23 April 2006

582) Richard Hovannisian Picks a Bone with Armenia

Armenian Intellectuals Protest Repression in Armenia)

Once in a while, Prof. Richard Hovannisian can have what I describe as "honesty attacks." He refreshingly pointed to Armenia's state of affairs in late March 2006 that mirrored pretty much what Samuel Weems had written (using as a basis Hovannisian's own history) in his book, "Armenia — Secrets of a 'Christian' Terrorist State.")

In an article entitled, "Diaspora Scholar Warns Of Armenian ‘Failed State’" (which may be accessed at armenialiberty.org), and written by Ruzanna Stepanian, we are informed the "renowned" Hovannisian "launched ... a scathing attack on the authorities in Yerevan, saying that their failure to hold free elections and respect political freedoms threatens to turn Armenia into a 'failed state'.”

The world had a taste of these lack of freedoms in late 2005, when an Armenian-friendly Turkish student of Kurdish descent based in the United States (Yektan Turkyilmaz) was granted rare access to the Armenian archives. He was arrested for having in his possession over-fifty-year-old books that were unlawful to take out of the country. The pro-Armenian world, including Senator Robert Dole, put heavy pressure on President Kocharian to free the Kurdish Turk. The incident became an embarrassing episode for Armenia, an Asiatic country which is regarded as part of Europe and as a democracy by biased Christian Europe.


Richard Hovannisian was a "prominent defender" of Turkyilmaz, according to Robert Bliwise's "The Strange Case of Yektan Turkyilmaz," Duke Magazine, 91:6, Nov.-Dec. 2005: "On hearing of Turkyilmaz's case, he (Hovannisian) sent messages to the Armenian president and the foreign ministry, flew to Armenia, and met with the lead prosecutor to attest to the character of the young scholar and plead for his speedy release. He says, 'I've met Yektan, and I have a very high opinion of him as an objective scholar, one who tries to understand what occurred in the very controversial and confusing history of modern Turkey, who does not necessarily accept the state's narrative of events and the mythology that has been created in Turkey, and who is willing to challenge it. He is among those who are asking the very fundamental question, If there were two-million Armenians living in Turkey in 1915 and there are none here now, what happened to them? They did not simply get up and walk away. They were eliminated'."

The professor sure can go out of his way for those who affirm his genocide. This episode no doubt added to the reasons why he got sour on Armenia; how could Armenia be dumb enough to persecute someone from Turkey who affirms the Armenians' precious genocide?



Richard Hovannisian, the Stepanian article informs us, "claimed that domestic policies pursued by the administration of President Robert Kocharian have alienated a large part of the country’s population and the influential Armenian community in the United States." In an interview, the professor was quoted as stating: “Watching from the outside, we follow with pain the continuing electoral and other illegalities committed in Armenia... We would have loved to see freedom of speech and thought in Armenia, instead of repression, secret police persecution and lies spread by state media.”


Prof. Hovannisian


Hovannisian even stated the unthinkable, as the article relates, believing "that in some respects Armenia is now an even less democratic state than Turkey, its historical foe regularly castigated by the West for its poor human and civil rights record." (Naturally, the reasons why Turkey being the West's favorite whipping boy have less to do with the Turks' values than the incredible prejudice of the West, stimulated by hateful and influential ethnic groups making sure to keep those fires burning.)

“Sometimes we condemn Turkey and call it a military dictatorship. But the fact is that the press is freer there,” Hovannisian declared, no doubt opening himself up to charges of being an agent of the Turkish government, in some diaspora circles.

Author Stepanian correctly opined that "The remark is extraordinary for a scholar who has spent several decades researching the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and campaigning for its recognition by modern-day Turkey and the international community." Criticism of Armenia is indeed extraordinary; the professor has become, at least for an instant, the equivalent of First Prime Minister Hovhannes Katchaznouni, who had had it with the Dashnak balderdash and experienced what was mostly an "honesty attack" of his own.

We are reminded of Hovannisian's credentials: he "serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations, including the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide and the Washington-based Armenian National Institute. He also became in 1990 the first foreign social scientist to be elected a member of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences." (Half a decade later, Prof. Heath Lowry was fed to the wolves for giving advice to a historically-challenged Turkish ambassador. If that constituted a lack of "Professional Ethics," as Lowry was accused by three "genocide scholars," note how these hypocrites never uttered a peep about Hovannisian's total scholarly alignment with a foreign power. Lowry, of course, had exposed the "renowned" Hovannisian's lack of objectivity in papers as this one, and the reason why he was attacked was to knock him out of the genocide debate. The attack succeeded.)

