‘Bastards of the Infidels’

Reflections on the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Conference on Islamized Armenians

“Bastards,” “infidels,” “remains of the sword” were the derogatory words directed at Armenian survivors of the genocide in Turkey as well as their offspring. Under this same umbrella was another set of “bastards” who were Christian Armenians forcibly or willingly converted to Islam in the wake of the genocide.

Photo by Eric Nazarian
Photo by Eric Nazarian

This was one of the many topics covered over the course of three eye-opening days at the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Conference on “Islamized Armenians” on the Bogazici University campus in Istanbul. We heard lectures and panels comprised of international scholars presenting a myriad of oral and academic histories about forcibly Islamized Armenians, as well as the histories of the willingly converted that bridge and divide these communities. The conference was a platform for these unofficial minorities, a sort of “People’s History of Islamized Armenians,” to borrow half of Howard Zinn’s title. This percentage of the Turkish population is the resurfacing “remains of the sword.”

The conference began with a remarkable and open-hearted speech by Rakel Dink that echoed the humanist ideals of her late husband, Hrant. The president of the university then enthusiastically welcomed the attendees and made it clear she supported this conference. Hrant’s spirit hovered everywhere. The energy, respect, and openness of his legacy was palpable as we watched and listened to the mellifluous voice of Fetiye Cetin tell the story of how her grandmother had survived the genocide. And of a certain spot on a river where her grandmother had seen her own mother drowning two of her siblings during the marches, to prevent them from the terror that befell the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. When Fetiye was a child, her grandmother would take her to this river and say nothing of what she remembered except, “If only these mountains had eyes and could say what happened here.”

This was one of the countless stories that made it into the public consciousness thanks to Fetiye’s 2008 book, My Grandmother, one of the most important personal family histories of our time, as well as the follow-up book Grandchildren, which she wrote with Ayse Gul Altinay. We learned from the articulate opening panels how historians in the past had neglected the lives of women and children, who were seen as objects of a masculine nation and not subjects independent of themselves. There was a freedom and a deep earnestness in most of the presentations that was moving to experience. Nobody gave a damn for the most part about mincing words or reiterating euphemisms, and there were no gendarmes to stop or censor the free flow of ideas and the innumerable times “genocide” was used in the panels and discourse.

The conference unspooled snippets and overviews of oral histories and tales gathered from the field research of the scholars present, including Laurence Ritter, Umit Kurt, Helin Anahit, Avedis Hadjian, and Anoush Suni.

One of Suni’s stories was about an Armenian man who converted, was given the name Mehmet, married an Arabic woman, and had a son named Jemal who was taken in as a son by an “agha” after his father’s death. Through this and other stories we learned how the process of renaming the converted was a step in creating a new religious identity. There was also the presence of Turks who, over time, found out they were Kurds, who later found out they were Armenians.

The perception of Armenians in Kurdish novels; the 1915 Besni Armenian orphans who were Islamized; the issue of Kurdish complicity in the Armenian Genocide; as well as the current state of relations and possible methods of reconciliation were discussed at a panel entitled, “Memory, Ethnicity, Religion: Kurdish Identity.”

During the coffee breaks, there were occasional tears on the campus lawn, a genial warmth among most of the attendees, and something quite the sight for sore eyes, especially for a Diasporan—a stack of loudspeakers and a live-feed set on campus overlooking the Bosphorus echoing the word “Soykirim” (the Turkish word for “genocide”) openly during Taner Akcam’s presentation.

In this aura of minorities telling their layered and Byzantine stories, the familial taboos and ethnic histories braided and dovetailed into a very complicated and illuminating fresco of what it means to be an “Islamized Armenian.” This process of unveiling family secrets through the act of storytelling became a source of healing for the teller of these stories. As a filmmaker, this was a very touching and inspiring moment to witness. Stories have the power to heal and educate the public about the unsung and unheard experiences of uncharted histories. The questions from the audience were prescient and spoke to the resurfacing anger at a state that has shunned multi-ethnic identity and diversity instead of celebrating it. This small minority of the Dink generation took an intelligent and engaged stand by directly examining the traumas of the past and nurturing an aura of empathy and respect for the history of the oppressed wanting and deserving to be heard. This is the clearest ray of light in an otherwise still darkness in Turkey when it comes to the issue of acknowledging the far-reaching, multi-faceted immediate and long-term effects of the genocide.

