Archive for the 'Vandalism' Category

France: Base of Genocide Monument Vandalized with Graffiti

Image received from Jean Eckian in an e-mail


The Memorial to the Armenians Genocide victims was desecrated in Valence, France, on May 15 [2008] night. The vandals painted an illegible inscription on the monument base, independent French journalist Jean Eckian told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The Coordination Council of the French Armenian Organizations from Drome-Ardeche area’s (COADA) deposited a complaint to the Police office of Valence.

7 Armenian memorials – in Saint-Chamond, Creteil, Lyon, Valence (France), Cardiff (UK), Budapest (Hungary) and Lviv (Ukraine) – have been desecrated since January 2008.

Hungary: Armenian Monument Desecrated

A beautiful monument to the Armenian Genocide in downtown Budapest, Hungary, was desecrated by suspected Turkish nationalists on April 24, 2008, the day of the commemoration of the 93rd anniversary of the Genocide.

A video shows devastating and disgusting imagery of the vandalism while refrains from reporting the worst of the desecration.

A penis was painted across the cross on the monument, a 2000 replica of an ancient Armenian cross-stone (khachkar). The word “fuck” was written twice at the bottom of the cross-stone, while the writing on the back of the monument was painted over. The word “Lie” and “Fuck” were also written on the back of the cross-stone. only reported the “lie.”

I have also received an e-mail from Jean Eckian with four vandalism photographs, taken by Hungarian journalist Ingrid Hutterer.   


California Church Vandalism: A Turkish-American and an Armenian Priest Disagree (You Won’t Guess on What)

I have received two e-mails in regards to the article I reposted about vandalism at an Armenian Church in California. A painting of what appeared to be Turkey’s flag was deemed as a ‘hate crime’ by the local police. And while a Turkish-American who had nothing to do with the vandalism says he regrets the crime, the Armenian priest of the church says there was no vandalism and, thus, no need to apologize for it.

The first e-mail to me – the subject of which read, “i regret that your church was vandalized………..from a Turkish-American” – stated:


I regret what happened and I hope the culprit in the church vandalism is found soon.


Another e-mail, from a member of the church that was vandalised, informed me of a blog post by the church’s priest who sees no hate in the church vandalism. Fr. Vazken writes:

They did it to us again. After going through what we did after Christmas, the Glendale Newspress, showing its best side as a little town paper that’s trying to make it big, came out with a “Hate Crime” story:

It started Sunday – we noticed a child’s drawing on the wall. It was a moon and a star. I received a call later in the afternoon from an officer at the Glendale Police Department. The graffiti-art had been reported as a hate crime to the department.

Monday morning, a reporter from the Glendale Newspress came by the church looking for the evidence. Horizon (Armenian TV) sent a camera man. The Diocese (one of the priests) called and asked “What happened? Did someone paint a Swastika on your church?”  By midday, a non-story was taking form and shape.

And so… this morning, it didn’t surprise me when the Daily News headlined, “Vandal spray-paints Turkish flag on Armenian church wall”

Wow! A moon and a star had now been transformed into a Turkish hate crime against the Armenians!  What is it about hatred and evil that makes good copy? I guess it sells newspapers. 


Although it is amazingly kind of an Armenian priest not to see hate in the drawing, it is interesting that he refuses to call it a vandalism either.

Showing off? Perhaps, not. I have personally met Fr. Vazken and he is a very good person. This is the guy who organizes “Blood for Blood” event in April asking Armenians to donate blood in commemorating the Armenian genocide by the Turks.

California: Armenian Church Vandalised in ‘Hate Crime’

From Glendale News Press:

Church graffiti deemed hateful

Painting of a star and crescent at Armenian place of worship is being called a hate crime.

By Ryan Vaillancourt

NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Police say vandals who spray-painted a crescent and star design on a wall at St. Peter Armenian Church on Sunday committed a hate crime by meaning to intimidate Armenians by invoking the Turkish flag.

Church congregants discovered what they described as a red crescent and star spray-painted on the wall outside the church, along Kenilworth Road. The graffiti has since been painted over.

Many Armenians harbor deep enmity for the modern Republic of Turkey for its refusal to recognize the genocide committed against Armenians between 1915 and 1918 by the former Ottoman Empire.

