"We can't have
debate without truth."
"Aztag Daily" interview, Nov.
Peter Balakian apparently grew up
without much hatred in his household, but then grew obsessed about the
Armenian "Genocide"... to the point of spearheading a smear campaign
against Princeton Professor Heath Lowry, and penning a one-sided book ("The Burning Tigris")
designed to show Turks as monsters at every opportunity; the Colgate
University English professor and author-poet utilized "evidence"
such as the Andonian forgeries, discredited war propaganda and testimony from
the lazy-thinking bigots of the period. (And this period.) Surely a man who
would have done Henry Morgenthau proud, and one who may be called the latter
day Vahan Cardashian.
(An Armenian-American lawyer from the WWI days who had no compunction about
spreading false information at will.) Indeed, Peter Balakian has done a great
job of following in the footsteps of Bishop Krikoris "Action Priest" Balakian,
the cousin of Peter Balakian's grandfather... a man who also had little
respect for the truth.
As Peter Balakian is one of the
"Joint Chiefs of Staff" of Armenian Propaganda today, he has been
referred to throughout the TAT site. This page will showcase various odds and
ends regarding this fascinating man.
1) How Some Armenians Think of Peter Balakian
Power joins forces with the Balakian Dog of Flake
Confrontation with Peternocchio
4) Peternocchio Caught in Another Lie
5) To Correct His Lie, Another Lie
How Some Armenians Think of Peter Balakian
From the thread entitled "Peter Balakian - much
noise about nothing?"... at the Armenians.com forum.
"Arrogant Son of a Gun"
About a month ago I met Peter Balakian in a semi-formal setting. I
was much disappointed. I had even an unpleasent discussion with him. I found him to be one
of the "old guard" and an "arrogant son of a gun." While he certainly
has literary and other style and class, his message was much of nothing - "me, me
upper-midle class upbringing, my memories, my assimilation, my discomfort,my rediscovery
of my identity and my confusion about it" etc. The man has absolutely no vision for
this nation and still lacks identity - his Armenian identity is just a result of reverse
association with the Turks.
What a mixed bag!
MJ, May 26 2002
Balakian is a product of Bergen County, New Jersey USA. The Armenian
communty there are the most pompous, arrogant and self-serving bunch I have ever
encountered, and this includes many of my own flesh and blood. They are ignorant to boot,
dealing only with generalities and knowing nothing of nuance. As for Balakian, just read
his book and you will see the forces which formed him.
After having a conversation with him I have no desire to waist my time reading him - he
has nothing to tell that would be of interest to me. Besides, he was very transparent in
demonstrating the "forces that have shaped him."
MJ, May 26 2002
Reading the works of someone who has upset you is NEVER wasted. I am an unabashed liberal
but watch Fox News for many hours every day. I want to see how those I oppose are
mind-manipulating the American public. Balakian's book is a revelation for every
Armenian-American. Do not blame him for the milieu in which he was raised.
Khodja, May 26 2002
Contrary to the approach to life of some of those we know here… I don't make decisions
on "what to read and what not to read" based on "if the author has upset me
or not." I don't have to let things go through my personal "filters" to
have attitude towards them.
As to Balakian – I find reading him not being worth my time, though fighting him and his
alike would be a well-spent time, perhaps.
I read Balakian's "Black Dog of Fate" when i was 18, about
a year ago. I actually liked his memoir.
I found the book to be interesting, especially the middle part and the ending.
What are these "forces" that you guys are talking about?
I think that he knows a lot about our nation, since he wrote about our history in his
memoir, he has been invited to speak in many ARmenian related events and he's also active
in Armenian community.
Anyways, i don't really get why you guys are dissing him so much Give him a break.
I read Balakian's book about 18 months ago, and found it really
boring. I especially couldn't see any point about all the American stuff. There must have
been some good points to the book - but I can't remember them now: all I remember is at
the end being glad that I had been lent a copy rather than buying it.
Bellthecat, May 27, 2002
I also read Balakian a while ago and the only things I remember is
that he was a professor, a poet and that he met many in the intelligentsia of NYC West
side in the 60s (?).
Light reading. Upper middle class ethnic autobiography.
But he did help to bring Armenia and a few issues to the forefront. That´s enough for me.
We should take what we can. Criticizing always, of course.
Alright, this MJ dumb ass is just an idiot. All he does is criticize people think he's
some smart guy or something. Balakian a couple weeks ago was on national TV talking about
the Armenian Genocide. What have you done to help people recognize of the Armenian
Genocide??? I've made a web-site about it, I've been featured in the nespaper a couple
times talking about it, in class my assignments are about it. You are the reverse Armenian
or whatever you called Balakian.
Sako_Aper, Sep 4 2003
grow up and watch your language.
just because you have a website on the genocide that gets 5 visitors a year does not make
you better Armenian than anyone else.
Also, go back and reread the Code of Conduct of this forum one more time before posting
Azat (moderator), Sep 4 2003
Sako: Anyone who puts the people before himself, and uses every
opportunity to further the Cause, is a great man. I respect you for what you've
accomplished, and what you are doing to help us all.
KnightOfArmenia, Sep 6 2003
Today I purchased "Black Dog of Fate" in Armenian from
Abril bookstore. It is translated and published in Armenia. Even though my Armenian
reading/writing so bad that I probably can't read it, I still felt obligated to buy a
Azat, Oct 13 2003
I just finished his latest book and I have to say that it is a very good read and most
Armenians should pick up a copy and read it.
