Saturday, April 30, 2016

United Nations: Aleppo in ‘Catastrophic’ State

Dr Vickie Hawkins, executive director of Doctors Without Borders: Attack on hospital is "absolutely devastating" (Photo: BBC)
Dr Vickie Hawkins, executive director of Doctors Without Borders: Attack on hospital is “absolutely devastating” (Photo: BBC)
NEW YORK (BBC) —The United Nations says the situation in Syria’s city of Aleppo is catastrophic, after dozens of people were killed in attacks on targets including a hospital, the BBC reports.
Air strikes on and around the Medecins Sans Frontieres-backed al-Quds hospital killed at least 27 people, while more than 30 died in other attacks.
UN envoy Jan Egeland said the next few days are vital for the humanitarian aid lifeline for much of Syria.
The violence has left a partial truce hanging by a thread.
UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warned the cessation of hostilities agreed between non-jihadist rebels and government forces on February 27 were now “barely alive.”

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yet another attempt to deny The Armenian Genocide---sad but true

Only two countries deny the Armenian Genocide — Turkey and its close ally, Azerbaijan — but the European Parliament and 29 countries including Canada, France, Germany and Russia recognize the systemic massacres by the Ottoman Empire as genocide. U.S. efforts to formally recognize the Armenian Genocidehave repeatedly fallen flat due in part to pro-Turkish opposition, but 44 states have recognized the atrocities as genocide including New Jersey.
Taskin's letter on the Michigan school books issue was posted the day after the annual day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 and several days after recent pro-Turkey skywriting appeared over New York City. According to Vice News, that skywriting featured messages such as as "101 years of Geno-lie," "Gr8 ally = Turkey," "BFF = Russia + Armenia," and ""
Drew to commemorate Armenian genocide, host former CIA director
Drew University will host a commemoration event for the Armenian Genocide as well as host the former director of the CIA for a lecture this week.

Turkey has repeatedly denied the killing of Armenians in the early 20th century was organized and systematic, disputed the number killed and opposed international efforts to recognize it as genocide — going so far last year during the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, according to the BBC, as to recall its ambassador to the Vatican when Pope Francis referred to the atrocities as "the first genocide of the 20th century."
Taskin's website for the Turkish Institute for Progress lists three issues as its top priorities: denying the killing of Armenians from 1915 to 1917 amounted to genocide; encouraging a reconciliation of Turkey and Armenia; and highlighting Turkey's role in NATO and global security.
Taskin's website also disputes the number of Armenians killed, saying only "600,000 Armenians died" and those killings were not "premeditated" or "systematic." The website also states 2.5 million Turks, Kurds and Arabs also died.
In a statement sent to NJ Advance Media Friday morning, Taskin said her group recognizes "that the events around 1915 and earlier were tragic."
"Many millions of lives were lost, including Turkish, Armenian, Muslim, and Jewish lives," she said. "We do not dispute this.  We do dispute the accusations that the events of 1915 raise to the level of 'genocide.'"
She also said an open dialogue needs to occur between Turkey and Armenia in order to foster reconciliation. Taskin has not yet addressed how a reconciliation can be possible given Turkey's failure to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.
According to an overview by the New York Times, Armenians mark April 24, 1915 as start of the genocide — the day Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested and later executed. Figures compiled by the University of Minnesota's Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies by province and district show there were about 2.1 million Armenians in the empire in 1914 and only about 387,800 by 1922, according to the newspaper.
The overview states the Times "covered the issue extensively — 145 articles in 1915 alone by one count — with headlines like 'Appeal to Turkey to Stop Massacres.' The Times described the actions against the Armenians as 'systematic,' 'authorized,' and 'organized by the government.'"
Paterson Mayor Jose Torres referred comment on the issue to Taskin herself.
Justin Zaremba may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinZarembaNJ. Find on Facebook.

