Sunday, June 23, 2013

Obama Says His Views on Armenian Genocide Have Not Changed

The president ‘not interested’ in tilting Armenia-Turkey negotiations in one way or another
ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—On Mon., April 6, President Barack Obama met with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara.
Following the meeting, and after making a statement to the press, Obama called on Christi Parsons from the Chicago Trubune’s Washington Bureau to ask a question. Parson’s said, “As a U.S. Senator, you stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey’s acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide. And you also supported the passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. You said, as president, you would recognizer the genocide. My question to you is: Have you change your view? And did you ask President Gul to recognize the genocide by name?”
“My views are on the record and I have not changed views,” Obama answered. “What I have been very encouraged by is news that under President Gul’s leadership, we are seeing a series of negotiations, a process in place between Armenia and Turkey to resolve a whole host of long-standing issues, including this one,” he added.
Talking about his role in this process, he said, “I want to be as encouraging as possible around those negotiations, which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly, very soon. And as a consequence, what I want to do is not focus on my views, but focus on the views of the Turkish and the Armenian people, if they can move forward and deal with a difficult and tragic history, then I think the entire world should encourage them. So what I told the president was I want to be as constructive as possible in moving these issues forward quickly. And my sense is that they are moving quickly. I don’t want to, as the president of the United States, to preempt any possible arrangements or announcements that might be made in the near future. I just want to say that we are going to be a partner in working through these issue in such a way that the most important parties, the Turks and the Armenians, are finally coming to terms in the most constructive way.”
Parsons followed up by asking, “So if I understand you correctly, your view hasn’t changed, but you’ll put in advance the issue of whether to use that word in the future?” Obama answered, “What I’d like to do is encourage President Gul to move forward with what have been some very fruitful negotiations. I’m not interested in the United States in any way tilting these negotiations in one way or another, while they [Armenia and Turkey] are having useful discussions.”
“In his remarks today in Ankara, President Obama missed a valuable opportunity to honor his public pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA executive director Aram Hamparian on April 6. “The president’s willingness to raise his commitment to recognizing the Armenian Genocide, even indirectly, in his remarks before the Turkish Parliament represents a step in the right direction, but far short of the clear promise he made as a candidate that he would, as president, fully and unequivocally recognize this crime against humanity. We expect that the president will, during Genocide Prevention Month this April, stand by his word, signaling to the world that America’s commitment to the cause of genocide prevention will never again be held hostage to pressures from a foreign government,” he added.

The Armenian Kitchen Hits One Million Views

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.—What’s cooking in the Armenian Kitchen these days?
photo 21 The Armenian Kitchen Hits One Million Views
You’re all invited to dinner with Robyn and Doug Kalajian inside their Armenian Kitchen online.
Chief cooks Doug and Robyn Kalajian happen to be celebrating an auspicious occasion with another delectable meal and perhaps a bottle of champagne.
They’re toasting a happy marriage as well as a happy website that has caught the attention of its one millionth page viewer.
“Raise the glasses and bring out the special tableware for this occasion,” bubbles Robyn. “What a milestone! You could knock us over with a feather.”
The big day arrived May 27 when the website registered 547 hits, a tad less than the previous day, which received 931. Over May, the site registered 27,580 views, and passed the million mark by 331.
It has anything and everything you wanted to know about Armenian food a million times over and still counting.
Among the latest queries was from Mark Gavoor with his oud in hand. He represents the voice of Chicago with an appetite to match, especially when it comes to such delectables as perper salata, Kharpert kufteh and topig. Just like medzmama’s cooking!
He has this to say about the Kalajians:
“Their Armenian Kitchen blog is an Armenian-American treasure. Their passion for the preservation and dialogue of our culinary roots is nonpareil. I wish I were more of a cook than simply an avid fan of results of Armenian cooking pros like Doug and Robyn. If I were, I’d certainly take advantage of their wonderful and voluminous collection of recipes. Maybe one day.”
Whether it’s their concoctions, a friend’s, or from another’s cookbook, it’s all up there for people to enjoy, says Gavoor.
“The Kalajians provide great stories and give ample credit to wherever the recipes may originate from,” he adds.
Their website——shares everything you want to know about Armenian food one recipe and story at a time, whether it’s Aunt Arpie’s deviled eggs or Gavoor’s amazing cheese puff/bourag called “penerli.”
Put on an apron, wash your hands, and join the Kalajians on their epicurean journey.
“Armenian recipes are as varied as their regions and dialects,” agrees Robyn. “No two choreg recipes are alike. Food connects us across all boundaries. We like to think we’re preserving our heritage one recipe at a time.”
We caught up with the Kalajians in the comfort of their kitchen. No doubt, it’s their favorite room. And with the electronic era, they share it with the world.
Doug, too, is absolutely dumbstruck by the overall popularity of his nutmeg. As he understands it, the stats mean his website has been clicked on over a million times by almost 300,000 different readers.
“It tells us that people keep coming back,” he says. “We know this because Google tracks visits automatically and tells us what stories they read and where they may live, right down to the village in China, Africa, or the Middle East. It’s been an amazing journey over these past five years.”
Other remote areas include Mongolia, Laos, Iceland, Uzbekistan, and United Arab Emirates. A man from Australia was so desperate for the taste of basterma, he sought the recipe. A woman from Canada sent along an easy method of making madzoon in a microwave. Others are hoping to find lost family recipes.
Doug worked as an editor, reporter, and feature writer for over 16 years with the Palm Beach Post before retiring in 2008 from what he calls “a sadly shrinking newspaper industry.”
Along the way, he wrote a non-fiction book called Snow Blind about a crusading public defender caught up in Florida’s cocaine insanity of the 1980’s.
Robyn, a retired culinary arts teacher, remains the chief cook with this production duet; her husband calls himself a sous chef. Dining with them in an elaborate Florida restaurant is quite the appetizer.
“I’m absolutely dumbstruck by the overall popularity of YouTube, which has displaced traditional TV for so many people,” Doug points out.
Most popular so far is how to make shish kebab with more than 65,000 views. More so than the website, the videos seem to draw a diverse audience that includes many non-Armenians. The reaction has been powerful and sometimes overwhelming.
“Our cooking videos have been watched more than 230,000 times by viewers from around the world.” Doug notes that some videos have also become a lightning rod.
“There’s a furious international food fight being carried out among various groups claiming the identity and origin of dishes from throughout the Near and Middle East,” he confirms. “Armenian cuisine is under heavy fire, particularly from Azerbaijan and Turkey. The comments get downright nasty sometimes, but I rarely feel the need to reply because Armenian viewers jump in quickly with their own response.”
The Kalajians remain content to leave questions about the food industry to the experts while they try to satisfy a clear desire among Armenians to share their recipes and the traditions they represent.
One lesson that’s been driven home is that the Armenian menu is incredibly varied because it reflects the far-reaching experiences and travels of the Armenian people over centuries.
“Our cuisine is still evolving as Armenians adapt to the changing world,” he agrees. “Ask Armenians from Yerevan and Lebanon to describe a typical meal and you may get very different answers. But you might find the same divergence between two Armenians from New Jersey if one family came from Dikranagerd and the other from Van.”
After starting the website in March 2009 with nothing more than the thought of sharing recipes with an unknown global audience, it’s become an evolving turnstile.
“We always wanted to work on something together,” they said. “Robyn’s knowledge of food and cooking with my writing skills was an obvious conclusion.”
The Kalajians are based in Boynton Beach, where they cook and write. Both are involved with St. David’s Armenian Church and piped into the Armenian community. They’ve connected people with recipes, specific ingredients, and other curiosity-seekers. Through their website, they found a cousin named Maro Nalabandian, a noted pastry chef.
“I’d heard about her family over the years but we’d never met until this past April,” said Robyn. “The passion for food must be in our genes.”
Baking the distinctive cheese bread recipe that Robyn learned from her grandmother not only brings back memories, it gives the Kalajians a small taste of the little village in the shadow of Musa Dagh, which her ancestors left nearly a century ago.
A plea for assistance came from Tigran Shahverdyan, a scientist from Moscow participating in the International Space University’s studies program at Florida Institute of Technology.
He didn’t have a car and needed to know where the nearest Middle Eastern store was located. He wished to buy lavash for a cultural project to which he was committed. Being the only Armenian in the group, he wanted to do an Armenian-style barbeque.
Using her computer, Robyn located a store near his school that sold lavash and passed on the information diligently, much to the delight of the faculty and students.
“We’ve posted recipes related to certain Armenian traditions, celebrations, and holidays,” she brought out. “Our main purpose continues to find and preserve Armenian family-style recipes. Sometimes, it’s a challenge with regional dialect and recipe name/spelling differences, but we’re always up for that. At times, we turn to readers for help and someone usually comes to the rescue.”
The Kalajians would love to publish their own cookbook but the idea always seems to find “the back burner.” Yet, it’s not out of the question. A calendar has been suggested and that’s another possibility. It’s just a matter of time and timing.
As for television, that’s highly unlikely. They’ll stick to their YouTube videos for now. In the meantime, they’ll focus on being an interactive site that reaches far beyond their wildest dreams.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Turkeys Coming Home to Roost?

