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Theriault: The Global Reparations Movement and Meaningful Resolution of the Armenian Genocide

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The Armenian Weekly
April 2010 Magazine

Over the past half millennium, genocide, slavery, Apartheid, mass rape, imperial conquest and occupation, aggressive war targeting non-combatants, population expulsions, and other mass human rights violations have proliferated. Individual processes have ranged from months to centuries. While the bulk of perpetrator societies have been traditional European countries or European settler states in Australia, Africa, and the Americas, Asian and African states and societies are also represented among them. These processes have been the decisive force shaping the demographics, economics, political structures and forces, and cultural features of the world we live in today, and the conflicts and challenges we face in it. For instance, understanding why the population of the United States is as it is—why there are African Americans in it, where millions of Native Americans have “disappeared” to, why Vietnamese and Cambodian people have immigrated to the United States, etc.—requires recognizing the fundamental role of genocide, slavery, and aggressive war in shaping the United States and those areas, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, affected by it.

Around the globe, those in poverty, those victimized by war after war, small residuals of once numerous groups, and others have recognized that their current difficulties, their current misery, is a direct result of these powerful forces of exploitation, subjugation, and destruction. Out of the compelling logic of “necessary fairness”—fair treatment that is necessary to their basic material survival and to their dignity as human beings—many have recognized that the devastating effects of these past wrongs must be addressed in a meaningful way if their groups and societies can hope to exist in sustainable forms in the future. This recognition has led to various reparations movements. Native Americans lay claim to lands taken through brutal conquest, genocide, and fraud. African Americans demand compensation for their contribution of a significant share of the labor that built the United States, labor stolen from them and repaid only with cruelty, violence, and individual and community destruction. Formerly colonized societies whose people’s labor was exploited to build Europe and North America, whose raw materials were stolen to provide the materials, and whose societies were “de-developed,” now struggle to survive as the global Northern societies built on their losses capitalize on the previous thefts to consolidate their dominance. And so on.

In the past decade those engaged in these various struggles have begun to recognize their common cause and a global reparations movement has emerged. In 2005, for instance, Massachusetts’ Worcester State College held an international conference on reparations featuring renowned human rights activist Dennis Brutus, with papers on reparations for South African Apartheid; African American slavery, Jim Crow, and beyond; Native American genocide and land theft; the “comfort women” system of sexual slavery implemented by Japan; the use of global debt as a “post-colonial” tool of domination; and the Armenian Genocide. While there are dozens if not hundreds of major reparations processes in the world today, it will be instructive to consider these cases in detail, as illustrations of these many struggles.

U.S. slavery destroyed African societies and exploited and abused violently millions of human beings for 250 years. At its dissolution, it pushed former slaves into the U.S. economy without land, capital, and education. Initial recognition of the need to provide some compensation for slavery in order to give former slaves a chance toward basic economic self-sufficiency gave way to violent and discriminatory racism. Former slaves were forced into the economic order at the lowest level. Wealth is preserved across generations through inheritance. Those whose people begin with little and who do not enslave or exploit others will remain with little. Reparations for African Americans recognizes that the poverty, discrimination, and other challenges facing African Americans today result from injustices more than 100 years ago that have never been corrected, and the subsequent racist violence and discrimination that has preserved the post-slavery status quo every since.

The South African case revolved around the fact that, as the world had divested from South Africa in the 1980’s, the Afrikaner government borrowed money, especially from Switzerland, to continue to finance Apartheid. Against the international embargo, bankers’ loans paid for the guns and other military hardware that were used to kill black activists and keep their people in slavery. The fall of Apartheid did not mean an end to the debt. Today’s South Africans live in poverty as their country is forced to pay off the tens of billions of U.S. dollars in loans incurred to keep them in slavery before. They pay yet further billions for the pensions of Afrikaner government, military, and police officials living out their days in quiet comfort after murdering, torturing, and raping with impunity for decades. What is more, U.S. and other corporations drew immense profits from South African labor. Many victims of Apartheid reject the loan debt and demand reparation for all they suffered and all that was expropriated from them as the just means for bringing their society out of poverty. After years of refusal, the South African government itself has recently reversed its position based on the desire to curry favor with large corporations and has begun to support U.S. court cases for reparations from corporations enriched by Apartheid.

In the aftermath of decolonization, societies devastated by decades or centuries of occupation, exploitation, cultural and familial destruction, and genocide were left in poverty and without the most basic resources needed to meet the minimum needs of their people. Forced suddenly to compete with those who had enriched themselves and grown militarily and culturally powerful through colonialism, they had no chance. Their only option was to borrow money in the hope of “catching up.” But corrupt and selfish leaders diverted billions to private bank accounts (with winks from former colonial powers), invested in foolish and irrelevant public works projects, and otherwise misappropriated money that was supposed to help these societies. Loan makers, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, imposed conditions to push these societies into a new servitude to the economies of the United States and other great powers. Servicing the loans that have not helped their economies develop now means sacrificing basic human services and healthcare in these desperate societies and accepting extensive outside control of their societies to benefit former colonizers and multinational corporations at the expense of further degradation of the dignity and material conditions of their populations. The Jubilee movement calls for debt cancellation as a crucial step toward justice for the devastation of colonialism and post-colonialism and a path toward a sustainable and fair global economy.

Former comfort women have long faced assaults on their dignity in their home countries and by Japan. They were often impoverished by their devastating experiences of being raped on average thousands of times in permanent rape camps as sexual slaves to the Japanese military. Physical damage from incessant forced intercourse and the brutal violence soldiers subjected them to, the aftermath of coerced drug addiction, and intense psychological trauma have frequently followed the women into their old age. They have needed medical care as well as acknowledgment of the inhuman injustice done to them. In the early 1990’s, surviving “comfort women” began calling for reparations to address the effects of what they had suffered.

Native Americans and Armenians share certain similarities in their past experiences and challenges today, from being crushed by competing as well as sequential imperial power-games and conquests, and a series of broken or unfair treaties, to a history of being subject to massacre, sexual violence, and societal destruction. Members of both groups have been sent on their “long marches” to death. In the aftermath of active genocide through direct killing and deadly deportation, even the remnants of these peoples on their own lands have been erased, through the raiding and destruction of hundreds of thousands to millions of Native American graves as a policy of the U.S. “scientific” establishment, and the continuing destruction of remaining Armenian Church and other structures throughout Turkey. For Native Americans, the continuing expropriation of land and resources, the blocking of Native American social structures and economic activity, and the dramatic demographic destruction (an estimated 97 percent in the continental United States) has left behind a set of Indian nations subject to the whims of the U.S. government and struggling to retain identity and material survival in a hostile world. Reparations, particularly of traditional lands, are essential to the survival of Native peoples and cultures. Similarly, from its status as the major minority in the Ottoman Empire a century ago, today an Armenian population of below 3 million in the new republic faces a Turkey of 70 million with tremendous economic resources built on the plunder of Armenian wealth and land—through genocide and the century of oppression and massacre that preceded it—and tremendous military power awarded it through aid from the United States in recognition of its regional power—also gained through genocide. The Armenian Diaspora of perhaps five million is dispersed across the globe and slowly losing cohesion and relevance as powerful forces of assimilation and fragmentation take their toll. Reparations in the form of compensation for the wealth taken, which in many cases can be traced to Turkish families and business today, and lands depopulated of Armenians and thus “Turkified” through genocide, are crucial to the viability of Armenian society and culture in the future. Without the kind of secure cradle the Treaty of Sevres was supposed to give Armenians, true regeneration is impossible: Turkish power, still violently hostile to Armenians, grows each day, as the post-genocide residual Armenia degenerates.

