Should Armenians care about the plight of the Uyghurs?

Photo: Flickr/Uyghur East Turkistan

In the East, a native people are feeling the wrath of an aggressively authoritarian State. Their language, culture and religion are at odds with the imposed orthodoxy of the far-away capital. For this reason, they have been branded a “fifth column” by a regime notorious for its intolerance of any expression of diversity from the people it subjugates.

These people are subjected to the whims of a cruelly-efficient police state. Their movements are tracked. Their schools get routinely shut down. Their literature is censored. Their houses of worship crumble under the weight of bulldozers.

Alarmingly, authorities have now begun to kidnap and intern these people in concentration camps—first the intellectuals, then military-aged men, finally, anyone else that the State might consider subversive elements. There, they are conditioned to abandon their traditional identities and molded to embrace the regime. The lifeless bodies of those who refuse are discarded. The regime justifies the elimination of a unique cultural identity with statements like, “We shall load our guns, draw our swords from their sheaths, throw hard punches and relentlessly beat, strike hard without flinching at terrorists.”

Despite bits and pieces of this ongoing State-sponsored tragedy making its way into the international press, the regime passionately denies accusations as “Western Propaganda.” Few governments are willing to risk souring relations with the regime to find out. It’s a pragmatic response.

This Orwellian depiction should sound eerily familiar to most readers. For the children and grandchildren of Armenian Genocide survivors, this should look like a call to action. The chant “Never Again!” heard every April 24th outside Turkish embassies across the globe serves as a warning that genocides gone unpunished can easily be replicated.

In this very real case, the regime is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while its victims are…Turks…of sorts. The Uyghurs number around fifteen million in the central-Asian province of Xinjiang, which they call “East-Turkestan.” They are the descendants of those Turks who stayed put while their kin migrated west to ravage Armenia.

Most of those tactics might look like they were pulled right out of the Young Turks instruction manual and updated for the 21st century.

Communist China would absorb the region by 1949. Despite Chinese control, the mountains continued to shelter an underground independence movement for decades. Unwilling to tolerate any challenge to the supremacy of the CCP, the Central Government is implementing a strategy which it had perfected in Tibet: to turn the locals into loyal Chinese communists. This goal would be accomplished by eroding any sense of national identity other than loyalty to Beijing. Troops have set up roadblocks and checkpoints throughout major cities. CCTV cameras now operate in mosques, and locals’ movements are tracked with GPS emitters. Using face-recognition technology and big data analytics, they have effectively turned the province into a massive open-air prison. Some of this Chinese surveillance tech might soon find its way to Armenia. Locals have been forced to remove veils and shave Islamic beards. Many have even been force-fed pork products. A government program to dilute the region’s Uyghur character has transplanted so many ethnic Han Chinese into the area that their numbers have ballooned from six percent in 1949 to 40 percent today.

Most of those tactics might look like they were pulled right out of the Young Turks instruction manual and updated for the 21st century. A genocide denied is a genocide repeated.

Over the years, the struggle for Armenian Genocide recognition has morphed from a campaign to avenge a historical injustice into a human rights issue. After all, the Ottomans didn’t simply set out to kill Armenians, but to remove their humanity. As descendants of victims, we share our pain and humiliation with victims of totally unrelated atrocities across the globe. Recognition, they will argue, is the first step toward prevention. The 1.5 million would not have perished in vain if their example served to protect the lives of human beings of all races and religions.

The Armenian Genocide served as a template for the Shoah. “Who remembers the elimination of the Armenians?” as we like to quote from Hitler. The Srebrenica massacre, the Cambodian and Rwandan Genocides can all trace their origins to the world’s failure to act in 1915.

As the victims of the primordial under-acknowledged Genocide, we began to accept the moral responsibility to prevent them in our lifetime. The first step was the most instinctive one: to make common cause with the Pontic Greeks and Assyrians. The Armenian Parliament recently recognized these genocides, while Diaspora groups now lobby for the recognition of all three genocides by foreign governments. Eventually, activists would lend their voices to other causes-célèbres.

Photo: Flickr/katmere

At the height of the Darfur Conflict, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) launched the extraordinarily successful “Urgency of Now” campaign—the poster of which featured a starving Sudanese child cropped with a photograph of an Armenian boy during the Genocide. The message was as clear as it was poignant: those who lost their humanity due to the international community’s unwillingness to act decisively embodied what was at stake. Perhaps not so coincidentally, activists of the “Save Darfur” movement carried signs with a familiar slogan: “Never Again!”