The crowd at Taksim Square (AP Photo by Kostas Tsironis)
The parallels seem deliciously endless in number and category. A week’s worth of unrest in Turkey, spreading from Constantinople (Bolis) to other cities, could go to unpredictable places, both good and bad.
Already, I’ve heard that the AKP’s (ruling party) youth wing is tussling with others. What does this suggest? Is it an indicator that the party feels threatened and is unleashing its thugs? Contradicting this is the reality that Erdogan left the country for a couple of days. This is an indication of confidence, although it could just be another manifestation of his renowned arrogance.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about these goings-on is “are the Islamists (Gulenjees, perhaps) and the secularists (Ataturkjees) butting heads in what could be the beginning of something big?” This was reinforced by the opinion I read that the situation could devolve into civil war.
Imagine, something that started as simply as a protest to save Gezi Park (evidently the only remaining green space in Bolis), could spark huge changes. Here, we have a parallel with the successful struggle to save Yerevan’s Mashdotz Park. This also speaks to how fundamentally important environmental issues are to life. The police overreacted, using water cannons and tear gas— and here we have the parallel to the Egyptian government’s overreaction to the demonstrations in Cairo during the “Arab Spring” just over two years ago.
Ultimately, the government stood down, and I saw pictures of the demonstrators cleaning up the mess, not the authorities! And here’s another parallel, to the “occupy” movement that establish self-governing mini-communities throughout the U.S. In fact, I even saw “Occupy Gezi Park” thrown out as a term/name.
Various “man on the street” interviews portrayed this outpouring as a reaction to Prime Minister Erdogan’s increasingly repressive government. Interestingly, he attributed this outpouring to the political opposition and “foreign” ties. The latter accusation is particularly ironic given Turkey’s involvement in “promoting” the Arab Spring actions as part of its grand, neo-Ottoman delusions, er, excuse me, designs, on the Middle East. Turkey meddled in Libya, and is the main conduit for supplies going to the rebel forces fighting the Syrian government. Given this history, it would be no surprise if other countries have decided to “return the favor” by stirring the pot in Turkey. The three most likely countries are Syria, Iran, and Russia, all of whom have every reason to desire revenge against Turkey for its international shenanigans, particularly the murderous outcome we’re seeing in Syria. It is also a way for these countries (and perhaps others, too) to tell the U.S. and Europe to “back off” after the mess they’ve created in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
Finally, what is very intriguing is a hit piece on Turkey that already appeared in a Jewish publication (The Tablet). This struck me as odd since it seemed to me relations between Turkey and Israel were on the mend. Perhaps there’s more going on in the background in this relationship. Otherwise, it’s just plain weird that such a strongly anti-Turkey piece should appear so soon after the protests in Turkey started.
Keep a very close eye on this. Perhaps this is indeed a “Turkish Spring” in the making. If so, we should strive to also make it an Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, and Kurdish Spring, simultaneously.

Armenian Scholars at the Center of Genocide Denial

The Turkish Studies Project of the University of Utah convened its fourth conference on on Wednesday in Tbilisi, Georgia. The conference is entitled “The Caucasus at Imperial Twilight: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Nation-Building (1870s-1920s).”
The Turkish Studies Project at Utah, directed by Prof. M. Hakan Yavuz of the Department of Political Science, is funded by the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), one of the most active U.S.-based groups promoting denial of the Armenian Genocide (the TCA is also specified as a sponsor of the conference). The Project was established in 2009 through the TCA’s financial support.
The Turkish Coalition of America has gained notoriety since its establishment in 2007 for its aggressive promotion of “the contra-genocide narrative” through funding scholarship that casts doubt on the facts of the Genocide, pursuing aggressive legal measures such as its lawsuit (which was dismissed) against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and working against U.S. recognition of the Genocide by the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch.
In light of the TCA’s support of the conference, it is not surprising to find such names as Norman Stone, Justin McCarthy, Michael Gunter, and Kemal Cicek among the participants. Each is well known for writings that attempt to undercut the veracity of the Armenian Genocide.
What is surprising, however, is the presence of a number of Armenian scholars, both from the Republic of Armenia and from the United States, including one member of the organizing committee.
Lately, certain elements in Armenian academia have been advancing the warped notion that by taking part in denialist or denialist-organized conferences they can counter claims by Turkey and its mouthpieces whose careers have hinged on historical revisionism. Yet we have seen no proof of that.
As these Armenian academicians gallivant around the world from one conference to another, the government of Turkey continues to invest millions to infiltrate academic circles in the US and elsewhere.
The participation of some of the Armenian scholars on the roster of the Tbilisi conference is not surprising as they “sold out” a long time ago. What is more disturbing is the participation of a younger generation of academicians who fervently argue that their presence at such conferences bolsters the Armenian position when, in reality, it goes a long way in advancing Turkey’s decades-long denialist policies.
The Armenian scholars’ participation in the conference does not end with presenting papers and includes Armenians who are listed as organizers on the program.
In the absence of efforts by Armenia to produce a new generation of multi-lingual Armenian scholars, coupled with the laissez-faire attitude of those who make it a point to be at the forefront of denialist scholarship, the academic pursuit of the Armenian Cause is taking a step backward.
Therefore, these Armenian scholars who are participating in these conferences should be accountable to the public and through the Armenian press must report on their efforts to “counter” Genocide denial in these forums. After all, the same scholars took great advantage of the arena presented by the Armenian press during their nascent days as burgeoning scholars.

Letter: It Is Delusional to Think One Can Convince a Denier

Dear Editor,
I wish to thank Ara Khachatourian for his timely article exposing an alarming trend in academia. While there are many layers to the question of when and how to engage genocide deniers, it appears those who participated in this case have oversimplified the issue in order to avoid the difficult questions. It is delusional to think that one can “convince” scholars who are deniers of genocide as if they are somehow lacking access to information that is convincing. The Armenian Genocide is so well documented, that any denier, in this day and age, has an agenda that diverges widely from academic integrity. Those that have shifted their position from denial to acceptance have done so because to do otherwise undermines their scholarly credibility. Participating in these conferences, in this way, only removes that stigma and thus allows for the denial to continue. It seems some amnesia has set in and these academics should reacquaint themselves with the available scholarly research on genocide denial.
The views expressed in the recent interview with Jirair Libaridian on the Groong Armenian News Network would appear to be indicative of those scholars (note that I do not limit this simply to ethnic Armenian scholars, ethnicity is irrelevant to this discussion) that choose to participate in such conferences. Libaridian, in part, states that he has something important to say on the subject of the conference. Apparently he feels this particular conference is not simply the best outlet for his scholarship, but the only outlet. Implicitly, he feels his work will gain the greatest credibility by inclusion with papers presented at a conference organized by Hakun Yavuz.
Those who have dealt with genocide denial over the past 25-plus years are well aware of the pitfalls. Much has changed over that period. What is disturbing to me is the concept that change for the sake of change is necessary for progress to be achieved, as if no progress has been made over the past 50 years in regards to acceptance of the Armenian Genocide as historical fact. Sometimes, tried and true methods that have been successful over a long period of time require no adjustment or dramatic shift.
George Aghjayan
Needham, Mass.

In Vatican, Pope Recognizes Genocide

Pope Francis greets an Armenian delegation in the Vatican with Nerses Bedros XIX, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics in the background
“The first genocide of the 20th Century was that of the Armenians,” says Pope Francis
BUENOS AIRES (Diaro Armenia)—Pope Francis, during a meeting Monday with a delegation led by Nerses Bedros XIX, Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics at the Vatican reiterated his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During the visit, the pope met with members of the delegation, when one of them said that she was a descendant of Genocide victims, to which the pontiff responded: “The first genocide of the 20th Century was that of the Armenians,” thus reiterating his earlier recognition of the Armenian Genocide while he headed the Catholic Church in Buenos Aires as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
Seven years ago, during events marking the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Buenos Aires, then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio urged Turkey to recognize the Genocide as the “gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entire humanity.”
Director of the Armenian National Committee of South America, Dr. Alfonso Tabakian explained that this was the first such statement from the pontiff since being elevated to pope and leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
Tabakian called the statement “very important since his words transcend any state or religion.”
“This recognition of the Armenian Genocide as the first genocide of the twentieth century reaffirms the statements of John Paul II [which were made] upon his arrival in Armenia on September 25, 2001, demonstrating that more and more states, parliaments and international organizations are adopting this position against the denial of history perpetrated by the Turkish State,” added Tabakian.
During the visit, Nerses Bedros XIX presented the pope with a painting depicting Jesus Christ on the crucifix.

