin by visitors.

A local Armenian would blame the government – or whoever is in charge of taking care the historic monastery – for not putting trashcans in the area. But I think it also has to do with the visitors. For one reason, I can almost swear that no Diasporan Armenian would have thrown trash into the tonir. Has to do a lot with “dastiarakutyun” (the English term doesn’t come to mind); has to do a lot how people are taught about this world. There is lots of chances that even if the monastery was overpacked by trashcans people would still throw garbage into the tonir.

I visited Mother Cabrini’s shrine in Colorado last year. The sacred Catholic site had a sacred water fountain where people say water was found by God’s guidance. There were free plastic cups to drink the water and, as you can imagine, dozens of trashcans all over the place. When I tried to put a small donation in the huge can next to the water fountain, I saw used plastic cups smashed in it that blocked from putting the money in. Why would they do that? Well, perhaps they did not understand the “donation” sign, because most people who go there are Hispanics and perhaps don’t speak English. But hey, what has happened to the thing called common sense? I guess the mere presence of trashcans is not the final and complete solution.

khorvirap_wall.jpg (Khor Virap by Andy Abrahamian)

Well, let’s blame the absence of trashcans for the tonirtrash in Khor Virap, but what about the graffiti on the same monastery done by Armenians? Oh, these are done by unholy communists who hated the Armenian Church. Well, what about the 2005 Alphabet statues? Why is there graffiti on them too?

new-statues.jpg (the alphabet from