Victor Hugo once said, “An invasion of armies can be resisted; an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted.” And at this conference, this “invasion” of ideas was certainly welcome and critically articulated.

I felt torn between hope and possibility that ebbed into the gnawing, perhaps unjustified, pessimism that all the analysis, research, and incredible hard work done by countless scholars loyal to these voices of history and the corroborate-able truth of the genocide still would change nothing for the ocean of bones in the sands of Der-Zor, which a hundred years ago were living, breathing families. We will never know their names or stories. We will never know their voices or what they might have been.

There will never be any panel capable of granting them justice for what they endured. They will remain the nameless and abandoned dead.

“How can we Armenians heal from this trauma?” is the first note I wrote in my notebook, inspired by the always warm and gracious Fetiye Cetin. I still don’t have a convincing answer, but maybe a large part of the healing lies in establishing ties with willing Turks and Kurds ready to face and discuss the past openly and empathetically. I remember the tale of the Turkish village “kasap” (butcher) who said he knew that most of the Armenian men in the village were heavily addicted to tobacco and nicotine, as their throats and esophagi were tar-yellow after the wholesale village beheadings he took part in. This, too, is part of the taboo history that affects the consciousness of those who live on the lands where the atrocities took place. As Cicero said, “The life of the dead is set in the memory of the living.”

Projected images, be they photographic or cinematographic, have the power and capacity to trigger stories and ideas in the eye of the beholder. These knee-jerk ideas can evoke a realization or an inner epiphany that otherwise would not have been conjured. This unintended interpretation churning within the mind’s eye of the moviegoer has the capacity to hold up a mirror into our inner lives and show the need for quiet self-reflection.

The stream-of-consciousness images triggered by the panelists cast my memories back to Van and Bitlis in May of this year on my journey to Historic Armenia. Since the conference centered on “Islamized Armenians,” whose religious conversions can be broken down into a garden variety of sub-sets of the forced and the willingly converted, I couldn’t help but stray back to the churches and cemeteries we witnessed in Van, Edremit, and Bitlis that had undergone their own forced spatial conversions from places of ancient spiritual worship to barns where donkeys and livestock bred in villages off the map.

These seemingly irrelevant memories lingered in the back of my mind as I listened to tale after tale of survivalist horror, identity politics, and skeletons surfacing after generations of denial, self-censorship, and violent repression. I began to feel a very unpleasant certainty in my gut that the next time we returned to Van, Bitlis, and the ancient lands of our ancestors, we would still witness the neglect and plunder of the remains of our culture and faith. This was triggered by the projection of a black-and-white image of the Church of Surp Garabed in Dersim before it was bombed in the late 1930’s. And yet, the stones remain. They have an uncanny, almost supernatural way to stay rooted in some battered and ravaged form of quasi-existence. Perhaps its that Armenian stubbornness refusing to go away, refusing to stop fighting, refusing to be silenced, always wanting to be heard and acknowledged in the dark waters of those in power quietly silencing truth.

The more brazen the indignities of chameleonic politics that recognized the genocide over a generation ago during the time of Reagan, then flips to the official position of banning the now controversial “Armenian Orphan Rug” from public display to appease Ankara. Everything is indirectly or directly part and parcel of history’s ironic and cruel cycles. And all of the stories in this conference were in some shape or form tied to the tapestry of this region’s history and future. If everything is connected then nothing is irrelevant, especially in human rights and the silencing of crimes against humanity, including the discrimination today’s Islamized Armenians continue to face. This must change, and it will take one person at a time looking into their own conscience and respecting the right of the other to exist and be heard in the name of true, sincere human diplomacy, not meaningless photo-ops and fickle handshakes.