The Burning Tigris
Azat, Oct 24 2003
I am in the middle of reading it. Right after midterm exams I
will complete it. A very good book, my only criticism being that he ignores my relatives
and so many other prominent Armenians to plug his family and the ancestors of the
friends of his late physician father's family, as well as, the families of his parents
close friends in Tenafly.
America-Hye, Oct 24 2003
An old friend of mine (non Armenian) just gave me a call today and
mentioned that he heard Peter on the radio (in Seatle) today..and whatever he said
(concerning the Genocide) made a positve impression. Aparently the book is now #5 on the
NY Times bestseller list! (according
to my bud) great news IMO....stil need to pick it up and read it...
THOTH, Nov 8 2003
Hey guys i'm from lebanon and i don't really know how armenians in
the US think about the armenian cause and question.I think that peter Balakian did a good
job in his book "Black Dog Of Fate" and i was touched and his transformation
from a typical american into an ARMENIAN american really impressed me.I think we all have
this problem for instance in my case i don't feel like a lebanese and the Arabs i guess
hate us for that somehow.lebanon is only a temporary place in my life and i hope that
someday i'll go and live in armenia 4ever.I hope u do 2.I can't to read his new book.
Sar, Dec 1 2003
Holdwater: Sar surely exemplifies the
Armenian who historically has felt loyalty for the country nice enough to have them.
Richard Hovannisian surely picked an appropriate word when he referred to the Armenian
community in America as a "colony." Really, Do Greeks and Armenians Make True
Samantha Power joins forces with the Balakian Dog of Flake
The New York Times Letters
To the Editor:
bud, Samantha Power
"Movie on Armenians Rekindles Flame Over Turkish Past" (Arts pages,
Jan. 20) says "Turkish and Armenian historians have given widely differing
accounts of what happened in 1915." But that is not a matter of ethnic
perspective. The extermination of the Armenians is recognized as genocide by the
consensus of scholars of genocide and Holocaust worldwide. The failure to
acknowledge this trivializes a human rights crime of enormous magnitude.
The Ottoman Turkish government's meticulously planned extermination of its
Christian Armenian citizens took the lives of more than a million Armenians in 1915
and 1916. Another million Armenians survived the death marches but were permanently
exiled from their homeland of 2,500 years. It is denigrating to refer to these facts
as Armenians being "chased from their ancestral homelands."
It is ironic as well, because in 1915 The New York Times published 145 articles
about the Armenian genocide and regularly used the words "systematic,"
"government planned" and "race extermination."
Hamilton, N.Y., Jan. 20, 2004
The writers are, respectively, a professor of humanities at Colgate University and a
lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Holdwater: At least Silly Samantha Power is making no bones
about subjectively having allied herself with the Armenian "Cause," as
KnightOfArmenia (from the forum, above) fittingly termed the Genocide Juggernaut...
by blatantly joining forces with Mr. Balakian.
Estimates of the
You've heard it here, folks; one million
Armenians have survived, from the mouths of these ace pro-Armenians. Let us do the
subtraction, from "impartial" (Western, and therefore pro-Armenian)
estimates of the pre-war Ottoman-Armenian population. The results can't possibly
exceed 600,000, and that's from all wartime causes combined. (Richard Hovannisian,
for example, wrote in 1967 that some 150,000 died of famine while accompanying the
Russian retreats.) So what makes these two "scholars" conclude
"more than a million" died? Does the caliber of their scholarly worth
approximate the value of "the consensus of scholars of genocide"? You bet
The Difference between "Turkish and
Armenian historians" is that Armenian historians create their own history. Turkish historians, when it comes to
the "genocide" topic, largely rely on Western (i.e., pro-Armenian) sources
to back up their claims.
"Permanently exiled"? Did not
Article 3 of the Treaty of Gumru
(signed between Armenia and Turkey) allow the Armenians to return? Edward Tashji, in
his sworn statement of 1989,
wrote: "Many Armenians after leaving their homes were allowed to RETURN and
take possession of their homes and properties. My uncle was one who returned to his
home, and my wife’s aunt, who is still living, was another. Her family had
returned to their home in Adlyaman."
What about the failure of these two, along
with the rest of their hypocritical "genocide scholar" cronies, to
acknowledge the over one half million Turks/Muslims systematically exterminated by
the Armenians? (See the "Census" section.) Does this failure not
trivialize "a human rights crime of enormous magnitude"?
In their books, Power and Balakian could not
come up with any evidence of the "meticulously planned extermination"
they've written about... unless they are referring to the Andonian forgeries that at
least Balakian pointed to as factual. The New York Times' appalling reliance
on Lord Bryce's spoon-fed wartime propaganda reports does not count as evidence.
Every sentence... practically every word...
pro-Armenian genocide advocates utter is steeped in deception. It's mind-boggling.