Akcam: The ‘Foreign Connection’ is Me

Commenting on the Gezi Park events, Prime Minister Erdoğan said, “There are internal and external connections. Our intelligence work is ongoing.” Confession time: The foreign connection is me. Anyone who’s got doubts, take a look at my entry and exit dates: I entered Turkey on May 28 and it all started. I was in Taksim Square every day. I was involved in all sorts of necessary planning to ensure that the events escalated (unfortunately, I’m not at a liberty to disclose exactly what). When it started to become clear what the whole operation was about, I returned with the satisfaction of having performed my duties well. Since the operation has achieved its purpose, there’s no harm in my revealing the truth here. Our intelligence officers will have no difficulty finding my internal and external connections, but there’s no point in wearing them out more than is necessary, right?
gezi1 Akcam: The ‘Foreign Connection’ is Me
‘Surp Hagop Armenian Cemetery (1551-1939). You took our cemetery, you cannot take our park’ (Photo by Guillaume Perrier)
As you can guess, the ones who sent me simply couldn’t tolerate the fact that Turkey had become so powerful in such a short time. In fact, these events were planned way in advance. During the past few years, Turkey made some really bold, unexpected moves; it strengthened its economy and by breaking the military’s guardianship over politics, it proved that it isn’t some banana republic, instead gaining a respected place among the nations of the world. For those outside forces that sent me, Turkey’s increasing power undermined their own influence in the region. Their purpose was to show Turkey—which had embarked on a path of quickly becoming a great power in the region and had gained so much respect in the world—a lesson. It was simply unacceptable that Turks could operate in Syria freely, go about changing regional dynamics without asking for anyone’s permission, and then rock the boat in the region by coming to an agreement with the Kurds.
Certainly they could have used other incidents as an excuse to teach Turkey a lesson: Uludere, Reyhanli, the liquor sale prohibitions, or the new Bosphorus bridge that’s to be named after Yavuz Sultan Selim… They could have used any one of these. But then Turkey would never have been able to get past the existing, deeply-rooted polarization. If they had used any one of these incidents the protesters would only be from a certain segment of society and those segments would be accused of being manipulated by outside sources. For example, if the liquor prohibition had been used, they would have claimed that Ergenekon sympathizers were behind the activists, and the plan would not have worked. For that reason, Taksim and Gezi Park were chosen. As a result, the PKK and MHP followers, secularists, Alewites, devout religious people, Ergenekon sympathizers, and liberals all came together. This served to belie the credibility of the argument that the actions were being stoked from outside. You know, it’s one thing to claim that a single group is being manipulated by outside forces, but making that claim for all groups? Now that would be a hard sell.
Even if the movement starts to lose steam, those who have sent me have achieved their goal. They’ve already scored a huge success. Besides, if the government doesn’t get the message, the events will continue. The Turkish economy will be badly hit, tourism will suffer. As a result, it’s going to become impossible for Turkey to act independent of the wishes of these powers, challenging them in the region and in the world. Like I said, no matter how you look at it, this is a perfectly planned action….
Now I’m guessing that everyone reading these lines is asking, “So, why would you accept a job like this? Why take part in a plan that aims at weaking Turkey and undermining its influence?” The answer to the question is directly related to the subject I study. Because of past experiences, I hold a personal grudge against the Turkish government. I knew that the best way to exact revenge would be to get involved with the whole “genocide lie”; so I picked that subject. Besides, by bringing up the genocide issue for years, I’ve endeavored to weaken this state.
Unfortunately all the things that I’ve been saying and writing weren’t very effective. For that reason, I determined that the chance to take part in this action was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. After all, Gezi Park used to be an Armenian cemetery. The cemetery grounds actually covered what is now Harbiye[1] and the Divan Hotel too. If the action is successful not only will I gradually, without scaring anyone, be able to put the genocide on the agenda, but I’ll be able to tell everyone that these lands belonged to the Armenians and that they need to return and claim them. As a matter of fact, a memorial has already been planted in the park declaring that it used to be an Armenian cemetery. One of the streets in the park has been named after Hrant Dink. As a result I’ve managed to carry out my own plans. For this reason, I accepted the job with pleasure.
Will there be anyone who believes the scenario I’ve presented above? I know you’re going to say that if the government wants it, many people will believe in it. There are plenty of people who are convinced that countless events in Turkey’s past occurred as a result of conspiracies planned by those who are against our country and our nation. I don’t know to what extent the AKP and Erdoğan will take advantage of this deeply-rooted mentality, but what I do know is that believing in this sort of rubbish leads to the bankruptcy of democratic culture. I still harbor hope that Gezi Park will cause these nutty, nonsensical conspiracy theories to be thrown into the trash bin, particularly after an open debate about the true history of Gezi Park.
Yes, how can we memorialize the Armenian presence on these lands that used to hold an Armenian cemetery? What is it going to be like for a Turkey that is born anew from its ashes to re-create and remember its own history?

Armenian Genocide Survivors Honored by Gov. Deval Patrick

BOSTON, Mass.—The Boston terrorist bombings may have taken a tragic toll on more than 300 victims and devastated the city’s metropolis in its wake. But it did little to deter the spirit behind the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
DSC 0024e1 Armenian Genocide Survivors Honored by Gov. Deval Patrick
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick honored Nellie Nazarian, the last Armenian Genocide survivor in Merrimack Valley, with a special proclamation from the Commonwealth. Front, from left, Jirair Hovsepian, member, Greater Boston Commemorative Committee; Nellie Nazarian, 101; State Rep. Linda Campbell (D-Methuen/Haverhill) and State Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill). Rear, Rev. Dr. Vart Gyozalian, pastor, Armenian Church at Hye Pointe, Haverhill, and Debbie Nazarian, Haverhill, with whom she makes her home.
True, a manhunt for the perpetrators resulted in the cancellation of a Statehouse Commemoration and shut down businesses for the day, turning the hub into a virtual ghost town.
But the remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide are being remembered with proclamations issued by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Moreover, they are being delivered by “messengers” from the committee.
“It would have been nice to have the governor hand these proclamations to these survivors on the day of our commemoration,” said Jirair Hovsepian. “But other circumstances prevented that. So we are meeting with these survivors and making the presentation in the governor’s name. It’s much more personal that way.”
Hovsepian traveled 50 miles from Belmont to visit Nellie Nazarian with proclamation in hand. The 101-year-old survivor makes her home in Haverhill with granddaughter Debbie Nazarian, who has taken over the jewelry business started by her grandparents generations ago.
The event turned into a community-wide endeavor. Attending the home ceremony were two state representatives from Nellie’s district, Brian Dempsey, chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, and newly-elected Linda Campbell, both of whom presented the guest of honor with House resolutions.

A blessing was given by Rev. Fr. Vart Gyozalian, pastor, Armenian Church at Hye Pointe.
Despite her advanced age, Nellie attended the Merrimack Valley commemoration this year in North Andover with family members. She was also the object of everyone’s affection.
The statehouse commemoration was expected to attract some 500 guests, many of whom were prepared to walk the distance to the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Armenian Heritage Memorial for a service, followed by lunch on the grounds.
“We’re hoping to visit as many survivors as we can to present these citations,” said Hovsepian. “It gets us to spend some quality time with them and meet their families. They really appreciate the visit.”
Hovsepian, who operates a photography business, will return to Nellie’s home with a video camera to document her history.
“With the centennial just around the corner, we’re making plans to bring the different communities together for one large observance,” he pointed out.

Of Ruins and Renovations: Documenting Cultural Destruction in Turkey

I recently returned from my fourth trip to Western Armenia in the last 18 months. These journeys are emotionally draining. I am not sure I could make these trips alone; it is critical to have good people, good friends, with you. Fortunately, that was the case for me again this time.
church with date 723x1024 Of Ruins and Renovations: Documenting Cultural Destruction in Turkey
There are several reasons for subjecting myself to the difficult experience. Some are easier to put in words than others—like visiting my grandparents’ villages and doing field research for my demographic studies. In this article, I attempt to convey some of my experiences from the trip—as it helped me better understand my motivations.
Our first full day in Van jolted me emotionally in an unexpected way. After visiting the Van fortress, Varagavank, and Garmravank, we were returning to the hotel when I requested making a detour to a place I had visited once before, 17 years ago, on my very first trip to Western Armenia.
The village of Artemid was at one time a thriving village of Armenians dating back to the pre-Christian era. When I visited the village in 1996, the ruined church was being used as a barn, and a cemetery with some Armenian inscriptions remained. On that day in 1996, I saw two recently dug up graves, and could clearly see the jaw bone of one of the deceased. Turkish soldiers who had taken a keen interest in why I was photographing such things made my experience even more unpleasant.
This time, there was no cemetery. In the 17 years since I was last there, a road had been built right through the middle of it leading to new apartment buildings on the hillside. None of the gravestones with Armenian inscriptions remained.
It was raining now and my friends and I slogged through thick mud in search of any evidence: a faint cross here…squared stones there that may mark graves. As the rain came down, I took off my hat and let it wash over me. My friend asked, “Are you ok brother?” Truthfully, I was not.
We went back to the church and found that it had been “renovated” in 2007. It now looked more like a military bunker than a church. Again, I was not ok.
Why? It is not like the church had previously been extraordinary or the cemetery had been in pristine condition. Yet, something that I had not fully understood was starting to percolate in my mind. Earlier that day, when visiting Garmravank, my friend had noted that a new hole had appeared at the entrance since he had been there only six months prior–likely by treasure seekers still searching.
Western Armenia 1996169 300x196 Of Ruins and Renovations: Documenting Cultural Destruction in Turkey
The church in Ardemid in 1996. (Photo by George Aghjayan)
Two days later, we were in Chunkush and my companion from all four trips, Khatchig Mouradian, was struck the same way I had been struck in Artemid. The wall of the Catholic church there, already in ruins, had collapsed almost entirely since last May when we saw it last. For months, Khatchig had a photograph of himself at this scenic location on his Facebook page, and now what had already been in ruins was more so—and it was jarring.
Two days later still, we once again visited my grandfather’s village of Sakrat. In this village remains one lone wall from the church, the archway where the altar once stood. This was my third time in Sakrat, and as I stand before the altar my first thoughts are always that on that spot my grandfather was baptized 100 years ago. This year, after Garmravank…after Artemid…after Chunkush, I thanked the man who now owns the property for preserving that archway and told him I will be back.
DSC 0221 1024x680 Of Ruins and Renovations: Documenting Cultural Destruction in Turkey
The ‘renovated’ church today.
When we had been in Varagavank, the caretaker had indicated that there had been significant damage from the earthquake. I had not understood just how much until I returned home and compared my photographs to those on the internet taken by others.
So yes, little by little, with the passing of time, our heritage is being destroyed, either purposely or by nature. It would be simplistic to say that I go to document these precious monuments to our existence on our lands before they are all gone. It is more than that. I do think there is a message there for the people currently living in these areas. It is important for them to know that we still are attached to the land and the culture. We will return again and again. We are grateful when our heritage is preserved and held in proper reverence, like Varagavank, and we will take note when they are not, like Garmravank and Artemid.

