gives an idea of what happens to Americans committing high treason in
the United States:
"But I am told," said Von
Jagow, "that there will be an insurrection of German-Americans if
your country makes war on us."
"Dismiss any such idea from
your mind," I replied. The first one who attempts it will be punished
so promptly and so drastically that such a movement will not go far.
And I think that the loyal German-Americans themselves will be the first
to administer such punishment."
Story," 1918, page 401.
Edward Zwick's THE SIEGE was a 1998 film examining
Muslim terrorism in the USA and its aftermath. In the wake of 9/11, some of
the scenes were disturbingly prophetic.
Sequence of events: as terror incidents multiply in New
York City, law enforcement can't cope. Ground is soon lost to intolerance,
paranoia and hasty decision-making, leading to the rounding-up of those who
share the same religion/ethnicity, even though most have nothing to do with
the actions of a few fanatics. Martial law is declared and the Army is
ultimately called in, brandishing its heavy-handed "broad sword,"
instead of the preferable "scalpel."
This is not a perfect analogy with the Armenians' raison
d'etre, as we are comparing the mighty United States in all its modernity,
a nation that did not have (in the film) its existence threatened by more
powerful wartime enemies breathing down its gates... as was the case with
1915's "Sick Man." Consequently, there was no
"deportation" (although the process is referred to, and the memory
of the Japanese WWII internment is invoked) and "annihilation."
However, it's valuable to see how the United States
would react at the very outset of such a crisis and compare with what the
Ottomans were facing, after some forty years of Armenian violence and
terrorism. What we'll discover as we lay the two cases side-by-side is how
incredibly tolerant the Ottomans were.... a tolerance I fear would be
out-of-the-question in my own country, if this parallel better approximated
the actual conditions confronting the Ottoman Empire. The heavy-handed methods
took place almost instantly, at the outset of terrorism, in THE SIEGE...
whereas the critical step of resettling did not occur in the Ottoman Empire
until a whole two generations of Armenian-incited terror, and only after the
Armenian nation treacherously became "belligerents de facto"
(as Boghos Nubar put it), with their
country — in which the ungrateful Armenians had prospered for centuries —
that was fighting for its very life.
|For those who
have not seen THE SIEGE, be warned some beans will be spilled. What we'll do, when
appropriate, is to compare events in the movie with how the USA actually handled a
similar situation, the PARALLEL WITH 9/11. Similarly, when appropriate, we'll
also take a look at the PARALLEL WITH "1915" (with "1915"
representing time periods of major trouble with the Armenians.)
Washington and Tony Shalhoub
introduces "Hub," our hero, a righteous FBI agent, played by Denzel Washington,
and his partner "Frank Haddad," the Arab-American sidekick, played by Tony
Shalhoub. The latter is the sympathetic character, the film's major attempt to remind the
audience that not all Arabs are "bad." There are disturbing examples of
terroristic trouble afoot. It's not long before our duo crosses paths with a CIA agent who
provided training for Arabs, during periods when certain Arab nations were the USA's
allies. This character, Elise, is played by Annette Bening.
Hub caps the
hostages during negotiations
PARALLEL WITH 9/11: As in the movie, where different
government agencies are portrayed as at odds with one another, we learned that the
different departments, like the FBI and the CIA, had little coordination.
After a false alarm on board a bus, our heroes are called
in to face a real bus takeover. Elise urges Hub to shoot the terrorists, aware of their
'suicidal' nature. The idealistic Hub prefers to talk it out. He convinces the terrorists
to release the children. As he appears to be getting through with another request, the
terrorists pull a fast one, and blow up the bus sky high.
"1915": During the 1896 Ottoman Bank takeover, one of the
rebellious "highlights" winding its way down to the 1915 Armenian insurrection,
Dashnak terrorists took hostages, fired wildly in all directions, threw bombs from the
rooftops (which "did not kill instantly but tore the victim's flesh and made them
writhe in pain and agony," according to one of the terrorists, Hrach) fanatically and
heartlessly killing many.