Mr. Balakian had the audacity to characterize
those who don't affirm his precious "genocide" as "a tiny group of
corrupt people." (In his "Aztag Daily" interview of November
13, 2003.) "Corrupt" is a word that defines one who has a problem with
honesty. Alas, audacity comes easily to ones who are glaringly guilty of committing
TAT has since examined Power's book,
and she, too, has pointed to the Andonian forgeries as her "evidence," not
once but three times. (The bulk of her claims was backed up by New
York Times articles.) Putting aside these two agenda-ridden scholarly frauds,
an actual court in Switzerland
referred to the Andonian forgeries as "evidence," in March 2007.
|A Confrontation with Peternocchio
When Peter Balakian went off on a late 2004 book tour to
promote the paperback version of The Burning Tigris, one stop was at California's
The Museum of Tolerance. Inside scoop has it the museum was under great pressure by
the AFATH ("Armenian-Falsifiers-And-Turk-Haters") community. So much so,
some obsessed AFATH members reportedly went on a hunger strike for days in front of The Museum of Tolerance in the spring of 2004, giving the Museum a bad rap, finally causing the museum to give in and offer AFATH a little time in the sun.
brave man of the confrontation was Ergun Kirlikovali. The following is his report.
November 14, 2004, was historic, because a
prominent member of the AFATH community, Peter Balakian, was squarely confronted by
myself at the Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles.
The presentation started at 3:15 PM with a large map of Armenia, historic and
current overlapped, and PB presented some of the highlights of his book, "The
Burning Tigris, The Armenian Genocide And The American Response," with the help
of some slides. It took him about an hour to basically distort the whole history of
Turks and Armenians. Cocky, arrogant, and speaking as-a-matter-of-fact, as if
everything he says was cast in stone. I listened to this tirade patiently. Then the
Museum of Tolerance (MOT) curator came on stage with a wireless microphone to hand
over to those who wished to ask questions. I was in the second row and immediately
rose to my feet with my hand held up high. There may have been other hands up and I
heard some voices, but I got the microphone.
I acknowledged PB with a "Dr. Balakian" and then turned my back on the
stage facing the crowd of about 150, which was considered by the MOT curator to be a
very good turn out. There were some teachers, some criminal justice professionals,
some older Jewish couples — this being MOT — but mostly Armenians, young and
old. I introduced myself and said:
"You can go to any city, any town, any village in Turkey right this minute, and
ask the first person you meet on the street about his or her experience of the First
World War and you'll hear the unspeakable horrors that touched his family. All these
slides and photos that you saw here are available on the Turkish side too. No family
was left intact, let alone being untouched. So widespread and total was the
devastation for Turks... And yet, we have heard nothing about the Turkish suffering
from Dr. Balakian..."
By this time, I saw with the tip of my eye that PB was complaining to the MOT
curator saying something like "This guy is making a speech, not asking
questions." The MOT curator asked me to please state my question. I quickly
switched to question mode:
"My simple question to Dr. Balakian, therefore, is this: How scholarly is it to
ignore Turkish pain, suffering, and losses? How scholarly is it to leave half the
You can imagine, the hall erupted into shouts. A couple of older Armenians told me
to shut up with some choice words. A younger Armenian got up to his feet and shouted
something like: "Look, I am Turkish, too. I know what you are saying; you don't
know what's going on. So, shut up and sit down."
These hostile comments and the generally aggressive attitude of the presumably
Armenian guests made me more determined than ever to make my point. I said:
"We are Americans. We are fair people. We don't convict someone without hearing
the other side of the story. I am the other side. Dr. Balakian and I are at the same
age. I am his flip side. I trust you will let me finish."
Then I found myself on the stage hearing the MOT curator saying something like
"We have a very interesting case here", while PB was still protesting
heavily. The MOT curator said let's have PB respond. I said I was not finished yet.
I had one more question and asked:
"Two-and-a-half million Turks were killed during WWI... Half a million of them
at the hands of the Armenian nationalists... Your predecessors (pointing to PB at
point blank range)... You claim to be a human rights advocate. How human is it to
ignore the suffering of those half a million Turks at the hands of your kind?"
By this time, the number of choice words were loud and audible even while I was on
the microphone. MOT curator asked me to sit down. I did. Then PB took the podium one
more time. He was visibly shaken. He said something like
"Look. You don't know. You can't know. You were raised in Turkey. They don't
tell you everything there. There is no democracy there. And besides, I don't want to
share this stage with a genocide denier. I ask you to please leave."
I jumped to my feet and shouted "Museum of In-tolerance!" and left. People
were applauding PB for making me leave.
(Kirlikovali also confronted Levon Marashlian in 2006.)
The above well illustrates how
Armenians like Peter Balakian are excellent in monologue, but fall apart in
dialogue. Once again Mr. Balakian falls back on his contention that Turkey is
undemocratic, the same story he weaved
in the days when he spearheaded a smear campaign against Heath Lowry. He could get
away with such tactics, thanks to the tarnished image of Turkey helped by those who
are near-exclusively granted the stage to speak their Turk-hating views. However, he
is really shooting himself in the foot with this particular claim these days, since
the Turks have cleaned up their act more than ever, in their hopes for entry into
the European Union. For example, the Turkish Parliament adopted an entirely new,
more humane penal code. It reduced hundreds of draconian sentences, outlawed torture
(long a staple of Turkish police interrogations), banned the death penalty, wiped
out censorship laws and restrictions on free speech, and eliminated barriers to
expressions of ethnic identity... well before the time of this event, November 2004.
