It's tragic how many
Armenians are so blinded by hatred that they prefer to live in the past, and
deny themselves the joys of their roots. Not all Armenians are like that. Some
Armenians prefer concentrating on their emotional attachments to the old
country. These Armenians know Turkish music, food and language form as much a
part of their identities as anything else, and don't appreciate being
ostracized by the larger, more hateful Armenian group. They feel they are
robbed of their precious past and cherished memories, and resent the
domineering attitude of the other group.
I'm a big fan of Edward
Tashji, who has the guts and the love to come right out and declare where
he stands. In his own words, this "Armenian-American has become 'famous,'
(he said with all humility), within the Turkish community, while becoming
"infamous", (he said with deep regret), within the Armenian
community." Also, in his words... he is : "An American born of an
Armenian mother and a Syrian-Orthodox father (.) He is the younger son of
parents who had been born in Ottoman Turkey, became eye-witness to the
conflagration of the First World War in their beloved homeland, and as a
result, their destiny brought them to the land where millions had
the Euphemism, Armenian "Hate Merchants"?
When previously we "met" in this column,
an introduction was offered with the hope that the reader might come to know better—even
to a limited extent—this ethnic Armenian who has been blessed with a profound affection
for all things Turkish. The space of one article however, could not hope to reveal a full
description and the motivation of this writer who could not have envisioned his
involvement into a most inexplicable situation: An Armenian-American has become
"famous", (he said with all humility), within the Turkish community, while
becoming "infamous", (he said with deep regret), within the Armenian community.
Over twenty years ago I had coined the phrase. Armenian "hate merchants"; but
how could I have been so cruel to label my co-religionists in such a manner? Years before
my inexplicable situation became evident, I had come face to face with a monster, truly a
Frankenstein of hate! The ubiquitous manifestation of maniacal animosity rampant within
the Armenian community became very perceptible during my youth. To cognitively comprehend
the attitude of Armenians toward the Turkish people, it is necessary to be knowledgeable
of the Armenian psyche. One need not be a psychiatrist or a psychologist to recognize a
preoccupation with hatred. The spoken word or the results of human behavior describe the
intentions of an individual, a community, or a nation. My euphemism. as painful for me as
it is. is justified when we observe, (if we have the knowledge to "see") the
statements and the actions of the Armenian community, not only in the United States, but
as far back as 1862 in Ottoman Turkey! Before there can be a rational and intelligent
review of the Turkish-Armenian history and relations, it is vital that the true nature of
those who take pride in the Christian faith, be honestly scrutinized. If the uninformed
are continually "advised" to learn the nature of the Turk, then is it not proper
for us to say, we are obliged to study the nature of the Armenians? The West and
particularly the United States, have supported the Armenian allegations against (Ottoman)
Turkey as the perpetrators of a mythical "genocide" inflicted upon the Armenians
of Ottoman Turkey. This topic will be reviewed in the future column; but how shall we
learn of the character of the Armenian in Ottoman Turkey up to the present time in
America? To find objective historians, impartial editors. or unbiased politicians, would
be a search in futility. Then where are we to turn? Some might say: certainly not this
writer, but none of the aforementioned groups could have the influence upon me as did my
beloved parents who were witness to Ottoman history! But let us consider the statements of
the Armenians themselves.
The following are a few quotations (Holdwater:
see original article below) from Armenian writers who are recognized as not being
pro-Turkish, how then could we doubt them? Mr. Ara Baliozian writes in part, "True
friendship among Armenians is a rare thing indeed..." — "...Hatred and envy:
they seem to come naturally to us..." Mr. Baliozian quotes other Armenian writers as
follows: "Every Armenian has another Armenian whom he considers his mortal
enemy." "An Armenian's worst enemies are not odars but Armenians." ("Odars"
in Armenian translates as stranger or foreigners; yes, I speak Armenian.) Here is an
interesting quote: "Our perpetual enemy—the enemy that will eventually destroy us—--is
not the Turk but our own complacent superficiality." (How could I argue with that
observation?) Mr. Baliozian quotes another Armenian writer who has written: "What
kind of people are we?.. .Instead of reason, blind instinct. Instead of common sense,
fanaticism." Mr. Baliozian continues: ". . . Our past is filled with countless
instances of betrayal and treachery.. ." This last quotation, like no other statement
is an inescapable and irrefutable commentary of the Armenians, not only of Ottoman Turkey,
but to this very day in the United States.
Let us consider the statement of another Armenian author. In a book
written by Louise Nalbandian, The Armenian Revolutionary Movement (The title itself
identifies the inherent purpose of radical Armenian groups which betrayed the country in
which they had prospered for over six centuries), the following statements are found:
". . .The centers of revolutionary activity in Turkish Armenia were Zeitun, Van, and
Erzurum. The Zeitun Rebellion of 1862 was the beginning of extensive uprisings directed
against the Ottoman Government. . ." — ". . .The results of the victory of
Zeitun encouraged revolts in other cities in the Ottoman Empire..." — "...The
Aramenakan Party was the first Armenian political party...to engage in revolutionary
activities. It was organized at Van in 1885" — "...Certain episodes indicate
the Armenians did not stop at mere defensive action, but also incited trouble and
committed terroristic acts" — "...The Armenian Revolutionary Federation,
(founded in 1890), known as DASHNAKTSOUTIOUN, carried on this struggle with all available
means: political action, propaganda, and, at times, armed struggle. There is no need to
include here many other quotations which discuss the events taking place in Ottoman Turkey
BEFORE the tragedies of 1915.