Depicting a Turkish flag on the side of an Armenian church would be similar to putting a swastika on a synagogue, Glendale Police Officer John Balian said.

“It’s the same significance,” he said. “This is obviously considered vandalism, but it’s also considered a hate crime if you can prove the perpetrator did it for hatred reasons.”

Police have not identified any suspects and are not pursuing any leads, he said.

“That’s why it’s imperative to get community involvement in identifying the perpetrators,” he said. “Any time you vandalize a church or a synagogue, any type of church, we won’t tolerate it, and we’ll do everything we can to find the people.”

Anoush Dekmejian, a church trustee who believes the vandalism took place during a Sunday morning service, said she immediately recognized the crescent and star shapes as those on the Turkish flag.

“My impression, immediately, was that it was a hate crime,” said Dekmejian, who reported the incident to police at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

But St. Peter’s pastor, Father Vazken Movsesian, who is well-known for his advocacy on behalf of genocide recognition — not only of the Armenian Genocide but the ongoing genocidal conflict in Darfur — downplayed the incident, saying the graffiti was more reminiscent of a child’s depiction of a star and a moon.

He compared the symbols to stationery in his office that shows golden moons and shining stars in the margins.

“You’d be hard-pressed to say it was the Turkish flag,” Movsesian said. “Really, honestly, it seems sensationalized . . . . I really saw a kid’s drawing.”

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said he believed the vandalism was tied to racial tensions surrounding a controversial absentee ballot application ordinance.

“I really don’t think that it’s an isolated incident,” Najarian said.

“I think it’s directly related to the attention that the absentee application issue has garnered . . . . Bottom line is, it’s just sad that it has occurred.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Crime Stoppers line, which allows anonymous calls, at (818) 507-7867.

Second Update on Vandalism in Wales

The website of the Armenian community of Great Britain has posted before and after photographs of the recently vandalized Armenian Genocide monument in Cardiff, Wales, stating that the “South Wales Police are investigating the damage.”

 Image courtesy Asbarez

The century-old Asbarez Armenian-American daily has also posted an Armenpress article on the destruction and a new photograph that shows the vandalized monument.

And although few would doubt that the hate crime was committed by Turkish nationalist(s), a blogger from Cardiff expresses hope that nationalist Turks are not behind the vandalism:

It’s hard not to feel hatred when something like this happens. In my home town of Cardiff, last November, from generous donations from a local Armenian, a memorial to the Genocide was erected in a public park. During the inauguration we had to listen to disturbing calls of hatred from about 50 Turkish protestors who did everything during the prayers, speeches, and songs, to disturb the ceremony.

It seems they have now stooped to a new low and in line with the UK’s memorial day for holocaust, have decided to hack the cross off from the memorial. I must admit I didn’t think they would do this. Maybe it wasn’t commited by Turks. I hope it wasn’t. The police are searching for information.

Update on Vandalism in Wales

The BBC has posted a photograph of the recently vandalized Armenian Genocide monument in the Welsh city of Cardiff that shows the cross on the memorial entirely wiped out.

 Image: Vandalized Armenian Genocide Monument in Cardiff, Wales, courtesy BBC

According to a report by ic Welsh, reposted by Hyelog:

A MONUMENT set up in Cardiff to remember 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred in 1915 was vandalised ahead of a service for all the victims of genocide.

The memorial in the Temple of Peace, Cathays, Cardiff, made of sandstone and Welsh slate, was struck with a sledgehammer on Saturday night, smashing the cross off it.

Yesterday was Holocaust Memorial Day and a service was held to remember all those who have died at the hands of ethnic cleansing.

Members of the Turkish community have condemned the damage.

Caerphilly Councillor Ray Davies, who campaigned for the Armenian monument to be erected, said many people at the service yesterday were close to tears when they saw what had happened.

“The desecration of the monument reminds us that we must always be vigilant against racism and hatred which is never far from the surface,” he said.

The pillar of pink stone was unveiled in November to remember all those Armenians who were murdered by Ottoman Turks in 1915.


But the service still went ahead as planned, despite protests from a small number of people who shouted through loud hailers.

