2669) Average Armenian Probably Has More Friends Among Turks Than Among Armenians, . .


For every proud Armenian there are probably ten, perhaps even twenty proud Turks. So that if we adopt pride as a weapon, we lose once more.

Instead of saying “I am a proud Armenian,” let us learn and teach others to say : “I am a humble human being and all men are my brothers.” . .

For everyone who says I am a proud Armenian, there are probably as many not so proud Armenians who cannot speak Armenian, bear foreign names, are married to odars, and stay away from Armenian community centers, schools, and churches.
The average Armenian (assuming such a creature exists) probably has more friends among Turks than among Armenians, if only because half of Turks are probably half-Armenian.
I have never heard an Armenian say “I am a proud half-Armenian,” even if most Armenians are exactly that. I have said this before and it bears repeating: on a good day I can trace my roots all the way back to my father.
The so-called loud-mouth proud Armenian who proclaims his patriotism anonymously from the gutter and by means of insults and profanities against anyone who dares to disagree with his infallible views (which on closer inspection turn out to be misconceptions, fallacies, and prejudices) is the very best argument against himself.
To say “I am a proud Armenian” amounts to rattling one's chains of subservience and degradation.

My guess is, I would have been a better Christian had I been given the opportunity to choose being one. Likewise, I would have been a better human being, perhaps even a better Armenian, had I not been programmed to identify myself as one.
As a teenager in Italy I would wonder why successful Italian-Americans would choose to share their existence with foreigners when they could afford to live with their brothers and sister in their own lovely homeland. It never occurred to me to think that an Italian, any Italian, would prefer to identify himself as an American.
Brought up in an authoritarian environment, I was brainwashed to value patriotism above freedom.
No one ever proved the existence of Zeus, Venus, or Mars. And yet, Greeks believed in them. Which may suggest that a god doesn't have to exist in order to be worshiped.
Albert Einstein: “I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.” I wonder how many religious propagandists quote this line minus the last word.
I don't think God and Allah are one and the same Being. The same word, maybe. The same Being, no! I think God is God, and Allah only a pretender to the throne. That's how deep childhood indoctrination goes.
If you are disposed to believe in something, you will believe it regardless of the quality of the evidence. The words “I believe” are invariably followed by an assertion based on hearsay.
It is to be noted that in our context, when I speak of freedom, I don't just mean such unheard of and un-Armenian luxuries as free speech, but the freedom to work and provide for one's family.
If you were to ask a faithful card-carrying member of the Party, he will tell you we enjoy free speech and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. One such specimen once said to me: “I contribute articles for our Weekly and so far none of them has been rejected or edited.” And it is this type of fool who asserts Armenians are smart.

When I am told there are divisions even in the best and most progressive nations, all I can say is that they can afford them.
Diasporan Armenians, who have not solved a single minor problem in their own community, think they are fully qualified to solve problems in Armenia on the grounds that the farther away a problem is, the easier it is to solve it.
A nation whose mullahs and priests outnumber its intellectuals is a nation on its way to the devil.
If we have more money we would have fewer problems, or so we like to think. This may explain why there are thousands of crooks on the Internet who are eager to share their wealth with us. Problems attract charlatans the way carrion attracts vultures.
I have readers who review my writings the way pigeons review statues.
What our editors and moderators share in common is fear of free speech, and of all fears, fear of free speech is the most cowardly.
To violate human rights is to support those who plot the destruction of the nation.
When it comes to free speech, our editors and moderators have made even of America another USSR.
Only fascist regimes violate human rights with impunity.
Only fascist regimes commit genocide.
All genocides begin with the violation of the human right of a single individual.

You cannot solve a nation's problems the way you solve mathematical, scientific, medical, or philosophical problems. Power is not open to reason or common sense and decency. Those in power will not give it up without a bloody fight, Hegel says somewhere, and so it is.

A friend of mine, a philosopher, tried to expose the roots of our problems in a philosophical treatise of over 500 pages. Now he is not allowed to enter Armenia. Long before my friend, a Greek philosopher tried to convince Athenian politicians that they cannot discharge their duties as rulers if their ideas are based on false definitions, and we all know what happened to him: he was arrested, tried, found guilty, and condemned to death.

Marx came very close in his efforts to prove with mathematical precision that capitalism is a dead man walking, and yet, it took bloody revolutions everywhere from Russia, China, and Cuba to convince those in power to give it up.
Where there is free speech, you may speak truth to power (whether power will listen remains to be seen). But in an authoritarian or corrupt environment, the only result of speaking truth to power from a safe distance will be making the speaker feel morally or intellectually superior.

Do you want to end prostitution, corruption, incompetence, and violations of human rights in our beloved homeland? Go ahead and write an essay, a letter to the editor, a declaration signed by a hundred or even a thousand names, but don't be disappointed if nothing happens.

At this point you may well ask: “Why do you go on writing then?” My answer is a simple one: habit – and habits, as everyone knows, are easier to keep than to give up. Add to habit the satisfaction of seeing a pompous ass deflated, a charlatan ridiculed, and a liar exposed. Last but not least, I write because irreverence where irreverence is due is a virtue, and I have so few of them that I cling to those I have like a drowning man clings to the wreckage.

Like most people, Armenians are easily satisfied with one side of the story. I once had the following conversation with a Tashnak friend, a woman in her fifties. When after reading an exposé on Tashnak shenanigans I mentioned it to her, she wanted to know where I had read it.
“In one of our weeklies,” I said.
“No, chezok.”
“Its main source is a former high-ranking Tashnak.”
“A turncoat.”
“Don't you want to read it?”
“Why not?”
“A waste of time.”
“What if it's true?”
“I don't think so.”
In politics I am a liberal, but once in a while I enjoy reading conservative pundits because I learn there things that I would never learn in the liberal press.
I am a great admirer of Dostoevsky, Thomas Mann, and Sartre, but I find it stimulating reading critics like Koestler and Nabokov (whom I also admire) willing to speak of the dark side of the moon.
One reason I love rereading Toynbee's RECONSIDERATIONS (volume 12 of his STUDY OF HISTORY) is that in it he quotes all his critics – except Trevor-Roper – and on occasion is willing to plead guilty as charged. And the reason he doesn't quote Trevor-Roper is that Trevor-Roper didn't just disagree with him; he wanted him tarred and feathered on the grounds that he (Toynbee) had strayed from the straight and narrow path of empiricism and pragmatism into the vague and amorphous realm of mysticism by saying the only way to establish permanent peace in the world was by uniting all religions into a single universal religion. Recent events have proved Toynbee more right than wrong, and Trevor-Roper more wrong than right.

Establishing one universal religion may seem Utopian, but it doesn't necessarily follow mankind cannot move in that direction by being less dogmatic and more tolerant. After millennia of conflict and two world wars, who would have thought some day European Union would become a reality in our own time?
At the center of all our problems stands a Trevor-Roper who would like to see anyone who doesn't agree with him tarred and feathered or branded as a liar and an enemy.

If you want to understand the soul of a nation, read its writers.
If you want to know the way people deceive themselves, read a collection of political speeches.
You may ignore writers, but you cannot ignore the voice of your conscience. That is why the first thing tyrants do is silence writers.
Everything I have been saying could be reduced to a single sentence: “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.”
I repeat myself only to the same degree that our sermonizers paraphrase the Scriptures.
I remember once when I said as much, the secretary of a bishop wrote an angry letter to the editor saying in effect, how dare I compare myself to the prophets of the Bible?
If our sermonizers paraphrase prophets, I paraphrase Plato; and as far as I know, no one in his right mind has ever dared to suggest that Jewish prophets are greater thinkers than Greek philosophers.
Deception and self-deception are favorite themes of the Scriptures.
Adam and Eve allowing themselves to be taken in by the Serpent who, according to my anti-American friends from the Middle East, was an agent of the CIA in disguise.