Raffi Hovannisian, the professor's son, was involved enough with the nation of Armenia to have served as the post-Soviet nation's first foreign minister, and who serves as a thorn to the current Dashnak government. Hovannisian the senior "did not deny that his perception of the Kocharian administration has been significantly affected by its controversial treatment of his equally famous son Raffi." Raffi's party (Zharangutyun, or "Heritage") "was locked out of its Yerevan offices this month in what he considers a retaliation for his harsh attacks on Kocharian voiced late last year."

Raffi's family evidently came under the typical Dashnak smear attack: "In a separate development, Armenian state television accused Raffi Hovannisian’s wife earlier this year of illegally using U.S. government assistance to Armenia to finance opposition rallies in Yerevan. She strongly denied the charges." (What greater poetic justice could there be for those pro-Armenians who faithfully follow Dashnak sleaze tactics to become the victims of the same, by the Dashnaks? One of the greater historic examples was the missionary, James Barton, who was heartbroken to be a target of a Dashnak smear campaign by the nutty Vahan Cardashian.)

Another revealing passage by Richard Hovannisian: "If Raffi Hovannisian had kept silent, acted like a ‘benign’ Diaspora Armenian here and did not attempt to engage in politics, they would have not only kept his office open but also accepted and shown him on their television... I feel sorry for the individuals who are now suppressing him. If they had been in his place, they would not have even thought about moving to Armenia [from the United States in 1990].”

That is powerful. It goes to show how the Diaspora Armenians, who are bound together strictly by their hatred for the Turks, really have no connection to Armenia. It goes to show how hypocritical most of them are. Naturally; what Armenian-American, for example, is going to give up his or her cushy lifestyle in the United States, and move to the hellhole of Armenia? Yet these Armenian-Americans are the first to declare their love for the motherland. (Which has suffered a huge population drain in the last decade or so. Everybody has been leaving at the first opportunity, to nations such as America, Russia, and even — ironically — Turkey.)

It's like the 644,900 Armenians who still resided in what was left of the Ottoman Empire, back in 1921, based on statistics by the Patriarch. Most of them could have moved to their "ancient homeland." But were they crazy to go to, as Hovannisian himself put it in p. 133 of "The Republic of Armenia," "Verily the land of death"? Sympathetic Christian countries opened their doors widely for the "poor martyrs," and most hightailed it to greener pastures, but fast. That explains why there may be around a million Armenians in California today, and around half a million in France... a phenomenal growth rate for an "exterminated" people. (Naturally, Armenian propaganda tells us the Armenians "disappeared" from Turkey, as if they were all murdered. [As you've seen above, Richard Hovannisian is the first to employ this highly deceptive reasoning: "If there were two-million Armenians living in Turkey in 1915 and there are none here now, what happened to them? They did not simply get up and walk away. They were eliminated." Add to this figure of the "eliminated" the hundreds of thousands who had already migrated to regions beyond Ottoman control, for example, 500,000 alone in Transcaucasia, by Hovannisian's own count from "The Republic of Armenia - I," pg.126. By the way, Hovannisian's pre-war population estimate back in 1967 was a more reasonable median of 1.75 million. The more he became a propagandist, the more this number grew skyward.] Now the reader will understand many of these Armenians left by choice; the honest reply to Hovannisian's fake question is that many Armenians who managed to survive those catastrophic years did indeed "get up and walk away". Furthermore, all of them had the chance to return within a specified period, as decreed by treaties such as Gumru and Lausanne.)

(And what better way to substantiate the above than to point to the history of Richard Hovannisian himself. Read how Samuel Weems brilliantly exposed the Armenian professor's cooked "two sets of books," in "An Armenian Professor Proves: NO GENOCIDE". On one hand, Hovannisian hopes the unwary will swallow his implication that two million were "eliminated." On the other hand, Hovannisian's history points to 2,058,000 surviving Armenians with one form of computation, and a whopping 2,349,000 with another.)

The article informs us that the "veteran scholar claimed that his critical views on Armenia’s current leadership are shared by a growing number of Armenian-Americans. 'I personally know dozens of individuals who say that they will not donate money to Armenia anymore because they have lost faith'."