Bandwagoning Armenian Genocide recognition onto sexy causes makes practical sense. Darfur’s archetypal dictator, Al-Bashir could never hope to match the star-power fielded by celebrities like George Clooney and Mia Farrow in the struggle for global sympathy.

But what about unsexy atrocities? The kind that don’t end up on celebrity Instagram accounts and those which are committed in the middle of diplomatic quagmires in distant lands? Do the descendants of Genocide survivors not have a responsibility towards them?

In Yerevan, the Aurora Prize headquarters, which Clooney co-founded, effectively institutionalized Armenia’s role as the global champion of Genocide prevention. Incidentally, the latest recipient of the Prize, Tom Catena, works in Sudan.

But what about unsexy atrocities? The kind that don’t end up on celebrity Instagram accounts and those which are committed in the middle of diplomatic quagmires in distant lands? Do the descendants of Genocide survivors not have a responsibility towards them?

So far, the campaign for Armenian Genocide recognition has encountered few if any moral qualms. Armenians are impartial to the Rwandan conflict. The Republic of Armenia would unlikely face real diplomatic fallout for condemning Burma’s persecution of its Rohingya minority. If anything, denouncing the Islamic State’s campaign against the Yazidis may have lent credibility to Armenia’s title of World Genocide Watchdog.

This consequence-free approach to genocide-diplomacy has led the most eager among us to imagine commonalities between the Armenian Genocide and anything from the Black Lives Matter movement to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The window of ambiguity is quickly closing for the self-appointed global leaders of genocide prevention. We will soon have to choose between an unwavering commitment to the upholding of our values and pragmatism, not unlike the choice we resent Israel for making.

In recent years, Armenia has found itself sucked closer into China’s orbit. As is the case in many developing countries, strengthening economic and political ties with Beijing risks the danger of imposing our own “gag rule” (to borrow a term). China has demonstrated a willingness to use any means at its disposal to punish any international criticism.

These have taken the form of bans on Chinese tour groups, the cancellation of economic agreements or restrictions on foreign companies operating within the country. Other diplomatic consequences may also follow.

Armenia’s closer scrutiny of the plight of the Uyghurs might be uncomfortable for another reason: Turkey’s President Erdoğan.

Unlike the majority of world leaders, Erdoğan has been quite vocal about his opposition to the treatment of Turkey’s ethnic cousins in China. He even referred to China’s actions as “a kind of genocide.” This sort of criticism may risk growing economic ties between Ankara and Beijing. Of course, Erdogan’s words are meant for a domestic audience. The president’s posturing as a modern-day Ottoman sultan has been warmly met at home. In recent years, Erdoğan has visibly increased Turkish presence in Bosnia, offered diplomatic and military support to the Syrian Turkmen and supported Azerbaijan.  

Erdoğan has also been very liberal with his use of the term “genocide.” He’s applied the G-word to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, the situation in Myanmar and even accused Armenia of committing Genocide against the Turks. For Erdogan, the term applies to just about anything other than his country’s extermination of its Armenian, Greek and Assyrian minorities.

Coincidentally sharing a cause with Erdoğan, in this case, might seem unthinkable, but exciting conclusions could be drawn. Armenia’s courage to take a stand against human rights abuses inflicted on a Turkic group would contrast quite positively with Turkey’s selective approach of condemning only atrocities (both real or imagined) against Turks. Comparisons between China’s treatments of the Uyghurs and Turkey’s similar treatment of its Kurdish minority also come to mind.

Ultimately, such an arrangement could help dislodge the genocide issue from national pride at the heart of Turkish civil discourse. Nationalists in Turkey have long portrayed the genocide as an Armenian conspiracy to weaken Turkey. If Armenians are willing to call a spade a spade regardless of national interests, shouldn’t the Turks?

Our parents and grandparents were stripped of their citizenships, their property, their language, religion, identity and their humanity, much like the Uyghurs today. Armenia’s responsibility toward victims of atrocities should not be limited to convenience.

A real test of our commitment to universal justice would entail speaking out for the cousins of our oppressors when they, in turn, become the victims. With the gradual destruction of the Uyghur people, Armenians will soon face an uncomfortable dilemma: does the global solidarity between victims extend to the ethnic-relatives of an enemy state?

