04 May 2008
Apr 24, 2008
Arek Toros Torosian, Pennsylvania, USA
A lot of you may be wondering why I would do such a thing. Depending on your heritage, you might interpret this as a patriot turned traitor to join the enemy or a nationalist who learned where his loyalty should really belong. The truth of the matter is that it is neither. . . I am still willing to acknowledge that I am Armenian and I still believe the Genocide happened. I have not turned into a denier of this tragedy, let alone an accomplice to Turkish nationalism. I still firmly believe that it should be acknowledged by everyone, including Turkey and the United States of America. But what I will stand for is having the Armenian Genocide recognized for the wrong reasons.
The problem with the Armenians is that they got their methods all wrong. They are basically breaking a lot of sweat in the wrong direction. The Armenians pump themselves with a lot of nationalism as if it were steroids and believe they are a force intimidating enough that will coerce the Turkish and American governments into seeing the history in Armenia’s favor. The Armenians preserve a culture that is reduced to nothing more than a bastardized version of Christianity and dances that consist of either organized stomping or flapping around like headless chickens. I fail to see how showing off this sort of stupidity will compel the US and Turkey into acknowledging the Genocide. Do the Armenians honestly think being so open about this sort of culture will convince others into believing Turkey should give its lands back to Armenia and give them large sums of money? If this is a joke, I am not laughing. And to top it off, ranting, raving, sign-waving, and screaming obviously does not work either.
What Armenians never realized is that the greatest threat actually lies from within. They focus too much on blaming everything that is around them, like the Turks for the Genocide, the communism for screwing up Armenia, or how decadent is the American lifestyle. By investing so much attention into trying to put others to shame while clouding their minds with nationalism, Armenians have forgotten they were living in glass houses as they were throwing stones. Their government is a complete mess and has declared a state of emergency. Any ethnocentric Armenian will tell you their so-called Motherland is Heaven on Earth, but from what I have seen, it is Borat’s Kazakhstan over there. As for the Armenians living abroad, they cram their nationalist beliefs into our throats. Like trained circus monkeys doing cheap tricks for a bag of peanuts, the lives of young Armenians are reduced to what makes their superiors happy. These activities are just the same non-sense over and over again: Reciting poems, performing plays, singing songs, and dancing dances. Armenians are forced to practice them until they have them memorized, only to have the confidence to perform on the big day in front of an audience of worthless people who pay to see their children properly submitting to the despots they sympathize with and blindly follow.
The way I see it, the elders are the real threat to the Armenians. As a result of being a part of the failures Armenia has experienced, they fled their enemies only to take out their frustrations on their children, only for them to pass down the same filth to the next generation. What is it they are forced to pass down? All they do is smile, laugh, sing, and dance like a bunch of idiots. These are the customs that supposedly make the “True Armenian”. They talk about how their people struggled for freedom and here they are predetermining how their children must live their lives and expect them to the same to their children. It is these same people who create these dehumanizing, nationalist institutions, only to turn more Armenians into “True, Good Armenians”, thus creating more loud and obnoxious Armenians who smile, laugh, sing, and dance like idiots, who in turn create even more loud and obnoxious Armenians who smile, laugh, sing, and dance like idiots. And when they are not smiling, laughing, singing, and dancing like a bunch of loud and obnoxious idiots, they go to church, where it is much quieter in comparison, devoting about half the day to a long and boring sermon. Armenians take too much pride on being the first Christian nation and using that piece of history as an excuse as of why Armenians must defend their culture. The way I remember it, the Armenian culture, up until Christendom, was a combination of Mesopotamian, Persian, Greek, Roman, as well as their own, cultures into one beautiful culture. Once they converted, everything was destroyed. This event brought Armenia into the dark and the Armenians have some nerve calling their patron saint responsible for this, Saint Gregory, “The Illuminator”. It was the Armenians who were responsible for inflicting the very first devastating attack on the culture, hence why to this day it has become so lifeless. But the Armenians do not want to tell you this, for fear of doing their patron saint a dishonor, thus disowning a historical event that never really did them any good, except maybe bragging rights. Is this the glory I am supposed to celebrate? Is this the culture I am supposed to defend? Is this the freedom we have been fighting for? Disgraceful!