More importantly, while it's
predictable Peter Balakian tried to get away with his easy labeling of
"denialist" (while he himself denies Turkish suffering and the fact that
there was no genocide), his opponent's message had nothing to do with denying the
poet's genocide obsession. No, the question had to do with why this great
self-proclaimed champion of human rights ignores the suffering of the massive
numbers of Turks/Muslims victimized by savage Armenians. The way Balakian decided to
handle this episode, by asking his opponent to leave, speaks volumes.
What does this absence of shame say
about Balakian's moral upbringing, if we may borrow his own spoken words?
Balakian's Indirect Response to the Above
In a message to the faithful forum members of armeniangenocide.com,
moderator Hovik (whose signature partly consists of Ataturk's alleged Armenian
statement from the fake 1926
"interview"... or is it "article"?) put up (on Oct. 17,
2005) an offering by Peter Balakian beginning with "Dear Group."
"I was harassed all last year by such Turkish groups — at Princeton,
University of Connecticut, Museum of Tolerance in LA, and other places.
Turkish Americans were leafleting, verbally aggressive, full of denial and
One must give Peter Balakian credit for being the prototypically sly Dashnak. He
commits the crime by going around spreading his vicious and hateful propaganda, and
then cries that he is the victim when challenged with rightful "denial and
anger." (Even though it was obvious the "denial and anger" emanated
from the Armenians in this audience and podium, not from the lone Turkish-American.
There was no "verbal aggression," simply facts that Balakian would not or
could not respond to.) Such a poor, defenseless, innocent, unarmed, Christian
(Note that Ergun Kirlikovali, the lone challenger at the Museum of Tolerance, is
being referred to as a "Turkish group." In his previous paragraph,
Balakian described his detractors as such: "Turkish Americans or Turkish
students come out in groups to harass and leaflet academic lectures on the Armenian
Genocide." If the Museum of Tolerance episode serves as an example, there
were no leaflets, and no organization. Not to say sometimes there can't be, but
generally Turkish-Americans are much too indifferent and lazy to do such things.)
In the forum message Balakian responds to the "clichés and stereotypes"
his flock is sometimes charged with:
"The Armenian Diaspora is not predominantly made up of extreme nationalists
who hate all Turkish people. As soon as Turkish citizens come forward with an
ability to accept the realities of 1915, Armenians are for the most part open,
responsive, and grateful."
In other words, there must be a condition set before friendship could be considered.
If this condition isn't met, it's okay for Armenians to go on doing what they have
been conditioned to do... hate Turks. Hating Turkish people is almost a requirement
for Armenians to prove their "patriotism," as Rafael Ishkhanian honestly outlined. (On this very forum
page, a friendly letter by Kufi Seyfali, hoping to break the "Armenian
Diaspora" from its "Turkophobia" by sharing reason, has been
reproduced, and member Tongue's response was: "Mr. Kufi your barbaric nature
shows in your email. But you didn't have to write that to prove it to us, we already
knew.") Can Peter Balakian be any more disingenuous?
Peter Balakian goes on to criticize "Hrank Dink¹s reflection on the Armenian
Diaspora" as "completely misinformed":
"Mr. Dink claimed in a talk he gave that the Armenian Diaspora was
characterized by ghettoized insularity, as if Armenians in Diaspora clung to their
ethnic way of life and were cut off from the wider world; and in their ghettos they
can only obsess over the Armenian Genocide."
To prove his thesis, Balakian goes to length to demonstrate that not all Armenians
are so single-minded:
"...[T]hey are not all part of ONE THING. They are religious, they are
atheists, they are Democrats, they are Republicans; in addition to being successful
in business, they produce rock 'n roll, jazz, films, write books, teach in schools
and universities; they root for the local team in baseball and football, they may
eat more Chinese food and pizza than Armenian food, etc. They do not all speak
Armenian, or read and write it. They don't march in ethnic pride parades, etc."
It's difficult to ascertain which of Balakian's many statements should earn first
prize for utter inanity. OF COURSE Armenians are people, a greatly diverse and
wonderfully talented people, and OF COURSE they are going to have a wide array of
interests and abilities. How does that fact detract from the reality that (keeping
in mind that there are Armenians who don't fall for this con job, but are too
intimidated to speak up publicly.... thanks to the age-old Dashnak "Curtain of
Fear") the Armenian Diaspora is one big monolith regarding their
life-sustaining, mythological genocide?
If there is disagreement with what I'm saying, the reader is welcome to point to, of
the seven million Armenians in the world — and
aside from the late Edward Tashji and a handful of Armenians from Turkey — those Armenians who publicly vouch for the fraudulent nature
of this "genocide." You won't easily find any. This is why even though
there are, naturally, nice and reasonable individuals in the Armenian diaspora, if
the ones we exclusively hear from are Peter Balakian and his ilk, for all intents
and purposes, the fact is exactly the way Hrant Dink described it, and the way
Balakian mostly worded it: "The Armenian Diaspora is predominantly made up
of extreme nationalists who hate all Turkish people."
Caught in Another Lie
In 2006, the Public Broadcasting Service of the United States, PBS,
once again serviced the Armenians by featuring another Armenian Genocide show (by Andrew Goldberg, who has a record of working
for Armenian-sponsored propaganda programs.) As Washington PBS affiliate, WETA, featured a
rare debate back in 1983, PBS got the idea
to produce a half-hour panel discussion in a half-hearted attempt for a more balanced
presentation. Since PBS "acknowledges and accepts that there was a genocide,"
as PBS spokeswoman Lea Sloan was quoted in The New York Times, PBS did not make it
a requirement for the affiliates to air the program, leaving the decision to each local
station. Naturally, a good many, particularly those bowing to massive Armenian pressure,
decided to forego the panel, exposing the masses to the pure propaganda of the program.
