97 years after 1915

April 24, 2012

Every April 24th Armenians around the world answer Hitler’s question, “Who remembers the Armenians?” This day is the anniversary of the rounding up, imprisonment, and eventual deportation and murder of Armenian intellectuals in Turkey in 1915.

Ninety-seven years after 1915, Armenians and non-Armenians, world leaders, governments around the world, and more and more Turkish intellectuals condemn the Turkish Government for its choice to actively deny the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish Government’s immoral genocide denial campaign extends beyond its borders. The Turkish Government’s propaganda has insidiously infiltrated the highest levels of many democratic governments, including the United States.

At least one and one half million Armenians (two-thirds of Armenians) died in the Armenian Genocide. Over six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Many believe Hitler was emboldened to carry out his plan to exterminate the Jews because he was inspired by Turkey’s near success with its systematic destruction of the country’s indigenous Armenian population.

Ninety-seven years after 1915 the world community continues to stand by and monitor genocides (e.g. Rwanda, Darfur). An evil dictator such as Syria’s Assad takes license to kill within his country’s borders because he believes he can get away with his crimes.

In a world in which the Iranian President can deny the Holocaust and incite fanatics to wipe Israel off the map, we must look inward and ask ourselves how we allow this behavior. We must vote out government leaders who enable genocide denial and genocidal regimes. We must mean what we say, when we declare “Never Again”.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of every Armenian victim of the massacres, pogroms, mass deportation and genocide committed by the Turkish government.


Armenian Genocide 96th Anniversary Commemoration — Times Square — Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 4, 2011

THEME “TURKEY IS GUILTY OF GENOCIDE: DENYING THE UNDENIABLE IS A CRIME”

(February 25, 2011) NY, NY–For the 26th year, thousands of Armenian Americans and their supporters will gather in Times Square (43rd St. & Broadway) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th Century: The Armenian Genocide. To be held on Sunday, May 1, 2011 from 2-4 PM, this historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire. The Commemoration will also celebrate the survival and spirit of the Armenian people, their rich heritage and global contributions.

Presenters will include civic, religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural leaders and performing artists. This event is free and open to the public.

Armenian Genocide experts Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan, Dr. Arthur Kubikian, former Chairman of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square (1999 and 2006) and Dr. Raffi A. Hovanessian, active in Armenian affairs and Vice Chair of the Diocesan Council in N.Y., are available for media interviews via phone and in-person. Armenian Genocide Survivors are also available (with translators) to discuss their eyewitness accounts as refugees from the Armenian Genocide. Their painful accounts of the horrendous horrors and mass destruction they witnessed and lived through are critical contributions to world history.

Dr. Papazian comments, “There is no question that when genocide goes unpunished, it makes other perpetrators discount the possibility of being punished for their transgressions. The Turkish government to this day continues to deny the reality of the first genocide of the 20th Century, the Armenian Genocide, which opened the door to all the genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries including the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. In fact, when Hitler sent his Death Heads troops into Poland at the beginning of World War II, he said, “Go. Kill without mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?”

Armenian Genocide experts and survivors available for interviews

Issues to explore with experts:

  • Why do the Armenians and supporters commemorate the Armenian Genocide?
  • What is the historical evidence to support the Armenian Genocide?
  • Why is the Turkish government denying the Armenian Genocide and what would be the outcomes if the Turkish government acknowledged the Genocide?
  • What major world historical events have taken place in the 20th and 21st centuries because of the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish Ottoman Empire and other nations?
  • What are the consequences of countries recognizing the Armenian Genocide?

The Experts

Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, is the National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan and founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where from 1971-2006, he held the position of Professor of History. He also served four years as Executive Director of the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington, D.C. In addition, Dr. Papazian was on the Board of Trustees of the American Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern), Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the St. Nersess Armenian Theological Seminary, President of the Society for Armenian Studies and Editor of the Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and resides in N.J. with his wife, Mary, who is Senior Vice President of Lehman College, CUNY.

Arthur H. Kubikian, DDS, is the former Chairman of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square (1999 and 2006) and is an active member of the Knights of Vartan.  He resides in Long Island, N.Y.

Raffi A. Hovanessian, MD, has been active in Armenian affairs throughout his life and is presently Vice Chair of the Diocesan Council in N.Y.  He has served on the boards of the Armenian Assembly, AGBU, St. Nersess Seminary and the American University of Armenia and is an active member of the Knights of Vartan.  He resides in N.J.

The 96th Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of Knights & Daughters of Vartan, a U.S. fraternal organization of Armenian-Americans, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Council of America and ADL-Ramgavars.

Participating Organizations: Diocese of the Armenian Church, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA, AYF, Armenian Youth Organizations, Armenian University and College Clubs.