Graves in the Park: Notes from the ‘Bolis’ Uprising

I haven’t had time to digest what I saw this past week on the heels of my first journey to the womb of Armenian civilization: Van/Vaspurakan. Dikranakert. Kharpert, the fabled green villages of Bitlis, and the hinterlands of Palu and Sakrat. My fellow travelers, now brothers and sisters for life, trekked across these majestic and cruel roads that hold many secrets. The stubborn rocks jetting from the earth gave us anchor. The mud-covered ruins inside the Armenian cemetery in Edremit in Van, though, put holes in our hearts as we stood before it, bulldozed and abandoned, next to the fresh asphalt of a curving street. It was not development. It was erasure. Rest assured that the bones, now dust, still silently scatter on spirits like us who wander through these roads seeking ancestral root. Not politics, nor the millions spent on genocide denial, can change what remains in the crevices of these stones, where our dead lie buried and anonymous but never forgotten. Perhaps that is the last defense of a people that has been erased from its historic cradle—to hold a flame to memory and preserve what remains of a civilization that flourished once upon a time in Historic Armenia.
photo 2 300x300 Graves in the Park: Notes from the ‘Bolis’ Uprising
A snapshot from Taksim (iPhone photo by Eric Nazarian)
We had gone in search of our ancestral past and found unbelievable gifts, including a heartbreaking encounter with the last Armenian survivor of the genocide in Chunkush. And just days after these encounters on the road, something happened in Bolis that may or may not signal a seismic shift in the public awakening and politics of Turkey. I wish I could be more exact, but it’s a very brittle transitional phase “over there”; the effects of this uprising have yet to be defined once the smoke and mirrors clear, and deals start being negotiated between the powers-that-be and the opposition—saddled with grievances and proofs of injustice that can surely be stacked as high as Musa Dagh in the wake of what world news has broadcast this past week.
I am back in Los Angeles but a part of me is still under the wafting tear gas clouds that were fired indiscriminately at civilians in Taksim Square. Protesters, senior citizens, schoolchildren, street vendors, and tourists were all fair game. Everyone was fodder and none walked away from these streets unaffected by what they witnessed. On the heels of returning from the majesty of Historic Armenia, I had returned to a seemingly business-as-usual Bolis that exploded into a national movement against the policies of Prime Minister Erdogan and his administration.
The Revolution Will Be Tweeted
I was there at the Divan Hotel, just off Gezi Park, on the day the straw broke the camel’s back. The protesters had been kicked out of the park, and construction fences—stamped with Polis in dark blue—now cordoned off one of the last patches of green in Istanbul. Behind the fence were uniformed paramilitary police officers strapped with tear gas and pepper spray, and giant trucks with water canons where the turret of a tank would be.
Slowly fumes wafted toward the hotel. Two women dropped from the smell; even though there was no time to do a Q&A, they were showing all the signs of asthmatics suffering from asthma attacks no doubt aggravated by the tear gas. We surrounded the first lady and carried her in. In a blink, despite the growing number of civilians passing out by the indiscriminate tear gas, several more projectiles were fired directly at the crowd. The protesters scattered as a projectile pounded a well-known investigative journalist, Ahmed Sik, right in the head. Blood-covered, he was hurried to the hospital.
A simple protest in the park soon went viral and international. The seeds of the uprising, now spread to cities across Turkey, was sparked and aggravated by a disregard for civilians by men hired to uphold the peace. Perhaps we will never know why these protesters were subjected to such violence. Regardless of what may or may not change the political dynamics in Turkey, nothing will change the story of the cook that held claim to this very plot of land now crawling with well over 200,000 people chanting cries of justice, and expressing rage against the machine of Erdogan that was slowly eroding their freedoms.
photo 1 300x300 Graves in the Park: Notes from the ‘Bolis’ Uprising
Taksim (iPhone photo by Eric Nazarian)
At the risk of sounding Orientalist, when a friend of mine asked what Istanbul felt like I could only think of the slabs of meat that in the U.S. we call shawarma. In Istanbul they call it doner. It’s quite a sight to behold: a fast-food cook hauling a massive gob of pressed, ground, and oily chicken or beef, marinated, put on a vertical spit, and slow roasted. Like the doner slab, Istanbul is nothing if not a massive mash-up of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations. At the center of this historic city stands a park in Taksim, and under it lies another spicy layer of the city’s labyrinthine history.
The Armenian Cook Who Saved Suleiman’s Life
This story is well known and still often told in Bolis. In the 16th century, there was a plot to assassinate Suleiman the Magnificent. The assassins got to the sultan’s cook, an Armenian from Van, with an offer to kill the sultan. The cook refused, informing Suleiman and saving his life. For his loyalty, Suleiman asked the cook to choose a gift, and it would be granted.
The cook asked for land where Armenians could bury their dead. The sultan officially decreed a sizable plot of real estate in Bolis where Armenians could build a final resting place for their families. That real estate became the Surp Hagop Armenian Cemetery, which at this very moment lies buried under the Divan and Intercontinental Hotels and Gezi Park. In the crowd at Gezi now are Armenians and Turks standing shoulder-to-shoulder, carrying placards that read, “Nor Zartonk” (New Awakening), highlighting through the magic marker that Gezi was once an Armenian cemetery. A photo posted on Facebook shows a cardboard grave erected in Gezi with the words Surp Hagop Ermeni Mezarligi [Armenian Cemetery] 1551–1939. Below it on a yellow sheet are the English words: “You captured our graveyard, but you can’t capture our park! Armenians from Turkey NOR ZARTONK.” This prime stretch of real estate, which was private Armenian property officially decreed by Sultan Suleiman, was confiscated in 1939.
Istanbul is ripe with the ironies and cruelties of history. The story of the cemetery’s confiscation after hundreds of years of existence is but another example of the forced erasure that my friends and I witnessed in the ravages of the cemetery in Edremit, overlooking the timeless Aghtamar Island. In Edremit, there were the weather-beaten and toppled gravestones. In Taksim, there are the voices of the young Zartonk Armenians combating oblivion by telling stories, making and circulating images, and being heard and seen online.
Today in the park stand many different people from all factions of life who don’t necessarily agree with those who initially stood their ground to save the park. Will the protesters ever know what’s buried under Gezi and Divan Hotel? Will it matter to them in the long run? How will this movement affect Armenian-Turkish relations, and to what extent when the noise dies down? It’s all too soon to tell.
iPhone Guerrillas
Imagine if Armin Wegner had an iPhone 5 during the Armenian Genocide that could record video? This past Saturday, we went for a very long walk on the same boulevard where we saw the pangs of this movement and the asthmatic woman, whose name, or fate, I probably will never know. Away from the smoke and chaos, I kept wondering about the questions that ran through Wegner’s mind when he documented the genocide. The need to document injustice, atrocity, and the erasure of a cultural past is also the fundamental role of those who stand on the side of human rights. In the thick of the parade on the streets, I was irritated by the sight of vendors selling gas masks and surgical face masks for the price of an arm, and the newly married couple driving up and down the street with their video entourage filming as thousands cheered them on.
My mind wandered back to the soggy graves in Van where we photographed the abandoned remains of gravestones that will likely not be there the next time we return. Even if the nameless and faceless powers-that-be continue to destroy them, any act of resistance we can initiate can hopefully help preserve that piece of our cultural heritage.
As I watched the wedding entourage cruise through the boulevard where the late Hrant Dink was murdered, I wrote in my notebook: I want to not live in fear, come what may. Regardless of landscape or country, to bear witness to injustice, even if I can’t stop it, is something worth doing if it can make a lasting difference for the good.
In the morning, the fight was about the park. By late afternoon, it had spiraled into a conscientious battle for freedom and human rights. A generation woke up armed with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube against the guns. The protest continued peacefully for the most part, minus the jackasses throwing up ugly graffiti on school walls and bus stops. The well-intentioned protest (to a certain extent) became a bit of a Mardi Gras-style parade Turkish-style minus the jazz. The boulevard was peppered with thousands of crushed water bottles, shattered glass, and youth sipping Tuborg, Efes, or Bomonti beer, mock-saluting Erdogan in defiance of his ban on the public consumption of alcohol.
En route to Munich, I read a quote in the Lufthansa in-flight magazine from “Sunshine” Sonny Payne, an American radio show host, who said of American blues music, “Real blues should be taken in small sips…it’s just like learning to drink whisky. Take small sips, or else the blues will knock you down.” There are no truer words to describe the feeling of both bearing witness to the ancient remains of Historic Armenia and the current political tinderbox in Bolis.