Moses thinking he can take a short leave of absence without losing his grip on the people.
Consider the case of the muscle man/ judge Samson and his nemesis/barber Delilah. And Goliath laughing at his puny but technologically more advance challenger armed with a stick.

God Himself fooling poor old man Abraham into thinking that He wants him to butcher his own son Isaac.
Last but not least, consider the present economic crisis hatched by the very same financial and political leaders whose responsibility it is to protect the interests of the people, and afterwards making demands on taxpayers' money for a bailout, thus trying to defraud the people for the second time.

Now then, go ahead and try to convince me that our own bloodsuckers are morally superior to their counterparts in the West.

History is not a science or a belief system, but an art. Instead of saying, I believe this is what happened, we should say, according to some historians or eyewitness accounts, or official documents, etc.

Trial lawyers will tell you eyewitness accounts are not always reliable; official documents can be doctored, edited, selected, destroyed, and even forged; and for every historian who says one thing there will be another who says something else and sometimes even the exact opposite. This is especially true of nationalist historians who are ideologically or politically compromised. In the eyes of metahistorians (philosophers of history like Spengler and Toynbee) nationalist historians are no better than propagandists.

Speaking of Toynbee: it is widely known that he at no time denied the reality of the Armenian genocide, and this even after he acquired Turkish friends, heard their side of the story, became a Turcophile, and learned the Turkish language. The difference between Toynbee and our nationalist historians is that Toynbee exposed not only the criminal conduct of the Turks but also the blunders of our own leadership, something our historians have at no time dared to do; which may suggest they have not dared to say everything that needed to be said; in other words, their version of the past is only partly true (which is also how propaganda is defined). I feel therefore justified in suggesting that under the guise of supporting our cause, our nationalist historians and Turcocentric ghazetajis have succeeded only in damaging our credibility in the eyes of the world and thus reducing the issue to the status of political football.

In his superbly illustrated coffee-table book, NEW EUROPE, Michael Palin has a section on Armenians in Istanbul, where he discusses the assassination of Hrant Dink, the photographer Ara Guler (“a Jew and also an Armenian”), and “a debonair art dealer” by the name of Raffi Portakal.
No need to read any further: I may be repeating myself. But then, what choice do I have? Suppose you have a suicidal friend: what choice do you have but to keep telling him life is better than death, until he realizes he has been on the wrong path and chooses to embrace life with all its failures, miseries, and troubles, like the rest of mankind.
If our perception of reality has been shaped by our educational system, in what way are we different from the average Turk? Next question: To what extent our leadership uses Turkish criminal conduct to cover up its own blunders and incompetence? For more on the moral and intellectual degeneration of our turn-of-the-century leadership in the Ottoman Empire, read Baronian and Odian, most of whose works, for obvious reasons, are not available in English.
A gentleman never insults another anonymously. I dare anyone to enter an Armenian discussion forum where anonymity is the rule and find there a single gentleman, or for that matter, lady.
And speaking of anonymous Armenians: you may notice that the more patriotic they are, the lower they sink.

In the opinion page of our paper I read this morning that Nelson Mandela's struggle against apartheid was one reason why Obama decided to enter politics. I suspect several other names had something to do with that decision, among them Martin Luther King, whose role model was Gandhi, who in his turn was greatly influenced by Tolstoy's doctrine of non-violence and Thoreau's ideas on civil disobedience. Mandela reminds me of a reader who once sent me a venomous e-mail in which the kindest thing he said was that I was a total failure, I would never amount to anything because I did not qualify as Armenia's Nelson Mandela. All I can say in my defense is that I have been and continue to be a great admirer of Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Gandhi.
Internecine conflict is the opium of the Armenians, oneupmanship their favorite pursuit, and the blame-game their favorite sport.
If all anti-Semites are as dumb as Armenian anti-Semites, the Jews are justified in clinging to the absurd notion that they are the Chosen.
When liars speak of freedom, they mean the freedom to brainwash and deceive.
Every superficial explanation echoes a propaganda line and appears to make perfect sense to those who think they are thinking. That is why the world is in the kind of mess it is in.
The problem: we are what we have become because we are not open to explanations. The solution: tabula rasa or the assumption that we know nothing or everything we know is without foundation in reality. Not an easy position to assume for an Armenian who has been brainwashed to believe he is smart, he knows all he needs to know, he knows better, and if explanations are needed, they will flow from him, never from the opposite direction.
I don't write for readers who know better but for readers who are as confused as I am, readers who have more questions than answers, more doubts than certainties, more ignorance than knowledge, readers who are more foolish than wise. If I were half as wise as most of my readers, I would say, if hell is your destination, who am I to obstruct your path?

We may call it Mumbai, but i am told Indians themselves prefer to call it Bombay.
“Hindus and Muslims must work together to overcome rising level of terrorism in India,” reads a headline of a commentary by a pundit. What this pundit doesn't tell us is that Muslim resentment against Hindus in India runs as deep as Armenian resentment against Turks, Black resentment against Whites, and Jewish resentment against anti-Semites (who now prefer to identify themselves as anti-Zionists). Hinduism is said to be one of the most tolerant religions. Not so from the perspective of the Untouchables who, following the Muslim conquests in India, converted to Islam because they were told in the eyes of Allah all men are equal. In the eyes of Allah, maybe; but in the eyes of their fellow Hindus they continued to be treated as subhuman Untouchables. Which meant they had to put up with a lot of Hindu crap (literally). I am not justifying terrorism, only providing the context.
In Armenia we have a regime. In the Diaspora we have a dysfunctional collection of communities with tribal loyalties. In that sense, the Homeland is ahead of us. Some day there may be progress there. I am less optimistic about the Diaspora.
They are as old as mankind. So are their solutions. When someone says “we need solutions,” he speaks two lies: (one) mankind has at no time experienced what we are experiencing today; and (two) all of human thought moves in a dimension that is outside our orbit.


Patriotism has several meanings, including some
that are downright unpatriotic. Patriotism is unpatriotic when it consists in supporting and defending a corrupt or incompetent leadership whose ultimate if unstated aim is the destruction of the homeland. Cases in point: Italian and German patriotism under Mussolini and Hitler, or, for that matter, under any form of power structure that views dissent (or free speech) as treason.
Like patriotism, free speech too has more than one definition, and under all authoritarian regimes it means only one kind of speech and one kind of ideas, any other kind being a manifestation of hostility that should be suppressed.
I remember to have read only one editorial in defense of free speech in our partisan papers --that's when Levon Der Bedrossian banned the ARF press in Armenia.
No doubt some of my readers will think I am expressing these views because I have been silenced by our press. "What if you have been silenced because you are wrong?" they may even demand to know. Free speech and the possibility of being wrong are not mutually exclusive and might as well be synonymous. If we say free speech is a privilege accorded only to the wise and the infallible, who among us would qualify? Or who among us would admit to being unwise and foolish?
Have I said all this before? Probably. Do I bore you with my obsession with a limited number of ideas? If yes, do yourself a favor and stop reading me. No doubt you will find more variety and entertainment in the kind of talk that says we were the first nation to convert to Christianity and the first nation to suffer a genocide in the 20th century, the implication being, we owe our Christianity to our enlightened, progressive and far-sighted kings and our massacres to the barbarism of the Turks and the hypocrisy of the West; which also means that our leaders (unlike all other leaders) can do no wrong and anyone who says otherwise is an enemy.