Raffi Elliott

Raffi Elliott

Columnist & Armenia Correspondent
Raffi Elliott is a Canadian-Armenian political risk analyst and journalist based in Yerevan, Armenia. A former correspondent and columnist for the Armenian Weekly, his focus is socioeconomic, political, business and diplomatic issues in Armenia.


  1. It’s even more complicated. There’s the Uyghoors fighting (or who fought) in Syria to the detriment of Armenians that must be considered as well.

    • According to Google, there are around 5000 Uyghurs fighting in Syria out of a population of 15 million (~ 0.03333% of the total population). They’re mostly involved in North-Eastern Syria fighting the Kurds and the Syrian Army. Now, why the conflict in Syria would be at all relevant to China or Armenia is beyond me.

    • Well said, there were more than 3000 Chinese Muslim “ freedom fighters “ in Syria fighting, killing, butchering the Syrian people and the legitimate Syrian government soldiers, so the Chinese government knows well which system would work with them.

  2. Hell no they are part of the Gladio armies trained by CIA to form a fake country called East Turkestan they even have a fake president based out of DC. Most were trained as militants by CIA backed Gulen Turkish schools that started in central Asia after fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 to destabilize Russia and China in Central Asia countries. Yes, they were also used in Syria and before that in Serbia /balkans to slice it up and destroy orthodoxy villages. No one that is Armenian should give a flip about these cia manufactured terrorists. Even Turkey doesn’t want them in their country because of their alliance to CIA and NATO. They train an army of child soldiers nasty individuals.

  3. This liberalism crap will be the final nail on the Armenian coffin.
    That’s why it is being financed and encouraged by special interests in our societies. Sadly, many Armenians, especially in North America, have fallen victim to it.

    • Agreed, Gurgen. Let’s take some of the issues that are on the political forefront in America today and turn things around: Would the Progressive elites approve of free immigration, open borders and NO WALL in Israel? NO. Would the Progressive elites approve of gun control and confiscation of firearms from Jewish civilians in Israel? NO. Would the Progressive elites approve of LGBT indoctrination in Jewish kindergartens in Israel? NO. Would the Progressive elites approve of Jewish tolerance for the “other” in Israel? NO. Would the Progressive elites approve of freedom of speech for persecuted, non-Jewish religious groups in Israel? NO. If these so-called politically correct stances are in no way “good for the Jews” then why should they be rammed down the throats of countries around the rest of the world?

    • Gurgen, Boghos,

      What we see happening in the North American Armenian community and Armenia these days is a Western/Jewish/Turkish agenda to weaken Armenian society (through preaching liberalism, egalitarianism, feminism, homosexuality, open borders, etc) and drive a wedge between Armenia and Russia (through preaching “independence” from Moscow) so that they can have they way with Armenia without the Russian Bear’s interference. Whether they realize it or not, these people are playing with the very existence of Armenia. It’s treasonous, and it’s pretty widespread in our societies today…

    • I wasn’t aware that recognising that Genocide is a bad thing is a “liberal” issue now. If you replaced the word “Armenian” with “Turk” in your comment, it would look VERRRRYYYYY similar to something the GreyWolves in Turkey would say :P

  4. God save us from our “universalist” and “holier-than-thou” Armenians. It’s a bit rich to expect impoverished and blockaded Armenia, which is threatened by Turkbeijan, to be too concerned in the plight of the Uighurs/Turks, the brethren of the same Turks who tried to erase our nation from the map. Since they are fundamentalist and heavily influenced by Turkey, they must consider us their infidel foe. They look up to Turkey and to Erdogan for propaganda and “cultural” help. For years Uighur leaders have been junketing to Turkey for guidance, inspiration and whatever else they could smuggle to China. For an Uighur it would be natural to be hostile to a nation who is hostile to Turkbeijan. Besides, what’s the point of antagonizing China, a country which has been helpful to Armenia in the past few years. We can’t afford Boy Scouts.

    • The Question is how do we want this world to perceive us? We are a warrior nation surviving countless Massacres yet we stand because of who we are our blood our DNA we are not like any other nation. As per my previous comment we have a Moral and Religious duty we cannot go to Church yet let the oppressed bleed on the street, we cannot scream Genocide yet turn a blind eye to those who are being massacred even though they may want our head! To be truly Armenian is to shout out DAMN YOU WORLD we are Armenian and we will uphold GOD’s law as we are his servants. God Save the Armenian People I fear that we are losing our Bond with our MASTER!