WETA, ironically, was one.
WNET, the New York station — which reversed its original decision to air the discussion;
only two of the top ten markets were open to the idea — had protests of frenzied
Armenians in front of its doors, physically joined by a congressman, Anthony Weiner; the
ethnic-pandering politician co-wrote a letter of protest with another U.S. Rep, Carolyn
Maloney. Four other congressmen "asked all members of the House of Representatives to
sign a joint letter expressing their opposition to the PBS panel discussion," as
Harut Sassounian described in "VP of PBS Should Be Dismissed For Insulting
Armenians " (Mar. 3, 2006.) The activist journalist added, "It is expected
that many of the 150 members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues would sign
this letter. The Caucus makes up more than one-third of the entire House, a significant
number when the time comes to allocate funding to PBS." Incidentally, the VP whom
Sassounian attacked, Jacoba Atlas, was very much in the Armenians' corner, having
described these events as "settled history." Sassounian didn't like it
when Atlas stated the Armenian matter was not "entirely analogous" to the
Holocaust. The unethical journalist also accused Atlas of "being responsible for this
misguided decision," but it was OPB — Oregon Public Broadcasting, with whom
Producer Goldberg was working — that decided on producing the panel discussion, as
evident from a Mar. 6, 2006 article in CURRENT, "Panel Show Riles Rather Than
Soothes Genocide Furor." (ADDENDUM, 4-06: My mistake. Atlas
bore co-responsibility, along with another PBS programming executive. According to
Ombudsman Getler's March 17 column, PBS stated: "PBS's chief programmers, John
Wilson and Jacoba Atlas, are responsible for the ultimate decision in this case."
Davis appears to have squarely been in the Armenians' corner, as a co-producer of the
Goldberg film, and the last thing he would have wanted was an offsetting panel discussion.
Yet Davis wound up producing the panel discussion, which predictably sided with the
Armenians, in choice of moderator.)
(But we are here to focus on the unethical Mr. Balakian, not the unethical Mr. Sassounian.
So let's move on to Peternocchio.)
once again telling a lie
Peter Balakian was so upset over OPB's decision, he wrote a long
letter of protest to OPB's V.P. of Programming, David Davis. (Whom Sassounian
misidentified as in charge of programming at PBS. Are we back to Sassounian again? It's
hard to keep track of untruthful extremist Armenians. This is from his nasty Feb. 9, 2006
piece, "Boycott PBS Stations that Air 'Balancing' Panel on Genocide.") In
this November 2005 letter, Balakian contended that the "Armenian Genocide
documentary is well-balanced" (brother!) and that there are "more than a
half-dozen Turkish voices in the film" (only two of which were offered scant screen
time from the "denier" category (ADDENDUM, 4-06: actually,
one of the two was presented in film footage, and only as a "set up" to be taken
down by the genocide crowd. Effectively, there was only one voice from the opposing camp);
the rest were Taner Akcam, Fatma Muge Gocek, Halil Berktay and other genocide
"sell-outs." Note how the deceptive Mr. Balakian tries to portray these folks as
representatives of the Turkish perspective, concluding that "we have an extraordinary
number of Turkish voices already incorporated").
Balakian next moves on to a "scholarly perspective" (a scholar, of course,
dispassionately studies all sides of an issue; if there is one person who does not qualify
as a "scholar," it is this emotional instructor of English), actually claiming
"it’s important for PBS to understand that the Armenian Genocide is not a
controversial issue." Is he out of his mind? He justifies this conclusion with
"this is the mainstream consensus worldwide," not bothering to add that he
actively supported efforts to intimidate genuine
scholars away from this debate. As if majority opinion is always an indice for truth, and
certainly not in cases where everyone has been frightened away by fanatical pro-Armenians.
(He gave the same stupid reason as "evidence" for his genocide, in the New York
Times letter, above.)
"Third, I believe it is ethically wrong to privilege deniers..." he goes on to
state. Do you also shudder when Mr. Balakian uses derivations of the word,
"ethics"? He then mentions that PBS should not fear the pressures of the
"Turkish government." What is the genocide-impotent "Turkish
government" going to do, I wonder, start rumors that drugs are being sold on Sesame
Street? As the reader ascertained from Sassounian's previous account above, all the
pressure was being exerted by fanatical Armenians.
But these are typical examples of being unmindful to truth, that
we have come to expect from Peter Balakian. Let's move on to his outright lie.
In the CURRENT article, Balakian is quoted once again as stating, "This is morally
wrong. It is ethically wrong" (one wonders why he uses every opportunity to state how
moral he is. Perhaps he feels if a contention is repeated often enough, suckers will come
to believe it... as so many have with "genocide"), comparing the esteemed Prof.