In the republic of charlatans, honest men are outlaws.
It is not at all unusual for a man to believe in his own lies. That's the only way to explain why some smart people make dumb assertions. To lie is not only cowardly but also a direct assault on our intelligence.
We are a very young democracy, I am informed once in a while. We shouldn't be too critical of the regime. I am also told we are “the cradle of civilization.” I feel therefore justified in asking what is so civilized about greed, corruption, incompetence, and abuse of power? Unless of course we are willing to concede that after living under barbarians for many centuries, we have adopted their ways and it may take many more centuries for us to recover our status as civilized human beings.
Being critical of Armenians in open forums may reflect badly on us, I am also told. But this amounts to saying we can't afford being honest in public – and that to me is the greatest insult that can be leveled against the nation.
Wellington's dictum on British soldiers: “the scum of the earth enlisted for drink.”
Think of an Armenian friend as a potential enemy and he will not disappoint you.
Perhaps what I am trying to do is educating not my fellow Armenians but myself, and by educating myself I mean recovering my humanity; and if I ever succeed in that endeavor, I will fall silent because “he who speaks does not know.”

THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN by Thomas Mann. What Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms are to German music, Mann is to German literature.
RECONSIDERATIONS: Volume 12 of A STUDY OF HISTORY by Arnold J. Toynbee. Beneath a proper, academic veneer, Toynbee is a thoroughly anti-establishment thinker.
THE SABRES OF PARADISE by Lesley Blanch. A history of 19th-century Caucasus that reads like a historical novel by Dumas and Tolstoy.
LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov. The magic of a brilliant stylist transforms a continental pedophile and a spoiled American brat into fascinating Dostoevskian characters.
FAREWELL, MY LOVELY by Raymond Chandler. In his hand American slang acquires the irresistible charm of pure poetry, and Los Angeles becomes as mesmerizing a place as Dostoevsky's St. Petersburg, Mann's Davos, and Lesley Blanch's Caucasus.
These are not books to be read once, but faithful companions to be cherished to the end of one's life.
P.S. I have not mentioned books from our literature because I don't wish to make myself vulnerable to the charge of promoting my own work as translator.

We are told again and again that some financial institutions and industries in America are too big to fail. What nonsense! Empires rise and fall, and when they fall, people are liberated from the grip of bloodsuckers. Who are the bloodsuckers today? If you ask chief executive officers, they will name the unions and their bosses, never their own greed and incompetence.
Mighty empires are not born but made, and they are made by an elite of creative people who successfully confront challenges and solve problems. But in time these creative individuals are followed by incompetent and corrupt operators without vision. That's when empires decline and fall. The same applies to major economic enterprises. But don't expect the executives to admit as much because, like Armenians, they are masters of the blame game. They will blame everyone but themselves. Their blindness is such that they will travel by private jet and beg taxpayers' money, and they will do this with the arrogant certainty they are too big to fail. Sooner or later, however, they will have to come to terms with reality, which is, not even God can save a man or a power structure that is set on self-destruction.
The USSR was bigger than all the financial institutions and car industry in America combined, but neither Marx and Engels, nor Lenin and Stalin could postpone its disintegration by a fraction of a second. The same applies to Ford, Freddie Mac, and the rest. Reality has fixed the time of their downfall, and neither Bush nor Obama can alter it.

A church is first and foremost a house of God, and I have no doubt whatever in my mind that the Good Lord would welcome Catholic as well as Protestant and Loussavorchagan (both Etchmiadznagan and Cilician) worshipers within His walls. Consider the millions we could save for the needy in the Homeland and in the process may be even save the soul of the community. I am not talking about church unity here, only of putting existing real estate to more responsible use. Needless to add, what I say about churches also applies to community centers and schools.
An insider once told me, one of the two Armenian cathedrals in New York City employs as many as 83 people, among them professional fund-raisers, in addition to advertising the sale of Oriental rugs within its walls (including rugs made in Turkey) in the NEW YORK TIMES.
Why do we need two bishops when one would be more than enough? I once knew a bishop who had so much time on his hands that he wrote derivative poetry, which is what I said in my review of his first collection of verse. That may have put an end to his career as a vodanavorji, because I never heard from him again.
To end these depressing thoughts on a positive note: It is said of two Armenians on a desert island that they built three churches. When asked by their rescuers about the purpose of the third church, they had explained: “That's the one we don't go to.”

What is the difference between Somalian pirates who hijack cargo ships and demand ransom money on the one hand, and on the other, American chief executive officers who run their company to the ground, give themselves fat salaries and handsome bonuses, travel by private jet, and demand billions from tax-payers? Two differences: (one) the pirates' financial demands are infinitely more modest, and (two) when caught, the pirates are treated like common criminals.
All of German literature, philosophy, and music produced Hitler. All of Armenian literature, music, and architecture produced the morally bankrupt loud-mouth philistine who parades as defender of the faith and is taken seriously by dupes.
When an Armenian disagrees with you, he disagrees not only with your views but also with your existence. The Golden Age of this type of Armenian was turn-of-the-century Istanbul, and the first decades of the Soviet era when all it took was an anonymous phone call to the authorities.
It goes without saying that if you speak in defense of human rights, free speech, and democracy, you will acquire fascist enemies.

Racial superiority is an urban legend fabricated by inflated egos for inferior minds.
Some say Cain was a Turk, and Abel an Armenian. Others say it was the other way around.
Give an Armenian fanatic anonymity and a computer with Internet access and watch him commit verbal massacre.
Give Armenians a superior army and an inferior enemy and watch them commit crimes against humanity, and afterwards pass a law against insulting Armenishness.
We hate the enemy because we understand ourselves.
All organized religions have failed. If they continue to have followers it's because any meaning, even when meaningless, is better than no meaning.
Strong convictions are the surest symptoms of weak minds.
To brainwashed an Armenian is easy, to reason with him, impossible. I was brainwashed once and was not open to reason or, for that matter, to common sense and decency, let alone Christian compassion and Kantian ethics.

An investigative reporter has been severely beaten up in Armenia.
We don't do that sort of thing here.
We are not Asiatic barbarians.
We are civilized.
Besides, it's against the law.
In the words of an Armenian moderator:
“No four-letter words on this forum. We don't go for that shit.”
Our brothers in the Homeland may operate within a lawless environment.
We don't. That's a luxury we can't afford.
We are civilized people.
If we want to have someone silenced, we simply shut him up.
It's the easiest thing in the world. All it takes is a phone call to the publisher.
Not even the need to mention withdrawal of financial support.
Yes, sir! We are a civilized bunch here.
Not Asiatic barbarians.

This is a rule and like all rules it has its exceptions, of course.
Once, when the editor/publisher of a California weekly allowed the publication of an exposé, he was beaten within an inch of his life.

The perps were never caught.

It was rumored that they were imported talent and by the time the crime was reported to the police, they were on their way to the Middle East somewhere.

On another occasion, when the editor/publisher of another weekly published an exposé about the tax-deductible shenanigans of one of our charitable institutions, he was dragged to court, was almost taken to the cleaners, had a stroke, and lost on a technicality because, unlike the charitable institution, he couldn't afford belly-slitting lawyers who were fully aware of the fact that the reporter's “deep throats” would refuse to testify for him because doing so would mean losing their only source of income.

It is the height of hypocrisy to express outrage at a beaten up investigative reporter in Armenia and completely ignore the filth in which we are drowning here.

We preach democracy there but we practice fascism here and we refuse to see a contradiction. And we refuse to see a contradiction because this convenient blindness allows us to assume a holier-than-thou stance, and we are all addicted to asserting moral and patriotic superiority.