Armenians need to be aware of all this and take it all into deeper consideration before they start bashing the Turks again. It is no mystery to me that the Turkish government lies to its people. Turkey’s economy is in a rut, unemployment is high, and their labor force is so far to date the eighth lowest in the world, with Armenia at seventh. Turks have tried to look away from the harsh reality, first through nationalism and then through religion, often through pseudo-history or corrupting scriptures, which is even expected to be observed by their law. Armenians can easily ridicule and condemn them for this, but they have only been repeating their mistakes, both in Armenia and abroad. I can safely say the Armenians and the Turks have become equally soulless.
Suppose the Armenians do get the Genocide acknowledged at the pace they are currently at? Do they consider what the consequences might be? After it is acknowledged, do they still plan on harassing Turks, despite the formal apology? Are the Turks still going to be put to shame or dragged to observe the commemorative ceremonies? Are we also going to demand that we get royal treatment, just because of a history of persecution and rub it into the face of anyone who disagrees with us. Tensions between the Middle East and the Western World, as well as Islam and Christianity, have never been so heated. Armenians demand they get their lands back, as well as retributions, only so they can put it all to waste. I know this for sure by observing what they have done and currently doing with the land they already have. Not to mention, according to Islam, all people are originally Muslim by birth and is the one true religion. One of the lands Armenia wants also includes Ararat, where Noah’s arc supposedly landed on. A religious landmark will appear to be taken by a people who abide by a “corrupted” scripture. With Turkey more Islamic, I can let you draw your own conclusions as of what the reaction of the entire Muslim world would be if these undisciplined Armenians reoccupied Muslim territory. The last thing we need are more enemies and we need to bear in mind we are on good terms with a lot of these Middle Eastern countries. What can also compromise the relations is if the Religious Right in America pledge their support. It will provide an opportunity for more Islamophobia. Using the Massacres and the Genocide done by Muslim Turks against Christian Armenians will serve as excellent anti-Muslim propaganda. I worry about their influence complicating just about anything within the equation that is difficult enough to solve already. The last thing we need is an Armenian Pat Robertson or Al Sharpton.
I am sure the Turkish government does know the Genocide happened. Regardless of how much the Armenians debate with them or how concrete the evidence is, they will still deny it. What the Turkish government fears most is what price they will have to pay if the event goes into their history books. I am sure it would pain them to see all those retributions go down in vain, as it goes into the hands of people who probably have no idea what to do with them, which I think is definitely the case. The government also rewrites the history, for fear of Turks not growing up to become “Good Turks”, just like how nationalist, religious fanatics in the US rewrite the events of the Salem Witch Trials and the Mexican War: Fear of Americans not growing up to become “Good Christian Americans”. But what happens in the long run? Angry Liberals will rise up, enraged at their own government for lying to its people, refusing to be a victim of the conformity enforced by the far-right Conservatives. It happened in the US and it will happen in Turkey. This can be a good thing. One of the issues that got the Liberals angry was the issue of racism: The fact that Caucasian males were dominating the entire curriculum. Today, despite the bitter brushes in the past, people of all skin colors are able to peacefully coexist in the US. This goes to show peace among different nationalities in Turkey can also be possible. What we have here are weaknesses we can exploit.