Dr. Charny Dismantles Deceptive Genocide Denialism

Dr. Charny Dismantles Deceptive Genocide Denialism

Harut Sassounian
As the Centennial approaches, Turkish officials and their cohorts are searching for more subtle approaches to deny the Armenian Genocide. Realizing that their past practice of outright denial is no longer credible, they have initiated a more sophisticated campaign that intends to raise subtle questions about the Armenian Genocide, sowing seeds of doubt among uninformed masses.
It is not very often that I refer to book reviews in this column, but I could not ignore the masterful way Dr. Israel Charny, Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, dismantles Prof. Michael Gunter’s book, Armenian History and the Question of Genocide, which illustrates the latest revisionist approach at genocide denial.
Here are brief excerpts from Dr. Charny’s derisive review of Gunter’s book:
“This is the BEST book I have ever read — which means it is the best of the whole terrible world of books that are devoted to ridiculous and ugly denials of absolutely factual known genocides. It is, therefore, a TERRIBLE work…. This is the best DENIALIST work I have ever seen insofar as it is written with a quietness, and solidity of coverage of issues, and even more as if with an apparent fairness of representing ranges of ideas and opinions about issues rather than strong-arm statements of single opinion-truths.
“Gunter, a professor at Tennessee Tech, opens the book with a clear acknowledgment-disclosure of his significant period of lecturing in Turkey, and even as he says ‘I have long wanted to present an objective analysis of the Turkish point of view,’ he clearly conveys that he is very much on the side of Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide….
“Gunter is nonetheless a kind denier who continuously throws us bones for our respite — and thereby of course it would seem proves and reproves his announced objectivity. Thus in the same poisonous ‘Foreword’ he quickly adds to his core statement of denial crocodile tears: ‘Of course in no way does this excuse the horrible excesses committed by the Turks.’
“Perhaps the highest praise I can give Gunter is that unlike other great deniers he cites a large number of scholars and writers, who have published the now wonderfully strong literature confirming the Armenian Genocide — and I would add genocides of other peoples alongside the Armenians, specifically the Assyrians, Greeks, and Yezidis, and also the beginning moves of the Ottoman government toward a potential genocide of the Jews in Palestine. Deniers generally stay away like the plague from writers who confirm the Armenian Genocide….
“How does our intrepid ‘objective’ scholar conclude his book? Of course, he wants to be helpful in curbing the denial that fuels ‘continuing fear and revenge.’ So he offers strategies beginning with splitting the ‘more affluent Armenian Diaspora’ that is so concerned with ‘allegations of genocide’ from ‘the nation in Armenia’ and the ‘immediate economic reality of Armenia.’ Yes, he wants to be large-hearted and he calls on Turkey to help Armenia with its economic problems, and thus in eternal realpolitik ‘Turkey may begin to split the two Armenian actors.’ But all is not lost in deception. Goodhearted Gunter also includes a proposal to Turkey to open the borders it has lockjammed with Armenia for so many years.”
Charny concludes his incisive review by suggesting that Gunter’s book “should be studied by all students of denial for its artful stratagems of sounding fair, acting fairly, citing scholarship that covers divergent and contradictory points of view, speaking consistently softly, and of course calling for justice and peace, all in the course of organizing a disarming, deceitful, anti-history and anti-value-of-life work that should frighten anybody who is concerned with integrity in intellectual and scholarly works, and genuine valuing of human life.”
Taking one last jab at Gunter’s insidious denialism, Charny gives him a parting underhanded praise: “Once upon a time, deniers were so wild and obvious buffoons that they claimed that the Ottoman Turkish government protected and took care of the poor Armenian exiles in their forced march out of Armenia…. Now increasingly we have a whole series of recognized academicians who write in our contemporary language of scholarship and make their points in the name of open discussion and fairness. Gunter can be congratulated that he has risen to the top of this group….”

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


By Sara Elise Brown and Henry C. Theriault
“Blaming the victim” is a tried and true method of genocide rationalization and denial, and has been used in case after case: “The Jews” were against Germany to undermine it (by supposedly creating “Bolshevism,” for instance, they had traitorously sold Germany out in World War I, or had even declared “war” against Germany). Armenians were in revolt, or were in league with the Russians against the Ottoman Empire, or even were committing genocide against Turks and other Muslims. Rwandan Tutsis were going to commit genocide against the Hutus if they were not killed off first. Indigenous Guatemalans were in league with leftist guerrillas and communists. Bosnians were committing mass rape against Serbian women and were the military aggressors. Tasmanians were killing English settlers’ livestock. The “Indians” were warlike savages who went around scalping (an English invention, for use in Ireland, by the way) any whites they could find, kidnapping and raping European women, massacring innocent whites, and anything else colonists could think of—that is, all of the atrocities that the Europeans were committing against the Native Americans—including being soulless heathens undermining Christianity.
Just as blaming the victim is a denial tactic, it is also a frequent motivator for participation in a genocide. Part of the reason this tactic is so popular with deniers is that it resonates with the propaganda used by perpetrators to motivate participation in a genocide itself. For instance, as Rwandan genocide survivor Yannick Tona explains, one young Hutu man who was raised by his parents turned against his family as a result of extremist propaganda that blamed the Tutsis for their alleged violent and oppressive agenda against the Hutus. Similarly, by blaming the victims for their real or perceived threat, denialists go so far as to lay the blame for any acts of violence squarely on the shoulders of the victims. No longer are the victims blamed simply to rationalize violence that will be recognized as the perpetrators’, but perpetrator violence itself is recast as if perpetrated by the actual victims. Through shamelessly circular reasoning, deniers’ own victim-blaming lends credence to documents capturing the rhetoric that incited genocide in the first place, while those sources lend credence to deniers’ arguments as “historical evidence.”
The tactic is not unique to genocide and related mass violence, of course. This month we learn that a girl in Maldives who was sexually abused by her stepfather for years, a stepfather who murdered the baby she bore as a result of his rapes, has been convicted of having sex outside of marriage and will be whipped with 100 lashes (a horrifically painful and quite possibly permanently disabling torture, for those used to Hollywood glorifications of the whipping victim), while her demented torturer faces no responsibility for his inhuman brutality against a child. A recent rape in Steubenville, Ohio, is another illustration. In that case, the victim of the sexual assaults documented on video is being blamed for consuming alcohol and is, in the most predictable fashion, being castigated for prior sexual conduct.
Sartre captures the depth of such blaming in Anti-Semite and Jew. Even when the anti-Semite is confronted with a host of reasons for why “the Jew” is not the contemptible creature s/he believes and why “the Jew” is not “to blame,” the anti-Semite still maintains that there is just “something” about Jews that s/he does not like, as if his/her attitude is a reaction to an actual characteristic of “Jews” rather than evidence of a groundless and irrational prejudice. It is something about “the Jews” that causes the prejudices that victimize them, and thus “the Jews” are at fault.
As incessant as blaming the victim is, however, it has long been assumed that those committed to human rights were in struggle against the strategy. But in recent years, a disturbing new trend has emerged in genocide studies circles that has committed some scholars to academic biases that blame victims in a way that might be worse than deniers’ historical falsifications, because it preemptively attacks members of genocide victim groups. This is the new scholarship on “cycles of violence.” Scholars such as René Lemarchand, Martin Shaw, and Cathy Carmichael have been presenting analyses that construe contemporary mass violence as the function of victims seeking revenge or reacting to past mass violence, and future mass violence as the expected actions of today’s victims. At the risk of simplifying complex analyses, they focus their attention on the ways that former victim groups become perpetrators of later mass violence. Some of these scholars attended, for instance, the University of Antwerp’s otherwise strong experts’ workshop on genocide, hosted by the Universitair Centrum Sint Ignatius Antwerpen in 2011.
For such scholars, there is something about being victimized that causes victims to adopt perpetrator mentalities. The logic is similar to the claim that individuals sexually or physically abused as children are more likely to become abusers as adults. Surely, if one looks carefully enough, one will find a history of abuse in the past of many adult abusers. Amongst genocide scholars, this line of thinking leads to the attribution of violent characteristics to victim groups. Quick to follow is blame, or at the very least suspicions against the victim groups, accusing them of perpetration of violence.
Many “cycles of violence” scholars have made valuable contributions in the field of conflict prevention as well as post-violence reconstruction and rehabilitation. In order to prevent recycling of the violence, scholars inform activists, policy makers, and humanitarians on strategies to rehabilitate, re-educate, and promote reconciliation among the population.
While it is true, according to Barbara Harff ’s work, that regions that experience inter-ethnic violence are significantly more likely to experience a recurrence of the violence, this is not directly related to the theories posited by “cycles of violence” scholars.
There are three major conceptual fallacies underlying their logic. First, “cycles of violence” scholars root their findings in research that emphasizes positive case studies, whereby instances of violence are perpetrated by the victim group, and ignores negative cases, where the cause of violence is not a result of victim groups. As a result, such findings, buttressed by carefully selecting from positive case studies and by disregarding negative case studies, do not provide a sound foundation for critical social science research. To determine whether or not there is actually a phenomenon of victims becoming perpetrators, such scholars would need to look at all cases of victimization and then compare the rates at which former victim groups commit mass violence to the rates at which non-victim groups perpetrate. While the authors are not aware of such a comprehensive study, a cursory reflection on the available cases suggests that while some former victim groups become perpetrators of later mass violence, victim groups do so at no greater rate (and perhaps at a lower rate) than non-victim groups. If this is so, then it is unlikely that their being victims is the key factor in cases where victims do become perpetrators.
This raises the second methodological flaw in the “cycles of violence” research. Believing wrongly that victim groups that perpetrate violence are doing so because of their collective victimization ignores victims groups that abstain from violence. In addition, this oversimplification overlooks a more nuanced understanding of why perpetrator groups participate in violence. It is not enough to state that a group perpetrated violence because they were once a victim group. “Cycles of violence” scholarship risks overlooking the complex underlying mobilization and sensitization processes that occur and are central to perpetration and, with it, opportunities for intervention and prevention. Comparative research is likely to reveal a range of factors that differentiate groups that commit mass violence from those that do not, factors independent of victim status. In fact, it is highly likely that similarities among perpetrator groups who were victims and those who were not far outweigh relevant similarities among different victim groups.
Third, this framework taps into and redeploys a standard prejudice seen, for instance, in the general public when confronting endangered species. We impose on victim groups an impossibly high standard and exclude those who do not meet it from the roles of victims. In instances of violence, human rights scholars and activists often engage with the weakest and most disenfranchised of the population. This makes sense as this group is most likely to be targeted. On the whole, it is difficult to galvanize the international community on behalf of a stronger power; a selective favoritism lies with the weak. In instances of genocide, victim groups evoke sympathy, galvanizing aid and assistance. As many have pointed out for years, just like endangered animals that are cute and cuddly get most of the attention, while other species in just as desperate situations are virtually ignored in popular movements, groups that capture the hearts of the global community because of their apparent unthreatening vulnerability and utter passivity (usually the result of the force they are facing) are considered true victims, while those that try to defend themselves, especially if they have even moderate success, are excluded from support or consideration. Victim groups selected for consideration are stripped of their agency and expected, as beneficiaries, to receive, but not to act. Victims must stay in this pre-set victim mold; they cannot progress too far or too quickly. In some instances, when they take deliberate action to ensure their security, activists, politicians, and scholars alike become alarmed. Indeed, victim groups with members who advocate for historical justice for the group are liable to be subject to a special variation of Blame the Victims 2.0, the castigation of advocacy groups and reparations movements as extremist nationalists. Self-advocacy, which dominant groups and nation-states do routinely, is considered a vice for weaker groups—precisely the groups who have the most change to advocate for and are the least able to abuse their situation. The viewpoint also threatens to devolve into the kind of logic of perpetual, timeless, irrational ethno-national conflict—precisely the viewpoint that allowed the U.S. government and press not only to ignore but also to avoid the real reasons for genocide in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda as they occurred.
Rwanda is a frequently cited case study for “cycles of violence” scholars and gives insight into the lens that mars their analysis. Scholars appear almost uncomfortable with Rwanda’s progress since the 1994 genocide. This discomfort reached its apex after Rwanda’s intervention in Congo; following the flight of many genocide perpetrators into Congo and the resulting instability on their western border, Rwanda took action, invading Congo, forcibly closing the refugee camps along the border, and tracking many militia-members deep in Congo. The killings that followed, primarily of fighting-age Hutu men, likely constitute crimes of war. But unable to shake off the lens that framed the 1994 genocide and its analysis, the “cycles of violence” scholars and activists looked to the Rwandan military’s actions in Congo and cried “genocide perpetrated by victims!”
They were unable to look beyond the victim label that has been assigned Rwanda’s surviving Tutsi community. Therefore, the Rwandan Patriotic Army’s incursion into Congo was not analyzed by “cycles of violence” scholars as an act of invasion by one sovereign power into another independent state. Instead it was oversimplified as vengeance-taking by a victim group blinded by trauma and their own victimization.
What is more, the focus on victims becoming perpetrators ignores the real problem—that unless something substantive is done to address the violence against the victims, the harms resulting from it, as well as the attitudes and power of the perpetrator group, will further marginalize and disenfranchise the victim group. Weakened socially, economically, politically and culturally through acts of mass violence, expropriation of property, rape, and other atrocities, the victim group is vulnerable and liable to future victimization. All the while, the perpetrator group, emboldened by impunity and strengthened by the gains made through genocide, is in a position of strength and more likely to commit mass violence.
Ultimately, scholars imposing the “cycles of violence” model favor simplification through labeling instead of in-depth analysis that recognizes the intricacies of mass violence. Genocide prevention and intervention depends on a more nuanced framework. Effective mechanisms for genocide prevention and intervention require understanding the complex causes of mass violence, while efforts based on simplifications have the potential to foster not only ineffective, but potentially harmful, intervention and prevention efforts.
This article appeared in The Armenian Weekly April 2013 Magazine.
Sara E. Brown is a doctoral student at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. Her current research examines female agency during the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi.
Henry C. Theriault earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts. He is currently professor in the philosophy department at Worcester State University. Since 2007, he has served as co-editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal “Genocide Studies and Prevention.”