Yes, sir!
We are not Asiatic barbarians here.
We are syphilized people.

For eight years I worked in a large financial institution. There was such an accumulation of petty little rules and regulations that there was only one old man in our department who remembered them all. Once when I dared to suggest that these rules could be easily simplified and streamlined I was treated as a blasphemer and even my co-workers turned against me. One way to explain the collapse of these institutions in America today is by saying that they concentrated so much on meaningless rules and regulations that they lost sight of the essential and collapsed beneath the weight of their own bureaucratic inflexibility.
It has been said that truth is found at the end of an obstacle course of errors. For those ready to admit error, the obstacle course is short; for the infallible, it is endless.
Give a good Armenian anonymity and a computer and watch him behave like a bad Turk.
“We are doing our best” is not the same as “We could do better.”
Never ask for solutions if your are in no position to introduce and implement new policies.
Tina Brown: “It's great when people trash you, it means you are interesting.”

If you think of solutions as verbal formulas, you will never find them.
Whenever I quote Naregatsi or Raffi, I am told I live in the past. Translation: history is bunk and literature a waste of time. And I think of Bazarov, the nihilist in Turgenev's FATHERS AND SONS. I also think of Tolstoy who at the end of his life gave up literature, hated Shakespeare, and became a born-again Christian atheist whose central idea was “the Kingdom of God is within you.” Unlike Bazarov, Tolstoy didn't kill himself but ran away from home and died at a train station in the middle of nowhere.
If I am harsh with meddlers it's because I am not running for office and I don't mind if I lose to the opposition – as long as I am allowed to do my work without needless interruptions. I may be hungry but not to the point of starvation and willing to say “Yes, sir!” to anyone who dangles a carrot at me.
Had Moses been an Armenian I suspect he would have come down with a commandment that says something to the effect that one should not confuse the dung heap in one's backyard with Mount Ararat.
Stupidity is infectious and wisdom is not transferable: that's the only way to explain mass movements, wars, and massacres.

I believe in free speech for two important reasons:
(one) It is a fundamental human right, and
(two) Armenians don't believe in it, which is another thing they share in common with the Turks. With one difference however: the Turks have a law against “offending Turkishness” -- a misguided law, granted; even a foolish law, also granted. But a law nonetheless.

The same applies to commissars in the Soviet era: they did whatever they did in accordance with the laws of the land.
Unlike Turks and Soviets, we don't have a corresponding law that authorizes anyone, even the wisest among us, to violate anyone's fundamental human right of free speech. What we have are pseudo-patriotic neo-Stalinist self-appointed commissars who behave with the inflexible conviction that they know better what's good for the nation. It never even occurs to them that a great many of our defeats, catastrophes, and tragedies are a direct result of his misconception and fallacy.

In life doubts outnumber certainties.
Beware of the man who has more answers than questions.
There are no final answers. If an answer does not raise two more questions it cannot be right.
Only dupes and fanatics have more answers than questions.
No one can save a man, let alone a nation, that has chosen to take the road leading to self-destruction.
The most interesting man in the world is a bore to himself. Hence the old Armenian saying: "Marte martov g’ella." A man is made [whole] by another.
If a bigot is not yet a killer, it may be because history has not yet given him an opportunity to act out his convictions.
Religion, nationality, ideology: in so far as they enhance our understanding, they are assets. In so far as they raise walls between us and our fellow men, they are liabilities.
We don't need a messiah to do the right thing. But if you choose to wait for one, be prepared to wait for two thousand years, and even then...
I come up with an 11th Commandment every other day. I've got two of them today: “Thou shalt not be a dupe,” and “Thou shalt not say 'We need solutions,” when what you really mean is 'Shut up!'”
My aim in life is not to solve problems but to be readable. If I achieve that goal I may some day, if I live long enough, to stumble of an insightful line.

“Every other Armenian is a critic,” I am told. “Do we need another one?”
Or: “What we need is solutions, not criticism.”

I agree, and I don't mind admitting that when it comes to solving our problems I have been a total failure. But then, how many of our problems did Khorenatsi, Naregatsi, Shnorhali, Abovian, Raffi, and Zarian solve?
It is to be noted that both Khorenatsi and Naregatsi wrote a LAMENTATION, and Abovian's masterpiece is titled VERK HAYASTANI. As far as I know, none of our writers ever wrote a book or a poem titled SOLUTIONS.
Perhaps what we need is not writers but a Messiah. But I suspect as soon as we get one, we will crucify him because the first thing he will do is drive our bosses, bishops, benefactors, and all their hirelings and brown-nosers out of the temple with a whip . I also suspect, if he lives long enough to deliver a sermon, he will not provide verbal solutions but say, “The solution to your problems, very much like the Kingdom of God, is within you.”
Don't get me wrong. Armenians have a deep-seated respect for writers, messiahs, and ideas, provided of course they are not of domestic but foreign provenance. Consider the three most important ideas that have shaped our character and destiny as a nation: Christianity, nationalism, and Marxism. Not only have we adopted these ideas as our own but we have also shed our blood in their defense. But then we have shed blood in defense of even the Ottoman and Soviet empires. During World War II, we fought on both sides of the front. And no matter how hard I try I cannot think of a single instance when a single Armenian shed a single drop of blood in defense of an Armenian idea.

Ara Baliozian

Reader's Comment

Speaking of Toynbee: it is widely known that he at no time denied the reality of the Armenian genocide, and this even after he acquired Turkish friends, heard their side of the story, became a Turcophile, and learned the Turkish language. The difference between Toynbee and our nationalist historians is that Toynbee exposed not only the criminal conduct of the Turks but also the blunders of our own leadership, something our historians have at no time dared to do; which may suggest they have not dared to say everything that needed to be said; in other words, their version of the past is only partly true (which is also how propaganda is defined). I feel therefore justified in suggesting that under the guise of supporting our cause, our nationalist historians and Turcocentric ghazetajis have succeeded only in damaging our credibility in the eyes of the world and thus reducing the issue to the status of political football.

Dear Sirs,

In reference to the above article of Ara Baliozian, for whom I have a great respect for his "straightness, frankness and depth of knowledge" and other than expressing my usual appreciation, agreement for nearly all of his comments and applauding his remark about "Pirates", I would like to comment on the above sentence as regards Arnold J. Toynbee's becoming a Turcophile! If Ara bey knows something realiable that I don't know who led him to such a conclusion, I will be pleased to learn from him (like many other things I learned from him)! However, in view of the various references on Toynbee in my book (more than twenty times / sources) I would like to make the following comments, leaving judgment to the reader.

A. There is no doubt that young Toynbee's first mission at "Wellington House" under Lord Bryce, was to prepare "documentary evidence to blame Turkey and convince USA to join WW1 for "humane reasons". Between 1915-1922 Toynbee produced nearly twenty books, all heavily blaming the ENEMIES, the Germans and Turks. It is also a known fact that he worked for the British Intelligence Dept.

B- His masterpiece "The Blue Book" where he blamed Turks for all types of genocidal crimes, was a great success. However, I have noticed below serious flaws in the dependability of this book:

1- The book was composed of the reports of US missionaries and/or other Armenian sources, sent in diplomatic bags by Ambassador Morgenthau, and they were all biased. Moreover, Morgenthau bears his signature on the Relief Report No.192 of April 1922, which contradicts his own book and the reports sent to form "The Blue Book".

2- On page 313 of my book there is a letter by Toynbee, to Prof. Margouliuth dated June 23, 1916 which is self explanatory regarding the UNRELIABILITY of his sources versus his mission!