A surefire way we can get the Genocide acknowledged is not through nationalism, but through love. I say, let us help needy Turks. It is easy for Armenians to reach out to poor Armenians, but what about to poor Turks? Armenians seem to be very open about their stance on being part of the first Christian nation, thus how they confront a helpless Turk might be a good opportunity to test the integrity of their faith. This can stand out as proof that despite how heinous the events of the Genocide were, the Armenians are still willing to offer their forgiveness. They should ask for no retributions. Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide should be the only sign of good fate they need that the two peoples can indeed peacefully coexist. Once Turkey does so, for the sake of maintaining unity, we must pretend as if the whole thing never happened. The fact we are able to make new friends descending from old enemies is an accomplishment far more glorious than smiling, laughing, singing, and dancing like a bunch of loud and obnoxious idiots, and then going to church every Sunday for a meaningless ritual that take forever to finish; All that mush only to benefit those responsible for holding us back.
So long as Armenians and Turks are guided by nationalist agendas and faulty religious beliefs, they are both blind people being led by the blind, doing the biddings for their one-eyed kings; A contest to see who can be a bigger nationalist scoundrel. Pretty soon, they will both collapse under the weight they try to hold. They invest more efforts on the surface rather than the substance, thus no spine to help stand up straight. The wretched cowards who do this have some nerve labeling others as failures, almost as if the system was designed to make them look superior. The time has come to break free from the extremists who try to control us.
It is indeed for me a bold move to make this sort of a statement on the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. I can assure you, my intentions were completely innocent. I will not participate in having the Genocide recognized, unless I know for certain there is also a plan in which Armenians can maintain peaceful relations with the Turks. The ethnic cleansing that happened in World War I was indeed a tragic event that deserves attention, but the current generation of Turks must not be blamed. If the Armenians are refusing to do so, I will have to take it upon myself to achieve this goal. From there, I hope both the Armenians and the Turks will follow my example. I think what I have here might be a good start.
Apr 24, 2008
I am not opposed to your (albeit controversial) views, but your slight against Armenian dance was totally unnecessary. Interestingly, I'm sure Armenian dancing is very similar to Turkish, etc., so you are in fact insulting all groups in question with that inappropriate simile. Have you seen the local Philadelphia Ararat dance group perform even once? I suggest you do before passing such rash judgement.
Also I would suggest not making such comments, which I assure you will show up on Turkish nationalist sites as proof what they say is true, withou basis beyond the last time you had contact with the Armenian community 10 years ago. Being Armenian is not all about ethnocentrism or blind nationalism and just summing up the Armenian existence or typical Armenian in that way as that is total BS. You had a bad experience with some Armenians a long time ago and it's clear you've let that impression fuel your ideas about everything Armenian from then on, despite it having no basis in reality. Sure I find many Armenian frusterating as you do, I am not here to defend each of them, but this kind of stereotyping when you don't know the first thing frankly about the diaspora, its issues, and the average Armenian, results in a totally incorrect perception which you are now trumpeting to the world as fact.
I agree that we can't let issues like the genocide get in the way of our modern development, but also after closely watching this most recently election mess in Armenia I see that the diaspora really doesn't have a place in that fight, or at least what we can do is limited. This change has to come from within and there's not much the diaspora can do about it short of moving there en masse and starting to engineer these changes, which of course is not going to happen. Even then they'd be seen as new-comers who have no business getting involved in the issue unless they take up a hardline position with one of the sides they'd of course be welcomed into that faction.
"Armenians are forced to practice them until they have them memorized, only to have the confidence to perform on the big day in front of an audience of worthless people who pay to see their children properly submitting to the despots they sympathize with and blindly follow."
I find almost comical you placing an aspect of your childhood which in retrospect you have come to despise and not only describing it as something tyrannical but as emblematic of how all Armenians operate. It's these kinds of ideas which Turkish nationalists cling to, such as Armenians are brainwashed from birth, the genocide is nothing more than a fantasy devised by the elder generation which they then imprinted on the minds of the young, etc. which you seem to be validating here and as I said I would not be surprised to find your article on a Turkish blog or newspaper very soon. Of course they don't know that what you say is quite inaccurate, or at least representative of a fringe, of which one can be found in every nationality (though I don't see how such routine elementary school activities such as reciting poems can possibly be as sinister or radical an act as you portray them here).