The Muslims in the film did not blow up the bus right away,
waiting for news outlets to converge. The Dashaks wrote the terrorist's cookbook with this
tactic, as they, too, were after P.R. (for different reasons; the Muslims of the film
wanted only to create fear. The Armenians also wanted to elicit sympathy and attention for
their "cause.") The film's Muslims did not care about living. Nor did the
Armenians, if their testimonies are to be believed... they went in with the intention of
Another commonality is that Muslim terrorists hate America.
These Armenians? Here is what a European aboard the yacht where the terrorists were
scooted away reported (William L. Langer's "The Diplomacy of Imperialism: 1890 -
1902," 1972): “Their hatred of the Turks was beyond all description, and the
gloating of the rank and file over the Turks they had killed was truly horrible and
savage... They also told me that it had been their intention to kill all the Turks in the
employ of the Bank before blowing the latter up, but that they had not had time, as things
finished sooner than they had expected.”
The incidents escalate; in quick succession there are
attacks in a crowded theater, a classroom (which Hub defuses in heroic fashion) and a
devastating attack in "World Trade Center" territory, targeting the headquarters
of the FBI, with a toll of 600.
PARALLEL WITH 9/11:
While there was a "slow burn" in the USA with an attack on the World Trade
Center a few years back and the Oklahoma City bombings by domestic terrorists, it
basically took one terrorist attack (a particularly big one) before the nation mobilized.
"1915": The Ottomans were becoming used to Armenian treachery by
the onset of WWI. With the formation of terror
groups toward the latter part of the 19th century, the Armenians engaged in numerous
attacks, a highlight being the 1896 Ottoman
Bank takeover... where Armenians provided the guidebook for all future terrorists to
follow. Because of Armenian massacres and terrorism, 5,000 Muslims were killed during this
period, true massacres the biased Western world has never acknowledged.
Revolutionaries provided a constant irritation to Ottoman authorities, with the
unfortunate result being that the Turks would be blamed for "massacres" every
time they acted, one notorious example being 1909 Adana. Many times when the mass murderers would be caught, their
sentences would be imprisonment (and not execution) as with the cases of Hamparsum
"Murad" Boyaciyan and Gevorg Chavush... and sometimes the criminals would be pardoned, as with the ones who
attempted assassination upon the Sultan in the early 1900s. By 1915, even Armenians loyal
to the empire mostly were forced to choose sides, after so many years of animosity. It's a
testament to the Ottoman Empire (with the understanding their hands were tied by European
imperialists) that they didn't deal with their terrorist problem in a greater, iron-fisted
The FBI finds that its success in
fighting what amounts to a shadowy network is limited.
WITH 9/11: The failure of American intelligence in preventing 9/11
when certain signs were in place has been well documented. After the event,
obsession with an unseen enemy got so out of hand, the news reports would latch on
to the tiniest clue with which to frighten the American public, that a new attack
would be forthcoming.
WITH "1915": Ohanus Appressian described the frustrated Ottomans' efforts in
dealing with homegrown terrorism well:
"Within a few years, following the beginning of
the movement, an invisible government of Armenians by Armenians had been established
in Turkish Armenia in armed opposition to the Turkish Government. This secret
government had its own courts and laws and an army of assassins called “Mauserists”
(professional killers) to enforce its decrees.
Ramifications of the organization took root
everywhere throughout Turkey and to a lesser extent in Russian Armenia. Its
strongholds were the American, German and French schools and colleges in Turkey. In
perhaps every one of these, chapters or branches existed, usually under the guise of
literary societies. It was from among the students of the schools and from the
Armenian members of the faculties that the leaders were recruited.
The Dashnacks were in continual open rebellion
against the Turkish Government. The Turks took severe measures to stamp out this
society but without achieving any great success because they had nothing tangible
against which to direct their rage. It was as though they were battling with the
To accentuate this latter point, Listen here as to how FBI Agent
Hub from THE SIEGE worded it.
Even though Hub has a social conscience, the cop (he
is also a lawyer) in him emotionally gives orders for his agents to leave no stone
unturned, making sure to even go after those who said a bad word against the
WITH 9/11: The "get tough" mode of the police, at least in
New York City, was plain to see.
