Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24th on Facebook

It is the evening of April 24th.  It was my first April 24th being on Facebook.  I was impressed at the outpouring of solemn sadness and emotion by Armenians from all over.   It was almost overwhelming.  The most touching postings were those that posted photos of their grandparents who were survivors and no are all gone.  Others that didn’t post a photo simply stating their name and that they were grandchildren of survivors and then they named their grandparents and where they were from. 

There were photos of protests, posters with every kind of somber or anti-Turkish message on them, and there were some pretty tough to look at photos of the dead and mutilated.  There were some photos I had never ever seen before.  It made me wonder if some these were not photo-shopped because they would have been in any number of the books I read and the presentations I have heard. 

My good Turkish friend messaged me on Facebook and said that he/she had to unfriend me because of the volume of anti-Turkish sentiment and accusations.  Being a friend of the Turkish diplomatic core in the US, my friend did not want the harshest comments, photos, and links ever being linked to him/her.

Here is my response:

I am sorry that you saw many ugly photos and comments from people linked to me. I posted no such things but I am actively in support of the challenging the Turkish government for their intransigence and perpetuation of a crime against the Armenian people almost 100 years.
I believe I can separate the politics from the people I know and like, like you and so many others.  We should have been living in the same country and citizens of a Turkish state that accepted and appreciated the Armenians.  Instead, the then government of Mehmet Talat Paşa, Cemal Paşa, and Enver Paşa killed 2 of every three Armenians living in the country and exiled the majority of the remainder.  That is not something that is easy to forget.  It is a wound that does not heal, which is gist behind my choosing the cut pomegranate with the same phrase in Turkish:  Bazi yaralar samanla iyileşmez.
It is a VERY sad time for Armenians. Most Turkish people do not understand or even care. This is the past for them. They had nothing to do with those events. It is like Americans and the American Indians. There are sad days for them because of certain massacres of people and their entire lifestyle that the United States inflicted on them, Wounded Knee and killing all the buffaloes, for one. The majority of the Americans including you and me pay zero attention to these. Why? Because it does not mean anything to our lives and because we had nothing to do with the horrible things the Americans of that time did to them. This is how most Turkish people view the Armenians. It is only natural.  The American Indians do not see it that way.  We Armenians do not see it that way.
If you are so inclined, I would suggest that you read a few books.  I would recommend A Shameful Act by Taner Akcam and 1915:  Armenian Genocide by Hasan Cemal, the grandson of Cemal Paşa.  Read the April 25, 2005 editorial by Ahmet Altan.  Altan asks a very simple question in the beginning of his piece “1915 yılında bir Ermeni olmak ister miydiniz?” (“Would you like to be an Armenian in 1915?” per google translate.)
If you have to drop me on Facebook, I will understand.  I would like to suggest just un-friending me from April 15 – 30 each year.  If you un-friending me in all aspects of life, then I am saddened and feel you do not really know me at all.  I can and have separated the political from personal friendships and will continue to do so.  We love the culture which is not just Turkish but in my view Turkish and Armenian in terms of music and food.  Certainly the languages are different.  I for one look forward to the day when there are harmonious relations between the Republics of Armenia and Turkey and the Armenian and Turkish peoples.  Do what you have to do in your heart.  I will not think any less of you… but I will miss you.


  1. Armenians need to shift focus to get the public support they need and the Turks to stop denying events. Comparing it to American Indians is misguided. Take a much longer historical arc. THE MASSACRE OF THE ARMENIANS WAS SIIMPLY THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FIRST MUSLIM JIHAD OF THE 20th CENTURY. Extremists like Talat were in power and believed in the Qu'ran's infallible word. Non-Muslims must be purged. Christians were unclean and worthless, so they had to be eliminated. The same ideology and extremism continues today with radical Islam. Tie the historical event of the Armenian massacres to the 1000 year arc of the dictates of the Qu'ran' AND the current events and it will no longer seem like a distant historical event. The massacres of 1915-17 are supremely relevant today - and radical Islam is the root cause. We must deal with it or it could be our future

    1. [1] We were none too kind to the Amerinds. It is not so misguided.

      [2] Your warnings on radical Islam should be seriously considered and discussed.

      [3] Wish you had signed with your name.