As I read on you seem to take huge issue with Armenian laughing, smiling, singing, and dancing. All these activities, which after a history of suffering should be a welcome relief (especially since you talk about the genocide obsession, so why are they laughing and smiling at some point?) yet you appear to see even these happy acts performed by Armenians to be idiotic and obnoxious.
I'm getting towards the bottom and find ridiculous your claim that if Armenia (SOMEHOW) managed to occupy Ararat (which could ONLY be done by mutual concession, as Turkey would never be able to lose it to Armenia by force) would cause a riot in the Muslim world against Armenia. Have you forgotten that most Muslims aren't happy with Turkey? Whether from anger at the Turks due to resentment stemming from when Arabs were Ottoman subjects or from the fact that it is a "secular" state, or both, the average member of the wider Muslim world doesn't exactly care whose country Noah's mountain is in. Such an idea need not even be elaborated upon though because as I said Armenia is totally incapable of occupying any of Turkey's land without it allowing it so this will never happen. Even the most Islamic countries out there like Iran, while theocratic in nature and rhetoric, are pragmatic when it comes to matters such as foreign affairs. Why do you think Iran supports Christian Armenia over Muslim Azerbaijan? The most Islamic theocracy in the world sure doesn't seem to care a Christian nation occupies Muslim lands there, so are you really suggested if Armenia somehow got Ararat it would start a war supporting Turkey of Muslim states vs. Armenia, a place they could care less about to defend a country they don't particularly like?
"The last thing we need is an Armenian Pat Robertson or Al Sharpton."
Where are you getting this stuff from?
"Armenians seem to be very open about their stance on being part of the first Christian nation, thus how they confront a helpless Turk might be a good opportunity to test the integrity of their faith. This can stand out as proof that despite how heinous the events of the Genocide were, the Armenians are still willing to offer their forgiveness."
Sorry not buying this one. How can you accept the apology of a country which never offered it and in fact behaves in the diametrically opposite way? You are advocating forgive and forget to a country who would be more than happy to have us do so, while they continue to churn out their own revised history and export it to the world.
"They should ask for no retributions. Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide should be the only sign of good fate they need that the two peoples can indeed peacefully coexist. Once Turkey does so, for the sake of maintaining unity, we must pretend as if the whole thing never happened."
What the hell are you saying here??? While I don't know exactly where I come down on the whole reparations issue because it is so complicated, NO ONE can deny numerous injustices were done to the Armenians. Not just in 1915 but for decades after, churches, camps, property, homes have all been confiscated. Many Armenians villages have been destroyed, 9/10s of the Armenians churches of Anatolia or some such figure have been purposely dynamited by Turkey through the decades. In fact the grand Akhtamar church, which Turkey "refurbished" as a sign of goodwill, was only saved at the last minute from the wrecking ball back in the 50s as well. There has been a wholesale genocide of Armenian life, accomplishments, culture, and history from these historic lands. To just forgive and even worse "ACT LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED" just horrific ignorance. So should we allow separate laws to govern Armenian property in Istanbul where some still live and allow them to continue to have these properties taken away little by little? Not even talking about genocide era stuff here but places in the past few decades! Hrant Dink's own camp had been shut down by the government in such a fashion and given to Turks. In the face of this dark history of Armenians in Turkey in the 20th century can you put the task to Armenians to "forgive and forget" and just act like nothing happened?!
"Turkey’s acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide should be the only sign of good fate they need that the two peoples can indeed peacefully coexist."
But not, say, ending the blockade? Repealing Article 301? Properly fixing the foundations law so that Armenians are no longer second-class citizens? Allowing the Armenian patriarchate to operate freely and stop using the office as a governmental puppet essentially hostage to the government's will just so his community can survive? The Armenian-Turkish issue goes FAR beyond the "it was/wasn't a genocide" question but since that's all you know about you just boiled the issue down to Armenians pretending like it never happened so Turks can say sorry, since after all when the Armenians pretend it didn't happen that makes sorry much easier to say as nobody remembers what they are even apologizing for.