"Leaders of the Armenian communities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world rarely speak out on internal political developments in Armenia and publicly criticize its government’s controversial actions, preferring instead to concentrate on international recognition of the Armenian genocide. Accordingly, problems like government corruption or vote falsifications have rarely been on the agenda of conferences discussing ways of strengthening ties between Armenia and its Diaspora."

Hovannisian stated: "They really avoid publicly criticizing [the Armenian government]... Perhaps that is a consequence of the genocide. We suffered so many losses that we do not want to jeopardize the remaining small territory called Armenia."

No, that is not a consequence of the genocide. Mainly because there was no genocide. How do we know? For one of many reasons, from Richard Hovannisian himself, when he suffered one of his few other "honesty attacks," back in 1982 (the "Congress on the Problems of World Armenians"): "The Armenian problem could not be proved. The genocide is not valid legally and it is exposed to prescription."

What it is a consequence of is plain, sheer dishonesty, in addition to fear that once the slightest hint of criticism is offered, waves of Dashnak-style smear attacks will be sure to follow, as both Ara Sarafian (see "An Armenian Tangles with an Armenian") and Vincent Lima discovered. (After the latter dared to criticize Richard Hovannisian in a small footnote, when Hovannisian cautioned against dialogue with Turks — Lima was uncomfortable with the statement's "racist content" and "lack of self-confidence" — Prof. Levon Marashlian jumped down Lima's throat , nearly accusing Lima outright of being a lackey of the Turkish government.)

Maybe Armenians should take a tip from one of their Turkish pawns, Fatma Muge Gocek, who stated in an article, in paraphrased fashion, "The Turkish Republic should be proud that it has produced a group of scholars who are willing to criticize the state and society with the purpose of making it a better place for all of its citizens." If criticism is what is needed for a democratic and secular nation slanderously described as a "military dictatorship," in order to make that nation more "civilized," then what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

What the diaspora Armenians need to do, as well as the Armenians from Armenia, is to yell, in Katchaznouni's words, "The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnagtzoutiun) has nothing to do any more!" Dashnak domination is exactly what Armenian patriot, Arthur Derounian was afraid of, as he observed how this immoral and malicious organization was set to gain complete control of the Diaspora mindset, back in the mid-to-late 1940s. Naturally, voices of reason stand little chance against those spouting fanaticism and hatred, and Armenians throughout the world became willing slaves of the Dashnaks. (Name one Armenian, other than a handful from Turkey, who publicly declares there was no genocide.) Armenia was not genocide-intensive during the Soviet period, and after gaining independence, its first leader Ter-Petrossian, tried to steer clear of the destructive power of the Dashnaks. But he stood no chance, once the diaspora extremists (ironically, like Hovannisian's son) began pushing the slimy Dashnak methods upon the newly freed nation. Today, the Dashnaks are firmly in power.

The Dashnaks will never rid themselves of their terroristic origins, and their evil "the end justifies the means" way of operating. As the Armenians' poster girl, Fatma Gocek stated in a 2005 interview with Aris Babikian (also entitled), "It would certainly be wiser for the Turkish government to come to terms with its history," the Armenian people have to display the maturity to get off their "phony exclusive victimhood" track, and come to terms with their own history; including all the double-crossing, greed, corruption and especially the various systematic extermination campaigns conducted by excessively criminal forefathers... against Azeris in 1918-1921, and against Ottomans while in possession of Anatolian lands, 1915-1920. That would not only be the fastest track against "not becom[ing] a failed state," as Hovannisian warns, but also in beginning to champion the concept of humanity and love for all.



Exiled Armenian Intellectuals Protest Repression in Armenia


ADDENDUM, 4-07



The signatories are intellectuals who have been subject to political persecution in post-Soviet Armenia. Herewith we’d like to deliver our message to the communities of Armenia and Diaspora, national institutions, cultural organizations, parties and state bodies, human rights organizations, writers’ unions around the world, as well as the democratic nations which have diplomatic relations with the Republic of Armenia:

1) Armenia is one of those post-Soviet republics where tyranny keeps hardening since the collapse of USSR and tends to transform into dictatorship. The organized persecution of intellectuals who dare expose and criticize the ruling junta’s criminal offence, large-scale theft of the national wealth intensifies day after day.