WITH "1915": When Armenians were investigated, they were
portrayed as being "persecuted." For example, here are Dr. Gwynne Dyer's reflections on Abraham
Hartunian's "Neither to Laugh nor to Weep: a Memoir of the Armenian
Genocide" (1968): "He ... had to destroy some of his private papers
hurriedly when Ottoman soldiers came to search his house in this period. He wrings
much irony from the fact that among the papers he had to destroy because the Turks
might have found them to be 'just' causes for suspicion were a photograph showing
the leaders of the Armenian resistance at Zeytun in military garb and a long printed
poem he had written extolling their victories over the Turks. I must say that they
seem to me just cause for suspicion in a country at war."
the hero stab the suspect with a lit cigarette?
It's not long before Muslim-Americans are targeted
for harassment. Although the film has an American tell us 'They love this country
as much as we do,' (unaware of the irony in the "they'' and "we,'' as
Roger Ebert wrote in his insightful review; see below for excerpts), it's hard to
tell friend apart from foe. Arabs are dragged in and the line between normal
questioning and torture becomes fuzzy, even before martial law gets declared. The
picture above is between our hero, Hub, and an Arab suspect.
WITH 9/11: Racial profiling was an uncomfortable fact in the
hysterical aftermath of 9/11. Even Turkish-Americans [that is, those representing
America's "ally"] were rounded up (and subsequently highlighted by some TV shows as being regular Osama bin
Ladens). Several groups added were to an ultimate list of18
(later 17 — keep reading) mostly Muslim nations, declared to be under suspicion as
potential terrorists, and the nationals of these groups were required to go through
the humiliating process of fingerprinting and registration. Only one
group had the financial power and loud, shrill voice to get their
"terrorist" status quickly overturned... the nation that enlists terrorism
as its primary export, the Dashnak Armenians. (The Justice Department was at a loss to
explain why... but readers of this site shouldn't have trouble figuring it out.)
WITH "1915": Whereas American Muslims mostly want to
loyally mingle into the American Melting Pot, by 1915, the bulk of the Armenian
community was openly hostile to their Ottoman nation, where they had prospered for
centuries. (Leon Surmelian made this attitude crystal clear in his 1945 book.) This was despite the fact that
the "silent majority" knew they had it pretty good, but the Armenians'
fanatical terroristic leaders twisted every Armenian's arm. As Oppressian noted
above, "This secret government had its own courts and laws and an army of
assassins called 'Mauserists' (professional killers) to enforce its decrees."
It was "You are either with us or against us" (eerily echoing Attorney
General John Ashcroft's words in bulldozing rights-curtailing decrees through a
cowed Congress — such as the "Patriot Act" — in the post 9/11 USA),
and even the loyal Armenians soon learned to either comply or die. The "secret
government" was so powerful that every Armenian over 13, based on confessions
by Armenians, were forced to
enroll in Armenian committees as functionaries or soldiers throughout most major
Ottoman cities. In their series of articles on propagandistic-poster boy Vahan
Cardashian, Armenian Review (Sum. 1957, p. 58) clearly spelled out
Armenian-on-Armenian intimidation tactics that go on more than ever to this day:
"There can be no more serious charge thrown at a person of Armenian extraction
than that of 'pro-Turk' or 'Turk-lover.' Years before Cardashian's era, an earlier
Armenian American intellectual, Cachadour Oscanyan, had been practically fored and quartered by his
Armenian companions for having taken over an advisory position with the Turkish
Embassy." And Oscanyan's period was circa 1870, before the establishment of
the more lethal Armenian committees. Conclusion: Most Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire were truly "belligerents de facto" to their nation, or
traitors working for the dissolution of the nation. What would any nation have
done with such traitors, especially when friend could not be separated from foe
during a desperate life-or-death war?
Benning is Elise
One of the tactics used by FBI agent Hub to
intimidate suspects is to threaten them with deportation. Listen here; in this example,
he is actually threatening CIA agent Elise, with an Arab informer she has cultivated
a relationship with.