Justin McCarthy (one of the speakers on the panel; the ones from the other side were Taner
Akcam and Balakian himself) with a "Holocaust denier" or "white
supremacist." ("[Featuring those like McCarthy] is no different from having
Holocaust deniers on, or white supremacists on following a documentary on slavery,”)
The magazine for public broadcasting goes on to tell us:
"However, he said he participated as a panelist unwillingly after he was told by
David Davis, OPB’s v.p. of national production, that the documentary wouldn’t air
without the accompanying panel discussion. 'The post-show had to be done to save the
documentary. The documentary was way too important. They put me in a morally difficult
position,' said Balakian."
(If Balakian was going to compromise his "morals" by appearing on the panel in
order to "save the documentary," we have then learned the
"documentary" was anything but "well-balanced." If this were a
true documentary fairly exploring the historical issues, Peter Balakian would not want
anyone to see it, let alone desire to save it.)
When I read this passage, I immediately realized Balakian's contention was ridiculous. He
must have a super-sized ego, to think there aren't dozens more genocide advocates to take
his place, from that "mainstream consensus worldwide" he referred to. If he
refused to appear, did he really believe the show would have been called off? Is he that
delusional? The article provides Davis' reply:
“I don’t want to address that directly.”
Either Davis was being a gentleman, not wishing to embarrass the emotional and
truth-challenged Balakian, or maybe he did not want to give the impression Balakian was an
untrustworthy character, putting in jeopardy the credibility of PBS's "balanced
documentary." I hope it was the former. Once David Davis learned what a liar Balakian
was afterwards, I hope he had second thoughts about the validity of this propagandistic
program PBS worrisomely was all too willing a party to air.
Balakian’s lie was confirmed in Sassounian's Feb. 9 piece, where we were informed Fatma
Muge Gocek "refused to be on the panel." (Because it wasn't going to add
anything, the excuse the refusing PBS affiliates parroted, as well as PBS's "giving
in to Turkish State pressure... bound to be hailed as a victory by the Turkish State and
their nationalist Diaspora." The lady is so out
of touch with reality, it is pathetic. The panel discussion can't even qualify as an
attempt at equal time; the best that can be said is that at least it is something, but
there is no reason for anyone to "hail" it.)
Gocek's words demonstrate she was in the running to appear, clearly confirming the sky was
not going to fall, had Peter Balakian similarly declined the offer. There are plenty more
genocide-mad Balakians and Goceks waiting in the wings. Balakian's shameful lie was also
confirmed by the PBS ombudsman, Michael Getler ("Coming Soon to Viewers Like You:
'The Armenian Genocide'," March 17, 2006), among questions "submitted to top
Q — Several news articles have reported, according to Colgate professor Peter Balakian,
who was also an adviser on the documentary, that PBS threatened to pull the documentary if
he and another genocide scholar declined to participate in the panel discussion. True?
A — This is absolutely not true. If Balakian declined, we would have sought out
other historians to speak as experts in Armenian history.
ADDENDUM April 2006
Getler later added a March 22 addendum to his March 17 piece, which in good conscience
must be included here.
Balakian explained, "That is a false description." What he told journalists was
that the Oregon PBS producer David Davis mentioned (three times) that "PBS would not
run the documentary if a post-show panel with deniers were not made," as directed by
Jacoba Atlas, to whom Balakian had written a "letter in November appealing to her to
drop the idea of a post-show on ethical and historical grounds." Balakian was adamant
that he "never said nor implied that the documentary would not air if I personally
were not on the panel. That would be, of course, absurd. Naturally, PBS would find someone
else to take my place. After all my efforts to convince PBS to not produce a post-show
failed I decided to go forward with the 'debate' because I have experience in discussing
this subject on TV and radio and felt I could help shape the conversation in an ethical
way and perhaps a way that would expose Turkish denial more fully for what it is."
[Important: Balakian never "said"
the documentary would not air without his presence, but he certainly "implied"
it, and strongly. How else could his statement have been interpreted: "The
post-show had to be done to save the documentary. The documentary was way too important.
They put me in a morally difficult position." That clearly implies that if
Balakian did not personally participate, all of his dirty work on the documentary would
have have gone up in smoke.]
But let's apply some logic here. We can see from the above Balakian
entry, "A Confrontation with Peternocchio," that our poet gets very emotional
when confronted by "deniers." We can imagine his cocky and arrogant self sitting
prettily, in full knowledge that friend Andrew Goldberg will produce a
"documentary" that is fully supportive of propagandistic views. Suddenly, he
gets the news that a panel discussion is a possibility, potentially throwing doubt upon
the Balakian dirt. Is it difficult to imagine him going bonkers?
Particularly with his Dashnak-style "the end justifies the means" penchant to
say anything and everything to further Hai Tahd, the Armenian Cause?
I believe he flipped out and said exactly what the CURRENT article reported his having
said. he was doing the kind of thing his propagandistic role model Vahan Cardashian would
do: lash out and throw mud even at Armenian friends like Woodrow Wilson and James Barton,
trying to show the world what skunks these people really were, when they had the audacity
not to go "all the way" with Hai Tahd. Balakian likely wanted to present
the impression that he was the poor, innocent Armenian who had to sacrifice his moral
principles because Armenian-friend and now sudden Armenian-enemy David Davis was putting
him through the wringer. All Balakian could think of was to show to the world what a dirty
rotten scoundrel Davis was by claiming Davis would have "blackmailed" him. He
thought he would get away with it, but then this point was focused on in Getler's March 17
column. (I might have had a hand in that; I had sent Getler a message before this column
appeared, pointing out the dubious Balakian claim from the March 6 CURRENT article.)