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End Turkey’s Gag Rule: Call or Email Congress for Armenian Genocide Resolution Vote

December 19, 2010

Call or Email your US Congress representative for Armenian Genocide Resolution vote Tuesday, December 21st

Find your representative in Congress from the Armenian National Committee of America’s website:

http://www.anca.org/endthegagrule/

Read more about this historic vote which may be scheduled for Tuesday (search 252 on this website):

Genocide resolution nears vote on December 21
Armenian Reporter | December 18, 2010

Please don’t think to yourself that your parents or friends will contact your representatives, so you don’t need to do it to. EVERY VOTE COUNTS. Your call could make the difference to your representative in Congress, and their vote could be the deciding vote. Our leaders need to know that we care and that it’s not okay to buckle to the Turkish lobby. All that we have, we owe to our grandparents and great-grandparents. Tell your member of Congress what happened to your family members in the Armenian Genocide. They need to hear it from you.

Read my letter to President Obama telling him about my grandfather, Dr. John Karnig

The world is owed affirmation of the truth that what happened in Turkey in 1915 was Genocide. Until our leaders have the courage to acknowledge this truth we are doomed to repeat history, including genocides. The Holocaust, Darfur, and Rwanda all happened after the Armenian Genocide because the perpetrators saw that Turkey’s misdeeds were never punished and censured.

Please send this link to everyone you know and ask them to email Congress today:

http://www.anca.org/endthegagrule/

© Sheri Jordan and Aunt Sheri Says, 2009-2010.


I’ve been silent about Turkey’s Erdogan’s hypocrisy and hatefulness long enough

June 4, 2010

In today’s news (see Reuters link below), Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan commands Israel, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”—in English and in Hebrew.

Three questions:

  1. Did you ever wonder why Mr. Erdogan never hesitates to use the words ‘massacre’ and ‘genocide’ when accusing other governments?
  2. Why is Erdogan so outspoken when it comes to the human rights of peoples outside of his country, yet deaf, dumb and blind to human rights violations committed in his own country?
  3. How many times has he used the “G” word freely when accusing the Armenians of such acts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Israel in Gaza?

Turkey clearly set a trap for Israel and unfortunately Israel fell into the trap. Regardless of your politics concerning the Palestinians, it is unconscionable for the world to allow Turkey’s leadership to stir up antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments within Turkey and throughout the Moslem world for political gain. I guess Erdogan is tired of denying Turkey’s past (the Armenian Genocide), so he’s shifting the world’s focus to a tried and true political formula:  Pick on the Jews.

He emphatically denies the Armenian Genocide, which killed 1.5 million Christian Armenians, including babies and elderly women and men. The majority of those who managed to live were driven out of their native homeland (Turkey) to the desert, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Israel (then Palestine), Europe, the Americas and Australia.

Most of the Armenians who remained in Turkey were either forced to convert to Islam or enslaved. Armenians living in Turkey today (as well as all non-Moslem minorities) do not have the same rights as Moslem Turks. Furthermore, Turkey continues to blockade Armenia (don’t even get me started on the trap of the protocols)!

A few months ago, while loudly denying the Armenian Genocide from wherever he was in the world, he embraced Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir (who has committed crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur, as determined by the International Criminal Court). Defending al-Bashir as a Moslem, Erdogan said a Moslem would never be guilty of such crimes. I have news for Mr. Erdogan, acts of genocide and crimes against humanity are perpetrated by men of all faiths—and, often in the name of God.

To this day, Turkey has a poor human rights record. Shouldn’t the country’s leadership champion the rights of its own citizens, rather than shouting about the human rights of those outside Turkey?

New Articles:

[Revised 12:29AM – June 5, 2010]

Turkey’s Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco | Washington Post | June 5, 2010

Erdogan and the Decline of the Turks | Wall Street Journal | June 3, 2010

Link to Erdogan telling American journalist Charlie Rose ‘Armenian Genocide is complete a lie’ (Transcript and Video)

(If you didn’t see yesterday’s post, click here for the link to the video of a television broadcast of Turkish scholar Taner Akcam discussing the facts of the Armenian Genocide and his book, A Shameful Act.)

The Reuters link that was originally the first link provided here, was changed by Reuters to another news story. I found the content I originally read in the US version on Reuters’ India world news site. The content was cut and pasted in its entirety because of my concern the story will disappear again:

Angry Turkish PM tells Israel “thou shalt not kill”
Reuters | Saturday, June 5, 2010

By Ibon Villelabeitia

ANKARA (Reuters) – Israel’s only Muslim ally Turkey accused the Jewish state on Friday of betraying its own biblical law, escalating its furious rhetoric since the killing of nine Turkish activists on board a Gaza-bound aid ship.

Despite fierce international criticism from friends as well as enemies, Israel said it would block another vessel sent by pro-Palestinian activists, the Rachel Corrie, from attempting to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s words towards Israel were his harshest yet since Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara on Monday, plunging into a melee with activists on board and opening fire.

“I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says ‘thou shalt not kill’. Did you not understand?” Erdogan said in a televised speech to supporters of his Islamist-leaning AK Party.

“I’ll say again. I say in English ‘you shall not kill’. Did you still not understand?. So I’ll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew ‘Lo Tirtzakh’.”

As relations plunged to their lowest point since the two countries forged a strategic relationship in the 1990s, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said military and economic agreements with Israel were now on the table for discussion.