The Armenian Genocide in the American Humanitarian Imagination

The Armenian Weekly Magazine
April 2016
Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern HumanitarianismBy Keith David Watenpaugh
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015
Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN: 9780520279322
Cover of Watenpaugh’s ‘Bread from Stones’
Among the wealth of recently published Armenian Genocide commemorative books is Keith Watenpaugh’s tour de forceBread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism. With evidence gathered from a half-dozen archives, Watenpaugh situates the Armenian Genocide seamlessly within the larger history of modern humanitarianism. By telling these stories together, Watenpaugh has effectively written the Armenian Genocide back into the American humanitarian imagination, a place it once held before it was conveniently forgotten.
Bread from Stones offers an in-depth look at international humanitarian efforts on the eve of World War I, a period when, Watenpaugh argues, missionary-based humanitarian relief transitioned to a modern secular humanitarian approach. He supports this argument with the writings of philanthropists from America and Europe, among them American physician Stanley E. Kerr who stayed behind in Marash to document the atrocities committed by Turkish forces as they overran French forces in 1920 and massacred Armenians, many of whom were genocide victims who had returned at war’s end. Kerr put his own life at risk in order to document the atrocities, and it is the special care to detailed documentary evidence gathering that sets modern humanitarianism apart from earlier philanthropic models. Production of “humanitarian knowledge” included collecting eyewitness documentary evidence and photography, and the gradual secularization in tone in the writings of humanitarian workers. This shift to document humanitarian crises can also be found during the Hamidian Massacres (1894-96) in the writings of American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, German Protestant missionary Johannes Lepsius, and Ottoman Armenian Zabel Yesayan’s documentation of the massacres in Adana (1909).
The personal writings of relief workers feature prominently in Watenpaugh’s history writing and breathe life into this historic moment for humanitarianism. Noteworthy is the inclusion of writings from women relief workers, American physician Dr. Mabel Evelyn Elliot (1881-1944) of Near East Relief (NER) and Zabel Yesayan (1878-1943) of the American Red Cross. The story of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, which later evolved into Near East Relief, is told in a way that includes Armenian philanthropic organizations and the Armenian Apostolic Church within broader international relief efforts. The influence of the memoirs of Armenian orphans who were cared for by NER—Karnig Panian, Asdghig Avakian, and Antranik Zaroukian—helped shape the outlook on the Armenian Genocide as well as note the success of the program on its graduates. So, while Near East Relief was American, Watenpaugh shows how several international players merged to publicize the Armenian cause in an effort to recover national rights, which was emphasized above individual rights.
A poster by the American Committee for Relief in the Near East
Watenpaugh documents the way that humanitarian workers and international human rights advocates understood the unfolding crisis in the Ottoman Empire during World War I through the lens of what he calls a humanitarian imagination, which marked certain individuals as objects of organized compassion. This compassion, however, did not come without some benefit since it was informed by what Watenpaugh callsAmerican humanitarian exceptionalism, which held relief efforts to be “a means to an end of the social, political, and moral reordering of the region.” The political calculation made by international relief agencies can be observed in responses to crises resulting from the famine caused by a combination of locust infestation and the Allied blockade against the Ottoman Empire. The war prompted the Ottoman government to shift the flow of supplies to the front, leaving many of the empire’s poor without food. Discussion of the famine in Beirut, the floods in Baghdad, and food shortages in Jerusalem sets up a context for humanitarianism in the Middle East at the beginning of the war. Organizations like the American Red Cross were already on the ground in Beirut distributing food; yet, humanitarianism was more complex in areas like Palestine, where Zionist relief organizations framed deservingness along sectarian lines. This track is followed up in the coverage of the Armenian Genocide when humanitarian workers understood the genocide in largely civilizational terms and offered targeted assistance to groups considered protégés of aspirational empires.
The richness of documentation offered by Watenpaugh pulls the reader into how international bodies tried to make sense of the senseless act that was the Armenian Genocide. Accounts of trafficking of women and children resonated with 19th-century slavery abolition and fed into civilizational narratives. Rescuing Armenians was an extension of the white man’s burden and civilizing mission, both situated within the emerging concept of humanitarian intervention. In this way, as products of their time, many of these emerging humanitarian agencies “embraced modes of colonialism—most importantly a civilizing mission—without possessing a colony, and consequently without the attendant brutality.”
Deservingness was formulated through unstrangering the object of humanitarian assistance. This was achieved through a number of rhetorical devices, visual and linguistic, to effectively portray Armenians as civilizationally similar to Americans, thereby unstrangered and legible for humanitarian relief. “Instead of making new Near Easterners, NER had helped make new Americans in the Middle East, or at least Armenians who were both modern but still ‘out of place’ in the societies where they found refuge.” The issue of deservingness raises a number of interesting questions for the treatment of subsequent refugee flows throughout the 20th century to the present.
While we are currently living through the largest refugee crisis since World War II, Watenpaugh gives us food for thought as we think historically and critically about theproblem for humanity.

