Time To Plan For A New Project

 Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia, PA  USA, 15 March 2016

Most of the following essay was written in 2014 and is being only slightly modified. 

Why it wasn’t submitted anywhere, at that time, is because I realized that I was expecting too much from the Armenians, and that I had better wait to see if my surmise that the Centenary observances would be a big nothing was right (It was) and that this might be the next project for the Armenians.

I began:–

Although it would appear that the Armenians are going to set off a fire-cracker and not a magnificent fireworks to mark the Centennial of the start of the Armenian Genocide, it is likely that the Turks are not going to let go to waste the millions they have spent buying editors, buying politicians, stimulating their whores to deny history.

 Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia, PA  USA, 15 March 2016

Most of the following essay was written in 2014 and is being only slightly modified. 

Why it wasn’t submitted anywhere, at that time, is because I realized that I was expecting too much from the Armenians, and that I had better wait to see if my surmise that the Centenary observances would be a big nothing was right (It was) and that this might be the next project for the Armenians.

I began:–

Although it would appear that the Armenians are going to set off a fire-cracker and not a magnificent fireworks to mark the Centennial of the start of the Armenian Genocide, it is likely that the Turks are not going to let go to waste the millions they have spent buying editors, buying politicians, stimulating their whores to deny history.

Therefore, it is up to the Armenians who care about the forthcoming Centenary to mount their own campaign against what will be a Turkish onslaught of lies.

I propose (Yes, I am proposing again), that the Armenians campaign, with everything they write or speak, to accuse the Turks of Vericide–the Killing of Truth.

If we make an effort, we may succeed in coupling the words “genocide” and “vericide” with the Turks.

Let every letter we write to counter another Turkish lie begin with “In another example of Vericide, . . .”; or “The recent statement by [name] is another example of Turkish Vericide, because. . . .” 

Even though letters to the leading Turkish apologists at the White House and Foggy Bottom are useless, letters should be sent to them and they should always include the term “Vericide” in one way or other to let them know that they, too, are committing “vericide.”  The same, of course, to Members of Congress and to the Media.

Having made the point at the beginning of the letter, the body should include the truth or a counter-fact.  

It is unlikely that the Turks and their apologists will try to counter the Vericide campaign because it will contribute to the Armenian effort. 

For instance, just recently a so-called “scholar” published a report that denied that Raphael Lemkin ever referred to the Armenian genocide much less used the Armenian experience as the basis of his coining the word “genocide” and striving to make it a “crime against humanity.”   It does not take much for a lie like that to gain acceptance, and vigilance is needed.

Oddly, at about the time that scurrilous “research” was published, so, too, was an interesting research paper by an Armenian who delved into the (neutral-during-World-War-One) Swedish archives and discovered that Swedish diplomat Hjalmar Branting who, in a speech before the French, Russian, Belgian, and Italian ambassadors about the Armenian massacres, used the word “folkmord”–in effect, “genocide,” in Swedish–raising the question as to whether Lemkin may have known about the Swede when he coined his word.  But, it matters not.  What is important, here is yet another arrow in the Armenian quiver.

If editors use such letters, it is possible that others may take up the use of the word “vericide” for their own pet peeves–and, thus, give the word universal acceptance.  In fact, come to think of it, it is even possible that the Turks will use the word “vericide” because they have used the word “genocide” when it suits them–against Israel, for instance.

At this point, I eliminate the original ending, and now add the following:

There was a vast difference between the excellent actions of governments and publications and writers about the Centenary and what the local communities did–very much a nothing, based on the news coverage, or lack of it, including the one in Washington in which the Bobsy Twins conducted a Badarak.  The reason, of course, was that the planning should have started in 2010 with special Centenary Committees formed and really ambitious programs agreed to, rather than the virtual repetition of what had been done previously.  But, that is now old news.

The Armenians have a new target.  The Republic of Turkey will mark its centenary in 2023, and His Royal Highness and the Supreme Greatness and the Chief Sultan of Sultans and Chief Caliph of Caliphs (or whatever he is calling himself nowadays) Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grandiose plans, including being around and as the Chief Pooh-bah.

We saw the recent opening of his magnificent 1100-room Presidential Palace–larger than any residence of any world leader.  Recently, news items appeared that he was planning the construction of the world’s largest airport–no doubt in anticipation of the world beating a path to his door in 2023.