The common thematic denominators that I took away from the panels included the unsettling realization that very little is accepted on its own merits when it comes to a human being’s right to exist in the state of nature they were born into. This is the troubling and ugly truth. What I’ve gathered from people I’ve met over numerous travels to make a film in Bolis is that if you are not born into the ethnic and religious majority, then you will forever be subordinate and an object of oppression. This comes from most of the people I have spoken to that hail from Anatolia or from minority families living in Turkey: Armenian, Greek, Assyrian, Kurd, or Chaldean, it does not matter. With the exception of the Kurdish people and their colorful ethnic and cultural traditions, the majority of these ancient cultures are gone from their ancestral land. This is nothing new, and the obvious sometimes needs to be reiterated in order not to be forgotten or neglected. Their pasts, their schools and neighborhoods, have been deleted the further east you go. But the cemeteries and the churches remain in various conditions of decay or damage through neglect. In the case of the Islamized Armenians, they are considered subordinates in the eyes of the converters, and religious traitors in the eyes of Christian Armenians. They are, in perpetuity, in a state of limbo. The roots of almost every family story told from Mush to Artvin to Sassoon traced back to this common denominator of Armenians and ethnic minorities tossed into the grinder of history and forced to accept belief systems and lifestyles in order to survive.

Will there be more of these conferences in the east and south of Turkey, and will they continue to convert ignorance into knowledge and knowledge into respect for all cultures and faiths? Is that too idealistic a notion to hope for given the irreversible magnitude of the bloody history that birthed this generation of minorities wanting to be given a place to stand, to be heard, and, more importantly, to be accepted on their own merits without precondition? Will there be another conference on the braided and inter-related histories of the Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian Genocides? Some day, in a possibly more democratic future, will these conferences be converted into the impetus to grant official civil and human rights to these people, and all remaining religious properties and foundations in Anatolia?

Will there come a time for the “others” culture, faith, and history to be respected, preserved, and taught in schools, instead of plundered by grave-robbers fancying themselves as treasure hunters of the fabled Armenian gold? Where will the commission be in the Kurdish areas to help stop this rampant and insulting quest for the so-called buried treasures that has dug hole after hole in our churches, spurring only more pillage? In the process of trying to form the building blocks of reconciliation through cultural diplomacy and meaningful dialogue, respect for cultural landmarks and touchstones are fundamental to the trust-building process.

This incredible conference was a much-needed gift in giving voice to the voiceless and unofficial histories of the Islamized Armenians. And through this first of what will hopefully be many conferences to come, the tangible results require time and will be measured in the long run. This region has a long way to go until it comes to grips with its own Civil Rights Movement on a massive national scale. But the important work of converting ignorance into beads of knowledge braided together into inspiration and the meaningful exchange of ideas has begun, and continues quite nobly thanks to the Hrant Dink Foundation.

Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian

Eric Nazarian is a screenwriter, filmmaker and photojournalist. In 2007, Nazarian wrote and directed “The Blue Hour,” a first feature film that won six international awards. In 2008, Nazarian received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® (home of the Oscars) prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his original screenplay, “Giants.” In turn, Nazarian’s film “Bolis” was the recipient of the Best Short Film Award at the 14th Arpa International Film Festival in 2011.
Eric Nazarian

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  1. Given that these Islamized persons probably have the blood of than one ethnic group in them, why should they identify as Armenian above all their other ethnic groups?
    And given that so many Turks themselves have the blood of more than one ethnic group, do we see signs that they have chosen one particular ethnic group to replace their Turkish identity? Just asking. Look, I suppose that one could make the case that since many of these Islamized people in eastern Turkey are “part” Armenian, that Armenians already live on their land and so Armenian territorial land claims are wrong. Is this what we want? Just asking.

  2. Wow what an interesting piece. Well I would just like to say that I am an Armenian who completely and fully accepts Islamized Armenians as one of our own. It is ridiculous to shun them since they converted under duress. It is wonderful that slowly they are able to come out of the shadows and publicly acknowledge their Armenian roots and I stand by them and unconditionally accept them as 100% Armenians.

    • If more people would be as wise as you are this planet of ours would start to be a lot more like a home than the battlefield it is today.

  3. Such an engaging article – my compliments to you Eric.

    Not sure how many know of the DNA study (see http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/12/are-turks-acculturated-armenians/) done on Turks, Armenians, Kurds, and other peoples of the Middle East, but as it turn out, to a statistically nominal data point, Turks, at least those in the eastern regions, are essentially Armenians in terms of their DNA. So in a very real sense, much of Turkey is indeed populated by Islamized Armenians. It seems clear then that the way forward is through such conferences to educate people on the their true, in the scientific sense (DNA does not lie), ethnicity.