Young Diasporans Keeping Our Culture Alive, One Song at a Time

Ten bold, black letters of the Armenian alphabet are etched across Razmik Tchakmakian’s left upper arm, the letters comprising a powerful word that has been central to the plight of Armenians and significant to our endurance as a people: Veradznoont, or rebirth. Above it rests a symbol of Armenian survival: Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian Genocide Memorial with a flame emerging from the steel slabs.
Pyunik1 225x300 Young Diasporans Keeping Our Culture Alive, One Song at a Time
Razmik Tchakmakian
Though born thousands of miles away from the monument and his homeland, Tchakmakian and his two childhood friends, Sevag Titizian and Sevag Haroutunian, feel their submerged patriotism is not only skin-deep but entrenched in their hearts. So much so that these former Armenian School classmates decided to parlay their individual passion for music and join a band to continue the musical traditions of our culturally rich past.
“Pyunik,” which means “phoenix” in Armenian, pays homage to the lineage of talented Armenian musicians and singers who have helped sustain the unique melodies and compositions of our musical traditions.
“It was kind of like a young band rising out of the ashes of those artists before us,” said Tchakmakian.
Playing everything from covers of Harout Pamboukjian’s patriotic tunes to Tata’s crowd pleasers, “Pyunik” seeks to entertain and enliven the spirit of Armenian kef, no matter the occasion.
Formed in 2006 by Haroutunian, the group had its beginnings at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Toronto, where members practiced in the church’s hall, under the auspices of Fr. Meghrig Parikian. Although the group has shifted its members over time, it has found a successful harmony among its current members, who have all been musically inclined since childhood.
Haroutunian, 25, Titizian, 25, and Tchakmakian, 23, each brought a range of talents to the band, and grew up with a great appreciation for music and the arts in their households.
Playing the violin at the age of nine, Haroutunian switched to piano when his older brother brought a keyboard home one day. He soon began taking private lessons with teachers who were experienced in jazz, classical music, and the Divine Liturgy.
Pyunik2 195x300 Young Diasporans Keeping Our Culture Alive, One Song at a Time
Sevag Titizian
Veering more towards percussion, Tchakmakian started playing the drums at 10 and picked up the dhol and dumbeg over the years. Titizian, who sings vocals for “Pyunik,” also plays the piano and drums.
The band members’ musical influences also show diversity, which add to their originality as a group. As a vocalist, Titizian has been heavily influenced by Paul Baghdadlian, Stevie Wonder, James Brown. and Frank Sinatra.
“Armenian music has been a big influence in my life,” said Tchakmakian, who cites Harout Pamboukjian and Ruben Hakhverdyan as singers who have inspired him. “But rock music and classic rock have also played a significant role.”
Haroutunian’s musical interests also span genres and include French-Armenian favorite Charles Aznavour, Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook, and the American heavy metal band Metallica.
“They all paint different colors in my palette, which allows for interpretation and usage of elements from each type of genre,” said Haroutunian.
Throughout our modern history, Armenian musicians and singers have rejuvenated our culture, which has been vulnerable to fading away. Preceding visionaries such as Gomidas and Sayat Nova preserved our music, ensuring that it wouldn’t be lost, and the more contemporary singers, such as living legends Harout Pamboukjian and Adiss Harmandian, modernized them. “Pyunik,” as a young Diasporan Armenian group, is continuing the trend and using their musical talents to engage our generation in the music of our people, while putting their own modern spin on it.
“Armenian music is close to my heart,” said Haroutunian, who sang in the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Armenian School of Toronto’s school choir and church choir. “And we believe that young people our age need to listen and dance to more Armenian tunes.”
Pyunik3 293x300 Young Diasporans Keeping Our Culture Alive, One Song at a Time
Sevag Haroutunian
Tchakmakian echoed Haroutunian’s words, and though he has played in rock music bands, says Armenian music “is our own and the younger generation has to carry it on.”
Music, in all ethnicities, is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep a people united. If not for the arts, Armenians from Toronto to Buenos Aires to Sydney wouldn’t know the familiar sound of an oud, the universal steps to a “shoorch bar,” or the symbolic words to our folkloric songs. And if it weren’t for those dedicated to continuing our traditions, we would be overshadowed in a world comprised of more populous and powerful ethnic groups.
“Pyunik,” which has steadily been making a name for itself over the years, has performed at a plethora of Armenian events both in Canada and in the U.S., including the AYF Olympics in Chicago, Montreal’s Kermesse, and Toronto’s Winterfest. Their most recent performance was on the Armenian Heritage Cruise earlier this year, which displayed their talents to a wider audience.
“Performing on the cruise was great,” said Tchakmakian. “There’s a cultural aspect that people may not have access to in their own communities.”
“It was a different dynamic to perform for people from all over the world,” said Titizian. “The vibe was great and it was nice to see everyone having a great time.”
The band would like to continue performing, writing more of their own music and eventually putting out an album. In the meantime, they are focused on their professions and their own independent projects. The childhood friends support each other’s creative endeavors, such as Titizian’s recently released “Du Im Sern Es,” a contemporary Armenian song with an energetic dance beat. Haroutunian composed the musical arrangements and Tchakmakian makes a cameo in the popular music video, which was shot on location in downtown Toronto. The song, written by Titizian, has already reached over 10,000 hits on YouTube. Tchakmakian’s YouTube channel, “Chaks Drums,” has already reached over 7,000 views in its short history.
“We are all children of a great community and an even greater culture who have lots to offer to the world,” said Haroutunian.
Their devotion to Armenian music brought them together. The commitment to their culture will keep them connected for years to come.
“All of us have the same passion of being Armenian and supporting Armenian causes,” said Titizian. “We are trying to keep our culture alive. If we don’t do it who will?”