3- Toynbee was in the British delegation sent to Paris in 1919. His book and "all the references he had provided" were found UNSUITABLE TO MAKE A LEGAL COURT against the 144 Turkish detainees held in Malta, waiting to be put on trial for two years, and who were all returned to Turkey without any indictment.

4- On page 316, there is a letter by Toynbee to Mrs. Ekmejian written in 1966, in which he "confessed that the Blue Book was written for propaganda" purposes.

5- On page 317, there is a letter dated May 1, 1916 by US Foreign Office to him, confessing that the blanks cannot be filled and the documents used for reference are NOT ACCESSIBLE!

Hence Baliozian's statement that Toynbee "at no time denied Armenian genocide" is paradoxical to above references and it is the first time that I hear that "Toynbee later became so friendly with Turks, that he became a Turcophile"! I will appreciate to learn who were the "Turks that could make Toynbee change his idea just for favor"! Ara bey certainly knows better than all of us that "as years pass by, what you learn either proves that you were RIGHT in your first assessment or WRONG! I cannot object to the sentiments and observations of Ara bey, which are always "well intended" (like all of us working in this team). As Ara bey (and myself) notice too many historians and fanatic writers, bragging on patriotism are damaging the "unearthing of simple truths, human failures" and final compassion which must prevail for future generations. "The Armenians in Istanbul are doing fine" but they are greatly disturbed by the parasitic commentaries coming from abroad "to save them". A century ago, it was the Armenians from Russia who were so much depressed by the Czarist regime, who set up Hunchaks and Dashnaks outside of Turkey to save the "Armenians of Turkey" bringing nothing but disasters to all their folks. The great heros "Andranik, Kanajan, Pastermadjian" all escaped to Britain and USA, instead of sharing the disasters they brought on to their own people! There are fiery patriotics continuously blowing animosities to keep them in business and indispensable, getting rich on the continuous donations for the holy cause! So, my sincere mission is to save my local Armenian friends from overseas Armenian saviours!

(Note: Last week I went to Surp Pirgıc Armenian hospital at Yedikule for some check-up and an MR appointment ten days later. Too bad that the outsider trouble-inventors were not next to me, to see how the Turkish patients-doctors communicate with Armenian doctors, staff etc. in this institution for about 150 years! I say "stop the outside crap and looking from a distance and seeing what you want to see"! Tell me "which country or nation is perfect and in full justice"! Watch "Sicko" by Michael Moore to learn how things work in USA, the heaven of human rights and democracy!) Speaking of "criminality" I have thousands of photos and writings about "Armenian crimes" which Ara avoids to admit. All humans are alike, and in this episode there are "no clean hands for any party or outside pushers"! And how many clean hands to you see today in wars and fights? Best regards for all times and don't believe everything you read (not even me) if you have "better proof".

Sukru S. Aya

Reader's Comment 2

Sükrü bey,

Ara Baliozian was right when he asserted that Toynbee became a Turcophile, during the 1920's.

“What he left out was why the Turks distrusted and disliked Armenian and other Christian minorities so much. Later, Toynbee came to feel that this lop­sidedness was a betrayal of historical truth. His sympathies, in fact, reversed themselves, partly, at least, because he felt he had been unjust to the Turks, and needed to make atonement. At the time, however, though the human de­pravity he described was deeply repugnant to him, his conscience was clear. Emphatic denunciation of Turkish barbarity seemed fully justified, based as it was on carefully evaluated evidence.”

William H. McNeil, Arnold Toynbee. A Life, New York-London-Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 74.

“Yet at the very time when the agreement was being made, I was being employed by His Majesty's Government to compile all available documents on the recent treatment of the Armenians by the Turkish Government in a ‘Blue Book’ which was duly published and distributed as war-propaganda.
In attempting to express and explain the Turkish point of view, I am not seeking to suggest that it is right, or to deny the charges brought against the Turkish nation and Government for their treatment of subject peoples during the past century. Their crimes are undoubtedly exaggerated in the popular Western denunciations, and the similar crimes committed by Near Eastern Christians in parallel situations are almost always passed over in silence. At the same time, the facts substantiated against the Turks (as well as against their neighbours) by authoritative investigation are so appalling that it is almost a matter of indifference, from the point of view of establishing a case, whether the embroideries of the propagandists are counterfeit or genuine. The point which I wish to make is that, if our aim is not simply to condemn but to cure, we can only modify the conduct of the Turks by altering their frame of mind, and that our only means of doing that is to change our own attitude towards them. So long as we mete out one measure to them, another to the Greeks, and yet a third to ourselves, we shall have no moral influence over them.”

Arnold J. Toynbee, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, London, Constable and Co, 1922, pp. 50 et 227.

“Robert F. Zeidner. He graduated from the American Military Academy in 1945, and while on duty in Ankara in 1957 he attended a kind of service program at Beirut American University. Dr. Zeidner was a communication officer during that time.

The university administration gives a cocktail party honoring Prof. Toynbee and some others. During this get-together. Officer Zeidner approaches Prof. Arnold Toynbee and mentions that he came from Ankara. In response A. Toynbee says, ‘Oh really? Turks are very nice people. I have Turkish friends.’ [He says this in 1957].

Officer Zeidner follows up in surprise, ‘Isn’t it controversial that you wrote those books during World War I which said that Turks mercilessly killed the Armenians?’ Prof. Toynbee blushed, stood motionless for an instant, and then said ‘I was employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I obeyed orders. It was war propaganda material.’ ”


In 1959, Toynbee met Stanford J. Shaw in Harvard University. S. J. Shaw asked the same question than R. F. Zeidner, and Toynbee responded the same thing (Stanford J. Shaw, From Empire to Republic. The Turkish War of National Liberation, Ankara, TTK, 2000, tome I, p. 62, n. 21).

Toynbee was an enthusiastic supporter of Kemalism, from 1922 to his death. The only article available online about this question, to my knowledge, is in French, unfortunately:


In fact, Toynbee, after 1921, considered that the CUP government had criminal intentions, but that: 1) the Turkish people were not responsible: 2) the Armenian and Greek gangs were not less criminal. This position is very close to Ahmet Emin Yalman's thesis (Turkey and The World War, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1930; Turkey in my Time, Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1956). Yalman was a Toynbee’s friend.

. From .... a friend of TRUTH .....

Following text was automatically translated from French and may have errors due to the machine translation

Arnold J. Toynbee and the Kemalist revolution in Turkey
A "Foreign" and a Philosophy of History in Britain (1915-1954) By Sandrine Menard *, 4 March 2005


On 29 October 1923, General Mustafa Kemal Ottoman Ankara to announce the advent of the Turkish Republic. This event marks the end of the Ottoman Empire at the same time it devotes the success of the Turkish national movement. The demise of the Ottoman state, five years after the First World War, is a political entity six centuries old.

On the eve of the Great War, the territory of the empire was already considerably reduced compared to the time of its peak, which stretched from Egypt to northern Romania and present, from east to west, Caucasus at the gates of Vienna. But it still covered the entire Arabian Peninsula and the Anatolian and a strip of land forming the south-eastern European continent, along the Sea of Marmara. The Turkish state after 1923 no longer includes the territories south of Anatolia. It includes areas that Europeans still call "Asia Minor and Thrace", in reference to antiquity. From March 1924, the abolition of the caliphate Ottoman completes turning their backs on the past of a prestigious Muslim state.