Of course, reparations are not simply about mitigating the damage done to human collectivities in order to make possible at least some level of regeneration or future survival, however important this is. Reparations also represent a concrete, material, permanent, and thus not merely rhetorical recognition by perpetrator groups or their progeny of the ethical wrongness of what was done, and of the human dignity and legitimacy of the victim groups. They are the form that true apologies take, and the act through which members who supported the original assault on human rights or who benefited from it—economically, politically, militarily, culturally, and in terms of the security of personal and group identity—decisively break with the past and refuse to countenance genocide, slavery, Apartheid, mass rape, imperial conquest and occupation, aggressive war focused on civilians, forced expulsions, or any other form of mass human rights violation.

***

It is with both dimensions in mind that in 2007 Jermaine McCalpin, a political scientist with a recent Ph.D. from Brown University specializing in long-term justice and democratic transformation of societies after mass human rights violations; Ara Papian, former Armenian ambassador to Canada and expert on the relevant treaty history and law; Alfred de Zayas, former senior lawyer with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Chief of Petitions, and currently professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations; and I came together to study the issue of reparations for the Armenian Genocide in concrete terms. The Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group’s (AGRSG) work has culminated in a draft report on the legal, treaty, and ethical justifications for reparations and offers concrete proposals for the political process that will support meaningful reparations. The following are some of the elements of the AGRSG findings, arguments, and proposals.

International law makes clear that victim groups have the right to remedies for harms done to them. This applies to the Armenian Genocide for two reasons. First, the acts against Armenians were illegal under international law at the time of the genocide. Second, the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide applies retroactively. While the term “genocide” had not yet been coined when the 1915 Armenian Genocide was committed, the Convention subsumes relevant preexisting international laws and agreements, such as the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions. Since the genocide was illegal under those conventions, it remains illegal under the 1948 Convention. What is more, the current Turkish Republic, as successor state to the Ottoman Empire and as beneficiary of the wealth and land expropriations made through the 1915 genocide, is responsible for reparations.

While the 1920 Sevres Treaty, which recognized an Armenian state much larger than what exists today, was never ratified, some of its elements retain the force of law and the treaty itself is not superseded by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. In particular, the fixing of the proper borders of an Armenian state was undertaken pursuant to the treaty and determined by a binding arbital award. Regardless of whether the treaty was ultimately ratified, the committee process determining the arbital award was agreed to by the parties to the treaty and, according to international law, the resulting determination has legal force regardless of the ultimate fate of the treaty. This means that, under international law, the so-called “Wilsonian boundaries” are the proper boundaries of the Armenian state that should exist in Asia Minor today.

Various ethical arguments have been raised against reparations generally and especially for harms done decades or centuries in the past. Two of particular salience are that (1) a contemporary state and society that did not perpetrate a past mass human rights violation but merely succeeded the state and society that did, does not bear responsibility for the crime nor for repairing the damage done, for this would be penalizing innocent people; and (2) those pursuing Armenian Genocide land reparations are enacting a territorial nationalist irredentism that is similar to the Turkish nationalism that drove Turkification of the land through the genocide, and is thus not legitimate.

To the first objection, the report responds that because current members of Turkish society benefit directly from the destruction of Armenians in terms of increased political and cultural power as well as a significantly larger “Turkish” territory and a great deal of personal and state wealth that has been the basis of generations of economic growth, they have a link to the genocide. While they cannot be blamed morally for it, they are responsible for the return of wealth and making compensation to Armenians for other dimensions of the genocide. To the second objection, the report responds that the lands in question became “Turkish” precisely through the ultranationalist project of the genocide. Retaining lands “Turkified” in this way indicates implicit approval of that genocidal ultra-nationalism, while removing Turkish control is the only route to a rejection of that ideology.

In addition to the legal, political, and ethical arguments justifying reparations, the report also proposes a complex model for the political process for determining and giving reparations. The report makes clear that material reparations and symbolic reparations, including an apology and dissemination of the truth about what happened in 1915, as well as rehabilitation of the perpetrator society are crucial components of a reparations process if it is to result in a stable and human rights-respecting resolution. The report proposes convening an Armenian Genocide Truth and Reparations Commission with Turkish, Armenian, and other involvement that will work toward both developing a workable reparations package and a rehabilitative process that will tie reparations to a positive democratic, other-respecting transformation of the Turkish state and society. As much as reparations will be a resolution of the Armenian Genocide legacy, they will also be an occasion for productive social transformation in Turkey that will benefit Turks.

Finally, the report makes preliminary recommendations for specific financial compensation and land reparations. The former is based in part on the detailed reparations estimate made as part of the Paris Peace Conference, supplemented by additional calculations for elements not sufficiently covered by the conference’s estimation of the material financial losses suffered by Armenians. The report also discusses multiple options regarding land return, from a symbolic return of church and other cultural properties in Turkey to full return of the lands designated by the Wilsonian arbital award. The report includes the highly innovative option of allowing Turkey to retain political sovereignty over the lands in question but demilitarizing them and allowing Armenians to join present inhabitants with full political protection and business and residency rights. This model is interesting in part because it suggests a human rights-respecting, post-national concept of politics that some might see as part of a transition away from the kinds of aggressive territorial nationalisms—such as that which was embraced by the Young Turks—that so frequently produce genocide and conflict.

On May 15, 2010, the AGRSG will present its draft report formally in a public event at George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution in Arlington, Va.

46 Comments on Theriault: The Global Reparations Movement and Meaningful Resolution of the Armenian Genocide

  1. I wonder if the armenian diaspora in usa could submit the same sugegstions to the american government for land reparations in favor of the native americans whose lands were literally captured by white men came from across the ocean.

  2. avatar Berge Jololian // May 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm // Reply

    Land, Reparations and Restitution – Let’s start with a down payment of Nakhichevan, Arart, Ani, Kars, Artvin, Ardahan, Hopa, and Erzurum; then we can negotiate.
     

  3. avatar Simon Zavarian // May 7, 2010 at 12:34 am // Reply

    A very intriguing analysis Dr. Theriault.
     
    There seems to be a perception among scholars who examine the Armenian case for reparations that redress for the period of the actual Genocide is adequate. However, when thriving for lasting regional peace and genuine reconciliation it is important to emphasize that the Armenian Genocide is a crime composed of two distinct stages: the genocide phase itself (1915-1923) and the denial time-line (1923-Turkey’s acknowledgment).
     
    I believe many would agree that this “denial time-line” continues to inflict a significant toll on Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora to this very day. Surely, this second phase of deliberate state sanctioned genocide denial must also be properly acknowledged and accounted for when developing a comprehensive reparations package.
     
    Perhaps the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group (AGRSG) would also consider incorporating this argument into their proposals report.

  4. WOW.. very impressive..

    I hope to God that this draft truly makes way to more strable and positive outcome..

    Thank you Dr. Theriault for sharing your article with us…

    Gayane

  5. avatar shantagizoum // May 7, 2010 at 6:57 am // Reply

    I beg to differ a bit…respecting all comments above.
    I wish to brign to attn: that these must be  prioritized.
    1.As famous  French  historian-activist Yves Ternon(last year about this time ) in Paris addressed to an Armenian gathering,ending…and I quote”PARLEMENT A PARLEMENT” simples  enough -his suggestion that  is-that before we can proceed  further,we should gain moment with our CAUSE/CASE at as manuy more Parliaments of different Governments as possible-even local governments,such as in the U.S. (states).You see  in Europe there are such as well,for instance  in U.K the Welsh one ,in Spain the Cataluña´s Parliament(both recognized the Armenian Genocide..)
    2.Then,even before taking steps-we cannot anyhow-claiming Land and property,riches etc.,from a totalitarian Government,to say a  mildly-we should concentrate on another ISSUE,which is much more feasible.That  of “Blood Money”,which has precednet(s) why in plural? because I am not referring only to the Jewish Claim which was lodged against Germany and still being paid..but also the minor Armenian ones.Those  that a group of Armenian attorneys painstakingly prepared,lodged with the Life  insurance companies and retributions were realized…
    If we insist upon Land claim at this stage-as wexplained above- the answer  will be  a  “rotundo”  round  NO.Thence, prudence  ,caution and diplomacy are requirements that we must have in view  dealing  with an ADVERSARY(viz.I do not use other word)that  is ,has been and ma continue to be an Adamant denier.
    best,
    G.P:

  6. All I can say is dream on…  taking history to court is a slippery slope.  Where do you stop?  Such a childish and primitive concept.  The author has never considered the incalculabe harm and cost of the armed Armenian revolts and mass murders.  