I have nothing more to say to that ridiculous tirade, which certainly gave me more than a little fodder to comment on. All I can say is for Armenians' sake this crap doesn't hit the more radical Turkish sites like Tallarmeniantale.com because they will EAT this up. An Armenian (despite the fact he hasn't been with an Armenian in a decade or with any credentials what-so-ever) saying Armenians should just FORGET IT EVER HAPPENED?! Why this is too perfect!!!!!!! I can assure you there will be a line of Turks trying to get you to speak at their events and spread the gospel of "forget it even happened". Sure you mention that once this is accomplished TUrkey should recognize the genocide, but they won't care about that little detail because other than that you say absolutely everything they want to hear! The most ironic part is while you don't harp on this like you harp on Armenians, you allude the Turks are just as bad as the Armenians, whom you portray as truly bad- yet Turks seem to come out like a rose on this one while Armenians sound like a bunch of neanderthals who jump around like apes as you describe it flinging mud at each other. This was a sick tirade which I think crossed the line of racism on numerous occassions. Have fun as the new radical Turk's favorite spokesman. I hear the position pays quite well.
Arek Toros Torosian, Pennsylvania, USA
Apr 24, 2008
When it comes to radicals, Turkish or Armenian, Muslim or Christian, they will look for any excuse to bash the other side. The truth of the matter is that if they cannot find something, they will make something up. As for the discriminatory policies Turks have against the ethnic minorities, by acknowledging the Genocide, they would have to repeal 301 as well. That is why I suggest spreading love to the Turks. The best way to start is by reaching the Turks closest to you. A little interaction just might trigger a chain reaction. What needs to be done is closer relations between Turks and Armenians on a more global scale and then display it to Turkey and Armenia. Let the nations know that the people who descend from their countries disapprove of them, both from within and what they are doing to each other. What would be a great improvement is if Armenians took the time to help needy Turks and Turks took the time to help needy Armenians. If the people end up being harassed while residing in the opposite country, this will indeed exploit the evils of each nation and compell other people of other nations to object. The very first step to achieving all this is by disposing the nationalism that tries to consume us all.
Both the Armenian and Turkish governments are screwing up big time in terms of becoming a modern nation. When the Ottoman empire was deteriorating and defeated in WWI, their will was obviously broken. To fulfill that emptiness, they tried to resort to nationalism. They tried very hard to embrace so many Western concepts and blend it with Turkish nationalism. What has developed was a self-contradicting set of laws that will severly persecute or punish anyone over a disagreement or misunderstanding with their culture. In the long run, what happened? Turks wanted to be more Islamic, thus continuing the same discriminatory policies, only more Muslim themed than Turkish. As for Armenia, the situation is almost the same. After become independent, Armenia has been in a mess. Just like the Turkish government, no respect for human rights or basic liberties. Corrupt politicians with ties to organized criminals seem to be in control of everything. To avoid looking at the harsh reality, just like Turks, Armenians resorted to nationalism and religion. The Armenians and the Turks have become equally soulless.