Director of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs Stephen Thomas said: “It was particularly saddening for the Armenians present that this happened on the day of the Holocaust Memorial Day. This service wasn’t specific to the Armenians. We were trying to be all-inclusive about all those historical events where people have been massacred. It wasn’t very helpful in terms of trying to create a bridge and links between Turkey and Armenia that this was carried out. People were upset when they turned up and saw what had happened.”

Hal Savas, a member of the five-man delegation from the Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights, was present at the service.

“Whoever has done it should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. “We would condemn any damage done to any religious monument.”

Wales: Nationalist Turks Vandalize Genocide Monument

Hours before a January 27, 2008 commemoration for the Holocaust and murdered Armenian-Turkish Hrant Dink, members of the Armenian community in Wales discovered the site for the event – a traditional Armenian khachkar (literally, cross-stone) opened in November of 2007 – had been vandalized by a hammar left at the scene. 

Image: A photograph from the November 3, 2007 opening ceremony of the Armenian Genocide commemorative memorial in Cardiff, Wales (United Kingdom) shows the khachkar (cross-stone) that was vandalized by a hammer in the morning of a scheduled event to commemorate the Holocaust and remember Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Photo courtesy ACCC.

A press-release by the Wales-Armenia Solidarity, posted by Unzipped, reads:  

The tiny Welsh Armenian community were targeted with a despicable racist attack on Holocaust Memorial Day. The new Armenian Genocide Monument (which was erected by the community under the leadership of John Torosyan in November) was desecrated in the early hours of the morning before important ceremonies were held today to Commemorate the Holocaust, and to remember Hrant Dink.

The ornate Armenian Cross on the monument was smashed to bits by persons unknown using a hammer, which was left at the scene of the crime.

Mark Grigorian, a journalist and a blogger at LiveJournal, wrote earlier on the morning of January 27 that a text message had just informed him that “[t]he Armenian Khachkar monument in Cardiff commemorating the Armenian Genocide, which had been consecrated only in November in the face of vehement opposition by official Turkey and UM Turkish nationalist groups has been badly vandalised abd desecrated last night.”

Eilian Williams, talking on the vandalism, has blamed the “Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights”  under the leadership of Hal Savas – a member of The Muslim Council of Britain – for the hate crime.

Indeed, the announcement for the commemoration ceremony, posted at Seta’s Armenian Blog and apparently written before the news of the vandalism, expressed fears for violent Turkish protests quoting Hal Savas as saying, “[w]e will be out in force this time.” Savas’ group had protested the unveiling of the memorial in November of 2007, as reported by the BBC.

Image: Soldiers of Azerbaijan filmed using sladghammers to reduce sacred Armenian gravestones to dust in December of 2005. Visit for more information

It is not clear why the hammer – that was used to smash the cross on the genocide monument to pieces –  was left at the scene. Perhaps a symbolic gesture to the December of 2005 destruction of the largest medieval Armenian cemetery in the world where Azerbaijani soldiers used sladghammers to reduce the sacred stones to dust?

Recreating the Bamiyan Buddhas in Laser Images

Afghanistan’s famed Bamiyan Buddhas, reduced to dust by the Taliban in 2001, may be returning in a few years.

Japanese artist Hiro Yamagata, according to Bamiyan Laser, is working on a project that in June of 2012 will display Buddha images at the site where the sacred monuments were destroyed by Islamic militants.

According to Yamagata’s website:

Over 250 laser systems installed 500m,1km and 5km in distance from the Bamiyan hills will project multiple layers of original Yamagata Buddha images drawn in striking colors.
The laser images will be projected for 1 hour after sundown, 6 days without friday.
The laser systems built specifically for this installation will shoot long range green beams and short range multiple color beams, designed to create a striking contrast to the purplish red hue of the Bamiyan sunset and the black mountain shadows.

The energy used by the laser systems will be produced by environmental friendly windmills and solar power plants. The power produced is also meant to provide light and electricity for the people of Bamiyan.

Although the Buddhas will be visible only at certain times of the year, the project is said to be sustainable and permanent:

The original Bamiyan Buddhas were created approximately 1500 years ago, as one of the most significant historical monuments of mankind. 