    “The report includes the highly innovative option of allowing Turkey to retain political sovereignty over the lands in question but demilitarizing them and allowing Armenians to join present inhabitants with full political protection and business and residency rights.”

    This makes some sense and at least has a trace of reality in it.  I am persoanlly open to the idea that there could be a generous immigration policy towards those Armenians who can prove direct family ties to Turkey and they could come and live on those lands enjoying the same privilages as any other citizen.  I can assure you though that not many Turks will think so generously.

  7. Keep your ‘generosity’ to yourself, Murat. Armenians need not prove ties with their ancestral lands, which they inhabited for millennia as indigenous people in several provinces of Western Armenia. At the times Armenians developed civilization on those lands there was no such a notion as ‘Turkey.’ So, please keep your generosity and imperialist arrogance to yourself and to ‘not many Turks who will think so generously,’ OK? Also, please refrain from posting childish and primitive concepts about ‘taking history to court.’ The article clearly demonstrates that it’s not about history, but rather about a legal action based on international law that gives victim groups the right to remedies for harms done to them. Can you appreciate the difference? Lastly, are you capable of appreciating the difference between revolts for national liberation from the Ottoman rule that were widespread during the final decades of the empire, and not only by the Armenians, but also by Greeks, Serbs, Arabs, Bulgarians, Romanians, and other enslaved peoples, and a government-planned, deliberate state policy on race annihilation? Armenian ‘mass murders’? This is something new in the history. The world knows about Turkish mass murders, but Armenian ‘mass murders’ might be a figment of your imagination, I suppose?

  8. I wonder if we could pursue this road to justice and reparations rather than continuously banging our heads against the wall fighting the Turkish lobby and US policy each year attempting to get a Genocide Resolution passed? 

  9. avatar shanrtagizoum // May 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm // Reply

    My God, ,Mon Dieus!!! Van,
    I swear to God allmighty,that  you just took the words out  of my mouth..as I was about to respond to this Murat Efendi!!!still  dreamin the Ottoman days and ..well you know the rest.Biut Van do not be annoyed by such like comments ..their mindset  as yet has to be altered immensely.Sometime ago another -that time a turkish historian Gunaysu-name that  is familiar  to most  here online, in a roundabout “sugar coated” Gula Gula  style was attempting to lure  us here that we go back there..-to our lands-but at the veruy end dropping so very mildly that your ARE OUR PEOPLE!!!!
    No they will not change ,unless something drastic happens,or else by and by as we are doing try to evolutionize  them piano paino”yavash Yavash”,lest their “Khers” flares up and start plundering this time over  the poor   k u r d s    there…
    latter  having tasted their 70/80 year rule, as of Ataturk..have now realized  who they are dealing with..and will eventually join up with us in their quest for an Autonomous Kurdistan that was grantesd to them at Sevres…
    nonetheless I do believe  that dialogue with them is a must.Mr. Murat, we are all for  it-except one more thing, please try to educate yourself  reading non-turkish ,French,English spanish and other language history books.If not Armenian.But even this ,you must be aware  that your gpovernment has  -it was in Haratch Daily or weekly of <paris just a couple weeks ago..that some young turkish oifficers -even number given 120 of them at Ankaa Military Academy are studdying the Armenian Language.Ask yourself  for what to go speak  it on the moon? or what else..No we are not slumbering,we are quite awake.Also ,pleae be a bit more GENEROUS WILLYA? LIKE SAYING WE ARE CEDING mOUNTS ARARAT  AND aNI RUINS TO r.OF aRMENIA ..AS A STARTER OR EVEN kARS /ARDAHAN A BIT LATER….in not too far future…when your allies really get to know  you better…
    Case in point  when State Secretary  Hillary Clinton had a meeting with Mr. Erdogan, after said meeting ,the U.S. Ambassador in Qatar, said meeting  is over.your diplomat  then participating there, uttered”who are  you to judge  that meeting  is over, then ensued a give and take and even physically entangled give and take,untill those presesnt seperatedz  them…these are factoids, from freign press correspondence…
     

  10. Van THANK YOU… like shanrtagizoum said.. you took the words right out of my mouth.. i was definitely pissed after reading his comment but my anger was subdued after reading your comment to him… Thank you …

    My two cent on this Murat individual… Instead of telling us that we are dreaming.. he should tell himself that .. because if he thinks we are going to be allowed to live side by side with him … HE IS DREAMING..Murat.. you are dreaming.. for sure… the lands will be returned to their lawful owners and it will be you who will request to be allowed to live on it.. and i have a feeling you will get the boot…

    I laughed after reading the nonsense comment.. wow.. such ignorance and arrogance…  

    Gayane

  11. you guys are so funny. :-)
    around 3 million  (50% under poverty) Armenians Versus, 70 million Turkish.
    I would really like see how you could do what is written above. Please do it :-)
     
     

  12. “I am persoanlly open to the idea that there could be a generous immigration policy towards those Armenians who can prove direct family ties to Turkey and they could come and live on those lands enjoying the same privilages as any other citizen.”
    Believe it or not, this mindset is definitely an advancement, compared with the traditional Turkish view that  Armenians were traitors (i.e. if you read between the lines, we had it coming).  At least this shows the recognition that ‘some’ type of wrong has been committed against the Armenians and should be righted.
    It appears that the Kurdish experiment and assimilation project from the early 20th century has completely failed, in which ‘Anatolia’, also known as Armenia in 61 A.D., is LESS developed now than in 1914, and apparently, Kurds are as much ‘traitors’ as Armenians were.  Armenians moving back to our historic lands would be beneficial to Turkey itself, so you would be doing yourself a favor, but please no 200% Armenian income tax this time
    Murat, can you name the famous general and leader of Turkey who was initially branded a traitor to the state, who led a revolt against the ruling government, and who was found guilty with a demand for his arrest?  I guess winning changes everything.  Can you also name the general who violated several treaties with the original republic of Armenia by continual invasion East, DESPITE a signed treaty, because he was stronger and could do it.
    If one country signs a treaty with another defining the common border, then proceeds to violate that treaty and invade that country, is that considered legal?  The answer is no, but in general, offensive war itself is an illegal concept and immoral in most cases.  The bottom line is, no land or rights can be given without Turkey’s consent because the brutal truth is that no country will send their soldiers to enforce any ruling expanding Armenia if Turkey rejects it.
    In war, for centuries, might and guns trump rights and laws, and legal issues can go on forever, as they could easily argue for a referendum in those territories, and we would be placed in a decision to argue against a referendum by the population in the region which would be a tough sell.
    However, if Turks and Turkey genuinally recognize that the Armenian genocide, or mass destruction, or race extermination, or mass forced Armenian death march was immoral and illegal, then with true recognition, Turks as most human beings, will want to right a historical wrong, which can take many forms, but the key is the INTENT to make Armenians whole.  Forcing current Turks to pay reparations won’t work; in fact, if history has taught anything, is that the Turks become paranoid and move in the other direction if they are forced into anything (i.e. see 1918-1921).
    However, if we agree that rules that are applied for one country should apply to another, then Armenia should annex the lands that they have conquered from Azerbaijan, and Turkey and Azerbaijan should be fine with this, as it is according to the ‘rules’ of war.
    Land won with blood or paid with money is NEVER given away just to be ‘nice’.  If Azerbaijan wants any land back, the Turks should be ready to make a trade, and just as I am sure that Turks believe in the concept of self-determination in Cyprus, they also back the same concept in Artsakh :)
    This endless game of ‘its good if we do it, but bad if you do it’ should be the first thing that is scrapped during any negotiations – Turkey might be bigger, but Armenia has the same rights as any other nation.
     