A Blueprint for Diaspora Representation in Negotiations with Turkey over Reparations--PLUS COMMENTS

The Armenian Weekly (June 1, 2013)
In the course of almost a century, Armenian institutions’ and individuals’ various stances on Turkey and genocide recognition have hardened into maximalist positions. For Armenian maximalists, anything short of a full and complete apology, full and complete restitution of the stolen and expropriated property, as well as full reparations, is to be dismissed as nothing but smoke screens or deliberate attempts by the Turkish state to mislead Armenians and non-Armenians alike. This maximalism is understandable and unsurprising in the face of consistent Turkish negationism. It also blinds to nuances in the extremely complex world of Turkish politics, reducing it to zero-sum games and black-and-white dualities. It prevents Armenians from seeing the subtleties in Turkey’s political scene that may still nudge the Turkish state towards coming to terms with the Armenians and the genocide, a problem that has been nagging it acutely for the last 50 years, increasingly tarnishing its image and violently contradicting its own historical narrative.
Certainly, at this point it is not clear that this approach will push Turkey to acknowledge the genocide. Denying the Armenian Genocide has become a recurring, growing embarrassment for well-read Turkish officials, including President Abdullah Gül, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Culture Minister Ömer Çelik. So massive is the body of testimonies and evidence on the genocide that the Turkish state is now resorting to petty technicalities and sophisms to deny it, much like embarrassed Catholic priests might today if they were still forced to reject the fact that the earth orbits the sun, or had Pope John Paul II not apologized for the persecution of Galileo 350 years earlier.
For reasons that are outside the scope of this article, Turkey has a number of strong reasons for settling the Genocide claims and reaching an understanding with the Armenians. There is a possibility that this may happen soon or at an unexpected moment, which would catch Armenians off guard; for, who would speak on behalf of Armenians should Turkey express readiness tomorrow–literally tomorrow–to engage in dialogue and negotiations?
Below is a very basic blueprint proposed only for negotiations with Turkey. It does not purport to set up a permanent diaspora-wide representative body or some kind of Pan-Armenian Congress. The Diaspora General Assembly outlined here would be empowered solely with establishing principles and a course of action for representing the diaspora’s interests at the negotiations with Turkey. Over the decades, there have been several proposals in this regard; this draft is an attempt to contribute to this pool of ideas, in the hope that eventually a structure along these lines will soon materialize.
Today, the Armenian Diaspora has a plethora of separate—and, for a long time, especially in the Cold War years, rival—organizations that, after a lifetime of service to the community, and free from the accountability as well as the check and balances that come with democratic organizations, have often developed a sense of entitlement and self-righteousness, as they have helped build from scratch thriving communities after the Armenian nation came very close to extinction. Still, that does not help to create consensus, as every Armenian who has been active in the community knows.
An alternative scenario is one that came close to materializing, with Armenia—presumably under foreign pressure—negotiating directly with Turkey, in the now practically defunct protocols that would have compromised the diaspora’s demands and interests in any negotiation on genocide recognition and reparations. In this scenario, the diaspora—and especially independent diasporan individuals, with no affiliation to any organization—would be excluded. Independent Armenians would also be left out in case of secret negotiations, which is another possibility.
In 1977, at the height of the attacks by Armenian militants against Turkish diplomats as well as ASALA’s terror campaign, there were secret conversations in Switzerland between a Turkish delegation, headed by then-Turkish Foreign Minister İhsan Sabri Çağlayangil, and a delegation of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, or the Tashnagtsagan Party. A person directly involved in these negotiations said the Turkish side had approached the ARF propose a dialogue. To its credit, the ARF (according to this person) advocated suggested that the Ramgavars and Hunchakians be a party to conversations that might have critical importance for the Armenian nation. For a number of reasons, nothing came out of this meeting during which, in broad lines, the Turkish side asked the Armenians about their expectations on reparations. The Turkish delegation also warned the Diaspora Armenian political leadership to help stop the attacks on Turkish diplomats and targets, saying that if Turkey wanted, it could wipe out the entire party and community leadership.
Those were other times, with a Soviet Armenia deprived of sovereign rights. In this time and place, there would be no justification for secret negotiations. Every Armenian individual, regardless of affiliation, is entitled to have a vote and a voice in the matter of genocide recognition and reparation negotiations with Turkey. If the Diasporan Armenian representation were limited to the diaspora establishment, it would not be representative. It would further create the risk of traditional parties monopolizing negotiations in a matter of national importance, excluding independent voices within Armenian communities. Hence a democratic model needs to be devised.
Armenians need to speak with one voice when negotiating with Turkey. That does not mean there should not be a diversity of opinions among Armenians. It means, by the time the Armenian delegation sits at the table with Turkey, the diaspora should have reached a consensus on their stance through a democratic process. This article is the draft of a blueprint for such a process that aims to broaden representation as much as possible, giving voice to each individual Armenian in a matter of national importance, which cannot and must not be left only to diaspora institutions and political parties.

General principles
1) Diaspora communities and individuals shall constitute a bicameral General Assembly—set up solely for the purpose of writing a Charter and electing a delegation to represent the diaspora in negotiations with Turkey, as part of an Armenian delegation led by the Republic of Armenia—that will be independent of all existing Armenian organizations. The Diaspora General Assembly for Negotiations with Turkey on Genocide Recognition and Reparations will not have the power to address or discuss any other issue that is not strictly related to negotiations with Turkey on genocide recognition and reparations. This means it will not have the power to address foreign policy issues, such as Turkey’s sanctions against Armenia over the Karabagh War, that pertain to the Republic of Armenia’s government, or any other issue that falls outside its narrowly defined purview.
As in most democracies, the bicameral structure is necessary to make up for the imbalances that would create an excessive bias for the larger communities—including the U.S., France, Lebanon, Argentina, and others—to the detriment of smaller ones, such as Chile, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Uruguay, and Venezuela. The peculiar case of the Armenian community of Istanbul needs to be addressed separately.
Armenian individuals and all Armenian organizations, including the churches—Apostolic, as well as Catholic and Evangelical—that functioned in the Ottoman Empire until at least 1915, and that still exist today, will be represented in the upper house of such a General Assembly.
The bicameral Congress model suits the needs of such pan-Armenian body perfectly. Each Diasporan Armenian community would be entitled to proportional representation according to its number of registered constituents in the lower house, or House of Representatives. A formula needs to be agreed on; for example, one representative per 1,000 constituents. Communities with fewer than 1,000 constituents (such as Venezuela, Mexico, and Ethiopia, for example) may automatically be entitled to at least two representatives. An upper house, or Senate, with two representatives each per community, plus two representatives from each Armenian organization that functioned in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, would make up for the heavier influence the larger communities would have in the lower house. The House and the Senate would roughly have the same faculties they do in representative democracies.
2) Every Diasporan Armenian would be authorized to vote and to run as a representative in the General Assembly. Age requirements, as well as all other voting requirements, should be universal for all diaspora communities solely for the purpose of the Diaspora General Assembly. Citizens of the Republic of Armenia, including those who live outside of Armenia, will not be entitled to participate in any capacity in the Diaspora General Assembly, as they shall be represented by the Republic of Armenia in negotiations with Turkey over genocide recognition and reparations.
Organizing the vote will require a joint effort by the community organizations, setting up all the necessary regulations and controls to ensure a fair vote.
3) The requirements to prove Armenian descent may be based on those required by the Armenian state to grant dual Armenian citizenship to persons born outside of Armenia. Given the difficulties that may arise for proofing Armenian descent in the diaspora four generations after the genocide, proof of Armenian descent (with at least one great-grandparent of Armenian origin) should include at least one of the following:
a) a baptismal certificate from the Armenian Church or from an Armenian church of any denomination, stating the Armenian identity;
b) a baptismal certificate of one of the parents from the Armenian Church stating the Armenian identity;
c) a birth certificate from a country that states the Armenian nationality and/or identity;
d) a birth certificate from a country that states that one of the parents’ nationality and/or identity is Armenian;
e) proof of attendance and/or graduation from an Armenian school;
f) proof of participation or membership in any Armenian church of any denomination or any Armenian organization;
g) any other proof or testimony that demonstrates descent beyond reasonable doubt.
4) The Armenian delegation in negotiations with Turkey will be led by the Republic of Armenia, as the sole inheritor of the Armenian states that preceded it. The diaspora representation would be subordinated to the Republic of Armenia delegation. While the diaspora’s claims are equally important and deserve to be heard, Armenia has a critical stake in any negotiations with Turkey as a next-door neighbor, with vital interests at play, including defense. This is especially true when this next-door neighbor has common interests with another enemy-neighbor flanking Armenia on the east, Azerbaijan, with which the country is still in a state of war, despite a relatively fragile cease-fire.
No diasporan demand can or must compromise Armenia’s vital interests. The homeland’s interests override everything. Armenia will have the final say in any negotiations with Turkey. The interests and the security of the Republic of Armenia, as the surviving entity of the Armenian homeland, come first and foremost, and are of paramount importance.
5) The Republic of Armenia will have the last word on matters pertaining to territorial claims on the lands of Western Armenia and Cilicia; all decisions pertaining to treaties between Turkey and Armenia; as well as all other treaties that concern or affect relations between both states. All of the issues regarding sovereign territorial claims will be strictly outside the purview of the Diaspora General Assembly.
6) In close coordination with the Armenian state, the Diaspora General Assembly will draft a Charter establishing the principles of negotiations with Turkey and the matters to negotiate with Turkey, including but not limited to:
a) recognition of the genocide by Turkey (and matters pertaining to wording and announcement, what is admissible and what is not);
b) reparations for each Armenian individual killed, displaced, or missing during the 1915 massacres and deportations from the Armenian provinces of the Ottoman Empire as well as Istanbul and other locations in the Ottoman Empire (and how to account for them, and devise a formula to calculate reparations for the loss of life);
c) restitution of lost properties and compensation (and what to do in those rare instances where Turkish courts have returned properties to deed holders and already settled insurance claims).
7) Setting up a physical space for such a General Assembly will be costly. Armenian organizations are in no position to embark on such a costly endeavor. Thanks to available technology, it is more than feasible to make this a virtual General Assembly, with sessions carried out via video-conference.
8) This Assembly shall remain in session until negotiations begin with Turkey, when it would elect a deputation to represent the diaspora in the delegation of the Republic of Armenia. The Assembly shall enter into a recess at the start of negotiations with Turkey and for as long as the negotiations continue.
9) The Assembly shall be renewed every four years in worldwide general elections.
10) The Assembly shall dissolve itself when and if a final settlement is reached with Turkey on genocide recognition and reparations.
As noted above, this proposal is just the draft of a blueprint. It is an individual initiative and it is presented here with the hope that it may set up the basis for a more thorough and comprehensive Armenian Diaspora-wide representative body that will help to negotiate a matter of vital importance to the Armenian nation.