My artistic concept is to create original images of Buddha and project them with the most unique,powerful and cutting edge laser technology of today onto the site where once the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas stood.  Thus we will be able to revive the great creative spirit of mankind which produced the Great Buddha of Bamiyan centuries ago. A collaboration of ancient and new art will become a cultural icon of revived civilization in Afghanistan.
By permanently creating an artwork of laser system installation in Bamiyan, we intend to stimulate both the land and the people of Bamiyan.


But instead of the handful Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban, the laser project will have 160-240 Buddhas.  The figure gives hope that destroyed historic sites with hundreds of monuments can be “recreated” through laser imaging as well.  A similar project could be put together to memorialize the largest medieval Armenian cemetery reduced to dust in Azerbaijan in 2005.

What about “recreating” the New York Twin Towers with laser?

Image: UNESCO delegates looking at a new Azerbaijani military camp in September of 2007 where the Djulfa cemetery existed before December of 2005.  This site could become the world’s largest laser-powered museum with thousands of recreated tombstones

The cemetery should be recreated – whether on Azeri or Armenian territory – before the 10th anniversary of the destruction of Djulfa.  So there is much work to do until 2015.  Interestingly, that is also the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.  History repeats?

New Holocaust Memorial Vandalized in Armenia

A swastika has been painted on Yerevan’s new Holocaust memorial a year after the old and repeatedly vandalized memorial was replaced with this new monument that commemorates the Jewish and Armenian Genocides of the 20th century. 

According to the Jerusalem Post:

Unknown vandals defaced a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in central Yerevan last week, scrawling a swastika on the simple stone structure and splattering it with black paint.

The defaced memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in central Yerevan, Armenia. Photo: Michael Freund

Rabbi Gershon Burshtein, a Chabad emissary who serves as Chief Rabbi of the country’s tiny Jewish community, expressed shock upon discovering the vandalism while escorting visitors to the site on Wednesday.

After calling the police and local government officials to inform them of the incident, he said, “I just visited the memorial the other day and everything was fine. This is terrible, as there are excellent relations between Jews and Armenians.”

A senior adviser to Armenian President Robert Kocharian denounced the defacement as “a provocation”, and promised Rabbi Burshtein that it would be taken care of forthwith.

The monument has been defaced and toppled several times in the past few years. It is located in the city’s Aragast Park, a few blocks north of the centrally-located Republic Square, which is home to a number of government buildings.

The text inscribed in Hebrew on the stone reads, “To be or to forget: in memory of the victims of the Holocaust”.

Armenia’s Jewish population is estimated at between 300 and 500 people, most of whom live in the capital of Yerevan.

Photo from  The new Holocaust Memorial during its opening on October 27, 2006

It is interesting that the Jerusalem Post fails to mention that the Holocaust memorial doesn’t only commemorate the Jewish but also the Armenian Genocide.  The dual-commemoration was obviously done with the hope that anti-Semites in Armenia would not dare to vandalize a monument that also honors the Armenian Genocide. 

The new vandalism seen in the Jerusalem Post photo is quite minor compared to what was done to the old Holocaust memorial in Yerevan in early 2006.

While the vandalism on the former memorial was most likely organized by a group known as Armenian-Aryans (I remember reading in one of their 2002 or 2003 publications talking about the Holocaust Memorial as something immoral to exist in Armenia), the new vandalism seems to be a work of an individual anti-Semite given the “minor injuries” of the new memorial.

As I have written before, the head of the “Armenian-Aryans” was one of the speakers at the Holocaust denial conference a year ago in Iran.

Another Place of Memory Erased in Azerbaijan

Vandalized graves; broken stones.  Another Christian cemetery has been erased in the Republic of Azerbaijan this time containing not only Armenian, but also Russian, Georgian and Ukrainian graves.


Photo: The burial monument of Tamara Akhoomiants, an ethnic Armenian, vandalized

According to photographs and information posted at, a conservative website from Russia, “Recently im Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan – an old Christian cemetery was destroyed. Hundreds of graves of Russians, Armenians, Georgians, and Ukrainians were barbarically demolished by bulldozers. ”

Photo: Dead residents of a Christian cemetery being “evicted” from Azerbaijan (again)

Shockingly enough, the photographs of the now-gone cemetery were taken in December of 2005 – the same month when the medieval Armenian cemetery of Djulfa was reduced to dust by the Azerbaijani army. 

According to the website, the cemetery is being replaced with elite houses. 

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