WITH 9/11: Due process soon became a memory as the rights of many
became trampled upon. An Arab-American in 2001, for example, was held indefinitely,
without access to an attorney, based solely on an Executive Branch declaration that
he was an "enemy combatant" who fought against the United States. (This
case was settled — with the U.S. Constitution
held intact — three years later, with "Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.") Even with
citizens of other countries, the USA behaved poorly. For example, the United States
actually deported an Arab-Canadian to Syria, knowing full well that he would undergo
torture in his native country, and the victim spent a year of hell. The country to
have deported him into should have been, of course, Canada.
WITH "1915": Once the Armenians rebelled as soon as Russia declared
war, the Ottomans endured half a year of significant Armenian treachery in all corners. Here
is only a brief rundown of the many
acts of disturbances leading to the fateful May 2 telegram where first
notions of resettlement were raised. In this telegram, Enver Pasha preferred to truly
deport the treacherous Armenian community into Russia, just as the heartless
Russians were doing with hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims, forever, from
their ancient lands. Yet, the tolerant Turks still preferred to spend huge
quantities of money and resources that could have easily been put to better use
elsewhere so that the Armenians could be moved around the country, and not out
of the country.
|ADDENDUM, Jan. 2007
According to the "wind-up" of the 2004 "9/11 aftermath" film
documentary entitled "Point of Attack" (Kathleen Foster, director and
producer): "From September 2001 to Septermber 2003, there were six mass
deportations to Pakistan and unknown numbers have been deported to other Muslim and
non-Muslim nations. 84,000 men nationwide reported to Special Registration. At least
14,000 of them are to be deported. Arrests are still being made and there are
thousands still in jail... and none of the men who were arrested or deported
were charged with terrorism."
It is important to stress that these acts eliminating legal due
process are occurring in a "free country" as the United States of America in
the enlightened times of the 21st century, and not in a quasi-dictatorship
"backward" nation, at least in the eyes of the West, as the ailing Ottoman
Empire. These moves were enacted as a result of the actions of the nineteen terrorists
of 9/11, all foreigners. Armenian terrorist organizations also originated in foreign
countries, but the big difference is that their seeds of poison had been allowed to
spread throughout nearly the entirety of the Ottoman-Armenian community, over some
thirty years, whereas domestic U.S. Muslims are by and large loyal Americans. That
does not mean the Ottoman Empire was correct in making their innocent Armenians
suffer, but the critical distinction is this: the Ottoman Empire was targeted for
extinction by superpowers the Armenians had allied themselves with. If the powerful
United States, far from the threat of imminent disintegration, can act so rashly and
illegally at the first signs of fear, how would we have expected the USA — or any
other nation — to behave if a sizeable minority joined the enemy in a life-or-death
war? The odds are, many other nations would not have followed what Dr. Guenter Lewy
correctly called the "relatively humane" process of the bankrupt and
resource/manpower-challenged Ottoman Empire.
The nation becomes more desperate. New York City is brought to
its knees. Retail sales are down, hate crimes are on the increase, the FBI seems incapable
of stopping the terror, and streets have become eerily silent. (Listen here)
PARALLEL WITH 9/11:
Much of the described took place; business took a huge beating, it was much easier to find
parking spaces after many frightened New Yorkers took at least a temporary powder, and
Islamophobia began to have an open door policy as rarely before.
"1915": One side effect of Armenian rebellions rarely spoken of
is the disastrous effect such random violence must have had on the local economies, a loss
that the bankrupt nation could ill afford. Hate crimes? Human nature obviously kicked in,
perpetuating the hatred on both sides. The Armenians would keep acting up, always firing
the first shot. After some forty
years of such shenanigans, even those among the tolerant Turks came to despise the
treachery of the Armenians. Surely the innocent Armenians were included along the ride of
disgust, which undoubtedly drove the loyal Armenians even more into their own fanatical
heartily takes command
although initially against involvement
The impotence of law enforcement forces the President's
hand, and the Army is called in. Major General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis) pulls no
punches in stopping the terrorists, even when it comes to stepping on the toes of other
law enforcement. Martial law is declared and Brooklyn, New York (where there is a
concentration of Arab-Americans) is "taken over," to the shock of the local
inhabitants. Devereaux admits the demoralizing effect of such actions, but makes it clear
"the enemy" leaves no other choice. (Listen
here) The reason: what is going on is nothing short of war.