I believe observing the ancient ways can serioulsy revitalize the spirit. Look at the Germans and the Japanese. Look at the Deities they worshipped and the warriors they venerated. The stories they have to tell, be it the myths, the legends, the sagas, or the gaidens, are full of life. It was these tales and exploits that their ancestors have observed and their descendants preserved. What has been passed down into the blood of future generations were a boldened character guided by a lively spirit. Although their hardwork ethic may have misled them, especially in WWII, but even after their devestating defeat, which nearly destroyed them completely, it was these ancient ways that gave them the soul they needed to fuel their will to rebuild. After a little more than a decade, it was as if the events of the war never happened. The same can be said about Koreans. Just like how the Samurai was the national warrior of Japan, for Korea, it was the HwaRang. The HwaRang developed in a small kingdom constantly being harassed by everyone. It was these noble warriors that helped the kingdom rise to its feet, conquer, then unify the other kingdoms and create Korea. It was these warrios that gave the Koreans their spirit. When the Korean War ended, South Korea was obviously devestated. It was through observing the way of the HwaRang that they regained their confidence and rebuild their nation. After about a decade, just like Germany and Japan, it was as if the whole thing never happened. Because of North Korea's oppressive regime, there is an obvious reason why they have yet to get back on its feet. As for China, I firmly believe the only way this sleeping giant can wake up is if it embraces democracy, thus welcoming new ideas and innovations that will allow the nation to out-do America. Just like the other nations I have mentioned, they have a heritage that gives them great potential, but it is being suppressed as a result of the regime they live in.
I then compare these to Armenia and Turkey and what do I see: They have experienced devestation and they have yet to rebuild. The have resorted to pseudo-history and corrupted scripture to drug their minds, but it has done nothing for them. There is no opportunity for them to progress and their governments desperatley try hard to sugarcoat the facts. Turks and Armenians abroad brag about how glorious their countries are, based on these lies, but they are fooling themselves and doing their Motherlands a disservice. Because they disposed of and continue to put aside a heritage that could have given them life, they will remain a superficial people.
Take a look at Italy. This is where the Roman Empire had its glory. However, no one really observed Roman virtue, as exemplified by Romules, Cincinnatus, Augustus, or other great figures. All the Romans ever did was engage in their orgies, as a result of most Caesars setting poor examples. Despite their contributions during antiquity, despite being the first people to experience the Renaissance, Italians have inherited a soulless nature. Take a look at WWII. They switched sides halfway through the war, thus the devestation could not compare to the Germans or the Japanese. Because they did not have a heritage to give them a genuine backbone, the nation to this day is still in a rut, placing more faith in idiots like Silvio Berlosconi or the mafia. Serious politicians like Romano Prodi get butted out. As for Berlosconi, it is as if George W. Bush and Rupert Murdoch had a child together in Italy. The same soullessness can also apply to the Slavs. When I look at Slavic mythology, I notice that so little is known. That is because most of it has been destroyed, hence why to this day Eastern Europe appears so lifeless. It is this sort of lifelessness and soullessness the Turks and Armenians are experiencing.
Both Turks and Armenians need to realize their greatest threats lie from within. The only way to get rid of those demons that hold them back is through soul-searching. I am not a religious person, just so you know, but I do know spiritualism has its merit. For me, martial arts is what gave me my spirit. I learned so much just from attending TaeKwonDo classes within a matter of four years than I ever did half my life at that wretched Armenian school. Martial arts has given me the genuine sense of confidence I needed for my everyday life. I urge both Turks and Armenians to abondon their nationalist beliefs and turn elsewhere for inspiration. Whatever it is we are currently resorting to, whether it is Turkish or Armenian, it is obviously doing us no good. Take the time to adapt to other cultures and use them to revitalize your own. See what gives them the will to live and progress. But I prefer Turks and Armenians do this together.
We are both a people who are currently struggling to make ends meet. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and realize the pace we are at is not helping. Our cultures have been robbed of its soul, thus dehumanizing us. The conflict between us two is rooted upon what happened during WWI. The truth is that the Genocide is real, but I made my case clear: I will not show any support to having it acknowledged, unless I know for certain there is also a plan that can ensure the harmony between Turks and Armenians. I do not want to see any grudges even after it is acknowledged. But before we can even do any of this, we both need to make an effort to exorcise the nationalist evil out of ourselves so as to make room for a soul that can spiritually guide us in the right direction together. And from there, overpower the institutions that try to control us and never allowing us to dictate our lives ever again. Whipping our governments into shape is still a long shot and we still cannot change other people. Yet if you are willing to change yourselves, I think we would be off to a good start.