  4. TKU Eric for this very moving & reflective article. Very elegiac. I am with Tsoghig, we must extend a reletive’s hand to these islamized armenians. Those of us who have the way & means, we should try to capture thier personal stories, in an organized manner using modern technology. If there is such an initiative I would be happy to support.

  5. It’s too bad that there aren’t any Turks or Azeris in Armenia. With Armenia boasting a 98% purity rate, they’ve proven that Ethnic Cleansing really does work!!!

    • @ Steve the NAZI Turk

      It is so bad that there aren´t no Armenians more in Kilikia, Nahitsevan,Baku, Kirovabad, Sumgait, Van, Kars, Erzurum, Malatya, Diyarbakir, Trabzon(Trapzount)etc…
      Assimilation & Ethnic Cleansing is the Turkish way of life.
      “He who sits in a glass house should not throw stones!” Turkish People must realise it!

    • Hey Steveoglu there are no Turks in Armenia because they don’t belong there. Even the so-called Azeri Khanate was only set up in the 18th or 19th century, i.e. it was an occupation of Armenia. You came from Central Asia, that’s why there are no TURKS in Armenia, it’s not your country. You nazi

  6. Opening and expanding the new chapter on the Islamized/converted Armenians will surely enrich and expand the genocide library and bring more shame to those who deny the undeniable.

    I, too, have met Islamized Armenians in Mush when I took part in a historic pilgrimage with Archbishop Ashjian (RIP). Then, we could not trust or guess if they were telling the truth. Some would say so to befriend us to find our “hidden ancestral treasures” and some were simply informants.

    Also, aside from bombing, earthquakes and the natural course of decay, the destruction of our churches, cemeteries, hamams, etc. was/is a result of the “adventures” of “The Armenian Gold” diggers/hunters who committed another genocide on our ancient cultural treasures built by our ancestors’ blood, sweat and tears.

  7. Thanks Eric,you are a true intellectual.I always have a great pleasure by reading your opinions.Keep writing, you have a great mental potential.

  8. In regards to Turks ethnic origins themselves, from the Wiki article:


    “Nevertheless, today’s Turkish people are more closely related with the Balkan populations than to the Central Asian populations,[8][18] and a study looking into allele frequencies suggested that there was a lack of genetic relationship between the Mongols and the Turks, despite the historical relationship of their languages (The Turks and Germans were equally distant to all three Mongolian populations).[19] In addition, another study looking into HLA genes allele distributions indicated that Anatolians did not significantly differ from other Mediterranean populations.[10] Multiple studies suggested an elite cultural dominance-driven linguistic replacement model to explain the adoption of Turkish language by Anatolian indigenous inhabitants.[1][7]”

    With evidence like this, perhaps more conferences like this could spread the idea of Islamized Armenians which could help add and aid to the Armenian Cause itself. In my opinion it’s the most promising prospect for all of us.

  9. {“ It’s too bad that there aren’t any Turks or Azeris in Armenia.”}


    why should there be any Turks or ‘Azeris’ (actually Azerbaijanis, but in your case AzeriTatarTurks) in Armenia or anywhere else in the Caucasus in the first place ?
    Are there any Armenians or other indigenous peoples of Caucasus, such as Talysh, in Uyguristan ?
    You know where Uyguristan is, don’t you ?
    You know what Uyguristan is, don’t you ?
    [Reminder: “…we are visiting the lands of our ancestors”. 2010, FM Davutoglu, while visiting Uygur region of China.]
    Geography question for you Steve:
    how far is Uyguristan from Armenia ?
    Humans not having the ability to fly a 1000 years ago, how did Turkic tribes end up about 5,000 kilometers West from their homelands around Uygurstan – in the lands of others in Caucasus ?
    How did they manage to displace and replace the native peoples that were already living there ?

    What, Turks have some kind of a divine right to invade the lands of others, ethnically cleanse and exterminate the natives, then claim the lands as ‘Turkish’ ?

