Thursday night diners at the Armenian Community Center in Dearborn, though in a celebratory mood, were cautiously optimistic when the genocide resolution passed committee. It had been bouncing around D.C. longer than journalist Helen Thomas, a former Detroiter.
Passing along the good news was Narses Gedigian, chairman of the Antranig Gomideh of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and Ralph Kourtjian, member of the St. Sarkis Board of Trustees, both community activists for the Armenian Cause.
Emails and comments have poured in condemning those who were against the passage of the resolution, and just now a very angry Sue Kapagian rang to inform me that Christiane Amanpour was on CNN interviewing Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. She asked whether he thought President Obama would use the word “genocide” to describe the events of 1915-23 last weekend, on April 24. His reply: “No.” Big surprise.
Armenians the world over commemorated April 24 as a day of remembrance—just as we have in the past and will continue to do, no matter what they do or don’t say in Washington. Our hearts are bleeding and our emotions remain raw at the thought of the savage decimation of our towns and villages inhabited by Armenians in the homeland.
Amanpour could have said so much more about the Armenian Genocide during her feature presentation “Genocide” last year on CNN. This neglect deserved a letter of protest, which I forwarded to her in care of CNN.
A couple of weeks ago, we watched Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s “Worse Than War” on PBS and he, too, fell short on the information about the first genocide of the 20th century. He didn’t even quote the obvious, Adolph Hitler’s much repeated “Who after all remembers the Armenians?” All that research and he overlooked that of all things? He gets an incomplete. The scenes with his Dad who lost family members in the Jewish Holocaust were touching, but is the Armenian graveyard in Der Zor any less traumatic?
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer also belittled the call for the U.S. to pass the Armenian Genocide Resolution. It also necessitated writing a letter to him. He gets an “F” for lack of historical knowledge. Add Joe Scarborough’s name to the list of ignorant failures.
Betty G. from Richmond, Va. (a non-Hye) in a message to Glen Beck, wrote: “I am ashamed of what you did on your show today. I was stunned at your tirade against the American Armenians for trying to get Congress to recognize the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians in genocide. How can you criticize them “for going all the way back to the first World War,” when you constantly berate Woodrow Wilson who was president at the time? To hear someone like you berate a good people is unbearable. You ridiculed and were contemptuous of the Cause. It will not be forgotten.”
Judy M. from Calgary, Canada: “Thanks for forwarding the Christopher Hitchens article in the Calgary Herald about spring being the saddest time for Armenians. For sure we are keeping track of these and an articulate friend will be writing a Letter to the Editor.”
John S. from San Francisco, Calif. (a non-Hye): “Whenever talk of the genocide came up, I remember the fury and sadness in your Dad’s eyes. The Turks will hold out till the end because it is difficult for them to acknowledge their sins. They lobby and deny because membership in the EU is high on their agenda, relying on time to dim the collective memory of their sins.”
Levon S. from Greenfield, Wisc.: “The Turks are incredible. Poor behavior! They are massively guilty for 1915. They pretend they are the injured party. They try to squeeze Armenia into submission by imposing a blockade. When the world and the U.S. were sending aid during the 1988 earthquake they closed the border in a huff, or took the good American wheat destined for Armenia and replaced it with their own inferior product. They keep the border closed for 20 years even though Armenia has done nothing except that in the diaspora we try to get genocide bills passed, only insisting the truth be proclaimed.”
Noubar B. from York, Canada: “Betty, An Armenian living in Tiflis, Georgia sent the following, a photo of a plaque upon which is written in Georgian and Turkish. It says, “At this place died heroically true patriot of Turkey, statesman, military commander, Ahmed Cemal Pasha (1872-1922). It is dedicated to his immortal memory that will never be erased from the hearts of the friendly Georgian and Turkish people.” P.S. Georgia has never been a good neighbor of Armenia.
In a message dated April 14, I received the following again from Noubar: “Betty, I received the following from my friend in Tiflis. “People say the plaque was installed on 5 or 7 of April of this year (opinions differ) and removed at night from 11 to 12 April. Both were done secretly and nobody knows who installed and who removed it. It was installed exactly at the place (at the corner of the Ingorokve and Tchaikovsky Streets) where Cemal (Kemal) was shot by Stepan Dzaghikian, Nemesis Group.”
Joe D. from Cambridge, Mass.: “Yes, Soghomon Tehlirian, Misak Torlakian, Stepan Dzaghian, Arshavir Shiragian, and many more knew how to get justice. Sometimes I think it was better when one or two engagements would settle the matter, then it would be over. But now, I think it’s never over. It’s a constant struggle. There’s no finish line. It’s constant vigilance and constant battle for Hai Tahd. So we accept it and fight as good as we can and hope and pray that others will come after us.”
Even the Swedish Parliament has come over to our side. The list of supporters continues to grow. Soon the Turks will have no choice but to acknowledge their guilt in the genocide of the Armenians and they will be left with lokhoum on their face.