    • You said it, bro, I agree with you. I choose the Chinese than the Uigur Turks. Remember, they were also fighting in Syria with Turkish help. Screw them Turks.

    • This is exactly the kind of criticism we lodge at Israel for refusing the recognise the Armenian Genocide – Would you accept it if they said: “Jehovah save us from ‘universalist’ Jews who think that small blockaded Israel should risk relations with Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide?”

      – SO yeah, if you think Genocide is a bad thing: it’s bad for everyone, not just Armenians (even if those people are related to Turks)

  5. As an Armenian Christian any oppressed “People” should be protected and cared for no matter race, religion. It is our moral and religious duty.

    • As Turkic people who think Erdogan is God’s gift to the Turkic people, the Uighurs would automatically act as our foes if they get independence. That’s what we need: another Islamic fundamentalist Turkic race at our neck. Mealy-mouthed “Christian” attitudes might make some Armenians pat themselves on the back in a pointless gesture. If it makes you feel good, go ahead and weep for Turks for the economic disaster Turkey is facing, sob that Azeris are living under the Aliyev dictatorship and weep that Pakistan, which doesn’t recognize Armenia, is impoverished and hopelessly backward.

    • Like I said, when Russia decides pulls its troops out of Armenia (won’t happen but let’s say it does), Uyghur volunteers will be at the forefront of the Pan-Turkic/Wahhabi Islamic onslaught on Armenia… and Yankees like “Raffi” will simply run back home to the good ol’ US of A…

    • Hello!

      Your a protestant right? From your writing, I can tell. Armenian are not protestant and are Orthodox. In true Christian sayings, we let others (Muslims) take advantage of our faith and slap us and we turned a cheek. Not on more! Your liberal perspective makes me laugh harder of how naive and soft you are. This (Ulghurs) have always been the aggressor! They have killed and tarnished the Mongols, until Gangis, They have done the same to Bulgurs, Maygar, Arabs, Chinese, Persian, Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds, and still continue. You want all these people to recognize there so called genocide? If this is true? Then why is Mr. God (Erdogon) and all the other ulghur or Yahut people step in and condemn it and recognize it? Because they are not fools, thats why or are they? This world is cruel and no one cares, everyone cares about there interests not what is going on. So, quit writing BS and do some good for your people who will benefit from you; not a savage people who have other much bigger brothers who can do something.

    • @Andre:

      Hey there, the user with the handle “raffi” above is not the same Raffi who wrote the article, I am. Also, I’m actually Catholic.

  6. I am sympathetic to all repressed peoples, and if these Uyghurs are being subjected to genocide, it should be condemned by us.

    I am just wondering if Uyghurs acknowledge our Genocide and if they support the independence of Artsakh.

    • I don’t think it should matter whether they recognise the Armenian Genocide or not – See, if we truly care about Genocide recognition as a human rights issue, it shouldn’t be a quid-pro-quo. The Uyghurs could be the scum of the earth for all we care but that wouldn’t justify China’s actions.

    • The only reasonable answer by one Armenian, shame to all of you, before condemning Uighurs you all haveto know the real narratives about Uighur Issue. China annexed our land 1949 since genocide is taken place: forcible abortion, discrimination, arbitrary detention, arbitrary execution and so on.
      Today China decided to eradicate the whole Uighur nation in order to get Uighur land only for chinese! Only 20 years ago there were 2% chinese invaders but today Uighurs are the minority in their own land 60% chinese.All Uighur man is gone age 14-50! To justify this crime chinese made up stories about terrorism.
      China has power and money, China writes and rewrites stories as it fits China. If Turks commited Armenian genocide, I am sorry and this was done without Uighurs.The Uighur genocide is unprecedented in human history, chinese stadiums and atrocities applied to this crime undescribable! One must know chinese horrific culture!
      China harvest Uighurs organs for sale, more to say?

  7. Yes, I care about the plight of Uyghurs, Turks, Azeris and all the human race, as long as they are NOT threat to the existence of my fellow countrymen, the Armenians.

    • To my knowledge, the Uyghurs, who live 7000 miles away from Armenia are not a threat to Armenia. Also, other than having similar origins to the Turks they do not bear responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. In the same way that Lithuanians are not responsible for Frances massacre of the Breton people by virtue of sharing the same skin tone.