What is also in the works, is the world’s largest museum–covering just slightly more than two football fields–to be called, with Turkish modesty, “The Museum of Civilization,” in which Turkey will be depicted as the logical and natural inheritor of the culture, the civilizations, and the peoples who have inhabited the Anatolian Plateau over the past 10,000 years.  (For the record, those who have inhabited the Anatolian Plateau have been the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Carians, the Cilicians, the Cimmarians, the Colchians, the Commagene, the Georgians, the Greeks, the Hattians, the Hittites, the Hurrians, the Iberians, the Kurds, the Luwians, the Lydians, the Mitahni, the Persians, the Phrygians, the Romans, the Scythians, the Seljuk Turks, the Urartians.)

And, it is this that the Armenians must target.  Of these inhabitants of the Plateau, over these years, only the Armenians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, and the Kurds are still there (in however diminishing numbers) and who also have the distinction of having been the victims of Turkey’s record of inhumanity.  What the Turks do about these four peoples will be interesting.  Will their existence be acknowledged?  Will their contributions be acknowledged?

For instance.  In the magnificent Macmillan “Dictionary of Art,” 37 pages are devoted to Armenian art and only seven to Turkish art (and of that seven some are of questionable attribution!).  How much of that rich heritage will the Turks devote to the Armenians, and how many will they usurp for themselves?  The day after the Museum opens is too late for the Armenians to cry “Foul!”

But, if the Past is Prologue, what the Armenians, at least, do, should be more interesting.  And, can be effective, if planning starts now, not in mid-2023.

What better way than to strive to label the Turks as master of Vericide?           

 

27 comments
  1. What, if not genocide..?

    The Allies landed on the Dardanelles on April 25, 1915.  The Armenians openly cheered in Istanbul.

    Just prior to that, the allies invaded Basra.

    Around the same time, the Turks lost 100,000 or so troops at Sarikamis, and the path seemed open for Russian invasion.  Armenians played a small role in this.

    In that moment, Turkey was exposed to attack from all sides, and it looked like it would be wholly overrun.  Meanwhile, there were 2 million long-suffering Armenians living in the heartland of Anatolia, likely to rebel at the first flow of allied troops into Turkey.

    Like other governments at war (e.g. the USA and Canada and Japanese internment), it made sense for the leaders of Turkey, in that context, to exert some sort of control on the Armenian population (Time of war, fog of war).

    But where would you inter 2 million people and with what resources?

    Do you send them out of the borders to Russia or Greece?  They would join the Russians and Allies and attack you.  Do you guard them in big concentration camps, or even in their villages?  But with what resources, when every last male is needed on all the fronts?  Also, what does that solve?  When turkey is overrun, the presence of 2 million Armenians means they will take much of Anatolia and Turkey would be finished.  Istanbul occupied, Anatolia Armenian, and the Turks in some small corner someplace…  Do you just kill all the men and leave the women, children and elderly?  But that would expose the genocide of the men, assuming the women and children could survive.

    There was little choice:  The Armenians needed to be eliminated, and eliminated completely.  No trace should be left.  This was the only choice, calculated by the Turkish leadership and their German allies.

    That human beings would at that moment of discussion decide to actually proceed with implementing the 'logical' choice, rather than being seized by the horror of the implementation is the massive point for all humanity to ponder.

    We need to understand that the 1915 genocide in the Armenian case was an 'existential' decision for the Turkish leadership.  It is a massive blight on the entirety of the Turkish people that at that momentous point in time they proceeded with this 'solution' by government order and participation of countless villagers. 

    My point is that for us Armenians, a more nuanced understanding of the moment after 100 years of pain is helpful.  I think it is more likely that Turks will advance and grow and learn and improve, if we shift from the concept:  'They just decided to massacre us all for no good reason' to 'They faced an existential moment, but succumbed to the vilest evil'.  It is important to ask:  What should the Turks have done at that moment?  The answer MUST be: NOT GENOCIDE.  But the answer of WHAT if not genocide is not easy.
     

    1. What If Not Genocide

      As my post above indicates there was a choice for Turkey to stay neutral in WWI. Turkey did not have the resources or the financial capacity to wage war. On the other hand does any one think the reason Turkey entered the war was to have a free hand to eliminate all the undesirable elements from the empire?

      1. Hrair’s Question

        Hrair asked: "On the other hand does anyone think the reason Turkey entered the war was to have a free hand to eliminate all the undesirable elements from the empire?"
        I don't think anyone here asked that question or intimated it.

        Turkey entered the war hoping that muscle-bound Germany would win, and as an ally of Germany, Turkey will get back its colonies, particularly in the Balkans. It also expected to be given most of the Caucasus. But once it entered the war, Turkey saw the opportunity to eliminate the Armenians. After all, there wasn't much the Russians, the French, and the British could do other than protest: they were already at war with Turkey.

        1. Original Pain

          We are born with the Original Pain of the unrecognized Genocide, and our partial remedy for this pain is a somewhat distorted view of the history around the Genocide. The evil of the Yeghern is so massive that it must be described as pure evil. Thus we understandably color First World War with pure black.