  13. You’re so funny, Ahmet, to be unable to get over the primitive thinking that small-numbered Armenians will go head-on with the hordes of Turks. There is much other leverage in this world. And you don’t have to see how we could do what’s written above, we’re already doing this for decades after Western Armenia was emptied from the Armenians. More states and international organizations recognize the genocide of Armenians in the hands of the Turks; more voices condemning this crime against humanity are heard in Turkey itself; and more voices are being raised to revitalize the Mandate that was to be materialized by the Allied Powers after the WWI in regard to partition of the Ottoman empire. Above all, there’s a universal truth that you now seem to laugh at, but soon will face with all seriousness: it is impossible to get away with mass murder forever. Sooner or later criminals will be called to justice and an apology will be given to victims. Watch closely how this is being gradually done and how soon your government officials will kneel, bow their heads, and apologize to all Armenians. This will happen during our lifetime, make no mistake. Until then, go put smiley faces in your comments. They underscore your evolutional level when the civilized world is able to grieve over the loss of millions of innocent lives and ancient homeland. Go ahead, laugh, we’ll see who’ll laugh last…

  14. Armen,
     
    Forcing current Turks to pay reparations won’t work
     
    You have to have sufficient evidence and convincing set of arguments to claim this. I tend to believe that if paying reparations is confronted with a danger for disintegration of their state as a result of land restitution to the Armenians and the Kurds, Turks would rather prefer the former than the latter.
     
    However, if we agree that rules that are applied for one country should apply to another, then Armenia should annex the lands that they have conquered from Azerbaijan
    Armenians re-gained Nagorno-Karabakh region that was given to Azerbaijan in the 1920s by an illegitimate Bolshevik regime and a unilateral decision by Stalin. Territories that Armenians conquered to provide security of the region from constant shelling by Azerbaijan can be given back if the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is determined as a de jure independent state.
     
    Land won with blood or paid with money is NEVER given away just to be ‘nice’
     
    True in case of Nagorno-Karabakh, but is not applicable to ancient Armenian provinces in Turkey that were to belong to their rightful masters, the Armenians, according to the international mandate designed by the Allied Powers after WWI. Agreements were violated by Mustafa Kemal and by the time the Lausanne Treaty was signed there was no such a state as independent Armenia. I tend to believe that these lands would need to be given back according to the international law. Of course, the law, would need to receive the backing of the major power centers.

  15. Van,

    Thank you for taking time to respond to the comments.

    My emphasis should have been on FORCING, as a study of Ottoman history will show you that in general, they will give up a great deal of land and wealth rather than be perceived as being forced into a decision (even if it is the correct decision), which is unlike the West, in which decisions can be influenced by pressure in a positive way;  among Turks, it has the opposite effect – even today, the more the U.S. pressured Turkey to sign the protocols, the more they decided that Azerbaijan should have a veto in their foreign policy.  Also, they would rather keep a small chunk of a small island as the TRNC even if it costs them EU entry.  The only way to force Turkey to make reparations is an invasion. 

    I disagree about giving back any land for security guarantees, which over there are pretty worthless, and I think it was a poor negotiating tactic from the start to even mention the possibility of evacuation those lands.  Given the massive territorial losses that Armenians have experienced at the hands of the Turkic race in that region, as well as the human losses, to me it is a form of  involuntary or forced! reperation.  The only way even an inch should be given back is if genuine acknowledgement and reparations for the Genocide takes place, or if there is a TRADE among equals.  I am always shocked to hear Armenians mention vacating any land that we won through sacrifice.  Further, evacuating those lands will look weak in the eyes of Turkey and Azerbaijan.  Might is right, and democracy doesn’t exist over there and human rights are a fantasy.  They are talking to Armenia now because Armenia won the war.  Do you think they would evacuate any regions if they took over N. Armenia?  Of course, history is critical, but playing devil’s advocate, they could just as easily say this was Ottoman lands for 700 years, etc.. which is why law and reason seldom work over there, but standing at an outpost with weapons is the only language they understand and no actions have shown otherwise for 700 years of Turkic rule

  16. “Forcing current Turks to pay reparations won’t work
     
    You have to have sufficient evidence and convincing set of arguments to claim this”

    Here is one:  It will never happen under any circumstances…

  17. Sadly, justice and international law have never successfully worked to the benefit of most oppressed peoples around the world, largely because governments and states strive to preserve the status quo, and work to prevent any disruption that might alter a state of civility or their positions of power. While borders can change, this rarely happens in times of peace and only come about after prolonged periods of war, death and destruction. While Van is technically correct and I agree w/ him, I also see the point of view of those who say (and realize) you cannot turn back the clock to 61 AD. As they say in every courtroom, possession is 9/10ths of the law. Turkey has owned Anatolia and western Armenia for 1000 years now. Shouldn’t we get used to it?   The idea that Armenia might someday regain its ancestral lands in Anatolia might sound noble and romantic, but under today’s realities (yes…the combo of 70 million Turks and Kurds who live there), seems far-fetched. Much better to work on developing a symbiotic friendship w/ everyone who borders Armenia, including Turkey, with the hope of improving the lives of those who live in Armenia today. To continue to act solely on behalf of an outdated notion of  hai tahd seems a bit nostalgic and selfish to me, especially when real, live people are suffering there every day from poverty, illness, lack of work and worse…lack of hope.  Giving Ani back to Armenia would be truly wonderful, but it’s not going to feed, clothe or keep people warm during icy cold winters. Their pain should be your pain.

  18. Armen,

    I believe your response was addressed to me, not Van. But thanks, anyway. I tend to believe that forcing can be multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, and I don’t think that an invasion is the only way to force Turkey to make reparations. Besides, invasion by whom? I hope you didn’t mean the Armenians?
    You misread my point on giving back any land around Nagorno-Karabakh. I stated regions surrounding Artsakh could be given back for recognition of Artsakh as a de jure independent state, nor for security guarantees.
    Standing at an outpost with weapons… Please elaborate: who’s going to be standing and with what weapons? You don’t really mean the Armenians, do you?

  19. For once I agree with you. Your kind is more about theft and rape and murder rather then truth lasting peace or even justice. That is why the term “sick man of Europe” comes to mind!

  20. avatar ragnar naess // May 9, 2010 at 2:54 pm // Reply

    Dear Henry Thieriault
    As a human right activist focussing on Turkey and as a student of the debate on the Armenian genocide I like your universalist approach.
     
    I agree that the ittihadists in 1915committed a crime punishable by existing international treaties and - more obviuously – existing Ottoman laws. However, more people today than before are uncertain about the facts supportiung the thesis of genocide intent, particularly after Guenter Lewy’s book. So those who want justice for Armenians should be stronger in their arguments and supply their argumentation with the following starting point: 1) the admissions by Talat Pasha, more or less repeated by Parliamentary speaker Omer Izgi in the 2001 publication ”The Armenians in the late Ottoman periode” (ed Ataov) that one did too little to punish those who massacred Armenians, and that the omission even was part of a policy not to antagonize Kurdish tribes, 2) recent research confirming this in spite of Turkish traditionalists who insist with Kamuran Gurun that 1300 perpetrators were punished,(actually only a few in Greater Syria were punished, but no one in the areas where the majority of the massacres took place), and then add your point 3) that Armenian property obviously were stolen and should be compensated for.
     
     Unfortunately we now see both in the US House Panel and the Swedish parliament voting that genocide resolutions may pass with very few votes. Is it not better to launch the political agenda with a text closer to the German Bundestag resolution of 2005 which simply asks Turkey to go into the black spots of their history with reference to the Armenians, and which points to the evident responsibility of the ittihadists?
     
    Finally, I was intrigued by your statement that  ”….the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide applies retroactively”. I believe you are in disagreement with the standard work on the matter, Schabas’ “Genocide  in International law”. I also heard two lectures lately, one by the head of the juridical department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of my country and also by a specialist on the matter who works with the UN, and they obviously disagree with you. So it would be in the general interest if you go deeper into this
     
    Yours sincerely
     
    Ragnar Naess, Norway
     

  21. Murat..  continue to dream on you ignorant individual…you think by stating ” it will never happen”,  by laughing and mocking the people who post their comments on this site, you are showing off your intelligence??