  8. When Russia has enough of us ungrateful, politically illiterate and problematic Armenians and decides pulls its troops out of Armenia (won’t happen but let’s say it does), Uyghur volunteers will be at the forefront of the Pan-Turkic/Wahhabi Islamic onslaught on Armenia… and Yankees like “Raffi” will simply run back home to the good ol’ US of A…

    • So you just mouthed off a fellow Armenian NOT from the States, so what is you solution Mr Keyboard warrior! As Jay has stated and as I have also stated Armenians are a warrior nation and will fend off 10 men for each Armenian men so I don’t look worried however what worries me is that we have soy boys like you afraid of little blood in the battlefield ;).

      I will say it again ARMENIAN NEED THE MORAL HIGH GROUND the only thing going for us is Soft power something that both Jay and Jirair need to read about . Now if you think im a sensetive Christian so be it i follow my GOD i put my trust in him and my Armenian soldiers .

    • Yeah…my bio clearly mentions that I’m born in Canada. (I’m also an Armenian citizen and taxpayer). Never lived in the US of A. You’d think that for a person who “reads a lot of serious books” you would have read that line.

      – Anyway, carry on.

    • Sireli “Concerned Armenian”:

      With all due respect:

      Maybe instead of your constantly lecturing and insulting Western Diasporans who have done much to aid Armenia — billions and billions – plus hospitals, schools, and volunteer work — since the darkest days of independence, please consider your fellow countrymen Hayastantsis who have fled to the West, who take vacations in Turkey, and who buy Turkish goods galore. Lecture and insult THEM if you must.

      Quite frankly, “Concerned Armenian”, many of us are tired of your constant hectoring and holier-than-thou attitude.

      Might you put your time to better use over there?

      We’re all frustrated but please don’t take it out on us.

      Please straighten out your own country’s many problems before you presume to insult Diasporans whose only goal is to keep the Diaspora alive and help Armenia and Artsakh.

      And while I don’t agree with the author of this article, he has a right to write about the subject of Uyghurs. This is not the USSR or North Korea.

    • Vahe jan,

      What makes you think that Concerned Armenian is from Armenia (or has ever been to Armenia for that matter)? For all we know, he lives in the “US of A” which he apparently despises so much.

    • Raffi,
      your bio also mentions that you hold a master degree in International relations. Its hard to believe when you keep talking childishly about “high moral grounds” while completly forgetting to mention potential Chinese investments in Armenia, or Tibet, or Taiwan recognition by Armenia. Since when International relations are based on moral values?
      Xi Ping visited Paris not long ago, the subject was never mentionned by Macron,despite the French portray themselves as the patrie des droits de l’homme. Want to be more royalist than the king?
      Just before the opening of a huge Chinese embassy in Yerevan, excuse your readers to believe that your article is at worse a command from your patrons (irrespective of your birhplace….) and at best a very naive and narrow vision with potential disastrous consequences for Armenia, wrapped into a jam of ” high moral ground ”
      Michael Ekmekjian

    • @MichaelEk

      Thank you for your comment.

      I do indeed hold an MA in IR. However, a closer examination of the Article I wrote above would reveal that I do not actually advocate any form of ” high moral ground ”-based approach to international affairs. I can assure you that I’m acutely aware of the geopolitical tools at China’s disposal and the considerable risks of challenging Beijing on the issue.

      What I proposed, in the lines I wrote above, was merely a thought experiment (not a concrete foreign policy strategy), where I ask readers to imagine a scenario in which they must put their commitment to justice to the test. Would they come to the aid of victims of similar atrocity? Even if the victim is related to a previous oppressor?

      I hoped to challenge the complacency in which many Armenians view Genocide recognition: a moral cause but only so far as it’s convenient. I didn’t expect anyone to picket the Chinese embassy, only to appreciate the historical irony of Turk- agacent people sometimes being victims too. Armenians love to accuse Israel of failing to recognise the Armenian genocide due to political inconvenience. Your comments suggest that we too, wouldn’t sacrifice political convenience for justice.

      Also, would you kindly specify to which “patron” you are referring?

      Raffi E.

  9. Well, 197,000 Turk soldiers lost their lives fighting 40,000 resilient Armenians in May of 1918, aka the Battle of Sardarabad, we didn’t see Russians no where near to be found to help us. Sorry, to burst your bubble. In addition, 150,000 Artsakh Armenians fought off 9 million Azeris , again no Russians around to help us, quit yer moaning.