          The historical record shows that Turkey did not rush to enter WWI. In fact, they tried to hold back as long as they could. They had recently lost Egypt, the Suez Canal and Aden to Britain. The Italians had invaded Libya (where the future genocidaire Enver led the resistance). The Greeks were acting to expand their control of the Aegean. The British were eyeing Mesopotamia. The French were eyeing Syria. The Balkans and Bulgaria right at the doorstep of Istanbul had been lost. Kars, Ardahan had been lost. Russia was poised to invade Constantinople… WWI broke out in June-July 1914. The Turks allied themselves with Germany but despite constant coaxing by Germany, did not start hostilities against the Entente. In fact, Jemal went secretly to the Entente and tried to form an alliance with them in return for guarantees that Russia would not penetrate further into Anatolia and would not invade Istanbul. France and Britain refused and the Young Turk triumvirate remained neutral, exasperating Germany to no end. In the very last days of October, a Turkish warship manned by German officers, opened fire on Sevastopol (Crimea) against the orders of Enver. The captain, Souchon, was ordered by Germany to do so to force the Turks into the war. That was, finally, the entry of Turkey into WWI.

          As for the notion of entering the war for the purpose of creating a shroud under which to eliminate undesirables this too is a bit of a stretch. Certainly, the Turks used the war  in this fashion, but it cannot be said that this was the reason for their entry to the war. The only 'undesirables' they eliminated were the Armenians. Not, for example, the Greeks. The record on this is clear, including in all Armenian sources. For example, our fedayeens used the Greek villages to rest in their peregrinations and struggles after all the Armenian villages had been emptied.  The Greek genocide occurred much later when the Greeks invaded all the way to Ankara. Armenians were the principle undesirables. They were the restive element (Ottoman Bank attack, rightful, demand and actions for liberty and equality…

          The Bulgarians almost decided to join the Entente rather than the Central powers.  But they were bribed by the Turks with land to join them. As a result, Germany was able to send arms to Turkey through Bulgaria thus saving Istanbul. Only a few years earlier, the Bulgarians had suffered genocide at the hands of the Ottomans.

          Everything went wrong for the Armenians. The Turks played the genocide move 'brilliantly', and it helped save their country. But that obviously is a view of things where being human is set aside, and we're talking about animals. 

          1. One Thing Missing

            Regarding your final statement, "the Turks played the genocide move 'brilliantly', and it helped save their country." It was not their country to save. We need to put things into proper context and that is that we are talking about an invading,  occupying, colonial force whose operative words are conquest, expansion, control, repression and torture. We are seeing that attitude play out on the world stage even today because the 'Turkic Hordes' have not been stopped.

  2. WWI and Turkey

    The experience of Turkey prior to WWI, namely the loss of their Balkan real estates, should have taught a lesson to the three idiots at the helm of the Ottoman Empire: that Turkey was not ready for war. Staying neutral during WWI would have been … Let each person figure out what would Turkey have been like today.

  3. Why Genocide?

    It's inaccurate to maintain that Turkey committed Genocide of Armenians because it didn't know what else to do to resolve the Armenian Question during the fog of war.

    The Turks had been committing slow genocide of Armenians for centuries. At the end of the 19th century they speeded the process with the Hamidian massacres. This was followed by the Adana Massacres. What is massacre, in these instances, if not genocide in slow motion? The idea was to eliminate the Armenians. That was the call whenever Turkish soldiers, brigands, and mobs attacked Armenians in the years preceding the war.

    Several years before 1915 the Young Turks had already planned to eliminate the Armenians. The war gave them the excuse and the opportunity.

    The fact that Turks committed genocide of the Pontic Greeks and the Assyrians is evidence that the Turkish leadership wanted to create a Turk-only (except for the Kurds) country. And later, their decision to call the Kurds "Mountain Turks" is another proof of their mindset and racist designs to create a homogenous state which would not include non-Turks. Thus the Armenian Genocide.

    To repeat the above facts is painfully redundant for an Armenian, but Berge's letter forces one to challenge the untruths.

  4. Turkic hordes

    Dear Telo,

    Of course it was not 'theirs', just as the United States where you are and Canada where I am is not 'ours'.  There is a whole article in Keghart right now about the Armenians potentially having invaded the lands of the Urartians thousands of years ago.  Whose is Palestine?…  We can go on…

    Indeed, Armenians preceded the Turks in the Armenian heartland.  Indeed the original Turks were barbarian invaders.  Indeed Talaat, Enver, and Cemal were genocidaires.  Indeed countless Turkish villagers bludgeoned their defenseless Armenian neighbours.  But to say that 'Turkey' where 'Turks' had lived for a thousand years 'is not' 'theirs' is the kind of thinking that is emanating from our great pain, and is at the same time part of the genocide itself.  If you tell a Turkish villager that his village is not 'his', he is more likely to be driven to the madness of killing his neighbour when fear-mongered by his Imam or fascist leader.