    All you are doing is proving to us that you have nothing constructive to say and your one or two sentence posts are just laughable to say the least…so i guess that makes you the laughing matter on this site….. just in case you did not realize it by now…

    Have a nice day..

  22. avatar shantagizoum // May 10, 2010 at 4:29 am // Reply

    AGAIN WE ALL HAVE SOME REASON IN OUR POSTS.This is in spanish(Javier Solana,spanish..it goes “TODOS  TENEMOS RAZON”..
     WHETHER CHORNOLOGICALLY OR ANTI-CHRONOLOGICALLY:-
    1. An  enormous crime such as the one committed by the Ottoman Turkey or Kemalist Turkey on Armenian sub jects has not EXPIRY  DATE.This according to U.N. Charter,drawn up in S.F. after WWII..
    2.Our quest for Justice is perrenial ,untrill  it has been implemented ,property,goods,riches etc., returned to lawfull owners´ Heirs..
    I am referring to Private personal Property not National territorires…this is the way to approach to adversary.Also on another plan the U.N. has protectrive Caluses as rgds Land mark propertiers, churches monuments etc.,these c an also be claimned  to be restored-returned.
    2.Most importantly that  so far  our Legal/political heirarchy-has not tackled  is the one that I keep advocating, that  of Claiming “Blood Money”  much  more feasible.Has precedents and if pursued  can be won.
    3.Turkey may indeed come up-especeially now-that the whole world is goiung through an ECONOMIC  CRUNCH..right?
    No ,this also has a response-.Just  like U.S is about to claim damges sustained by the tremendous amount  of  Oil spread onto the MexicanGolf..AND THEY HOLD  BP RESPONSIBLE FOR SAME…
    We can  rely on these  Mammoth Oil companies  to set aside a certain% of the Transit duty being paid to Turkey to be allotted to heris  of the Armenian Genocide.Why through these? they can be questioned  why they passed the pipeline, they erroneously? or intentionally by passed R.of Armenia  a  much shorter route.So their Governments  could ask them why did  you do that?.

    çNow that the whole thing  is actually based  on Financial issues,such as above,we can hope that these MAMoths  wilkl oblige3-if pressured by respective goverfnments..
    But first thiungs  first…”Blood  Money”Claim to be lodged at  relevant instances an  issuue  that  has to be taken up by ouBAR ASSOC.
    kind rgds  
     

  23. Thanks Henry Theriault
    For your Soulful Article
    That will chant
    To clear our rocky
    Still bleeding  roads. 

    And I will add:
     
    Armenian Gravity
     
    Armenian Gravity
    Should call us together
    To be one piece united , as
    One Khachkar on earth.
     
    We should see one Sun
    Since there isn’t another one.
    We should see one Moon
    That lights our dark days.
     
    We should possess one heart
    That beats rhythmically to live.
    To be one human
    That walked proudly.
     
    And shall continue
    Marching, trust to achieve
    With thy creative, kind, artful
    Serenade dative genes.
     
    Sylva Portoian, MD
     
    May 10, 2010

  24. @Murat
    I would be very interested to know:
    What or Who are you actually defending ?  Have you every looked inward to find a genuine answer to that question, or is a knee jerk reaction to the phrase ‘reparations’ ?
    Are you defending the brilliant CUP era, whose leaders are not only traitors to the Armenians, but to TURKS as well.  Armenian infants did not cause the destruction of the Ottoman Empire through their rebellion, however a group of sociopathic fascist and delusional criminals did.  The Armenian genocide ensured that the Ottoman Empire would never rise again and ‘Anatolia’ would remain a 3rd world country just like the true enemies of the Ottoman Empire wanted.  (check a history book written BY a Roman historian during the Roman empire – you will see Armenia in large letters on the maps but no Anatolia).
    Are you defending the CUP policies of attacking a country with 5 times your troops during the worst possible month?  Was the general of the third army an Armenian?
    Can it be true that the Armenians destroyed parts of the Turkish Army but were a small minority in every region of the empire.  How can so few people kill so many soldiers – did they have super-powers?
    Is it sane to attack Russia in the WINTER with FEWER troops, less weapons, less equipment and less training and expect to WIN?  If a general miscalculates on such a massive scale, and marks the beginning of the end of the Ottoman empire , should he be celebrated as a hero?  Do you think the Armenian farmers in Kharpert destroyed the Ottoman 3rd army, and was it the Armenians who forced the CUP to enter World War I?  Was it the Armenian prime ministers and kings in Europe who baited the Turks into World War I?
    Do you think that it is good government policy to destroy hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, who gave to the empire much much more than they received back from it for 500+ years?
    Since I am certain you have read about the history of the Ottoman Empire from pro / neutral / con sources from the West and East, can you tell me how many ‘rebellions’ the Armenians organized from 1400 – 1900?
    Is is logical that a subjugated people of farmers, businesspeople, and professionals who were LEGALLY not able to purchase weapons until 1914, would have been secretly organizing a revolution on the assumption that they would be equal to the Ottoman empire after 1 year of practice?
    Or, is it more logical that an unarmed and repressed minority was destroyed to make room of Muslims from the lost Balkan war, and the planting of weapons was used to ‘sell’ the ‘danger’ of the Armenian menace to justify the ‘relocation’ to ‘sunny Syria’ during the ‘tranquil’ days of WWI.
    Does it strike you as odd that the relocation of Greeks to Greece and Turks to Turkey in the 1927 population exchange (i.e. a bilateral relocation program) had a mortality rate of nearly ZERO, but the unlucky Armenians somehow managed to lose 70-80% of their population on the desert march, despite being ‘well fed’, ‘well guarded’, ‘well taken care of’ and well, murdered.
    Do you think that it is bad luck to account for the 70% difference or do you think that lack of water, lack of food, lack of shelter, and a sword thrust to the abdomen may have been the cause of this ‘bad luck’.  What percent of Azerbaijani’s survived the ‘genocide’ against them?  I’ll tell you that one, it is 99.6% – so apparently, Armenians aren’t so good at commiting genocide.  Also,  of the Turks killed in 1916, what percent were killed by the Russians in the Russian army ?
    Do you think the CUP wanted to ‘relocate’ the Armenians, and if so, why were provisions only provided for 1 or 2 days on a 30 day trip ?  Why was there so much LIME ordered to accompany the dangerous 4 year old and blind grandmothers?  Is lime a nutricious part of breakfast, or is it used to acidify many corpses at one time ?
    The Ottomans couldn’t destoy every single incriminating evidence, and sometimes, recording the blatant evidence of a planned extermination is unwise, but it seems beurocrats are addicted to documentation.  But I am sure there is a logical reason for all the lime, and I would be grateful if you explain to me what the hundreds of gallons of lime was going to be used for in the middle of the desert ?  Why were so many deaths expected, because didn’t Talaat telegram his underlings to treat the Armenians well, and do underlings routinely refuse direct orders like that and instead, start killing the Armenians in direct opposition to the telegram, and believe it or not, it was a ‘coordinated’ refusal, as all these underlings spontaneously decided that massacres were a better idea, to hell with Talaats’ intention to ‘guard the Armenians well’.
    Do you think that a country which destroys over a million of its own innocent citizens and steals the life cycle of its own young and female citizens should compensate the surviving descendants for destroying 1/2 to 3/4 of their entire families or should the Armenians just ‘accept’ it as Turkish justice and humanitarism and be happy that we are allowed to go to Akhtamar once a year and everything will be fine with some doner and raki, because as you know, in the Middle East, no one cares about their ancestors and honor is not important, right?
    What would be the chances that the orphans and women who survived the marches and ended up in different parts of the globe told IDENTICAL narrations about the actual relocation program being a never-located program?  Did the orphans in 1919 collude together to tell the same stories, because they could foretell the future and had telepathic powers?  Were my grandparents lying when they said their brothers were killed and sisters taken away to become wives?  Should I have informed them that he was spouting ARF propaganda, and it is all a lie, and to demand that he tell me where his brothers and sisters have been hiding all this time?  I missed the opportunity to inform them that my grandfather was a ‘rebel’ at the age of three and that everyone knows that the Armenians in Dikranagerd were planning a coup, and I should have demanded to know how he was able to execute the plan to destroy the third Ottoman army from his home in Dikranagerd?
    Is it common for a rebellios and revolting population to agree to a march through a desert?  Do armed rebels generally agree to being marched into rural desert zones during a period of war?  Or would an actual revolting population defy the orders?
    I sincerely hope you get true answers to even 5% of these questions, because even if you find the true answer to one of the questions, you will note that the Ottoman empire perpetrated a massive crime against ITS OWN citizens, 98% of which had never held a single weapon in their life.
    At a certain point, denial of such an apparent fact supported by so much evidence, becomes based more on lack of education / or too much mal-education but denial after seeing the evidence can only be from:
    1. spite
    2. fear of consequences
    3. delusion
    4. approval of genocide as a domestic policy tool
    5. fear of Armenian infants, women ,and grandmothers
    Thanks for reading,
    Armen
     