2) The persecution is instructed by the self-declared ruling clan in active cooperation with various state and non-state institutes, specifically National Security bodies, RA Police, Yerevan’s municipality, RA Prosecutor’s Office, Justice Ministry, etc.

3) The signatories have personally suffered from humiliating oppressions from the mentioned bodies. In Armenia, the persecution and oppression are expressed in various forms, such as: a. Confiscation of property and financial means; b. Expulsion from Armenia and organized impediment of any attempt to return; c. Interference with the activities of publishing houses and book stores to hamper the distribution and reading of our books in Armenia; d. Persecuting and terrorizing people who deal with the publication, distribution or promotion of our books: unlicensed intrusion into apartments, unsanctioned search of property resulting in stealth of important computer-stored information, confiscation of unpublished books and personal documents, filing false lawsuits, introducing false witnesses and terrorizing real ones, as well as their relatives, wiretapping, imprisonment or death threats, demand of huge bribes, ordering arrests, attempts to murder the authors by bribing or provoking their friends.

4) We are concerned by the attitude of the political organizations towards those who practice free speech and generate new ideas in the Armenian reality. We are upset by the consistent propaganda intended to demoralize the writers who expose the truth. We address all party leaders and members to give an adequate assessment of this kind of measures, to stop being the henchmen for the junta’s policy of silencing or subduing the Diaspora.

5) Over the past few years the Armenian mass media has been actively covering issues related to writers or other public figures who speak against existing taboos in foreign countries, especially Turkey. Unfortunately, with negligent but respectful exceptions, the intellectuals who try to overcome taboos in the Armenian reality are neglected altogether. We believe that the guarantee of free speech is of utmost importance for the national security of Armenia and Armenians. Therefore, those countries or parties that ignore it do not function for the benefit of the nation.

6) This is a time period when the corner stones of the motherland are laid for future generations, and the activities that such an irresponsible and immoral regime and the supporting organizations are unfolding against the actual benefits of the nation may lead to irreversible negative consequences. Realizing the paramount importance and urgency of building the motherland and preserving the achieved independence today, we address:
a) The Armenians all over the world to attend to the protection of free speech in the Republic of Armenia, as well as the Diaspora.
b) All the political organizations to reconsider their policy towards the junta tyrannizing Armenia, stop being their vassals abroad and disorienting other countries and the Armenians of Diaspora, stow the constant bawdry and defamation of writers in mass media, encourage the cultural organizations to study and publicize the works of writers who open new perspectives.
c) Culturally-oriented unions to apply depoliticized, nonpartisan and unbiased approach to Armenian literature, to pay due attention to writers and artists who are abreast with the times and, why not, to raise the public’s awareness of their message.
d) The Writers’ Union of Armenia and international organizations to take firm steps to guarantee the security of exiled
e) International organizations to take corresponding steps to eliminate any obvious or hidden obstacles hampering writers’ rights including freedom of speech, to facilitate and secure the return of the exiled intellectuals to their motherland.
f) Intellectuals who have suffered from intolerance and persecution under despotic regimes to join our forces and struggle for the right to free speech around the world.
g) Freethinking Turkish writers to unite in the fight for the abolition of taboos both in Turkey and Armenia with the purpose of establishing real democracy and ensuring writers’ free speech and security.
h) Governmental and non-governmental organizations of the EU, USA, France, Sweden and other democracies. Abusing the diplomatic and economic ties with these democratic countries, the incumbent junta endeavors to gain political capital to ensure continuity of its power. Any assistance to such antidemocratic and criminal group of people is against the national interests of the democratic countries. Any external force that indirectly supports the establishment and preservation of the illegal leadership infuriates the Armenian people. We bid your sympathy with the prevailing attitudes towards the abolition of the junta and coup d’état in the Republic of Armenia.
i) The national security bodies of democratic countries to persecute and expose the agents and accomplices of the criminal leadership who threaten the right of these countries’ citizens to freedom of speech.

Union of exiled Armenian writers and scholars:

Vahe Avetian (Sweden), author of “Independence Army”, “EstablishMENT”, “Svartskalle”, “From here and there”, “Blatte”, “Baghdasar, Loki, Nils, Shvejk”.

Armen Melikian (U.S.A.), author of “The Deeds of the dogs or The Road to Kusastan”

Alexander Varpetian (France), ethnologist, president of Essence Temple of National Wisdom, author of “Genesis”, “Essence” and dozens of other books.

***

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