    My point in this writing simply is that the genocide did not rise only from pure racist hate.  The geopolitical situation had much to do with it.  The all-sided attacks by Europeans upon the Ottoman empire had something to do with it.  The rightful, but in retrospect reckless, actions of the Armenian revolutionary movement also had something to do with it.  There would not have been an Armenian genocide were it not for WWI.  There would not have been Hamidian massacres without the Armenian revolts.  All this pains me to write to the extreme.  I happen to be a descendent of the leader of the great revolt of Zeitoun.  A hundred years after the genocide, we should start managing to look at the whole picture… which does not change the absolute and abject horror perpetrated upon our people.

    1. Canard Re Rebellions

      Berge,
      Your assertion that "there would not have been Hamidian massacres without the Armenian revolts" is untrue. Turks would massacre Armenians once every generation to keep their population numbers down, among other things. Turkey has long known how to "pacify" its citizens. Nowadays, even a person who "knows his/her place" in Turkey will be murdered by the Turkish government.

    2. Armenian Rebellion

      It's disheartening to read, at this late date, the falsehood that the Hamidian massacres were a result of an Armenian revolt.

      As another commenter wrote, in addition to the oppression and discrimination, every generation the Ottoman government "culled" minorities to keep their numbers down and to intimidate them, in addition to robbing them. They did this to Greeks, to the Assyrians and the Yezidis.

      Starting in the 1830s Armenians began sending delegations to the Sublime Porte requesting relief from the oppressive conditions Armenians lived. The government said it would look into the matter. In the following 60 years there were many similar pleas and letters, often by the Armenian Patriarchate in Constantinople, to the government. The latter either ignored the Armenian please or made false promises. But Abdul Hamid II decided to teach the Armenians a lesson for being "annoying cry-babies". Rather than decrease the oppression, he increased it. A minority of Armenian intellectuals, political activists, etc., seeing the obdurate policies of the Sublime Porte would not change through civilized discourse, formed political parties. An off-shoot of this was the creation of small groups of poorly-armed fedayeens in a few communities to defend Armenians from the ravages inflicted by the government and the Turkish/Kurd brigands. These small and isolated Armenian 'rebellions' gave Abdul Hamid the excuse for the massacres of the 1890s.

      Being forced to repeat these facts to an educated Armenian, who should know better, some 120 years after the fact, is depressing. Is this where we have come? Preaching "blame the victim" machinations of Halajoglu, Gunter, McCarthy, Buenos and their ilk?

      1. Truth

        Dear Hayorti, Telo and Vahakn,

        Thank you very much for your comments. Like all Armenians', my Genocide wound is open and raw, and I am constantly trying to understand. I do not think the Genocide was exclusively racist hatred, but at the same time in no way do I minimize the latter.

        Here is a brief summary of what I think happened:

        Armenians were oppressed (greatly) for centuries by the Turkish and Muslim majority and the despots of Istanbul.

        During the demise of the Ottoman Empire, peaceful entreaties for reforms went nowhere, and the revolutionary movement was born. This did impact the decisions of the Hamidian massacres. Without the revolutionary movement, including the attack on the Ottoman bank, the liberation of Zeitun, the attack on the person of Abdul Hamid… there would have been the usual horrendous oppression, rapes, thefts and killings, but not the wide-scale slaughters.

        The further demise of the Ottoman Empire saw, in addition to massive territorial losses, a flood of Muslim/Turkish refugees from the Caucasus and the Balkans into Anatolia. At the same time, there were the real pressures by the European powers to dismember the remains of the empire, from all four corners. The imminence and likelihood of Russian occupation of Istanbul was real, and so on.

        That the Young Turk regime saw that there is no salvation for Turkey without eliminating the restive and relatively massive Armenian presence in the heart of their remaining land mass makes 'strategic sense' (though obviously is despicable beyond any bounds)…. That discussions about this, and even the decision, were made prior to the start of the war does not change this aspect of the story. The pressures of invasion were just as real then.

        Had the Armenians continued to accept the chronic oppression and neither complained nor rebelled, it may not have come to Hamidian massacres and to full-fledged genocide.

        But could the Armenians not complained and not rebelled? I am sure I would have done the same thing as our forebears did, and would have complained and rebelled.  But there are lessons here, including trusting foreign powers to intervene to save you. The whole purpose of the revolutionary movement was to get reactions from the Turks that would drive the Europeans to intervene and 'save the Armenians'. In retrospect, this was a mistake…  again, one that I would have likely made myself in their situation and at that time.