Balakian noticed he was caught in the corner like a rat, and he then had to perform damage
control with the following: "That would be, of course, absurd. Naturally, PBS
would find someone else to take my place."
I would like to support my contention with two pieces of logic. Let's first reproduce the
relevant excerpt from the CURRENT article, in its entirety:
"This is morally wrong. It is ethically wrong. It is no
different from having Holocaust deniers on, or white supremacists on following a
documentary on slavery,” said Peter Balakian, a Colgate University professor who wrote
The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. Balakian appeared in
both Goldberg’s documentary and the panel discussion afterward. However, he said he
participated as a panelist unwillingly after he was told by David Davis, OPB’s v.p. of
national production, that the documentary wouldn’t air without the accompanying panel
discussion. “The post-show had to be done to save the documentary. The documentary
was way too important. They put me in a morally difficult position,” said Balakian. “I
don’t want to address that directly,” Davis said of Balakian’s assertion. “My
position would be that PBS and OPB both felt it [the panel program] was a good thing. We
made that clear to Peter.”
Note how hysterical Balakian is sounding. (We know from the quotation marks he must have
been directly quoted. That is the rule, correct? Just like with Ambassador Morgenthau's
Story, the recent edition of which Peter Balakian mysteriously edited... prompting the
question as to why a book reprint would need an editor... we just know the awful
things put into Talat and Enver's mouths must have been quoted verbatim, since the
statements were within quotation marks.)
Here is the twofold logic:
1) Why in the world would the CURRENT article's author, Geneva Collins. have made up the part about Balakian's
having been forced to participate unwillingly? Unlike Ambassador Morgenthau's Story,
which I was obviously joking about, Collins appears to be responsible, and put quotation
marks around the other parts of Balakian's statements, meaning she very likely
tape-recorded Balakian's words. Let's put this together: especially with the friendliness
and partisanship biased PBS people display in general toward Balakian, there is no reason
on earth why Collins would have deliberately made that up. And particularly if she
tape-recorded Balakian, it is very unlikely that she would have misinterpreted what
Balakian had told her.
It's not only Collins; New York Times
reporter Randal Archibold ["Armenian Furor Over PBS Plan for Debate,"
Feb. 26] interviewed Balakian and Davis separately [Archibold's quote from Davis was
worded differently: "PBS did make it clear they felt the follow show was important,
and we felt it was important as well'] and here is how Archibold summed up what Balakian
had told him: "Mr. Balakian said he participated only because producers told him that
PBS would not show the documentary without it." The "blackmail" element is
not as strong here, but Balakian is obviously making it seem as though he were
"forced." If his "morals" were as strong as he indicated in CURRENT,
then he would have gladly stepped aside and allowed another "genocide scholar"
in on the gig. The documentary would have been saved in any event. We did not need
Peter Balakian to "save" this documentary, as Peter Balakian clearly implied.
2) David Davis was given the opportunity to respond. Being such a huge Armenophile,
unquestioningly allowing the Goldberg propaganda complete freedom to make its claims (it
was stated in an article that nearly no changes were made), it's evident Davis was being
not as protective of Balakian as he was of the production. Balakian, after all, was a key
component of not only the propaganda film, but the panel discussion as well. Davis did not
want Balakian to come across as untrustworthy. Otherwise, now think about it: Balakian
made Davis out to be a monster, twisting Balakian's arm as well as forcing Balakian to
compromise his "morality" (why, this was almost as bad as when those nasty Turks
forced the poor Armenians to convert to Islam, as Balakian stressed in his horrid book),
and the best Davis came up with in his own defense was, "I don’t want to address
that directly,” saying basically, Oh, that rascal Balakian. That's what the rest of
Davis' response boils down to. (“My position would be that PBS and OPB both felt it
[the panel program] was a good thing. We made that clear to Peter.”)
In other words, it sounds like Davis knows how emotional the poet Balakian can be, and
accepts that Balakian would have made up the implied story about being blackmailed.
Otherwise, when CURRENT's Collins had posed the question to Davis, and if Davis had
suspected Collins as being at fault (that is, of having made a "false
description," as Balakian charged), wouldn't PBS representative Davis have challenged
PBS representative Collins, and asked (at least off the record, just so Davis would know)
for Collins to verify the claim? Davis probably didn't even need to ask, because he had a
good idea of what that rascal Balakian was capable of. But if Davis thought Balakian was
on the level, Davis would have defended Balakian. Davis would have responded to the
similar tune of Balakian's claim, that there must have been a misunderstanding between
Collins and Balakian. Davis did not; he tellingly accepted Balakian's accusation, and
answered in a manner that everything was made clear to Peter, and Peter should have known
CONFIRMATION BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN:
Finally, let's get an idea of what Peter Balakian's
fellow activist, Courier Publisher Harut Sassounian wrote in a Yahoo group for
Armenians; these propagandists work together, and Harut is at the hub. If anyone knows the
dope regarding the inner workings of these dirty dealings, it would be Harut Sassounian.