problem for humanity because it was a problem of humanity, the Armenian Genocide was a staging point for the mobilization of contemporary human rights thinking. Reading Watenpaugh’s work on the fifth anniversary of the Syrian Uprising-turned-proxy war is a potent reminder of how regressive the American—and to a greater degree the world’s—approach to refugees is compared to a hundred years ago. The Armenian Genocide mobilized humanitarian relief to the point where Near East Relief alone raised $110 million dollars by 1921 and fed 300,000 people daily; such massive humanitarian assistance lies in stark contrast to the decaying ethical standards surrounding the problem of humanity today. By the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the world had abandoned its commitment to national recovery previously offered to Armenian refugees. Importantly, Watenpaugh suggests this may have modeled the approach to future refugee crises, including the Palestinian refugee crisis of 1948. As an international community, we are no longer troubled by statelessness. While we are currently living through the largest refugee crisis since World War II, Watenpaugh gives us food for thought as we think historically and critically about the problem for humanity. The turn toward popular vilification and criminalization of refugees over the last year provides us with examples of strangering that unravels the humanitarian imagination Watenpaugh so carefully constructs in his work. While we are unlikely to see any end to this suffering, we can consider how Watenpaugh’s broader question of deservingness bears on contemporary realities and ask, What it is that makes some communities less deserving than others of humanitarian assistance?

US Legislators Call for Justice for Armenian Genocide; Warn of Renewed Anti-Armenian Atrocities