        To finish, I would like to go back to the beginning of this trail:  the Genocide was not purely a matter of hate, which does not mean it did not contain a huge dose of it, but was contributed to by a variety of interconnected events, and a more complete understanding is useful for all sorts of reasons.

        1. Hamidian Massacres & Easter

          Today, Palm Sunday, is the perfect day to respond to Berge on this issue.

          Jesus knew He was a marked Man. He spoke up anyway. He knew of His pending demise and went through with it knowingly because standing for truth was the right thing to do AND God's will.

          Jesus accepted His role as the martyr for what He believed in. As the first Christian nation, Armenia/ns emulate/d him. To be Christian is not to be mortally successful but to be immortally triumphant.

          Anyone who stood up to Turkey was liquidated. That was true centuries ago as it is today. Sooner or later, the Armenians and others were going to be eliminated…self-defense or no self-defense. Without intervention, the same fate awaits the Kurds.

        2. In many ways, Berge’s letter

          In many ways, Berge's letter sounds like a tract from the Turkish Historical Society propaganda textbooks. This is beyond depressing.

          Rather than reply to him categorically for all the untruths he espouses (there's just no time to do so), I will reply to just one aspect of his allegations: the Armenian threat to the Ottoman Empire.

          Ottoman Armenians were no threat to the empire. Small groups of poorly-armed  (a total of 10,000 at most) fedayeens couldn't have been a threat to a vast amd experienced army which was armed by the Germans and often led by experienced German officers.

          The fedayeen couldn't have been a threat because of the large mass of the empire, lack of proper transportation and communication network. The fedayeen also had no experience in fighting or infrastructure such as health care, salary, regular supply of food. Although there were self-defense fedayeens in some towns like Zeitun, Sasoun, etc., the overwhelming majority of Armenian communities neither had fedayeens or an interest/knowledge of revolution or desire to separate from the empire. After six centuries, the Armenians were cowed, dispirited. Being harassed by the Turks and the Kurds was accepted part of life. Being overtaxed, manhandled, insulted, treated unfairly by the government and Turks in general… the rapes, the forced elopement of Armenian girls, etc. was their lot. Bending their heads had become a reflex action. In many places (Adana) they were not allowed to speak Armenian.  To say that the emasculated and isolated Armenians of the Ottoman Empire were a threat to the Turks is a sick joke.

          As well, on the eve of WWI the leadership of Dashnagtsoutyoun tried to persuade the Young Turks not to enter the war because the party could see it would be disastrous for the country and the Armenians. However, when the Young Turks did enter the war on the German side, the Armenian leadership called on all able-bodied Armenian males to enroll in the army. If I am not mistaken, close to 250,000 did join the army. Some of these Armenians fought their fellow Armenians who were in the Russian army. Included among them were my two uncles from Urfa. They were sent to the Syrian front. When the Turks launched the Genocide, my uncles did not know that their family had been butchered by the government that they were defending. Their superiors–several German officers–advised them to stay in Lebanon since they would face certain death if they returned home.

          One can describe the so-called Armenian resistance to the Turkish army as  "Cannons vs. Home-made guns".

          The Armenian revolutionary groups in Western Armenia and Cilicia were not the cause of the Genocide. The oppression of the Armenians was the cause for the creation of the revolutionary groups.

          Since the Armenians had been betrayed so many times by "sympathetic Europe", the revolutionaries had no expectations that Europe would come to their rescue if the Ottomans mistreated the Armenians as a "result" of provocation by the Armenians. This is a fairy tale which Turkey likes to repeat. It's a shame that an Armenian has been taken in by the lie.

  5. A failed quest

    I don't question Berge's sincerity in trying to understand what went wrong and precipitated the genocide. The way I perceive is that he tries to transcend beyond the explanations that so far we have presented to ourselves and are mingled with a good dose of emotions. It's a quest.

    So far so good. However, bringing in the varied elements of the geopolitical concerns of the times does not in any way absolve the Ottoman Turks from the responsibility of their heinous crime by invoking security concerns. It's a page from Turkish narrative.

    Taner Akcam tried this approach by elaborating on the Ottoman losses in the Balkans, but to his credit he ultimately called the calamity a genocide.

    1. Pain

      Dear Dikran and Hayorti,

      Obviously, I in no way said it was not planned genocide… so I will not belabor that point.

      What Hayorti is missing from the point I am trying to make is that HAD Istanbul been occupied and the remainder of Anatolia been invaded, a greater Armenia and Greece been created… there is every reason to believe that the Turkish population from Yozghat to the Russian border, from the Aegean and Pontus, and from Kilikia would have been displaced and sent… where? 