    Here is a sample of how nomadic Turk invaders think:
    {Armenians in the Caucasus are alien people who created their artificial state on native Turkish lands, and therefore they have no right to talk about their ancient roots in the region.} (Statement from the Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey, Haluk Ipek. Wed 07 November 2012 @News.az)

    And a sample of how nomadic AzeriTatarTurk invaders think:
    {Armenia has become ‘cancer’ of the region – presidential administration} (Azerbaijan Presidential spokesman Elnur Aslanov. Thu 07 November 2013. @News.az)

    Why should there be _any_ Turks in the native lands of Armenians ?
    How did Turks end up living on lands where previously Armenians and other indigenous peoples lived ?
    How did Turks end up on the Island of Cyprus ?
    What happened to all the indigenous peoples that lived in Asia Minor before Seljuk Turks ‘showed’ up around 1000 AD ?
    What happened to indigenous Armenians of Western Armenia ?

    As to Azerbaijanis: there were about 170,000 Azerbaijanis living in Armenia SSR before around 1988.
    When savage nomadic Turkic Musavat Party mobs started murdering Armenian civilians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku, those Azerbaijanis were told to leave Armenia SSR. Most (not all) were compensated by Armenia SSR Gov for their real estate. They took their liquid wealth with them.
    Simultaneously, Armenian civilians were fleeing for their lives from Azerbaijan SSR: 400,000 Armenians living in Azerbaijan fled with nothing.
    Their bank accounts and real estate were confiscated (stolen) by Azerbaijan.

    Now then, let us discuss Turkey.

    There were about 4 million Christians living in Ottoman Turkey circa 1915.
    Armenians, Pontic Greeks, and Assyrians.
    About 25% of the population.
    Now, in 2013, there are practically none left in Turkey.
    Can you tell us what happened to all those _indigenous_ Christians ?

    Would you like to guess how many non-Muslims left in Turkey ?
    Turkey: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews) (from CIA Factbook)
    You were saying something about ethnic cleansing working, Turk oglu Steve.
    Actually, in the case of Genocidal Turks it gets better: “Ethnic cleansing and Genocide really does work!!!”

  10. Very much agree with what you say Steven about Islamized Armenians aiding the Armenian Cause. Can you imagine if say half of the Turkish population realized that they are actually descendants of Armenians that converted to Islam throughout the centuries. Talk about a way to get our Armenian lands back! Of course, it goes without saying that such a task as getting people to change their national identity is no trivial matter. Still, it’s certainly not impossible given that it all has to do with an individual personal decision. One might imagine a case where an Armenian identity would be preferred to a Turkish identity, say for example the rich cultural history of Armenians as opposed to the seemingly Turkish propensity towards covering up history. What is encouraging about all this is that science (DNA studies previously mentioned) backs up that much of the population of Turkey today is of Armenian ancestry.

  11. Islamized “armenians” are danger to Armenia. This country is not able to withstand any influx of foreign element and will cease to exists if morals and traditions will losen up. We do not need a homogenous stew that USA has become and so are european countries. To all the proponents of mixing up I say a firm “no”. Keep islamized “armenians” and any ideas about them away from armenians. They have chosen their path and moved on. Under their guise there will be an anfiltration of enemy element.
    Additionally, legalized prostitution in Armenia has created a sex market for islamic tourists and there are multiple armenian women with bastard muslim children. These children have foreign genes. You can feed the wolfe but you cannot domesticate it. It will always look into the woods. All people are not equal. Sorry to have to tell you this. Listen to more brainwashing propaganda and believe in utopia until you and your children are wiped off this earth.

    • “They have chosen their path and moved on. Under their guise there will be an anfiltration of enemy element.”

      Someone, you are wrong to live in such fear. Many of these Armenians never had a choice, having been deprived of it by a legacy of rape, kidnap, forced servitude, forced marriage or forced conversion. Perhaps they will now choose a new path. Shouldn’t we open our arms to them and welcome them home if they choose. Your paranoid mentality is unhealthy and ‘un-Christian.’ I

    • Someone,
      You are an ignoramus. These people did not CHOOSE any path. Some, if not most, were forced to convert and those who ‘voluntarily’ did it, they did it under duress in order to survive. What America do you live in? seriously there is no such thing as homogeneous America it is as colorful and diverse as human behavior and psyche go. You live in a fantasy land. And we have domesticated the wolf, it is called dog. Take your fear mongering drivel elsewhere.