PARALLEL WITH 9/11:
Indeed, it was unsettling to see soldiers in fatigues brandishing rifles within subway
stations in 9/11's aftermath. There were signs, although not as overriding as with the
movie, that there was a military takeover in certain locales. This was justified because
"they" were out to get us and "we" had every right to defend
by police were common in New York City
...as with this soldier-operated scene from THE SIEGE
"1915": Whenever the Ottoman Turks defended themselves against
Armenian terrorism, the racist West always was quick to label the outcome as a
"massacre." As Kamuran Gurun put it so poignantly, "At the very least it
would be fair for those ... to remember how many people lost their lives in rebellions or
disorders in their own or other countries, and think how much right they have to use the
term massacre." With "1915," the word would become
"genocide." What the world never considers, as Devereaux put it in THE SIEGE, is
that the Armenians were declaring war.
Yes, we are
a normal human family as well!
The film offers a few examples of what a "normal
person" Hub's Arab-American partner is. We see Frank making warm eye contact with
Hub, as Hub attends a Muslim ceremony Frank's son is taking part in. An attractive actress
is even cast in the role of Frank's wife, a strategy Armenians can appreciate, because in
their sob stories, Armenian women must always be "beautiful." (As with the
twenty ill-fated brides of Siamento's "The
Dance" that Atom Egoyan recreated for ARARAT.)
PARALLEL WITH 9/11:
Most Arab-Americans are patriotic citizens of the United States. The ones responsible for
9/11 were mostly (if not all) imported from the "outside." And most Muslims in
the USA want nothing to do with the fundamentalists. In recent years, the
ultra-conservative Wahhabis have managed to exert influence... only because their Saudi
dollars are plentiful. Most Muslims don't want anything to do with them.
"1915": Most Ottoman-Armenians were patriotic citizens of the
Ottoman Empire... until the middle-to-end of the 19th century. A combination of factors
got most Armenians to change. The educated "outsiders" among them began to
spread discontent, as well as the missionaries, who sharpened the Armenians' naturally
superior attitude. Terrorist groups beginning to form were salivating to get some of the
nationalistic action taking part within the Balkan nations. European imperialists, eager
to cash in on an Ottoman break-up, stirred the Armenians further. Huge truckloads of
Muslim refugees streaming into the "last stop" of the Ottoman Empire, chased
away as a result of ruthless Orthodox "Death and Exile" strategies were
resentful — knowing of the part traitorous Armenians played in their terrible fate. "There
can be no more serious charge thrown at a person of Armenian extraction than that of
'pro-Turk' or 'Turk-lover'," became the mantra of Ottoman-Armenians, and even the
loyal ones couldn't afford to stay loyal for long. (Price to pay: bang-bang, you're dead.
2 of 3 victims of Armenian terrorism in the three year period of 1904-06 were fellow
Armenians.) The sad result: By "1915" most Ottoman-Armenians had sided with the
of Deurt-yol [Dortyol-Mersin] are now well armed with modern rifles, every male adult
having one in his possession."
Consul Fontana to the English
government, Oct. 21, 1913, FO, 371/1773, No. 52128
"One of the
leaders.., Boghos Nubar Pasha, has represented to me that the Armenian population of
Cilicia would be ready to enroll themselves as volunteers in support of a possible
disemberkation at Alexandretta, Mersina, or Adana on the part of the allied
Mr. Chetham to Sir Edward Grey, Nov. 12,
1914, FO, 371/2146, No. 70404
Not without my daught... that
A shut-down on civil liberties, one step removed from
a right-wing police state. House to house searches are conducted, and a large
portion of the Islamic community is placed within secured camps in a football
stadium. One of the arrested is Frank's own 13-year-old son. Frank goes bananas,
furious the authorities could break in, knock down his wife and otherwise violate
such a loyal American family. He throws his badge at his partner, proclaiming that
he belongs with his kind now and that he will no longer be one of the U.S.
government's "sand-niggers." (Listen
here) Later, Hub tries to do what he can
to get Frank Jr. released, but Devereaux can't be swayed.