Annual Armenian Caucus Capitol Hill Remembrance Draws Standing-Room-Only Audience of Community Leaders, Coalition Partners 
WASHINGTON—Members of U.S. Senate and House taking part in the annual Capitol Hill remembrance of the Armenian Genocide stressed that the United States, as a matter of national policy, should be working toward a truthful and just recognition of this crime, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Scenes from the 2016 Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Observance
During the evening remembrance program, legislators raised serious concerns, on a bipartisan basis, regarding the dangerous modern day implications of continued official U.S. and international indifference to a century of unchecked anti-Armenian violence and genocide, even amid warning signs of renewed atrocities against Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh).
“We want to thank each of the legislators who joined us today, and the many more who are working to stop official U.S. complicity in Ankara’s genocide denials and bring an end to the Administration’s troubling silence in the face of Azerbaijan’s reckless military escalation against Nagorno-Karabagh,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.  “Sadly, we are seeing today—in Azerbaijan’s attacks all along the Nagorno-Karabagh line-of-contact—the results of longstanding U.S. appeasement of Turkey and international indifference to Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian aggression, even amid clear warning signs of renewed atrocities.”
Congressman Adam Schiff
A prominent theme was the escalation of Azerbaijan’s attacks against Nagorno-Karabagh, which claimed several hundred Armenian and Azerbaijani lives between April 2 and 5. Constant ceasefire violations continue to undermine peace in the region, with three members of Artsakh’s defense forces killed in just the last two days.  Members of Congress called for zeroing out military aid to Azerbaijan, with many urging an increase in assistance to Artsakh in light of recent violence.
The annual Capitol Hill observance of the Armenian Genocide was organized by the Congressional Armenian Caucus in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, Office of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabagh in the U.S., and Armenian American organizations.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo
Among the federal legislators offering remarks were Senator Robert Menendez (D-Calif.), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Robert Dold (R-Ill.) as well as, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Armenian and Assyrian American Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), and David Trott (R-Mich.).  Also in attendance were Rep. David Brat (R-Va.), Hellenic Caucus Co-Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chair James McGovern (D-Mass.), and Armenian Genocide Resolution lead author David Valadao (R-Calif.).
Rep. Linda Sánchez
Capitol Hill veteran and Greater Washington D.C. community activist Elise Kenderian Aronson served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening, inviting clerical leaders His Eminence Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern U.S. and Rev. Fr. Tatev Terteryan of St. Mary Apostolic Church to offer the benediction and invocation.  Also offering keynote remarks were His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the U.S., and the Honorable Robert Avetisyan, Nagorno-Karabagh representative to the U.S.
Congressman Jim Costa
Armenian Americans were joined by representatives from the Hellenic, Assyrian and Kurdish communities at the observance, including Ted Katsoubas from the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC); Steve Oshana, Executive Director of A Demand for Action; and, Dasko Shirwani of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) among many others.
An ANCA pictorial review of the annual Armenian Genocide observance is available on Facebook.
In addition to live video offered on the ANCA Facebook site during the event, the ANCA will be posting individual remarks from the event throughout the week on its Facebook page,website, and via twitter.
Armenian Caucus Capitol Hill Remembrance
Amb. Grigor Hovhannissian of the Embassy of Armenia to the United States
Robert Avetisyan, the Permanent Representative of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic in Washington, DC
Congresswoman Katherine Clark
Congressman John Sarbanes
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., Co-Chairman of the Congressional Armenian Caucus
Senator Menendez
Congressman Robert Dold
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, at Armenian Genocide 101: Capitol Hill Commemoration
Remembrance MC Elise Kenderian Aronson
Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan of the Armenian Prelacy, Rev. Father Sarkis Aktavoukian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church, and Rev. Fr. Tatev Terteryan of St Mary Church

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Secret Archives Show Vatican Tried to Stop Armenian Genocide

Documentary "TURKEY EXPOSED!" features conversation with Turkish man

101 years ago, millions of Christians (Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians) lost their lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in a brutal genocide. Over a century of efforts to wipe this genocide from the history books have failed. History forgotten will be history repeated.
In this rare footage, DavidMTv has a conversation about the Armenian genocide to a Turkish man at the University of New Mexico. Please share with your friends and family to keep people aware about the atrocities that STILL hasn’t been acknowledged by the Turkish Government. Thank you.

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Money talks, and right now it's talking shit.
My family and I are no strangers to BS in the press. We've learned to brush it off. Lies make good headlines, good headlines make great covers, great covers sell magazines. But when I heard about this full-page ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal denying the Armenian genocide, I couldn't just brush it off.
The ad was paid for by Turkic Platform. I won't list the group's website, as I don't want to give them the traffic, but basically they say that not as many people died as historians say, and that the Armenians were to blame.
For the Wall Street Journal to publish something like this is reckless, upsetting and dangerous. It's one thing when a shitty tabloid profits from a made-up scandal, but for a trusted publication like WSJ to profit from genocide—it's shameful and unacceptable. Why is it that every time we take one step forward, we take two steps back?
Gawker asked the Wall Street Journal why they would run an ad like this. Their response was: "We accept a wide range of advertisements, including those with provocative viewpoints. While we review ad copy for issues of taste, the varied and divergent views expressed belong to the advertisers."
Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it—that's not publishing a "provocative viewpoint," that's spreading lies. It's totally morally irresponsible and, most of all, it's dangerous. If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?
Many historians believe that if Turkey had been held responsible for the Armenian genocide, and reprimanded for what they did, the Holocaust may not have happened. In 1939, a week before the Nazi invasion of Poland, Hitler said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" We do. We must. We must talk about it until it is recognized by our government because when we deny our past, we endanger our future. When we allow ourselves to be silenced by money, by fear and by power, we teach our children that truth is irrelevant. We have to be responsible for the message we pass on to our children. We have to honor the TRUTH in our history so that we protect their future. We have to do better than this.