    • Someone,
      You are an ignoramus. These people did not CHOOSE any path. Some, if not most, were forced to convert and those who ‘voluntarily’ did it, they did it under duress in order to survive. What America do you live in? seriously there is no such thing as homogeneous America it is as colorful and diverse as human behavior and psyche go. You live in a fantasy land. And we have domesticated the wolf, it is called dog. Take your fear mongering drivel elsewhere.

  12. Forget the nonsense- war was there- they occupy our lands-soon we take it back and grow our culture-infinity- Turks that resist-war-death

  13. I think the numbers of part Armenian Turkish citizens are higher than we think. It is not only the (grand)children of 1915 survivors. There is another group too, the (great)grandchildren of the Armenians who survived the Hamidiye (hamidian) massacres. My greatgrandma was one of them I know this only since a short time – I’m 36! It makes me wonder how many greatgrandchildren in Turkey don’t know about their Armenianness, not sure if this is a proper word but it describes very well what I am searching; my Armenianness after all those years. What does it mean to be an Armenian? I don’t know that but trying by making Armenian friends, listening to music, burning a candle in the Armenian church for my greatgrandma, etc. So far I have been welcomed as a lost friend/family by the Armenians I met. Such a warm feeling. There are more of us for sure!

    • Interesting. May I ask you a question? Where you anti-Armenian before getting to know about your partial Armenianness? It seems to me that most Turks are anti-Armenian, whether Kemalist or Islamist, educated or un-educated. Where you also? I am just curious!

      Is the discovery that one has Armenian roots the only way a Turk can put his/her anti-Armenianness aside and think rationally?

  14. Definition of Islamization…Change the religion only
    Turkification: change the name, surname, identity ,culture and religion…
    In Arabic called “Tettreek”…They wanted Arab Muslims to become Turks…
    So see the difference…

    Please don’t use Islamized …the correct word is Turkified …Turkification…
    Because Turks applied Turkificatin on Arab muslims as well …Arab literates call it
    “Tattreek”…Arabs are muslims …still they wanted them to be Turkified…
    It is not a shame to change the title and agree on a new title…
    I am Armenian born in Arab counties and studied arabic language till i was 24 years old …still I follow the news papers…almost daily…So I advice you to change …Thus others will follow…

  15. New ideas which is correct from your article Mr. Bedrosian

    …and academic histories about forcibly Islamized Armenians, as well as the histories of the willingly converted that bridge and divide these communities. The conference was a platform for these unofficial minorities, a sort of “People’s History of Islamized [“Turkified”] Armenians,” to borrow half of Howard Zinn’s title. This percentage of the Turkish population is the resurfacing “remains of the sword (“scimitar”).
    Sword used by brave honest men, but the scimitar used by barbaric people…Turkish scimitar is well-known, even there is congenital syndrome in the lung, Turkish scimitar as a shape, the term is used in medical books.

  16. Remember-once an enemy never a friend. This islamized “armenian” issue is a pure provication to further divide armenians. We do not need them, we cannot verify their intentions, they have foreign mentality and they WILL NOT ENRICH armenian culture. Stop using glaring meaningless generalities stop and think. Stop being sheeple. This is not an issue and armenians need to cease yhis discussion. Turks and azerbaijanis skready know how stupid we are and that we are going to destroy ourselves from within.

    • My friend. I want to tell you couple of things.
      In Ethiopia, (Addisababa, Habsh i.e.), there lived about 25,000 Jews.
      When the famine and draught hit that part of the world, the Israeli government sent the planes, picked up all these Ethiopian Jews who were lost in this world for thousands of years, put them on the planes and brought them home, to Israel. These Ethiopian Jews were black, never new how to speak, read or write Yedish or Hebrew, but they knew that they were Jewish. With open arms they were welcome home in Israel.
      Second, you can not make a judgment on any body if you don’t know the circumstances. You were not there, and what would you have done if you were given certain ultimatums? I either slaughter you under the sword or you have to accept Islam. Tell me what would have been your response. Yes, right now it is easy to say “I would rather die”, but in reality we would choose anything but death. Remember the expression:” When drowning you will hold on to a Cobra”.
      And if you are a real Armenian, i.e. a real Christian, remember what Jesus said:” “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” and in this case “at them”. Who are you to judge?
      Finally, I want to ask you kindly to bear in mind the fact that we are all “Armenians”. These people never had a chance to acknowledge their heritage fearing from the consequences. Their life is still in danger as we speak, and if you know what I mean. Just imagine how courageous they are to come out and openly acclaim their roots and their heritage. Just imagine how eager they are to let us know that they are one of us. Imagine my friend, when you hear the stories on TV about “a brother finds his siblings 60 years later”, or about “two sisters reunite 75 years later”, and so forth….
      These Armenians are our brothers and sisters. You and I are luck to be alive and to live anywhere but under the Turkish rule. Yes, talk is cheap, but the fact remains, we must open our arms and our hearts, and united with one voice we loudly say:
      ” Come home, you belong to us, you are one of us, Come Home”.