      The Turks having been slaughterers and racists, their religion allowing killing of enemies, and all the suffering they had inflicted on the Armenians over centuries, would have assumed that if they did not preemptively deal with the Armenian element, they themselves might be not only displaced, but massacred.

      The evil was longstanding, but my sense is that the decision to genocide (the nothing short of complete annihilation of the Armenians) had something to do with the above perceived threat.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the Turks would simply have committed genocide just for the luxury of having it all and creating a land filled with a 'pure' Turkish race.  Maybe…
       

      1. Why Genocide II

        Berge,

        You say "there is every reason…" that Turks would have been displaced from Cilicia, Western Armenia, from the Aegean to the Pontus.  What are these "every reason"s you are sure of?  How far can one speculate before drowning in fantasy?

        Let's assume that it was the above reason which motivated the Turks to commit genocide. But if eliminating the Armenians was to make sure there would be no Western Armenia which could be inhabited by Armenians, what about the Greeks?  Since the Greeks were to get the western part of the country, why  would the Turkish leadership not believe the whole cake (all of Anatolia) would be given to the Greeks, especially when the Turks had to be punished for committing genocide, in addition to being on the wrong side?

        They killed us because we are Christian.
        They killed us because they wanted our property.
        They killed us because they were jealous.
        They killed us because we were allies of Russia.
        They killed us to avenge their Balkan brothers who sought sanctuary in Turkey.
        They killed us to avenge the Russian deportations of Chechens, Circassians.
        They killed us because of Tashnags and Hnchags.

        The above list in not comprehensive.

        The comprehensive list of theories is much longer. Every year a couple of new theories are advanced. Why not add the novel speculation that it was a preemptive move because the Young Turks foresaw the evacuation of the lands you mentioned.
        Sorry. I don't buy the theory. You have to back your speculation by documents, official statements, etc.

        1. Why Genocide

          Dear Hayorti,

          You are aware of the German responsibility in the Armenian genocide, including in the physical planning.  Did the Germans participate in the genocide for any reason other than winning their damn war?

          After 100 years, I have come around to the facts that a Turk is not intrinsically (genetically?) the same as being evil.  The perpetration of genocide had to do, as you intimate, with jealousy, greed, and all the other standard human vices.  I myself contend that it was facilitated by a religion that tends to fascism and intolerance.  But I also think that fear, perceived or otherwise, played a significant role in driving my great grandfather's neighbour to kill him.  I know as much, because I found the descendants of the villagers who massacred my great grandfather's village's Armenians.  In tears they told me what their grandparents told them, that they were convinced by the tashkilat al makhsousa of the arrival of a mysterious Armenian army that would kill them in their mosques.  I also think that the Ittihad party's decision of Turkey for the Turks had something to do with the fear that all of Turkey would soon and otherwise be overrun.  I need not repeat that this was obviously an utterly unjustifiable decision, even if under such fear.

          I guess I just refuse to think that there is anything intrinsically 'saintly' in being Armenian, or intrinsically 'satanic' in being a Turk.  I guess I would like to understand as much of the picture as possible.  As  practical point: I don't think we will get anywhere with genocide recognition by taking the position, ludicrous if one thinks about it, that Turks are evil.

          Respectfully.

          1. New Strand

            Dear Berge,

            You say that your refuse to think that there's anything intrinsically 'saintly' in being Armenian or 'satanic' in being a Turk. Neither I nor anyone among the letter-writers here have said or intimated the above. I am puzzled by your introduction of the idea to the discussion. Your interjection hints that you believe the letter-writers and Armenians in general believe that they are angels and the Turks demons.

            It's irrational to think someone is genetically evil–unless he or she is mentally disturbed.