As I conclude this offering, may I request of the reader to read again the previous
paragraph, and each time you read the words "Ottoman" or "Turkish",
make a mental substitution with the words, "The United States of America"! What
would have been the reaction of the American government and the American people??! I stand
in awe of the humanity of the Turkish people. Until next we met, our work continues...
I am Called: "Turk Dostu" — A "Friend of Turks"
The Turkish Times
Commentary — Friends,
There are No Friends
BY ARA BALIOZIAN
True friendship among Armenians is a rare thing indeed. We prefer conspiracies and
clubs of mutual admiration. Then there is the familiar spectacle of bosses, bishops,
and benefactors with their assorted satellites of hangers-on, flunkeys, and
hirelings singing a capella the praises of their source of income, prestige, or
In his Island & A Man, Gostan Zarian
writes: “I have always been alone. Even in the company of friends in my own
homeland. I have travelled on the road of exile scattering the gold of my heart and
mind to beggars waiting by the roadside. As for the beggars, they grabbed whatever
they could and were consumed in the blaze of their own hatred and envy.”
Hatred and envy: they seem to come naturally to
us — notwithstanding our ubiquitous churches with golden domes and dime-a-dozen
sermonizers with golden tongues, who keep reminding us that we were the first nation
to accept Christianity as a state religion.
To accept Christianity is easy of course; the
trick is practicing it... and that’s no trick.
Will we ever go beyond verbal acceptance? Even
more to the point: will our sermonizers ever learn, not so much to love one another
(that would be too much to ask) but at least, to accept one another -- and this not
as good Christians but as ordinary human beings.
We are all familiar with the old saying: “Armenians
are their own worst enemies.” For those among us who may not be familiar with some
of its many variants, here are a handful:
Anonymous: “To have an Armenian friend is to
have an enemy.”
Anonymous: “One Armenian eats one chicken;
two Armenians eat two chickens; three Armenians eat each other.”
Derenik Demirjian (1877-1956): “Every
Armenian has another Armenian whom he considers his mortal enemy.”
Raffi (l835-1888): “An Armenian’s worst
enemies are not odars but Armenians?"
Shahan Shahnour ([904-1974): ”For my
generation of Armenians, the enemy is not the Turk but us.
Siamento (1878-1915): “Our perpetual enemy
— the enemy that will eventually destroy us — is not the Turk but our own
Antranik Zaroukian (1912- 1989): “What kind
of people are we? What kind of leadership is this? Instead of compassion, mutual
contempt. Instead of reason, blind instinct. Instead of common sense, fanaticism.”
I could go on and on....This much said however,
let me add that we also have sayings — perhaps not as many — that point out the
value of friendship and solidarity. One such saying is by Yeghishe (circa 410-470
AD), a historian of the Golden Age of our literature: “Solidarity is the mother of
good deeds; divisiveness, of evil ones.”
Elsewhere Yeghishe also warns us: “In the
same way that a man cannot serve two masters, a nation cannot have two kings. If a
nation is ruled by two kings, both the kings and their subjects will perish.”
An old Armenian proverb says: “Dogs quarrel
among themselves, but against the wolf, they are united.”
Dogs, yes. Armenians, not always....
(Since the sources of most old proverbs cannot
be verified, this is probably not an Armenian proverb but a translation from the
It has been said that unlike the Armenians, the
Jews have a more highly developed sense of national identity and solidarity.
Somewhere Raffi writes; “Like us, the Jews too are products of millennial
persecution. But persecution appears to have enhanced their sense of solidarity. Why
is it that it has had the opposite effect on us? I have never been able to come up
with a satisfactory explanation. Where there are two Armenian families, you will
also find four political parties. Divisiveness has a long history among us. Our past
is filled with countless instances of betrayal and treachery. Whenever we have been
invaded by Persian, Byzantine, Arab, Seljuk, or Mongol armies, these armies have
advanced under the leadership of an Armenian. Armenians have always fought side by
side with the enemy against their own people.”
In his Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche
quotes a philosopher’s famous last words:
“Friends, there are no friends!” Nietzsche
does not identity the philosopher’s name or nationality, but I can’t help
suspecting that he was an Armenian.
The Armenian Reporter, May 28, 1994
Holdwater adds: Yeghishe's “In the same way
that a man cannot serve two masters, a nation cannot have two kings. If a nation is ruled
by two kings, both the kings and their subjects will perish” sure was prophetic,
regarding the circumstances behind the Armenian "Genocide," wasn't it?
Some of these negative descriptions could be easily
applied to other ethnic groups as well. For example, take the ones suggesting Armenians
don't get along well with each other. This I find interesting, for all appearances
display... as I've kept writing throughout the site... that Armenians are as monolithic a
people as a people can be. At least when it comes to their genocide, who else besides Mr.
Tashji dares to publicly disagree? In other matters, Armenians might well be at each
others' throats... but Turks are also a people famous for disunity within their own ranks.
This example probably highlights one common characteristic both peoples share, in their