  25. Armen — You’re relatively new to this discussion, but several ‘older’ commentators came to know this Murat guy well. A piece of advice, if I may. Spare your energy and intellect on contemplating issues regarding possible scenarios for Armenia’s revival, ways and means of restoration of our lost homeland, reparations to the descendants of the roughly 2 mln Armenians of Western Armenia. Cynical, arrogant commentators like Murat with post-imperialist mentality and no compassion for human life  and human values, are not worth offering so much time and so lengthy comments, however convincing, truthful, and well-written they may be.

  26. Actually, Van, though I agree that Murat will probably not be moved by Armen’s brilliant essay,  he may not even read it, and he will likely scoff at it what he considers ARF propaganda,  I am still grateful to read it.  With so much disinformation and pseudo history being put out by the Turks, we need to assert the truth as often as we can.  Every lie must be challenged.  I am shocked by some of the things that misinformed non-Armenians say about our issues based on the Turkish lies they have come to trust.
    I thank Armen for his strong voice.  Our enemies are very vocal and most Turks believe the lies and their false school lessons (yes, this is changing in some circles!).   So even if Murat is unmoved, perhaps Armen’s words will reach some other eyes and ears that are ready to know the truth.   Let most Turks and people like Karekin tell us we are ugly, angry Armenians, but we know that although the truth is not always pretty, standing up for it is always right.  Meanwhile, if people like Karekin are sincere in their loyalty and advocacy for RA and it’s citizens, let them share their ideas of how we can assist our struggling brothers and sisters there.  Helping Armenians and Armenia is essential, but should not exclude justice for what the nation lost in the genocide.

  27. Even if justice and international law not always successfully worked to the benefit of most oppressed peoples around the world, it doesn’t mean Armenians shouldn’t make efforts in that area, in addition to efforts in other areas. Our efforts must be multi-dimensional regardless which area we’d anticipate the positive outcome. It is not only the international law that we can base our demands on, but also the legal Award of the Allied Powers that never was materialized in the case of Armenia, because the Republic ceased to exist in 1920 and therefore there’s no Armenia’s signature under the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923. The state that signed it, the USSR, no longer exists, whereas Armenia re-emerged as a subject of international law after 1991. Now, of course times have changed, circumstances have changed, but at this stage adding a legal dimension to Armenians’ struggle won’t spoil anything. On the contrary, the Turkish State’s campaign of denial of genocide will be more affected if we open that front.
     
    Governments and states strive to preserve the status quo and work to prevent disruption that might alter their positions of power when preservation of the status quo serves their needs. In other instances governments and states strive to violate the status quo when violation of the status quo serves their needs. As long as the existence of the Ottoman empire, Soviet empire, unified Yugoslavia, unified Georgia, unified Ethiopia, unified Indonesia et al served their positions of power, they tolerated the status quo. However, as the world is dynamic and fast-changed so are their positions and interests. Nothing’s static. If it’s true that you cannot turn back the clock to 61 AD, then it should sound equally true that you cannot turn clock ahead presuming that nothing will change in the future. If possession is 9/10ths of the law, then Jews would still be dreaming about having a Jewish state after roughly 2000 years, or Armenians after 600 years (after the fall of Cilician Armenian kingdom in the 14th century), or Georgians after 300 years (after two of its kingdoms broke free of the Persian control and were reunified in 1762), or Eritreans (after their country was federated with Ethiopia in 1951), or East Timorians (after the country was invaded by Indonesia in 1975). The list is very long.
     
    Armenians shouldn’t get used to a misrepresentation that Turkey owned Anatolia and western Armenia for 1000 years now. First of all, there was no  Turkey per se to own these lands. In the 11th century AD it was Seljuk tribes that invaded the region that’s known to the historians and geographers as Asia Minor, not Anatolia. Then followed Mongol invasions until the 13th century, and only in the 14th century AD the Ottoman Turkish empire was formed and lasted until 1922. It makes it 600 and not 1000 years. Besides, during these centuries Armenians were able to preserve some smaller kingdoms, not to mention the fact that the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia existed up until the 14th century. If Armenians are required to get used to this course of events, why aren’t Turks required to get used to the fact that origins of Armenians go to the 2nd millennium BC and they had state formations and developed civilizations in eastern Asia Minor up until the 14th century AD? Why aren’t the Turks required to get used to the fact that several ancient peoples inhabited the area long before their nomadic ancestors invaded it?
     
    Today’s realities of the combo of 70 mln Turks and Kurds living there are the realities of today. Tomorrow there will be a different set of realities, and that’s for sure. In the meantime, of course a symbiotic friendship with everyone who borders Armenia, including Turkey, can be developed. What remains to be dealt with is how Armenia technically develops ‘friendship’ with the Turkish state that’s engaged in an ongoing denial of its past crimes against the Armenians and refuses to extend a mere apology to the victims? And how Armenia develops ‘friendship’ with Azerbaijan when the state refuses to acknowledge the right of peoples for self-determination?
     
    As long as the Turkish state engages itself in the next stage of the genocide—the ongoing denial—the notion of Armenian Question (hai tahd) cannot be termed as ‘outdated.’ It can be termed so only if the notion will be put in use even after Turkey will have recognized the genocide.
     
    Recognition of the genocide and improving the lives of those who live in Armenia today are not mutually exclusive notions. Besides, life in Armenia is far from being so murky. By and large, people are fed, clothed, kept warm, and there are no longer icy cold winters like in the early 1990s. Poverty is much reduced during the past decade. The overall picture is far from being perfect, but what’s needed is a competent, public-spirited leadership, set of reforms at creating viable economic infrastructures, independent judiciary, free and fair elections, etc. This has absolutely nothing to do with the parallel efforts on hay daht’s demands for Ani. Even if recognition efforts are dropped, as was envisaged by the Turkish-Armenian protocols, was Turkey ready to open the borders and keep a symbiotic friendship with Armenia?