  17. “Someone” …
    Have you met them and discussed with them how they lived in fear…?
    Think your self in their place… all through a century…and feel with these unlucky people…
    Before they die, they tell their children, “we are Armenians”…
    I wish they lived in Saudi Arabia would have been better…
    more respected as an Armenians…
    Their genes are Armenian…
    You can change your religion but never your genes…

  18. Sylvia, unlike you-couch intellectual, I lived in Azerbaijan amongs muslims and experience genocide first hand. Dont you tell me what to think and what to say when you were eating mcdonalds washing them with cola cola and writing your meaningless poetry while we were running for our lifes destitute without shelter food and hopes for a future. And those armenian azeri mixes were plentiful in Azerbaijan and they were savages. Because once you have savage genes it is forever. Si jeep writing your pacifist poetry since this is what you do best eat your burgers and live in your brainwashed multiculti made up world

  19. What a nonsense to state “once an enemy never a friend”. How can I be my own enemy having Armenian, Pontic Greek and Turkish all in my blood. The world needs more empathy and that’s how we can help eachother not by fear. I will now speak on behalf of others but it has not been our choice not knowing that we have Armenian blood and when we discover that fact let us embrace it.

  20. Be short,precise and meaningfull.Like Sylva..How CORRECT she is,
    The G.Damned Ottomans TRIED VERY HARD AND DID PARTIALLY SUCCEED in T U K I F Y I N G all those on Asia minor, where they invaded.Whether Arab Assyrian ,Greek or Armenian…
    Islamized ,thence is wrongly applied.Sylkva, once again is 100% RIGHT!

  21. That is right. You have all this in your blood so you do not even know who you are. You are confused this is all part of the new world- a human soup. Lets extend to our brothers. Yes, go ahead and extend and perish. This mixing of everyone has been an official US politically correct dogma for a while now. Muslims really are smarter that dumb armenian christians. Go on pacifists. Believe in being good. So that you can be ruled you sheeple

  22. Dear Sylva,
    Shimitar sword picture also appears on book Cover of ¨ m a m i g o n ¨a book by Jack Hashian an ex state dept.funcionary…
    it appears also in many other photos when dealing with ottoman Turks.Probably their preferred weapon…to slaughter innocents…

  23. Lets consider the history of Armenia, at least back to the days of Urartu. I don’t claim to be a historian so some of what I say may not be entirely accurate. However, what I do seem to remember is that Armenia became a nation through an amalgamation of various peoples, e.g. those of Urartu, the tribe known as the Armens, and others, all living on the Armenian plateau. Over the next 500 or so centuries to the time of Tigran the Great, these peoples codified under the language and culture of Armenia. Jump ahead another few centuries and these Armenian people came together under the religion of Christianity. Then jump further though all the many centuries of war and ravage on the land of Armenia and you still have the Armenian people, albeit changed in some of its genetic makeup (invaders and passers by leaving their mark) and even its language, yet still you have the Armenian people. What has remained through it all is a rich cultural heritage. The point here is that we should at least give these Islamized [Turkified] Armenians a chance to become part of our rich Armenian cultural heritage. That’s not to say we should be naive, i.e. be ever vigilant to our national interests and not let our guard down to Turkish influences that may try to undermine the Armenian Cause. Rather, as a number of commenters have suggested, lets give these Islamized [Turkified] Armenians a chance to accept and become part of the rich Armenian culture. It of course goes without saying that a big part of that Armenian culture is Christianity, but I think rather than trying to push religion down their throats we instead should show by example the love of Christ, which is so much about accepting and befriending our fellow human beings.