            Our quarrel then and now with Turkey is based on facts and logic, acts and consequence.
            Our hostility towards TURKEY (not Turks) emanates from the following:
            1. They conquered our homeland without provocation.
            2. They proceeded to kill millions of us and then plundered our 4,000-year civilization.
            3. For nearly 600 years they treated us like chattel… over-taxed, prone to unprovoked and arbitrary attack, being treated as third-class citizens (the non-Turkish Muslims were the second-class), permanent injustice, oppression, racism, insults, permanent insecurity…
            4. Murderous response by the authorities to our peaceful pleas for justice.
            5. The Hamidian and Adana massacres.
            6. The Genocide.
            7. Post-1915 when they tried to take erase the fledgling Republic of Armenia.
            8. Forcing Russia to slice from Armenia Gars, Ardahan, Nakhichevan, and Artsakh.
            9. A century of Genocide denial.
            10. A century of anti-Armenian acts, including propaganda and hostility towards Armenia and Armenians.
            11. Mistreatment of the survivors who remained in Turkey, including forced Turkification of Armenians.
            12. The destruction of our heritage (buildings, monuments, art, songs, literature).
            13. Splitting us from our roots, our ancestral lands, turning us into a nation of exiles.
            14. As a result of No. 13, making us a nation obsessed by our loss and pain. In addition to the personal damage that this has done to our psyche, it has strangled our literature. The consequence? Our literature has become a prisoner of the Genocide.
            15. The exile has resulted in assimilation… the first deadly step towards disappearance. We say there are 7 million or so Armenians in the Diaspora. But how many are really Armenian? How many Argentine-Armenians can speak Armenian or active in the community? How many of the 400,000 French-Armenians can speak Armenian or are active in the community?
            The Genocide created the exile; the exile has created assimilation; assimilation leads to disappearance.

            I can go on, but the above should be sufficient.

          2. Turkey Not Turks

            Dear Hayorti,

            Indeed this conversation is going down an unintended strand, I think because the topic is so emotional. Let me point one thing out and then yank the issue back to the original point. You say you have an issue with Turkey but not the Turks. Who is Turkey if not the Turks? No need to answer, really, but if you'd like to, of course by all means. Now back to the original issue.

            A short time before the official start of WWI there was a meeting of Young Turks in which a decision was made for genocide. I contend that at this meeting there was serious concern about impending final collapse of the Ottoman Empire and worry about the fate of Turkey and the Turks. I do not think the meeting was exclusively a hate and blood fest against the Armenians.

            Prior to that, Abdul Hamid fuelled and ordered massacres of Armenians every time Armenians complained to him and to the European powers about abuses they were sustaining at the hands of the Kurds and the Circassians, who were armed, while Armenians were not permitted to bear arms (Armenians were not permitted to bear arms because of the constant pressures from Russia already at the time).  Around the same times, Armenian political parties (Hnchak)-led efforts towards a pan-empire revolution against the autocratic rule of the sultan (not a very well documented history, but am happy to provide you  references). Elsewhere, there were full-fledged revolts, such as in Zeitun, where Zeitun and massive areas around it, all the way to Marash and Hadjin, were liberated for the greater portion of a year. The Hamidian massacres peaked after the Armenians occupied the Ottoman Bank to make their cause known to the world, and when they tried to assassinate Abdul Hamid. I contend that all of the above played a role in the perception of the Armenians as a threat to Abdul Hamid the dictator, in his rule of the crumbling empire, and later in contributing the elements at the fascist Young Turk meeting mentioned above to commit genocide.

            Do I blame Armenians for any of this? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I would likely have done more and worse in reaction to what our people were being subjected to.

            Do I wish, today, to see all the dynamics of what was happening as clearly as possible? Yes.

            Do I want to extract certain lessons? Yes, for example, IN RETROSPECT, I would not have done the Ottoman Bank attack, because in retrospect, I know that the Europeans will not react adequately, but that Abdul Hamid would certainly expand his atrocities.

            Khor harkankov,

            Berge

          3. Turkey Not Turks II
            There's a difference between Turks and Turkey. In a democratic state one is perhaps allowed to equate them, but not in dictatorship such as Turkey. As well, when you say Turks, it means 100% of the population. In 1915 and now not all Turks agreed/agree with their government policies.

            I am sorry to point out that you're overstating by a country miles the size of the Armenian "revolts" in number and areas covered. The Armenian "revolts" were small, isolated, and desperate acts. They were defensive. As I pointed out in an earlier letter, the Armenian fighters were negligible in number and in weapons. Their guns and bullets were often home-made. They had no training, no infrastructure, no experienced leadership. And yet you believe that this small, ragtag group of people who had their back to the wall were planning to bring down an empire which had a huge and trained army and which had the support of one of the great powers (Germany) of the world.

            I agree with you that the ARF plot to kill the sultan and to take the Ottoman Bank were misguided. Re the latter act, it's incredible that the ARF fighters thought that they were hitting the Ottoman government and were unaware that despite its name, the bank was French-owned. Their taking over the bank didn't help Armenians make friends in France or Britain.

            And why would the ARF attempt to assassinate the sultan help the Young Turks decide Armenians were a serious threat to Turkey? As the people who kicked out Abdul Hamid, the Young Turks would have appreciated the bravery of the Armenians.

            Dear Berge,
            Perhaps we should discontinue the correspondence because we are going round and round without convincing each other. I have said my piece. I'd rather talk about the future.

