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An Armenian Prespective on the Flotilla: Euh, Erdoğan,WHAT?


June 16, 2010

For the past week we have been tweeting, blogging, talking, shouting about the freedom flotilla, restless, hurt, and enraged. Hands tied staring at the horizon and thinking, but all of this is just a few kilometers away. A few hours after the massacre, a friend sent me photographs of the manifestation in Beirut, all one could see were gigantic Turkish flags. I smiled and told myself: this is not the time for you to be critical, if this is what it takes for Gaza to be free then it’s OK, suck it up and let the Turkish flags fly.

But all of this doesn’t make sense, this sudden Turkish-Arab loving as pieces of countries like Iraq are swallowed up by fractions from the north and the east and the south as well as the investments and money of the same people called heroes.

Clearly for the past many months Turkey is getting more and more involved in our politics and in defining its role in the region no longer only as an Israeli ally but as a very good friend to the Arabs from a very populist perspective specially after failing to be part of the E.U. The main door to do so? The question of Palestine. Our population needs a "Hero" so bad and by Erdogan standing up to Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year and the latest events surrounding the flotilla massacre, he became the "man" par excellence, the keeper/restorer of dignity, specially after Arab leaders have failed to do so miserably.

Most of the comments sparked during the past week on forums and blogs and posted by Zionists have been pointing fingers at the Turkish people and reminding them of the Armenian cause and Turkey’s hypocritical stand. Now I don’t have a problem with them doing so, but hello Zionism! You have been denying the genocide for decades when it suited you to suck up to Ankara or make a case of your tragedy and holocaust as the only tragedy that befell the world in the past century!

So no thank you, I don’t need your solidarity.

No! Just because Israel is suddenly the enemy of Turkey, I will not stand with my enemy’s enemy. It cannot work that way and will not work that way.  I have read a lot of posts by Armenians online siding with Israel using that kind of logic. I would like to remind them that when we were deported and starving with nowhere to go, we ended up on these lands and built ourselves a new life. For those who ended up in Palestine, it was the Palestinians that opened up their arms and not the Zionists. It was the latter however that threw us out later on forcing us into another exile, while our parents hadn’t even recovered from the first.

We talked a lot about the BDS (boycott divest and sanction Israel) campaign and its relevance after the flotilla massacre. Personally I boycott and sanction Turkey, I boycott and sanction it for its denial of genocide, for its treatment of Kurdish, for its betrayal of Iraqi borders, for its murder of Hrant Dink. Turkey talks about Gaza’s blockade but what about its 17 years blockade of Armenia? And no we cannot choose, we cannot be picky, we cannot say one murder is more tolerated than another and one blockade more logical than another and this is why I also boycott Israel.

I have great esteem for the flotilla, great esteem for the people who resisted and those who took the streets but I have no respect for the nationalist tone it has all taken and I feel threatened by the propaganda mission through which a man such as Erdogan literally becomes the poster child in camps and in the occupied territories, it pains me.

On June 3rd an Armenian youth conference was supposed to take place in Jordan Amman and got canceled just one day before it took place. Why? Because of Turkish Jordanian relations, because during this meeting the Armenians were going to talk about community building, about the Armenians in Turkey and about Hrant Dink and his legacy.

A month ago in Beirut, Lebanon, a place I supposedly think of as my home, Eileen Khatchadourian’s song Zartir Vortyag was banned from the airwaves. Goodness forbids the Lebanese to offend the Turks. The song is a call of a mother to go fight the enemy, the enemy is not named but the Lebanese general security feared that the Turks might consider it as an Armenian uprising, pathetic to say the least, and no I am not surprised none of you haven’t heard of this.

I am impressed by how easily the Lebanese forget, no stages of grief no nothing. Just call everything 7awedis* and move on and a few decades after Jamal Pasha al Jazar, transform your martyr’s square into a car park and pretend all is good in the world.

I do not wish direct or indirect control by any government. I do not wish for Turkish UNIFIL to protect MY south, I do not wish for Erdogan to speak in MY name, I do not wish anything other than for us to wake up and understand that our history, our causes, our survival, our struggles and even our deaths are just a piece of the bait used to lure power and control.

*7awedis: Lebanese slang for "incidents"

:: Article nr. 67113 sent on 17-jun-2010 07:47 ECT


Link: www.sawtalniswa.com/2010/06/euh-erdoganwhat/

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