The foundation of the last successor of the Ottoman Empire was therefore reported by a deep reconfiguration, both geographical and political, of what we usually call the Middle East. In addition, the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of victory follows a recent national movement, the Muslim and Turkic-speaking populations of Anatolia and extreme south-east of the Balkan Peninsula. Turkish nationalism, which has managed to establish a national state on the central part of the former Ottoman territory, was much later than other parts of the empire. It was largely triggered in May 1919 by a landing in the port city of Izmir armies of neighboring Greece. It was fed by the war that ravaged central Anatolia and west between spring 1919 and fall 1922. It was Federated and led to victory under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha [1], then became the first president of the Turkish Republic, from 1923 to his death in 1938. The Kemalists victory in what Turkish historiography of the 1930s called, in retrospect, the "war of independence from Turkey, was followed by a period of building the nation-state, marked also by profound changes. The transfer of the capital of Constantinople in Ankara, the secularization of the state, the adoption of the Latin alphabet instead of Arabic script, import legal codes Swiss, Belgian and German, or the recognition of the right to vote and eligibility of women in 1934, are among the most striking examples.

The listing of this series of occurrences military, political upheavals and social changes that mark the glorious "Kemalist revolution" raises yet historical problems and historiographical. The term "Turkish Revolution" which means spontaneously national construction started in 1923 seems characterized by a great deal of uncertainty.

Undetermined time in the first place: when he starts and ends where the construction of the Turkish nation and its state? The proclamation of 1923 seems incomprehensible without taking into account the events of the previous three years. If we go back further in time, it becomes more difficult to assign a start to the revolution was preceded by another event that the contemporaries themselves called "Revolution". This is the reversal in 1908 of Sultan Abdulhamid by a political group long remained secret and whose goal was to restore constitutional rule: the Union and Progress Committee. A "Young Turks" men of this "committee, which has ruled without sharing Ottoman Empire between 1913 and 1918 [2]. Its most prominent, Enver Pasha, Talat Pasha and Djemal Pasha, formed to power a kind of triumvirate that has evolved in recent years, an "Ottoman" defender of the territorial integrity of the Empire, but also of citizenship and patriotism designed to meet all faiths and all nationalities, to a more ethnic nationalism and sometimes more Islamic promoting element to the detriment of Turkish Armenian population, Greek and Arab Empire . It therefore appears that in some respects, the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 had announced the Kemalist nationalism. In addition, he found former members of the Union and Progress among Kemalists of 1923. But then they have abolished the sultanate that the Young Turks had maintained, and rejected in official rhetoric, the legacy of Union and Progress Committee. Is there were two revolutions, "Young Turk" and "Turkish" in fifteen years apart? In this first issue would add a second, symmetrical about the end of the Revolution. Is there an internal consistency between the national struggle and after the upheavals of 1923? What connects the founding document of national struggle led by Mustafa Kemal, the National Pact of January 1920, with, for example, granting voting rights to women? Is it common in the events on both sides in 1923 that the will of a single leader? And then, the Revolution stops Does the death of Ataturk in 1938? Should we not consider rather than ends with the first alternation of political elections in 1950?

The chronological uncertainty that confronts us "Kemalist revolution" appears closely linked to uncertainty in the terminology. The main source of embarrassment comes from the very word "revolution". Suffice it to say that the Kemalist revolution marks the transition from the logic imperial logic of a nation-state? The anti-imperialist discourse of Turkish nationalists, denouncing the ambitions of sharing the Ottoman Empire by the powers and their wills to support annexation of Greece, yet not connected at any time with anti - Communist imperialism bolchéviques Russia. On the other hand, the revolution in its time, the absence of revolution against designated as such, may appear rather like a vast reform movement, perhaps even as a "renaissance" or renovation of the Empire . Finally, if we start the revolution before 1923, when the word "Turk" raises some reservations, since the great novelty of the years 1919-1922 consists precisely in the emergence of a popular Turkish national sentiment.

The emergence of this relatively late Turkish nationalism, the fact that, in the Kemalist where he triumphed, to be held against any expansionist, its original land claim, the apparent paradox of nationalism in struggle against the imperialism of Western Europe and influence, willingly accepted and even claimed, "the West" in national construction, these are all aspects that show the complexity of the Kemalist revolution. Given the diversity of interpretations to which it has given rise, build a relevant angle of approach required a path that should be here reporting.

The choice from the standpoint of Arnold J. Toynbee

The construction of our subject began by choosing to study nation building in Turkey from the point of view of Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889-1975). Why have interest in light of this British historian and diplomat?

First, this choice could take back from the French point of view on the events that led to the "new Turkey". We had, indeed, solve a problem that is made in these terms: as foreign what can we make to the study of a highly national history? On the other hand, it was certainly take into account the close ties between France and Turkey emerging, particularly because of the legacy of the French Revolution which is called Mustafa Kemal himself [3] But at the same time not restricting itself to be taken for granted "all that modern Turkey is to France." To leave a narrow ethnocentrism, analysis from a foreigner, from another tradition of historical and political thought, seemed a useful precautionary approach.

Also, look especially Arnold J. Toynbee drew attention for several reasons. First, it was a British citizen and was not without interest to analyze how, as about an imperial monarchy, he could collect the fall of an empire, and the adoption on its territory, a secular republic. In addition, we could look into the circumstances that led this young historian, Hellenistic and philhellène, Oxford to focus so precisely to Turkey. Finally, the text of which Toynbee was referred to repeatedly in the bibliographies on the Kemalist revolution has a title intriguing. It was not the Study of History [4], his book of universal history as famous ambitious and controversial, but a much earlier book, entitled The Western Question in Greece and Turkey. A Study in the Contact of Civilizations [5]. The expression "the West" (The Western Question) dissonant with the more common, of East issue "and referred clearly a reflection on the dissemination of national ideal Greece and Turkey. It reflected an awareness among the non Toynbee spontaneous, but historically constructed national identities. However, while presented as a "question" appeared on a national basis in both territories long split by the Ottoman Empire, the title betrayed a commitment to the "Turkey". Indeed, talk of Turkey in 1922, while there was still no country in the name, and also put this country on the same level as Greece, was itself a position. Yet the title of this book in 1922 left point a certain tension around the issue of Turkish nationalism. On the one hand, Toynbee announced early in a manner that almost seemed an acclamation, the advent of a Turkish nation-state. But on the other hand, in the subtitle of the book, "A study of the contact of civilizations" (A Study in the Contact of Civilizations), using the concept of "civilization", he suggested that the Turkish national sentiment that was the product of a phenomenon that the overflowing. Analyze the ironic gaze on the Turkish Revolution us to conduct a survey throughout the career and writings of Toynbee.

The variety of sources, at the intersection of intellectual history, history of international relations and history within Turkey

The first texts where Arnold J. Toynbee discusses the future of the Ottoman Empire dating from the Great War.

In 1915, this young Hellenistic and historian trained at Balliol, the most prestigious college in Oxford, published his first book under the title Nationality and the War [6]. It talks of "the problem of nationalities" that the war has placed on the agenda, as the rhetoric of liberating countries of the Agreement now requires that cares about claims of self-determination which, in Britain as in France, it has long, disinterested.

From the year 1916 date another source of considerable importance. It is a collection of stories about the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire [7], first published in a report to the British Ministry Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Office. From 1916, in fact, knowledge of Toynbee and its capacity for synthesis are in the fight against the Ottoman Empire, enemy of Britain in the war. In this context, Toynbee collect evidence on massacres of Armenians 1915-1916 and the first known in Western Europe the magnitude of what has been called since the "Armenian genocide". The classification work of testimony, which Toynbee adds a focus on Armenian history, the young historian is a specialist of the Ottoman Empire.