  28. Let me restate…no one is saying that there is anything wrong w/ genocide recognition efforts or activities. Go for it, but they should not overshadow work being done on behalf of today’s Armenia and its population. They’re the ones at risk now, not those of us in the diaspora. The other thing that everyone, particularly Turks, need to remember is not just the number of people decimated during the genocide, but that Armenians represented fully 25% of the population of Anatolia in 1915. This is not insignificant, and this alone left a huge impact that is really quite hard to imagine today.  Just think of almost any analogy…i.e., if 25% of the population of the US were to disappear overnight….and what that would do to life in general.  Hard to quantify, yet this is what happened all across Turkey, and it held development in that country back for decades.  It was a stupid move by the CUP criminals, no matter how one looks at it. The saddest part is, none of it can be reversed, unfortunately.  What’s done is done.  We cannot change that, as much as we might want to…

  29. Dear Ragnar Naess,
    Guenter Lewy is not a credible source for the Armenian Genocide. In fact he says he uses the Ottoman archives and selectively at that. He also tends to ignore the fact that most of the Turkish Archives were purged. Further Lewy has his own agenda specifically in keeping the Shoah as a stand alone Holocaust. Hardly an unbiased scholar. More recently the independent ICTJ was asked by both the Armenians and Turks to come to a conclusion and they deemed that the events fit the term Genocide and all Historians and Academics would be correct in using the term. However the Turks ignored this completely.  There are massive first hand accounts from diplomats to ambassadors as well as highly documented Archives from many sources including the US, France, UK, Italy, Sweden, that all lead to the same conclusion of the intent to liquidate a specific ethnic group, namely the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians which Lewy conveniently ignores.
    The problem today is not one of doubt but rather one of political expediency.

  30. Apres Armen jan… Excellent post… I hope vor Murati achqa durs ekav after he read your information..That should shut his nonsense thought process unless he has another funny comment to make……

    I agree with Boyajian.. we need to bring the accurate facts out as much as possible and every lie challenged.  We never should cease to do that…

    Astvats togh dzes uj u aroghchutyun ta….

    Gayane

  31. avatar ragnar naess // May 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm // Reply

    Dear John,
    Thank you for your answer. First, I believe you have a problem if you try simply to  reassure people that the evidence for genocidal intent exists.  When people doubt, reassurances of the veracity of certain theses will not convince them.  I also counted some 40 university employed historians with relevant competence who doubt that there was genocidal intent. To my mind people with your conviction should argue for your thesis in practice, even if you then had to argue in detail for something you have believed firmly for a long time yourself. It may seem a waste of time for you. To refer to mainstream historians and the ICTJ is easier. But will you convince the doubters, those who obviously must be your most important target group?
     
    Secondly, if the aim is to assist Turks in going into the black spots of their history, I believe more emphasis should be made on  Talat’s statements where he actually admits to an extremely grave responsibility: that the ittihadists  simply did not punish those who massacred Armenian deportees.
     
    Now I am not saying that those who are convinced that the itthadists had genocidal intent should stop saying this and stop fighting for their conviction. I am saying that they should pay more attention to indisputable  facts that very clearly place responsibility for Armenian mass deaths on the authorites of the time. Whether their acts were a result of  genocidal intent or not is then another matter.
     
    A minor point: you misrepresent the ICTJ statement because they did not specify any perpetrators. They only say that it is beyond doubt that some of the perpetrators had genocidal intent, and for this reason one is warranted to use the term genocide. But he main point for most Armenians has been that the authorities had genocidal intent.
     
    Then you write:
    There are massive first hand accounts from diplomats to ambassadors as well as highly documented Archives from many sources including the US, France, UK, Italy, Sweden, that all lead to the same conclusion of the intent to liquidate a specific ethnic group, namely the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians which Lewy conveniently ignores.
     
    This is not so. Lewy goes through a lot of these contemporary reports. The problem is that there, contrary to what you are saying,  are different opinions among them. Secondly, and more important, none of the foreign observers, whether Riggs, Ussher, Mordtmann, Davies, Scheubner-Richter or others,  had access to the mindset of the central ittihadists. And this is what intent is about: the mindset of people
     
    So why onesidedly insist on accusations that in themselves anyhow are extremely  difficult to prove and ignore relevant admissions by a central policy maker that implies obvious responsibility?
     
    Best wishes
     
    Ragnar Naess
     

  32. It’s a sad day when cowards like members of the editorial board, continuously censor and then delete everything that I or others may write/post!

    I sit here and read all of your comments, how Armenians will get this, how they’re entitled to or demand that, how they are always owed something and it’s their right to whatever, yada, yada, yada! They love to put down anyone who may disagree with them because they are the annoited ones and are allowed to do so (Hitler and Gobbels made it official in 1943 by officially declaring them [Armenians] true Arryans), and that the world OWES them for being victims, etc! Whew, you just can’t beat a Dashnak Armenian at coming up with some real whoppers! No, they talk a good talk about reparations, etc, but deep down they ALL know that this can never come true due to the sheer nature of the evidence against them, their refusals for a historical commission, their refusals to open their archives in Yerevan and Boston, MA, their refusal to debate us in an open public forum with full media coverage, their government AND their orthodox church leaders to even ONCE condone the murders of innocent civilians by Armenian terrorists (from the 1970′s-1990′s), their non-stop whining, etc! No they talk a good talk, but all they really are are nothing more than frightened cowards, epitomized by their very own editorial board!! 

  33. avatar George Aghjayan // May 11, 2010 at 7:30 am // Reply

    I would not bother responding to Ragnar. He is a provocator that lacks the integrity to discuss honestly and critically. It is a waste of time, as his comments above and elsewhere have proven.

  34. The idea that anyone would quote pseudo-historians like Lewy or Mccarthy, who are known to be paid hacks of the Turkish propadanda machine is laughable, indeed.   Anyone w/ half a brain will notice that they never refer to truly academic works by objective historians who are not connected to the Turkish money machine.  The other thing to note is that as things change within Turkey itself, more and more academics and intellectuals there are feeling free to speak and write about the truth.  Once article 301 is put to rest for good, then I’m sure we will see alot of truth revealed, as never before.  

  35. Whew, Robert you are one scary dude!  Do you really believe the ridiculous things you are saying?  Armenians committed genocide against Moslems?  Aren’t you confusing uprisings or revolts with genocides.  Check your definition and look  to early Turkish sources and Talaat’s own words for the Truth.  I resent the arrogant implication that Armenians are cry-babies and think of themselves as the anointed ones just because they seek justice and acknowledgment of the crimes committed by the Ottoman/CUP governments.  The FACT of the genocide has been well established and the idea that a historical commission is required to affirm what is already accepted knowledge, is merely an attempt to manipulate history and stall official recognition by Turkey.  It’s time to face the truth and its consequences and take the steps toward normalization with your Armenian neighbors.  It is also time to check your own prejudice and get over the concept that Turks are above criticism.  The truth is the truth.

  36. Robert –
    Never have I heard from ‘others,’ including some Turks posting here, that editorial board ‘continuously censor and delete everything that they post.’ If everything you post is being deleted, how come your last comment was posted? Unless your posts contain spiteful comments, racial hatred, religious intolerance, or just derogatory words.
    You may not like what Armenians are entitled for, demand, consider rightfully theirs, etc. Fine. Then why bother visiting these pages? Go read your school books about glorious Turkish history, about rosy pictures of how compassionate and respectful for human life the Turks are, and continue day-dreaming. That the Turks lived in where they live now forever and there were no other ancient civilizations that the Turks wiped out. And that there were no genocides of Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Alavis, Kurds, Arabs, and others, but instead, the Armenians have ‘perpetrated the genocides against countless of Muslims and non-Muslims alike before, during, and after WWI.’ I wonder where this crap was dug from? Can you refer me to non-Turkish sources affirming what you claimed? I can do so in regard to the treatment of indigenous people of Asia Minor by nomadic Turks by referring you to the national archives of Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Greece, Italy, the U.S., etc. I can refer you to your own archives containing the hearings of your own Military Tribunal of 1919 about the crimes of the Young Turk mass murderers in regard to the Armenians. I can refer you to the European Parliament resolution affirming the genocide of the Armenians; to the International Association of the Genocide Scholars affirming that mass extermination of the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey fully met the definition of genocide by a Polish Jew Raphael Lemkin who invented the word based on his study of atrocities that Turks have committed against the Armenians. I can refer you to some 28 states of the world whose parliaments concurred the fact of genocide of the Armenians, and their number is increasing. I can refer you to 44 state legislatures of the United States of America that added their resolutions. To the abundance of official correspondence by foreign diplomats and missionaries posted in Constantinople in 1915-1921; wealth of witness accounts of indescribable barbarity with which Turks mass murdered the Armenians; tons of statements by human rights organizations, advocacy groups, and international lawyers to that effect. The list goes on.
    The truth is that sooner or later there will be not only talk about reparations, etc., but actual reparations for the wholesale theft of material, intellectual, and cultural property owned by the Armenians and restitution of stolen lands inhabited by them for millennia. We KNOW it will happen.
    The world has witnessed the Turkish cowardice when your government hampered the Turkish-Armenian protocols that, by the way, contained a provision on the creation of historical commission. Although opening another study of the genocide by this commission is considered humiliating for the Armenians because the world already knows the truth, the Armenian government, nevertheless, signed the protocols and submitted them for parliamentary ratification. Where were the ‘brave’ Turks, might you know?
    Archives in Yerevan are open. In fact, in case you don’t know, there have already been several Turkish scholars visiting Yerevan and conducting research there. Several others, like Orhan Pamuk and Taner Akcam, have already written extensively on the fact of the genocide of Armenians by the Turks.
    By bringing up the murders of innocent civilian Turks by Armenian terrorists in the 1970 sand 1980s (where did you get 1990s?) you deliberately fail to look into the causes for these actions and only then whine about the consequences. Had there not been race annihilation and civilization wipe-out by the Turks in the first place, there would have never been retaliation attacks afterwards by the Armenians.