“We are serious about this subject,” Arinc told the Turkish NTV news channel.

“We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum, but to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state,” he said.

Turkey has already recalled its ambassador and cancelled joint military exercises.

A spokeswoman for activists aboard the Rachel Corrie — named after an American activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 — said they intended to press on. Israel says it will block the ship but expects no more violence.

“We will stop the ship, and also any other ship that will try to harm Israeli sovereignty. There is no chance the Rachel Corrie will reach the coast of Gaza,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Israel’s Channel 1 television.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israeli forces to exercise “caution and politeness” in handling the ship, expected near the waters off Gaza by Saturday.

Together with Egypt, Israel tightened its blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007.

Israel has defended the embargo, saying it stops Hamas from bringing in weapons to fight Israel. Officials said on Thursday Netanyahu was considering modifying the blockade, which would introduce some form of international role in enforcing an arms embargo, while letting in civilian goods.

U.S. CALLS FOR PEACE EFFORTS

President Barack Obama said the incident should be used as an opportunity to advance Middle East peace efforts.

U.S. envoy George Mitchell, mediating in indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks which many observers doubt will achieve a breakthrough, met Netanyahu on Friday.

He held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday which a Palestinian official said were dominated by the ship incident and the Gaza blockade.

The United States has been less critical of Israel than others, expressing sympathy for its security concerns while also saying the people of Gaza must get the supplies they need.

Erdogan, however, compared the Israeli actions to those of Kurdish militants in Turkey and stood up for Hamas, calling them “resistance fighters fighting for their land”.

“The fate of Jerusalem is not different from the fate of Istanbul,” he said, in language reflecting the significance of the holy city to Muslims throughout the world. “The fate of Gaza is not different from the fate of Ankara.”

Turkey, an officially secular state, recognised Israel soon after its establishment in 1948. In the 1990s it forged military and intelligence cooperation agreements with Israel when both had hostile relations with Syria.

Its tough position this week has been popular in the Muslim world. Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah praised Erdogan’s stance in a video-link speech to thousands of followers on Friday.

Organisers had placed nine coffins draped in Turkish flags to commemorate the Turkish victims.

“Israel miscalculated here. It thought after it attacks, kills, detains and commits terror against the Freedom Flotilla, that would make the Turkish leadership retreat, be confused, scared and look for any resolution,” Nasrallah said.

Tens of thousands of people protested across Egypt, the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state.

About 20,000 people gathered in the port of Alexandria, waving Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian flags, unusual in a country where public demonstrations are often swiftly suppressed.

“Turkey, a thousand salutations. Long live Erdogan and long live the Turkish people,” the protesters chanted.

Photo caption: A masked member of Hamas stands in front of a banner depicting Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a protest in Central Gaza Strip June 4, 2010, against Israel’s interception of Gaza-bound ships.


Haunting echoes of Armenian Genocide in Darfur

May 12, 2010

The Armenian community faces many challenges, but we are a strong people and we are survivors. As we strive to gain more official government recognition of the Armenian Genocide, it is also incumbent upon us to fight the crime of genocide and help victims of all genocides.

American actress Mia Farrow is a champion of civil rights. She speaks out about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and seeks support from all of us. She recently shared her first-hand knowledge of the atrocities in Darfur with Armenians in Cambridge, Massachussetts. In addition to reading the article, please visit her website (see links below):

Mia Farrow Shares Darfur Experience at Holy Trinity
The Armenian Mirror-Spectator | May 10, 2010

www.miafarrow.org


April and Genocide commemorations for Jews, Armenians, and Rwandans

April 30, 2010

In New York City, the public television network WNET ran genocide-themed programming during the month of April. I saw a program about a man seeking (and finding) ‘righteous’ Moslems who helped Jews survive during World War II. Thanks to WNET, I also finally mustered up the strength to watch the feature film, Hotel Rwanda, based on a the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. I highly recommend the film.

And, as an Armenian, I wanted to attend the excellent programs commemorating the Armenian Genocide here in New York, including a reading of literature written by several of the Armenian intellectuals arrested by the Turkish Government on April 24, 1915. Most of the Armenian leaders and intellectuals were subsequently murdered and their voices silenced. In fact, this organized act of brutality has been described as ‘decapitating’ the Armenian nation. But, we owe a debt of gratitude to the dedicated staff of the Zohrab Center, who made it possible for the audience to hear the words of our poets, writers, and representatives in parliament come to life again, in the sanctuary of St. Vartan’s Cathedral.

I encourage you to learn about the histories of all three genocides and make it your business to know about the genocide being committed in Darfur. Of course, no one wants to look at the dark side of life, but it is important to know about man’s inhumanity to man, so we can recognize the signs and break the cycle of genocide. And, please make your voice heard for all those who can’t speak out.

Please read this excellent article written by Governor-General Michaëlle Jean of Rwanda:

April and Genocide
The Globe and Mail | April 30, 2010


Dafur & Armenian Genocide: PM Erdogan “A Muslim can never commit genocide”

November 11, 2009

Europe News | November 9, 2009


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