As the war continues, Toynbee of pamphlets against the Turks is growing. In 1917 he published Murderous including The Tyranny of the Turks and Turkey: a Past and a Future. [8] The writings of the years 1916-1917 are not without methodological problems, since it is largely works of propaganda. At the end of the war, and for the Versailles conference which he attended as a member of the British delegation, Toynbee's role becomes that of an expert, to prepare the settlement of the Question of East - Ie to decide the fate of the Ottoman Empire - in the postwar period. Found in the archives of the Foreign Office, held in London in the Public Records Office, several boxes on this phase of the work of Toynbee. The memoranda from the committee on which he ran expertise on the Middle East, the minutes signed by him in Versailles, a card offering a geographical redistribution of "Turkey in Asia" are documents of great interest .

After 1919, the British national archives are much less useful because, for reasons which we shall return, Toynbee makes clear distances over British foreign policy. A significant episode of the biography of the author deserves however to be thorough. It is a long journey he has made during the year 1921 in Anatolia, as a war reporter. As a stay on the front of the Greek-Turkish conflict, there are articles in the Manchester Guardian, as well as travel notes, correspondence and many photographs. These journalistic and personal archives are kept at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, in the collection of Toynbee Papers.

We have not systematically searched all articles published by Toynbee in the press during this period, because their content was redundant with a 400-page book published just weeks after his return from the front Anatolia. In March 1922, in fact, Toynbee makes his publisher the manuscript of The Western Question in Greece and Turkey. A Study in the Contact of Civilizations. With this major work, Toynbee develops his original analysis of the war in Anatolia, at the same time it is a first draft and insights of his departure for further study of history civilizations, A Study of History.

In the years that followed, it continues to develop this work, while closely following developments in Turkey. Thus, at the turn of 1922 and 1923, between the two sessions of the Conference of Lausanne [9], he interrupted his teaching of history of "medieval and modern Greece at the University of London, went to Constantinople and to Angora - the name by which Europeans still designate Ankara, the new capital of Turkey. Beginning in 1925, will combine a macro-historical reflection and analysis of the present time is in new institutional frameworks. Having resigned, in unclear circumstances, its Chair at the University of London, he was appointed editor of the Survey of International Affairs. It is a kind of chronic annual international relations, established on behalf of the British Institute of International Affairs (British Institute of International Affairs), a body established after the war on a proposal by the Foreign Office. Toynbee draft, then edit the Survey of International Affairs until his retirement in 1955. In this large mass, two volumes have appeared particularly interesting for us. One covering the year 1925, first [10], because it includes a section on "The Islamic world since the settlement of peace" (The Islamic World since the Peace settlement), who commented in particular, Abolition of the caliphate on 3 March 1924, and its consequences in the "Muslim world" as the volume devoted to the year 1928, then, including a section entitled "Westernization of Turkey" (The Westernization of Turkey ) And traces the reforms 1925-1928 [11].

Finally, we have a book published in 1931, whose title, A Journey to China, or things which are seen is somewhat misleading: in fact, in this volume which brings together articles written and published by Toynbee at a journey to China, the articles on Turkey are the most numerous. It can read a review by Toynbee changes in Turkey during the 1920s, such that it receives during the third trips he made there in a decade.

The next element in the timing of our sources is one of the most famous author, A Study of History, whose publication is spread over twenty years. Volumes I to III were published in 1934, volumes IV to VI in 1939 and volumes VIII to X in 1954. They contain almost all, certainly with some repetitions and contradictions, important developments in the Ottoman Empire and the genesis of modern Turkey. Some other sources of the same period supplement or clarify the vision deployed in this piece. Thus, in 1948, Toynbee wrote an article with the title speaks for itself "Islam, the West and the Future" (Islam, the West and the Future) [12].

We chose to stop our study to sources in 1954, although Toynbee still makes trips to Turkey in 1961 and 1968. Of these trips, in fact, the personal archives of the author bear little trace. In addition, the sources produced between 1915 and 1954 we seemed to contain enough evidence to try to understand this singular regard in its two dimensions: first, reflection on the strategic challenges for Britain contemporary events, and On the other hand, the retrospective look at the disappearance of a historic Ottoman Empire.

The changing light Toynbee on the "new Turkey"

The first installment of our questioning is located at the juncture of the history of ideas and national history. Toynbee saw in the birth of Turkey as a nation, a kind of ideal-type "report of civilizations". In Study of History, he fired his observation of the Turkish Revolution a theory on the existence in world history, a choice between the "zealot" and "Herodian". By this nomenclature, it defines a typology of possible reactions of one civilization against another who dominates. It is, therefore, on an analogy between, on one hand, and the Wahhabi zealots, respectively symbols of the rejection of civilization "Greek" and West and, secondly, the Herodian and Kemal, embodying the choice of a "conversion" to complete these other civilizations. Toynbee how he was taken to consider all aspects of the Kemalist revolution from single prism of the clash of "civilizations", even if neglected, for example, the early, including in relation to "the West" , Recognition of the voting rights of women in Turkey, or to disregard the question of whether democratic republican institutions established by Mustafa Kemal? To see how this vision has been built, the selective nature or simplistic, we have identified three stages of speech Toynbee on the Turks and Turkey.

During a first period, which only covers the years 1915-1918, the young Toynbee addresses the future of the "Turkish Empire" in terms of the issue of the East. Attached to the Foreign Office, it becomes progressively during the years of war, a specialist in this enemy, ally of Germany and is preparing the dismantling of victory in the event of the Agreement. Its analysis and recommendations on reshaping the map of the Middle East evolve with many events, but are still an important element of continuity: the question of the fate of the Ottoman Empire is constantly discussed in relation to the issue nationalities. The Turks are designed as a kind of sub-nationality, both too dominant within the Ottoman Empire to aspire one day to empower them, and too dependent on other nationalities, Greek and Armenian, to s' in separate.

After 1918, however, the unexpected birth of the Kemalist movement based entirely the question of nationalities in the region. The assertion of a Turkish national identity, break with the Ottoman Empire, Toynbee causes a shock. Suddenly, while the Greek troops, backed by Britain, landed in Anatolia, it seems even take sides in favor of Turkey hitherto unlikely, comparing, so somewhat controversial, the Turkish national struggle with the Greeks in the nineteenth century. This surprising developments Toynbee develops and extends throughout the 1920s. It is, increasingly, be explained in terms of "Civilization", which combines various influences and often divergent part: those of Walter Bagehot [13] and Thomas Carlyle [14], or Perhaps even more crucial, though contradictory, those of Henri Bergson [15] and Oswald Spengler [16].

Finally, after the 1920s, when Toynbee followed and apprehended directly transformations of Turkey, began drafting the Study of History. The Kemalist revolution is then inserted into a broad comparative system which aims to build a theory of history. The emergence of a Turkish national sentiment is considered a symptom of import in Anatolia of a "civilization" exogenous West. In doing so, Toynbee asserts, countdown Kemalist discourse, the existence of continuity between contemporary Turkey and the Ottoman era. The Turkish Republic, secular and non-expansionist, is no longer viewed as the culmination of a shipwreck. The "New Turkey" is that the death of the Ottoman civilization "and, finally, the" Islamic world "to which it was stowed in its crisis. The study of this third time of speech Toynbee, with its simplifications and feats of strength, provides an angle of reading and comparing historiographies post on the topic of Turkish Revolution. One can almost share the historians of contemporary Turkey between those who are in line with the approach of Toynbee in terms of civilizations and decline [17], and those who turn away from it [18].
The ambiguous posture of Toynbee in the field of international relations

The second side of our problem lies at the junction of intellectual history and history of international relations. Through the eyes changing Toynbee on Ottoman history and Turkish, what can we understand the interaction between the historic speech and international relations in the first half of the twentieth century? Toynbee is as a maker of opinion with any power over how we represent the Turks in Britain, Europe and perhaps even the United States, we are talking about. The historian he had a role in international relations from the aftermath of the First World War? What's eye is impregnated or free of "Orientalism" that conceptualizes Edward Said [19]? More generally, how far the theorist of international relations is independent foreign policy of his country?