  37. Robert..

    I want to apologize right off the bat.. and warn you that how I am going to reply to your post will not be as nice and polite as my comrads’s responses to you….

    May God forgive me because i am going to call you an IDIOT.. you are an absolutely  without a doubt considered someone who has NO knowledge about history and you represent the TRUE brainwashed Turks..you are the absolute epitome of what I call primitive uneducated human being…. The editors did you a favor by blocking your posts.. because you just embarassed yourself to the grave… WOW.. what ignorance…..what accussations…

    I am disgusted…

    Gayane

  38. Robert, violence begets violence.  How can you be surprised that some among the descendants of  survivors of the Armenian Genocide were moved to commit a violent action against Turkish leaders  as representatives of the denialist State.  I don’t condone these acts on the part of the Armenians, but they were actions that were a direct result of frustration due to justice denied.  You don’t know the truth and are arguing based on deliberate lies you have been taught.

  39. Boyajian jan.. because Robert does not have brain cells to think outside of his closed minded, one sided Turkish midn set.. that is why…

    and he has the nerve to come here and complain..actually whine  to us about the violence that Armenians showed toward Muslims and spit out lies and made up data.. WHAT A JOKE.. …

    I wonder if Robert, Murat, and Ahmet are related..because they all possess the same qualities……….

    Gayane

    G

  40. While I think it’s essential for Armenia and Armenians to develop a new relationship w/ Turkey and Turks, let us not forget that in OUR lifetimes…not that of our grandparents….the Turkish govt and military has destroyed more than 3000 Kurdish villages and forced the migration, internal and external, of more than 4 million Kurds, who have become the new Armenians of Turkey.  This is shameful.  Acknowledging and apologizing for 1915 also implies ‘never again’, and I’m afraid that until that can be stated by every Turkish govt going forward, many Armenians, along with Kurds, will be very wary of motives, intent and goals.  This does not implicate all Turks, but it does implicate their govt and military, which continue to use brutal force against its own citizens, in something that  has apparently become a very nasty tradition for at least 95 years now. Time for a change? I think so.

  41. avatar Sylva-MD-Poetry // May 12, 2010 at 6:06 am // Reply

    Armenians are adored by Arab Muslims.
    They call us special race
    They know every thing about our genocide.
    They are Arab Race before they are Muslims.

    Sa’id Aq’l,* a well-known Lebanese poet,
    Wrote a famous poem of his soul-inspiring breaths,
    Poeming for the Armenian immigrants, suffering in shades;
    Those who arrived as orphans** everywhere; scattered,
    Survived by training self with thoughtfulness ahead.
    Learning many languages not forgetting theirs, praying in bed.

    His poem speaks, “Armenian blood flowed from Anatolia,
    killer’s rivers-lands spreading; dignity,
    literature, knowledge, science, art,

  42. Note from Admin: Please do not use bold.

    Armenian Orphans

    Armenian orphans, new in birth rate.
    Every one lived in Diasporas; vast lost ends.
    Honored, serenely privileged for their pert.
    Their gratitude extends for supportive “Nations- Heads.”
    Who sheltered them from killers’ serration?
    Started their lives single-handedly,
    Build and prayed in their sad ration.
    Asking no one else, not even a cent, pension.
    They are architects, dentists, physicians,
    Scientists, jewelers, mechanists,
    Every job done earnestly not for pretence;
    Every one knows them, consent unneeded hence.
    Sa’id Aq’l,* a well-known Lebanese poet,
    Wrote a famous poem of his soul-inspiring breaths,
    Poeming for the Armenian immigrants, suffering in shades;
    Those who arrived as orphans** everywhere; scattered,
    Survived by training self with thoughtfulness ahead.
    Learning many languages not forgetting theirs, praying in bed.

    His poem speaks, “Armenian blood flowed from Anatolia,
    killer’s rivers-lands spreading; dignity,
    literature, knowledge, science, art,
    irrigating us: enthusiasm, truth, trust.”

    *
    and genuineness; he lives close to them has many friends’ journalist and writers.
    Sa’id Aq’l: Famous Lebanese poet; he writes many poems on Armenian sincerity
    ** Antranig Zaroukian
    translated from Armenian to Russian (1964), to French (1977), to English (1985), and
    to Arabic (1987).In his book, he praises the Syrian Arabs who inspired his new life.
    (1913-1989): Author of the book
    Humans without Childhood,

  43. avatar Sylva-MD-Poetry // May 12, 2010 at 8:43 am // Reply

    Karikin 
    You are expert on Turkish subjects.
    Just few minutes ago I heard from BBC  that first they accused the Pope shooter (on 17th May 1981) Moh’d Ali was an Armenian , was he carrying Armenian passport?
    And do you know about Abdi Ipekci  who was shot by the same man.
    Does Moh’d Ali belongs to the same group who killed Hrant Dink?
    Now he is released, may be he wants to kill all of us on this site.

    From the BBC
    FILE – In this 1978 file photo, Abdi Ipekci, Chief editor of Turkish newspaper Milliyet, is seen in his office in Istanbul, Turkey. The release from prison of the Turkish man who shot the pope in 1981, has unsettled Turks who remember the gunman for killing the journalist Abdi Ipekci. The world knows Mehmet Ali Agca who was released Monday Jan.18, 2010, for his attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II nearly 29-years ago, but his 1979 killing of journalist Abdi Ipekci still resonates in Turkey where fears of high level conspiracy are still voiced about Mehmet Ali Agca who now enjoys his freedom. (AP Photo/Milliyet)

  44. Karekin makes a good point about whether an apology from Turkey will also mean “never again.”  Turkey has an awful track record and an empty apology is not the goal we strive for.  How can we go beyond rhetoric to verifiable, quantifiable measures that provide security for Armenia and its people?

  45. Boyajian is right…and empty apology does not go far enough…because everyone living in Turkey needs protection.  Their govt has a long track record of abusing anyone not seen to be truly ‘Turkish’…whatever that is…so ‘never again’ needs to be included.  As a result, Kurds, Alevis and others who are not even official minorities have endured the long arm of nationalist govts and their agents, including a fascist military that is perfectly willing to crush minorites.  This shows that the mindset isn’t just anti-Christian, it is anti- all kinds of people, including their fellow Muslims. With that in mind, perhaps the Armenian umbrella needs to lead the way and become more inclusive, with actions and words that embrace all who might feel the boot of the state on their neck in Turkey?    Everyone in Turkey is in a big boat that either sinks of floats together…..and floating for all is preferable.

  46. It is assumed that everyone writing in these column considers him/herself a civilized person. Could it also  be assumed that for a solution we all need
    a civilized (emotional is O.K.) dialogue?

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