WITH 9/11: There were many examples of abuses and many more that
weren't publicized. An IMDb commentator gives one example, from 2002: "Just
this week, I heard of cases in Colorado where the FBI has jailed foreign Arab
college students for not meeting the minimum standard for a full load of credit
hours, typically 13 hours. In one case, the student had received permission from the
school to drop a class, which put him below the level. This is unprecedented. Are we
to assume that some individual is acting in a shady manner just because he/she
doesn't take enough classes one semester? It follows precisely what Colonel
Devereaux's troops were doing by rounding up all Arabs between 14 and 40. Take them
all and we'll eventually find one who's got a hidden motive." Another sums it
up: "The rounding up of citizens, as depicted in the film, and the declarations
of martial law, are not that far away from the provisions of the Patriot Act, which
violates First Amendment rights, the right to privacy, and the right to due
WITH "1915": With 9/11 and particularly the more intense
scenario of THE SIEGE, the many had to suffer for the actions of a handful. With
"1915," the many had to suffer for the actions of too many. Among them
were many innocents, of course, and who wouldn't be bitter over such terrible
treatment when one really hasn't "done" anything... even though the
majority of the ones who weren't activists still had their hearts and minds with the
"cause." But what needs to be remembered boils down to this: "The
struggle begun decades ago against the Turkish government brought about the
deportation or extermination of the Armenian people in Turkey and the desolation of
Turkish Armenia. This was the terrible fact!" (Hovhannes Katchaznouni, first Prime
Minister of Armenia, 1923. Let's keep in mind even when Armenians... especially of
Katchaznouni's stature... try to be honest, they still can't let go of the
"extermination" idea.) With 9/11 and THE SIEGE, despite terrorist attacks'
spinning out of control and thus threatening America's way of life, the situation in
the Ottoman Empire was a matter of life or death, with superpowers threatening every
gate. Such a desperate situation calls for desperate measures and most countries in
the same boat probably wouldn't have bothered with a "deportation."
Let me draw a parallel
imaginary case. Suppose that Mexico was a powerful and rival country with which we
were at war, and suppose that we sent an army to the Mexican border to hold back the
invading enemy; suppose further that not only the negroes in our army deserted to the
enemy but those left at home organized and cut off our line of communication. What do
you think we as a people, especially the Southerners, would do to the negroes? Our
Negroes have ten times the excuse for hating the whites that the Armenians have for
their attitude toward the Turks. They have no representation, although they have an
overwhelming majority in large sections of the South, and have nothing to say in the
making or administration of the laws under which they are governed. South of the Mason
and Dixon line they are practically a subject race, while the Armenians in Turkey have
not only full representation but special privileges not accorded by any other country.
The Turkish Government ordered
the Armenians deported from the districts they menaced That they did not have railways
and other means of transportation was not their fault, and the deportation had to be
carried out on foot. That this was not done in the most humane manner possible is
undoubtedly a fact, and the Turkish Government has condemned the unnecessary cruelties
that occurred; but I feel confident that if America had been put in the hypothetical
situation above referred to, it would have stopped that insurrection if it had had to
kill every negro in the South, and would not have gone to the tedious and laborious
defensive act of deportation, in spite of our extensive means of transportation.
Arthur Tremaine Chester, Angora
and the Turks, 1923
In one scene, as Hub's FBI is working on a bust,
Devereaux's troops bombard the location, and Hub barely escapes alive with his
prisoner... outlining the fact that different government units can have a mind of
their own. Just as a presidential advisor tells Hub in private (after each asks the
other whether they are wearing a wire, exhibiting their paranoia): Do you think the
government acts as one coherent entity? (Listen here)
WITH 9/11: Indeed, some U.S. government agencies have acted as though
they were in competition with one another.
WITH "1915": If some revengeful or corrupt government
personnel took it upon themselves to abuse Armenians when the official government
orders decreed the safekeeping of the Armenians... how could anyone responsibly
conclude it was the government giving such orders, especially if no evidence exists?