  24. Someone you should not be taken serious. Thanks a bunch by making it even more clear with your latest comment. Luckily I know better, I know that there are Armenians who are smarter and politer than you. Who knows maybe you are not even an Armenian.

  25. @wellistennow: assuming that you are asking this question in an upright fashion I will answer your question in an honest manner. No, I have never been anti Armenian or anti Greek neither my parents have been and also before I knew about my Armenian blood I was aware of my maternal Greek part. I was never judgmental about the so called minorities. This is my upbringing in a small neighborhood by the Bosporus in Istanbul/Constantinopolis where I was surrounded by Greeks, Armenians and Turks accepting, enjoying and respecting each others culture. Of course I do not know how it means to be an Armenian secretly or openly in Eastern Anatolia, I must admit this. Hope this answers your question.

    • Yes, my question was sincere, i.e. not rhetorical. Thanks for the reply. As for nomad’s comment, I don’t know whether he/she is referring to ME when talking about bigotry. I never said you shouldn’t embrace your Armenianness.

    • I was referring to those who out of phobia of other religions or cultural upbringings seek out to obstruct cooperative and constructive behavior.

  26. @ wellistennow: I am so glad to have discovered being part Armenian. This is my richness. Accepting my Armenianness is also my way of remembering and respecting my great-grandma who survived by surrendering at the age of 13! It may sound like a long long time ago event and maybe I should not even worry about but without this Armenian lady I would not have been me,my beloved dad would not have existed. In short, whether some people like it or not because I am not 100% Armenian, I am determined to keep yaya Pupush alive and in my world.

    • Nilly,

      Don’t pay attention to some of these bigots who have completely lost their cool about being HUMAN. Indeed, Armenians not only have diverse cultural or religious makeup, they also have a very plural genetic makeup. However, some think there is some sort of pure blood Armenians or any such nonsense. Reminds me of the Nazi conquest to find their true Aryan race in the Asias.
      It’s nice to hear you are discovering your roots and feel a part of our community. Don’t let anyone else tell you you are not Armenian or this thing or another; whatever label you give yourself as an identifier then that is what you are.

  27. Is it “phobia” to say that islam commands believers to wage war on unbelievers and that judaism claims that jews are god’s chosen people? yes?

    • Not sure what you mean and maybe you can elaborate more on your use of the term phobia.

      Well there is the Islamaphobia after the 911 hysteria and then there is legitimate concern over Islam’s tenets which even moderate Muslims take as true and literal word of God (unbelievers deserve to die). You can reference Sam Harris’s writings on this issue. However the phobia I am talking about is the idea that people have this visceral feeling of fear and anger when they hear about Islam, especially Armenians. Understandably so considering the tumultuous historical events regarding Armenians. But no Islamic country is on a crusade to convert a whole state or people into adopting their practices. There maybe hostilities coming form Islamic countries but the root of this is political, economic and social but not religious. So I don’t see why there is this fear or phobia of Islam. The way I see it, it is just another religion, possibly a little worse than the other two Abrahamic religions, but nonetheless another irrational belief system. Furthermore, let us not forget that Christianity too requires its followers to convert unbelievers. Matter of fact all religions do that otherwise what would be the point? Its always the policy to recruit more and more adherents not because it is suggestive in scripture but because it is commanded by God. All religions therefore want a monopoly since it is used as a form of conformance and control of thought and people’s behavior.

      I am not an authority on Islam, Judaism or Christianity to state what each commands and how people interpret those commands but I am sure each will have its own extreme factions who take things quite literally that which results in horrible events.

  28. nomad: I posted a lenghty response to you but apparently it was censored by Armenian Weekly as it hasn’t appeared for days.

    “Not sure what you mean and maybe you can elaborate more on your use of the term phobia.”

    I never use the term phobia in regards to politics and religion. I don’t believe that you can be Islamophobic, Judeophobic or Capitalistophobic. Phobia is a medical term which means irrational fear.

    Is it irrational to fear islam if you’re an infidel? Is it irrational to fear Capitalism if you’re a commie? Is it irrational to fear Nazism if you’re Jewish? (Well, today it actually is since Nazis are just a bunch of clowns whereas Israel has nukes).

    But you get the point..

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