  10. Jay, I see you like reading comic books. I suggest you pick up a serious book and revisit the time period you obviously know nothing about…

    • C. Armenian, could you maybe tell us which books you read? It would really clarify a lot of things.

  11. Edited from my last post#

    I will say it again ARMENIAN NEED THE MORAL HIGH GROUND the only thing going for us is Soft power something that both “Concerned Armenian” and Jirair need to read about . Now if you think im a sensetive Christian so be it i follow my GOD i put my trust in him and my Armenian soldiers .

    sorry Jay !

    • 2,000,000 now deceased (massacred) Armenians put their faith in “GOD” too. You might want to rethink that.

  12. Re Raffi’s suggestion that Armenians need the moral high ground…
    Moral high ground and fifty cents will not get you a cup of coffee. We held the moral high ground for centuries and all for naught. Armenia is one-tenth of historic Armenia. In the Middle Ages our priests prayed at the altar and left church doors open because they were sure that being virtuous, hard-working, and Christian, God would save us from from the barbarians of Central Asia. Those churches are now inns, stables, depots, cinemas, brothels, and mosques. Why be concerned in a people who are our putative foes and would, given the chance, eagerly join Turkey and Azerbaijan to erase us from the map? We are proud of the tiny Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia where the Armenian nation was reborn. Do you know that Cilicia belonged to Byzantium? Do you know that we established the Cilician Kingdom by force of arms? We grabbed it from Byzantium when that empire was weak. Having suffered mainly because of our Christianity, our moral high ground didn’t get us any points from Christian Byzantium.

    • You are truly deluded. Christianity has nothing to do with being powerless or loosing a war or what ever you said . When vartan zoravar mamekonian was facing the persians he was a devout christian and had priest’s bishops on the battlefield with bible in one hand and the sword in the other . The persians killed him but they gave up because our faith was stronger then theirs . So again you are deluded or uninformed about Christianity protecting itself from the enemy which is diffrent to taking the sword and killing the innocent. Shame on you and you call yourself an Armenian

  13. First off, not every human rights violation is a genocide. I highly doubt what is going on in China can be considered a genocide. Uyghurs are being deprived of their basic human rights but they are not driven to deserts without food and shelter. Random use of the term “genocide” makes the word meaningless.
    Second off, I am personally against what is going on in China but I don’t think any kind of formal condemnation by Armenia will change anything. Armenia is a small country with little influence. If we are going to start acting like the human rights police of the world, we will end up cutting our ties with at least a few dozen countries which doesn’t make sense.

    • What’s happening in Xinjiang may not be a genocide *yet* but its quickly getting there. Also, Maybe Armenia’s formal recognition wouldn’t do so much, but at least we would stick to our morals. We get happy when any tiny country recognizes the Armenian Genocide even if that doesn’t really influence Turkey…

    • Elizabeth

      If we are going to do this only for morals then we can start with condemning the treatment of Christians in Pakistan who are being treated as second class citizens. Raping Christian women in Pakistan is some sort of leisure time activity for Muslim men. It is both supporting a persecuted Christian minority who need our help and sticking it to Pakistan a country that refuses to recognize Armenia, as strange as that sounds, only to appease Azerbaijan and Turkey. My point is that there are many other things we can do to show our soft power. There is no reason to go head to head with the second biggest economy in the world only to showcase our moral side. No reason to be more Catholic than the pope, I doubt Azerbaijan has ever raised this issue with China and I am sure if Uyghurs get independence, they will support Azerbaijan and Turkey against Armenia.

    • ritooli –

      So what? Recognizing that an injustice is taking place should be totally separate from endorsing their politics. If tomorrow the Iranians massacred their entire Azeri populations, we should also speak out (not because we support Azerbaijan, but because Genocide is wrong).

      As the author explains: we should decide if our campaign for genocide recognition is motivated by pragmatism (I’m guessing he means that it’s just a tool to get back at Turkey) or a genuine desire to stop atrocities. If we choose the latter, the only true test of our conviction comes when we stand up for a cause even when it isn’t self-serving.

    • I am Armenian and support China. They are dealing with a barbaric enemy that is also not our friend. Considering the fact that China is a friendly country in relation to Armenia and this group is supported by enemies on our border I support China. Considering the fact that uighur are a group that is politically and culturally supported by our worst enemies and inflicts violence wherever it becomes dominant I believe China has a right to act as it is acting. I think that Armenia’s leaders could learn from China’s leaders. Armenia and China could even develop closer relations with each other based on this issue.