Avedis Hadjian is a writer and editor born in Aleppo, Syria, and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from an early age. He is the author of the forthcoming book A Secret Nation: The Hidden Armenians of Turkey. He has worked as an editor and correspondent in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, China, and South America, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, CNN, Bloomberg News, and other newspapers and news sites. He was educated in Buenos Aires and in Cambridge, England, and lives in New York.

17 Comments to “A Blueprint for Diaspora Representation in Negotiations with Turkey over Reparations”

  1. Fantastic article here about Armenian – Turkish reconciliation, gives me reason to think, or at least hope, that Armenians and Turks can come together, based on truth and justice, to work towards a better future.
    Even though it’s perhaps easier to curse the Turks and make near impossible demands from them, I think it more practical and in the end far better for we Armenians to find ways to get the Turks to realize and accept that there was an Armenian Genocide and that by doing this they will be the better for it. So for example, we need to be recalling the numerous stories of Turkish people that helped Armenians during the Genocide. These are real heroes for which Turks could be proud and that provides an alternative model to the current denialist propaganda.
    Most would agree that any sane person, before agreeing to do something (recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turks in this case), wants to know what the consequences of agreeing to that something are. For example, say a cop pulls you over for some traffic violation and when you ask how much the ticket is going to cost, the cop shrugs and says, “I don’t know… could be 10 dollars, or maybe 100 dollars, or maybe a million dollars”. Are you going to sign the ticket? Certainly not willingly. As such, we Armenians need to approach reconcialiation between Armenians and Turks in a way that can benefit both peoples. Imagine for example a scenario whereby lands taken from Armenians during the Genocide were returned to Armenians (be it the Armenian Church or family decendants). It’s not difficult then to further imagine Armenian dispora money pouring into Turkey, and yes paying taxes to the Turkish government. A renewed Armenian presence could even help stabilize Turkish – Kurdish relations in the area. The result is a win – win for all parties. What a world that could be, one where Turks and Armenians work together for mutual benefit.
    • “It’s not difficult then to further imagine Armenian dispora money pouring into Turkey, and yes paying taxes to the Turkish government.”
      I think you’re in the extreme minority here. From my experiences here and elsewhere I have the impression that its genocide recognition/apology + mass territory transfer (eastern Turkey) or bust.
    • Good article and a nesesary step to negotiate with Turkey.
      But not in a million year Armenians are going back to live unther Turkish rule. In the end of all negotiations we should get back all agreed upon territories and annexed them to present Armenia. I think the Kurdish people should be also involved in negotiations, when territories are being discussed so we don’t have future problem with another neighbor.
  2. I like the principle of Idea, but are we so diluted of that could be play by Turkey to reconcile issues that concerns Azerbayjan around “Artzakh” and If there anyone has tried to understand that is the unification of West and East Turks by giving what Armenia want in return for giving up the Artzakh ,some people may don’t know that not only heritage of Artzakh belongs to Armenia but the valuable Minerals that is under Artzakh ( oil ,Gas) ,these are things no one talks about.. just let us Armenian people know if such assets are true and what will be result of those assets at negotiations?
  3. “ASALA’s terror campaign”
  4. Go ahead and sue Turkey if you are so sure of your evidence!
  5. We have commemorated the Armenian Genocide for decades wherever there is an Armenian community
    with very little accomplishment thus far towards the final settlement between Armenians and the neighboring Turks. This “blueprint” is, indeed , a good one to start the process towards a peaceful
    settlement between our two people replacing the daily raging hatred towards each other.
  6. we should never settle final settlement,apart from land and financial settlement the government should be liable for the future pay as well and all that for a funds for returning Historic Armenian be used in the future
  7. Well look what we have here. Someone with an actual plan. And an actual plan that seems to be well thought out and conceivable. Agree or disagree, things like this are the way to move forward, not waiting for a massive geopolitical shift or a major disaster to strike Turkey. Well done Mr. Hadjian, however your plan seems to assume that Turkey will be in a position where it wants to negotiate.
  8. avatar Levon Nigogosian // June 3, 2013 at 7:38 am // Reply
    There is an old Turkish saying translated says “do not shake your legs before you sit on the horse”. When Turkey accepts then we must allow Armenia to deal with the matter and the diaspora should not get involved.
  9. My G’Father was Armenian from Diarbekir & Great G’Father was a community leader & DEoctor who was ambushed & beheaded while delivering a baby. Please keep me updated. May justice prevail!JJ Boyajian Howard
  10. I concur with RVDV – here is an actual plan based on democratic (pan Armenian) principles from which we can at least have a reasonable discussion. Of course as they say, “the devil is in the details”.
    How those details could be worked through will, I imagine, not be to the complete satisfaction of Armenians, e.g. Armenia extended to the Black and Mediteranean seas, trillions of dollars transfered from Turkey to Armenia, mass deportation (peaceful) of existing Turks westward out of historic Armenian lands, and of course, the Kurdish issue. To actually accomplish the Armenian Cause – Hye Tad then, in it’s purest sense, is not so easy.
    What then – should we just wait for some major geopolitical shift where Turkey crumbles? Not likely to happen anytime soon. Instead, it seems we must accept the reality of a negotiated settlement where neither Turks or Armenians get everything they want, but for which both peoples can live with. Most importantly though, we Armenians need to re-establish our presence in historical western Armenia, get our feet firmly back on the land of our ancestors. If we have to share that land with Turks and Kurds then, with the right safeguards, so be it. At least we will have a presence there again. To quote what a Kurd at lake Van told a group of us Armenians on tour there some years back – it went something like, “this place was much better when you Armenians were here”.
    • "it seems we must accept the reality of a negotiated settlement where neither Turks or Armenians get everything they want, but for which both peoples can live with."
      This has been, essentially, what I've been saying as well when it comes to a possible resolution of this issue. However, again, the typical response I've seen to a proposition such as this goes something like "if someone broke into your house, killed your family, and then lived in your house, would you negoitate with them?" Well ok, but the status quo between Turkey and Armenia suits Turks just fine, and no one is forcing, or has been successful in compelling Turkey to apologize or pay reparations. A majority of Turks either deny the AG, don't deny the killings but deny that they consitiute a genocide, or simply don't care. These people won't come to YOU for a negotiation. Is it fair? No. But it is what it is. Make the best of it or sit in your idealist corner fuming at Turkey. I know most Turks will hope Armenians take the second path.
    • RVDV:
      if you were the chief negotiator for the Turkish side, what would you offer Armenians, i.e. your best offer.
      what would you expect from Armenians in return.
  11. Mr. Hadjian. Thank you for your proposal, an initial document to build from. All above comments and others need to be discussed and debated once an Organizing Committee and a General Assembly is formed for this Holly Cause for all Armenians. It is high time that we listen to each other and unite with ONE VOICE!!!!!
  12. I think what could happen post-2015 is, Turkey can pull out of a couple of provinces, also, Georgia can join in the negotiations, as well as the Kurds, because most lands claimed by Armenia have Kurds in it. Things have to be peaceful and as non-violent as possible, if we get involved in a population exchange between Muslims and Christians. Also, Turkey could probably at the most, offer autonomy to the Kurdish regions. (Plan 1)
    Or, what can happen is Turkey can create a autnomous Kurdish region via a federal republic, where Armenians can live in the Kurdish regions, with a Kurdish controlled government, or a government with shared Armenian-Kurdish ruling party. (Part 2)
    Or, what can also happen is Turkey can change it's name to "Anatolian Republic" where you have Christians, Muslims and Jews and there can be a way to find a formal language. (Part 3)
    There needs to be negotations where Turks, Kurds, Armenians and others in the region live side to side in a peaceful manner if you ask me. We have to make sure that both sides are not-too hardline with each other, as well as maybe there should be a possiblity that Turkey will have to make painful sacrifices concerning Turkish-Armenian ties. (Part 4)
    My views are going to slightly shift concerning Turkish-Kurdish-Armenian issues nowadays, because there is a big revolution to topple and ban the Dictatorial Muslim Brotherhood Wahhabi Extremeist AKP and hopefully the revolution will be taken over by liberal-left Wing Secularists rather then right-wing Secularists. (I am not saying Far-Left people, either).
  13. avatar Tlkatintsi // June 4, 2013 at 2:26 am // Reply
     In 1977, at the height of the attacks by Armenian militants against Turkish diplomats as well as ASALA’s terror campaign???? If, as the author posits, ASALA was conducting a "terror campaign" , then who were the Armenian militants conducting a "non-terror" campaign? I guess the author would label Monte Melkonian as terrorist.