That was the title of an October 3, 2005 TIME Magazine article
exploring the threat of "Homegrown militant Muslims" in Europe;
London's July 7 suicide bombings, for example, were carried out by four British
citizens. (Unlike the Islamic troublemakers coming from the outside, as has generally
been the case with the United States; with the Armenian "Genocide" too, the
troublemakers first came from the outside and then spread to "homegrown
militancy" in a major way.) A passage relevant to how the law-abiding
Ottoman-Armenian must have felt, when the Armenians had it good:
Yassin el-Abdi, 24, a trained accountant in Mechelen, Belgium, who has been unemployed
for three years, says extremists in Europe are making a bad situation for Muslims even
worse. "These people who are planting the bombs are wrecking things for
us." (The article indicates unemployment, due to
discrimination, is only adding to the jihadists' ranks. That is one critical
difference with the prosperous Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. It was the wealth and
education of the Armenians that helped add fuel to the traitorous fire.)
Other parallels: "What's worrisome is how openly
[radical] rhetoric [e.g., "The more body bags of Americans we see coming back
from Iraq, the happier we are"] is received among ordinary Muslims, many of whom
consider themselves moderates." Naturally; as each side
becomes more polarized, a false sense of safety is offered only in one's own camp. For
example, "In the wake of the July 7 bombings, [Britain] introduced a
zero-tolerance policy toward hateful rhetoric, pledging, among other things, to deport
clerics seen to be inciting violence." Some Muslims' sense
of being further regarded as outsiders may be heightened as a result.
"Public demand for tougher measures against terrorism is stifling open discussion
of the grievances that are fueling extremism — which allows hard-liners to crowd out
In the Armenians' case, there was no room
for "discussion"; the fanatical leaders had made up their minds to break
away into a new state, and the populace [that is, aside from the many who didn't need
convincing] stepped in line because the hard-liners had squashed the moderate
Armenians' voices. [In the following typically fanatical Armenian manner: "You
don't agree? We KILL you!"]
You here for
my protection? No tanks!
It's not long before civil unrest and anarchy ensues, in
the customary cycle of violence and injustice begetting more of the same. Here, the movie
begins a shifting of the villains from the terrorists to the heavy hand of the government.
(Finally to wind up with a Hollywood style unrealistic ending.) Torture and killings
become permissible; the film warns us not to stray from our ideals, otherwise we risk
sinking to the level of the terrorists themselves. As Hub argues, "So we kill one,
how about two, or six."
PARALLEL WITH 9/11:
This one is disturbing to contemplate, since the USA surely bent a few of the rules, as
evidenced by the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons. Due Process took a beating on the
home front as well with the Patriot Act where commandos would show up at your doorstep
merely at the say-so of the slightest rumor.
"1915": Leon Surmelian wrote: "we Armenians talked too
much; we did not know how to keep our mouths shut. Thus we proclaimed our love for Russia,
England, and France from the house tops. The Turkish comic paper Karagoz had truthfully
said, If you want to know the situation in the Dardanelles, look at an Armenian’s face.
" Whatever few Armenians were left who dared to profess love and loyalty for
their Ottoman nation increasingly must have found it difficult to do so... aside from
reprisals from the fanatics among them, more and more Turks increasingly looked upon
Armenians as suspect. (And who could blame them? Substitute with your country being at
desperate war, and imagine a minority openly proclaiming its loyalty to the enemy.) Thus,
as much as Ottomans officially attempted to safeguard the Armenians, the Armenians were
not going to get out of this situation easily. As even one of the most zealous
pro-Armenian missionaries wrote, "I am not in any way criticizing the government. Most
of the higher officials are at their wits end to stop these abuses and carry out the
orders which they have received, but this is a flood and it carries all before it." What an apt description; in war, matters have a way of getting
chaotically out of hand. What happened in the Ottoman Empire was exactly that... a flood.
And a flood has a mind of its own. People grew fearful on both sides, and as "The
Siege" demonstrates, fear often brings about unwanted conclusions.
How unethical of one side and their supporters to still
cover up their responsibilities and, aided by their obsession, wealth and Christian
sympathy, put forth the idea of a Nazi-like "genocide."