The relevant section, from Sassounian's April 22, 2006 entry (note Sassounian is
confirming that Balakian was "forced," or at least was told by Balakian that he
was forced, a month after Balakian put in his "damage control"
disclaimer; the highlighting of Sassounian's words below is my doing):
You seemed to have missed the whole point of the Armenian campaign
against the PBS panel discussion. I wrote from day one when the panel was first taped,
that I am sure the scholars on our side would devastate the denialists. But that was not
the issue. Even Peter Balakian, who participated in the panel (was forced to do it by
PBS), was against the panel both before the taping and afterwards, not because he was
not sure about his performance. He knew and we knew that he had done a great job. The
point is that we cannot accept PBS or anyone else to put on the air denialists who work
with the Turkish government whose sole objective is to raise doubt in the minds of the
unsuspecting American public who are clueless about the facts and can't follow the twists
and turns of what happened in 1915 (they can't even follow what is happening in 2006) and
they will only remember afterwards that two "experts" said the Turks killed
Armenians and two other "experts" said the Armenians killed the Turks. The
Turkish side does not have to win the debate. All they have to do to win is to sow the
seeds of doubt in the mind of the viewer.
An in-depth analysis of the PBS show, "The Armenian
Genocide," is now available
His Lie, Another Lie
When Peter Balakian attempted his damage control above, he wrote:
"After all my efforts to convince PBS to not produce a post-show failed I
decided to go forward with the 'debate' because I ... felt I could help shape the
conversation in an ethical way
I have not seen the panel discussion at this point (My PBS affiliate was among the
many who had "caved," as an April 17 New York Times
it. ADDENDUM, 7-06: Here is an in-depth report.
but here is an interesting exchange from the show that the PBS Ombudsman, Michael
Getler, quoted from "Documenting and Debating a ‘Genocide’," April
So it was McCarthy basically on his own facing questions from the moderator
that put him on the defensive, and accused a couple of times by Balakian of having
“worked for the Turkish government to help that government deny the Armenian
genocide,” which McCarthy said was a lie but which ate further into his time and
impact. As his source, Balakian cited a Reuters news agency story of a year ago.
It was never read on the panel but I looked it up and the lead said that...
(Let's take a more detailed look at this Reuters article, "Turkey to fight
March 25, 2005; here is how it begins, and the
"incriminating" word is the third from the top; later the article used
the word "inviting" to clarify the meaning):
TURKEY has enlisted the help of a United States historian today
as part of its campaign to counter damaging, decades-old claims Armenians suffered
genocide at Ottoman Turkish hands during and after World War I.
Turkey is worried the 90th anniversary of the alleged genocide on April 24 will
trigger a fresh outpouring of sympathy for the Armenians which could harm Turkey's
image and even derail the planned start of European Union entry talks in October.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan went on the offensive earlier this month, calling
for an impartial study of the genocide claims and declaring Turkey's archives open
to all scholars.
Invited to address the Ankara parliament today, Justin McCarthy, an expert on the
Ottoman period, argued a complex historical tragedy had been manipulated for
ideological reasons, becoming a vehicle for anti-Muslim, anti-Turkish prejudice.
"The Armenian question has from the start been a political campaign... Yes,
many Armenians were killed by Turks at this time and many Turks were killed by
Armenians, but this was war, not genocide," Mr. McCarthy said. [The rest]
What does that tell us? Prof. Justin McCarthy, through his own research, and by
applying responsible historical
scholarship, has come upon a conclusion different than what the crowd says, a
lazy-thinking crowd influenced by Armenian wealth and intimidation, on top of a
general anti-Turkish prejudice. McCarthy is one of the few contra-genocide
academicians left because other scholars have learned it's too dangerous to get
involved, and be at the mercy of the pro-Armenians' destructive ad hominem
So the Turks invited McCarthy to support the historical view the Turks believe in
by inviting McCarthy to give a talk. In this respect they "enlisted (his)
Would the Turks have needed to influence McCarthy by giving him a potful of cash
to give this talk? Why should they? McCarthy already believes in what he is
saying; his scholarship is the proof.
If we entertain the notion that McCarthy is being paid off, does this Reuters
article prove any such thing? No, it does not.
When Balakian accused McCarthy of having "worked" for the Turkish
government, what does that clearly imply? It implies McCarthy is being paid off.
It's fitting that Balakian would point to such an article in order to support his
claim, because it presents the same quality of evidence that Balakian uses to
prove his genocide. But that does not take away from the fact that Balakian is
making a baseless accusation.
In other words, as McCarthy responded, what came out of Balakian's mouth was "a
We get a wonderful example of how Peter Balakian promised to conduct himself
during this panel discussion, "in an ethical way."
(Balakian kept lying throughout the
"debate," as you can see by visiting the in-depth TAT page analyzing the program.
Toward the end, for example, he countered McCarthy's claim that " the Turkish
government proposed that a neutral commission be set up to study this issue"
with "(that is) absolutely not true," even though his own Reuters
article from above corroborated the claim.)
|Fairy Tale Origins Inspiring "The Burning Tigris"
Two days earlier, on November 12, 2004, Peter
Balakian was at another reception and book signing at The University of Southern
California's Doheny Memorial Library. Here's what the second paragraph of their press
Balakian grew up in an affluent New Jersey suburb. His
played a major role in his upbringing, often told him stories. Mixed
among the familiar Mother Goose and Grimm yarns, however, were strange and often
disturbing tales of her youth in Armenia — all cloaked in metaphor and symbolism.
Peter Balakian's "The