From the relationship between the scientist and policy at Toynbee arose two major difficulties. It has faced, first, the delicate question of status given to the texts published by the author between 1916 and 1918 about the Armenian massacres of 1915-1916. The Blue Book on Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire is there a real document expertise, as evidence in the current debate on the existence of a genocide, or the collection of evidence is it biased by the size of anti-Ottoman involved? In addition, a second problem remains controversial about the behavior of Toynbee in the Greco-Turkish war. The pro-Kemalist turn of the author during his stay in the war in Anatolia in 1921 he led, as suggested by his biographer [20], a kind of revelation of the falsehood of its prejudices and philhellènes Anti-Turkish? Or this reversal stems there, more prosaically, as the author, who a few months earlier denounced the "barbaric" Turkish Armenian massacres, was allegedly bribed to act propagandist of Turkey emerging? We found no evidence supporting this latter case, but it remains a gray area regarding the brutal taken away from Toynbee to the British position facing the turbulent Middle East in the early 1920s.

Whistleblower Armenian massacres, propagandist, expert, journalist, columnist relations between the West and the Islamic world, "ambiguous figure of" friend of Turkey, "Toynbee he influenced, and if so, by which of these roles, the course of Anglo-Turkish relations?

His posture complicated with respect to Turkey is all the more problematic it is not unconnected with the position of the author in the field of international relations in general. Thus, the retrospective reinterpretation of Turkish nationalism as the last act of self Ottoman civilization led to a disturbing analogy between the decision of Mustafa Kemal to bury the Ottoman language to substitute for the Turkish contemporary Latin alphabet , And autos Hitler. This parallel "totalitarianism" and Kemalist Nazi first made in 1934, was repeated in 1939. But Toynbee is also the "Munich" which, immediately before the remilitarization of the Rhineland, fired an interview with Hitler conclusion - addressed to "information" to Anthony Eden and the Foreign Office - That the aspirations, like Mustafa Kemal, as a "national revolution" devoid of any expansionist designs. Indirectly at least, his speech on Turkey scientist has weighed so heavily on British foreign policy.

The final version of Toynbee's interpretation of the Kemalist revolution, with its springs ideological ambiguous to say the least, seems to have had long-term, considerable influence. Received as a "traveling companion" of Kemalism every time he visited Turkey, Toynbee has also multiplied conferences abroad, from Japan to Mexico, and acquired, especially , A considerable reputation in the United States. This international career, with particular emphasis placed on the transatlantic link, gave his theses on the relationship between the "Muslim world" and "West" a certain posterity. Through the books of the eminent historian Bernard Lewis and Islam [21], or a well-known theorist of international relations as Samuel Huntington [22], the obsession theory of "clash of civilizations" has taken an important resonance.

* A supported a MA in June 2004 at Paris I University under the direction of Professor Robert Frank. Sandrine Menard is currently the research begun during his control, under a DEA conducted in Paris I under the direction of Robert Frank.

[1] The title of Ottoman Pasha is for the military to the rank of general in the French hierarchy.

[2] They themselves had chosen the name referring to the movement of Italian Giuseppe Mazzini, "Giovane Italia": cf. AHMAD (Feroz), The Young Turks, the Committee of Union and Progress, in Turkish Politics, 1908-1914, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1969, 146 p.

[3] On the influence of the French Revolution in contemporary Turkey: LEWIS (Bernard), "The Impact of the French Revolution on Turkey", Journal of World History, No. 1, 1953, p. 105-125; Turkey and France at the time of Ataturk, special issue of the journal turcica, No. 1, 1981, 386 p.; The French Revolution, Turkey and Iran, special issue of the Schedule D Studies on the eastern Mediterranean and the Turkish-Iranian world, No. 11, 1991, 264 p.

[4] Toynbee (Arnold J.), A Study of History, London, Oxford University Press, 10 volumes, 1934 (vol. I-III), 1939 (vol. IV-VI), 1954 (vol. VII-X) .

[5] Toynbee (Arnold J.), The Western Question in Greece and Turkey. A Study in the Contact of Civilizations, London, Constable, 1922, 408 p.

[6] Toynbee (Arnold J.), Nationality and the War, London, Oxford University Press, 1915, 522 p.

[7] Toynbee (Arnold J.), The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Documents Presented to Viscount Gray of Fallodon, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, by Viscount Bryce and AJ Toynbee, London, 1916, 684 p.

[8] Toynbee (Arnold J.), The Murderous Tyranny of the Turks, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1917; Toynbee (Arnold J.), Turkey: a Past and a Future, New York, Doran, 1917, 85 p.

[9] Conference, which ends the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-1922. It runs from November 1922 to July 1923 in presence of diplomatic delegations Greek and Turkish, but also British, French, Italian, Soviet. It led to the signing of a peace treaty strongly favors the Kemalist Turkey.

[10] Toynbee (Arnold J.), Survey of International Affairs, 1925, London, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1927, 611 p.

[11] Toynbee (Arnold J.), Survey of International Affairs, 1928, London, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1929, 506 p.

[12] Toynbee (Arnold J.), Civilization on Trial, London, Oxford University Press, 1948, translated into French by Renée Villoteau under civilization to the test, Paris, Gallimard, 1951, 282 p.

[13] Bagehot (Walter), Physics and Politics, or Thoughts on the Application of the Principles of "Natural Selection" and "Inheritance 'to Political Society, London, King HS, 1872, 224 p.

[14] CARLYLE (Thomas), On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, London, Chapman & Hall, 1840, 235 p.

[15] Bergson (Henri), Creative Evolution, Paris, F. Alcan, 1907, 403 p.

[16] SPENGLER (Oswald), Der Untergand of Abendland. Umrisse einer der Weltgeschichte Morphology, 2 volumes, Munich, CH Beck, 1920-1922, 615 p. and 635 p.

[17] LEWIS (Bernard), Islam and Secularism, the birth of modern Turkey, translated from French by Philippe Delamare, Paris, Fayard, 1988, 520 p.; KITSIKIS (Dimitri), The Ottoman Empire, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 3rd edition, 1994, 126 p.

[18] Kedourie (Elie), "The Chatham House Version", in The Chatham House Version and other Middle-Eastern Studies, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1970, p. 351-394; GEORGEON (Francis), Ottoman Turks: The Birth of a Nation, Istanbul, Isis, 1995, 488 p.

[19] SAÏD (Edward), Orientalism: the East created by the West, translated from English by Catherine Malamoud, Paris, Le Seuil, 1997, 422 p.

[20] McNeil (William), Arnold J. Toynbee: A Life, London, Oxford University Press, 1989, 246 p.

[21] LEWIS (Bernard), Europe and Islam: actions and reactions, translated from English by Andre Charpentier, Paris, Gallimard, 1992, 170 p., LEWIS (Bernard), What happened? Islam, the West and modernity, translated from English by Jacqueline Carnaud, Paris, Gallimard, 2002, 229 p.

[22] HUNTINGTON (Samuel), The Clash of Civilizations, translated from English by Jean-Luc Fidel, Paris, Le Seuil, 1997, 402 p.

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