            Chermoren,
            Hayorti

          4. Au revoir

            Sure. Nice to have met you dear Hay Orti. 
            I engaged in this debate about the past, because I am depressed right now about the future of our nation…  But, we remain hopelessly hopeful!

            Yours,
            Berge

          5. ‘Bye

            Thank you for the exchange, Berge.

            I empathize with your feelings re our current condition. A great deal of our current problems are rooted in our history of the past 600-700 years which has made us insecure, cautious, self-preserving, selfish, and eventually bourgeois at heart.

            I am reminded of the Arab mentality. A great deal of the current Arab problems are rooted in their tribalism: their loyalty is confined to the family/tribe. Nation and state are remote considerations. This, too, limits their thoughts/actions and makes them small, isolated, disunited… and easy to be governed by authoritarian regimes.

  6. Vericide

    As a matter of curiosity, what about the main theme of my essay–a campaign to label Turkey with "vericide"?

    1. Vericide

      Dear Avedis,

      Firstly, I'd like to apologize for drifting the topic away from the main point of your article. 

      The reason you are encountering total silence is not because your idea is not good, but because the audience, is in vegetative state.

      As Hayorti wrote, the diaspora is in full assimilation mode.  The genocidaires brought us all the way to the 100th anniversary, and we achieved very little.  The diaspora struggled, but like any centenarian, no longer can.  Some of our youth are carrying the mantle.  They are true heroes.  I have one in my own home, and I am just amazed that my son seems to want to carry the fight on.

      But here's the main issue.  When we have a failed state governed by a mafia as the best thing we could achieve as a free people no longer under anyone's foot…  then the desperation and depression are such that the assimilation and disappearance of the diaspora will now proceed with a speedier rate, and we'll be done.

      I left my medical and medical education work in Armenia, because I could no longer take the absurdity of fighting uphill battles against those whom I was supposed to be helping.

      I gave myself to politics and tried to do all I could to work with the nascent clean opposition, but unfortunately, the people in Armenia simply would not or could not rise and accept their vote and their futures to be robbed by the ruling clique.  Many seem to prefer to leave rather than fix and build.  We have a dead oppressed people in the homeland and a plain dead diaspora.  We have a non-democratic chair-loving leadership in the diaspora in bed with a non-democratic oligarchy, and there seems not to be a way out of this frozenness.  I wonder what exactly we will do this April 24th.  I guess a cluster of people will still go to Turkish consulates and call them pigs or something.  I feel so sad that my son will go and do these things as I did before him, but with fewer and fewer people who care.

      The only hope for this death trajectory to change is for democracy to enter Armenia, somehow… but that depends on the people in Armenia.  If they have lost the will to be Armenian and build Armenia, then the genocide has succeeded.
       

      1. Vericide

        I am so sad reading Berge's comments. I know the situation in the homeland. I was there in 1994, soon after independence. I could not believe my ears hearing what the homeland folks were saying and I could not believe my eyes seeing what the homeland folks were doing. Then I realized that these folks had been under Soviet Communism for over 70 years where survival was dependent on how well someone could steal or work his his/her way through the system. I suppose it will take another 70 years to detox these folks out of corruption. This is no reason to give up the fight so as to live like decent human beings. The alternative is to revert to the Stone Age or become like the Ottomans of 1915. No matter how long it takes we should continue the struggle. Berge, my friend, look in the eyes of your son and be proud.

        1. My Son’s Eyes

          Sireli Hrair,
          I don't want to stop the struggle. But I don't know what to do! I can send some money to the poor and do some other small things, as we all, including I, do, but that will not change things in a fundamental way. We each have so much to give, each in his area of expertise, but we are blocked by a mastodon of corruption, and enmeshed into that is the entire and non-democratic leadership of the Diaspora from the Church to AGBU to the ARF.  The 100th anniversary of the Genocide is gone. If you notice, no one is talking about Genocide activities this year…

          I refuse to work in medical education and in advancing health care in Armenia because I have taken an oath to first do no harm. As soon as I get in bed with these people (and I did so for some 20 years), I become an unwitting and accepting part of the corruption machine, and like other Diasporan 'leaders', accumulate medals and prop this destructive process. We need a revolution, and it could be done peacefully. We tried, but the people would not budge. So this frozen state continues. For however many years I have something to give, I am at the ready, if the people decides they WANT an Armenia and CHOOSE an Armenia versus emigration.

          I know the above is a repeat of what I have written before, and I hope my son is not reading Keghart.
           

  7. Turkey’s Vericide

    Vericide is a great word. The problem is how to popularize it. Most English-speaking people haven't heard the word. And when we start to explain that "veri" means truth and "cide" means killing in Latin it would slow the conversation. But we have to try. Thank you, Avedis.

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