One more example from the film; but let us apply it to the
Voice-overs from the film ask, what if this
were to happen to other ethnic groups, like the Italians? The point made was that
the Arabs are a powerless segment of the population. (Listen here)
When an ethnic group is powerful, we know how
easily they manage to manipulate political decisions. As we sampled from above, the Armenians got out of being designated as potential
terrorists so fast, it made the Justice Department's heads spin, and we all know how
Armenians have been successful at manipulating world politicians to get meaningless
genocide resolutions approved.
But when an ethnic group is not vocal (in fact,
if their culture teaches them to absorb
their tragedies instead of advertising them) and have the maturity to look ahead
in life rather than dwell on century-old tragedies, then it's going to be easy to
push such an ethnic group around. The ethnic group we're referring to here are the
Turks, taking the example of the Arabs... which are too often blended together by
Roger Ebert puts his finger on the issue within
his film review:
"OK, what if they were black or
Italian? What if the movie was a fantasy about the Army running rampant over the
civil liberties of American Irish, Poles, Koreans? Wouldn't that be the same thing
as rounding up the Arab-Americans? Not really, because the same feelings are not at
stake... Many Americans do not draw those distinctions and could not check off on a
list those Arab countries we consider hostile, neutral or friendly. There is a
tendency to lump together "towelheads'' (a term used in the movie).
Arab-Americans feel vulnerable right now to the kinds of things that happen in this
movie, and that's why it's not the same thing as targeting other ethnic groups. (By
way of illustration, it is unlikely, even unimaginable, after recent history, that a
fantasy like "The Siege'' would be made about the internment of Japanese or
Jewish Americans.) Oh, the movie tries to temper its material... I'm not arguing
that 'The Siege' is a deliberately offensive movie. It's not that brainy. In its
clumsy way, it throws in comments now and then to show it knows the difference
between Arab terrorists and American citizens. But the prejudicial attitudes
embodied in the film are insidious, like the anti-Semitism that infected fiction and
journalism in the 1930s — not just in Germany, but in Britain and America.
... By the movie's end, the filmmakers can truthfully say
they tried to balance out the villains. But most audiences won't give it that much
thought. They'll leave the theater thinking of Arabs (who are handled as an
anonymous group), not of dangers to the Constitution... Most people will not be
watching a political movie, but a popcorn movie... They'll be comfortable with the
Arab villains because that's what they've been taught on the news. True, at the
present moment most of America's enemies in the world are Arab. But at one time or
another, this country has been at war with the home nations of most of the major
ethnic groups in America. And it was 'we' who were at war — all of us.
Japanese-Americans who fought in U.S. uniform in World War II (or were in U.S.
internment camps) will not have to have the buried message of 'The Siege' explained
While Arabs were never perceived in the
Christian West as "fully human," they have only acquired their
"serious villain" status in the past sixty years or so, mainly because of
Israel, and to a lesser extent, petrol politics. However, because the Ottoman Turks
represented a genuine threat since their heyday centuries ago, the Turks have always
been the acceptably monstrous "Other." It hasn't mattered how Westernized
and democratized and secularized Turkey has become, and how many times Turkey has
bent over backwards to show what a faithful
ally it can be (or, as Andrew Wheatcroft put it, "The West remained preoccupied with
the entrenched images from the past. ‘Civilization’ did not bring acceptance,
merely a greater fear of the alien qualities of the Turk.")... this
"enemy" status is still alive and well. Combined with the Turks'
incapability for public relations and the hatred some ethnic groups harbor as a substitute for religion,
"open season" on Turks has still had no let up within this prejudiced
world. This is precisely why the historic facts have not mattered to pro-Armenians
and their genocide scholar allies. These forces operate from a vantage of
immorality, not truth. We can see from a movie such as THE SIEGE and (to a lesser
extent) its real-life "9/11" counterpart when any other nation exercises
its right to defense, such a nation is subjected to a different set of rules. When
the Turks do it, the aforementioned evil forces will always find a way to make the
events appear to be a massacre, or even a genocide.
of Treason and Rebellion