    • And learn what, Jay? That a few thousand Turks tried to invade Russian Armenia (because the Russian Czar had fallen and the Bolsheviks were too preoccupied) and Armenians finally came to their senses and rallied around their leadership and fought back? Last resort, life or death battles where you win by sheer desperation and/or luck (or the enemy’s incompetence) is nothing to be overly proud of.

      From a wider military perspective, the battle of Sardarapat, which more or less was battle between around 10 thousand Armenian fighters and a little larger force of Turks, was a large skirmish. The battle would not make into military history books. You want to see real battles, study the European wars. Moreover, Turks were attacking, Armenians were defending. Turks, numbering only a few thousand more than Armenians, did not have the troop numbers needed for an offensive. They probably thought they would have an easy time taking over Armenia being that at the time a majority of Armenia’s population were starving/sickly genocide survivors. They were mistaken. Armenians did not retreat as they had nowhere to go. Turks lost around 3/4 thousand men and retreated. Armenians lost less than 1 thousand. Again, no great miracle here. This is normal, considering Turks were attacking and Armenians were defending. Had Turks came back with a larger force, they would have surly succeeded. They did not come back, which suggests they may have been threatened by the Bolsheviks and/or the West.

      No, we are not a “warrior” nation. LOL What we are is a nation of merchants and peasants. It’s amazing how little Armenians know about their history… It’s amazing how Armenians don’t learn from their history… It’s amazing how politically illiterate Armenians are…

  14. To Uighur: You say “The Uighur genocide is unprecedented in human history.” How do you figure that? Why because it’s your people?

  15. I support the Chinese. The Uighur are not out friends. They directly support Armenia’s enemies. Moreover, our relations with China are far more important.

    • No one says you need to “support the Uygurs”, just acknowledge that Genocide is a bad thing even when it happens to Turkic people. It doesn’t matter if they’re our friends or not.

      Armenians get angry when the US or Israel choose to maintain good relations with Turkey over their moral responsibility to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Its interesting that when given the same option, you make the same choice (doing what’s easy over doing what’s right).

  16. Responding to vazgen. Actually given Armenia geographic location on the map it DOES matter weather they are friends or not. If they are aligned with enemies of Armenia we have no business supporting them. This is especially true if that enemy shares a border with you. Comparing Armenia with the United States makes no sense, because the United States does not face an existential treat. The United States does not have an enemy on the border that has committed genocide against it. Moreover, I reject the premise of your argument that supporting people who are openly against you is somehow the right thing to do. It makes no sense to side with enemies who are miles away from you for the sake of personal feelings. China is an emerging power and we should try to develop a beneficial relationship with them, not a group related to our enemies. You seem to be making a lazy argument based on your feeling.

  17. This article and many of the comments here are a dumpster fire. How is it possible that there are 43 comments and not a single person has bothered to point out that China is one of the friendliest countries in the world to Armenia. Chinese-Armenian relations since the fall of the Soviet Union have been characterized by largescale Chinese aid to Yerevan. Already in the 1990s China sold to the Armenian military the WM-8 artillery system, which incidentally plays a role in keeping the regional Turkic relatives of the Uyghers from annihilating the Armenian state. Armenia.

    Just in September 2018 China donated 200 ambulances to Armenia! Chinese companies have been cooperating with what is left of the Soviet-built Nairit plant in Armenia to produce synthetic materials.

    Not to mention the fact that China is essentially set to be in the top three dominant economic, technological, geopolitical, diplomatic, and military powers this century. What the hell excuse could anyone dream up to antagonize a friendly nation like China, especially considering that China is having problems with its local, troublesome Turco-Sunni population, not unlike the way Armenia has been having trouble with its own related Turco-Sunni population. Is there a single Armenian-American that is capable of undersrtanding the fact that the Republic of Armenia is a nation-state which must pursue its geopolitical interests based on logical calculations? Why is the Dashnaktsutyun allowing foreigners to inject a foreign agenda into discussions about the fledgling and endangered Armenian state? The Uyghers are just a convenient excuse for western economic interests, Pan-Turkic animals, and Islamic terrorists to attack Beijing . . . And God forbid Beijing fall, Iran would be next and then Armenia’s neighborhood would be on fire, with tens of millions of Iranian Azeris ready to raise hell in the Caucasus.

    Anyone arguing that “moral high ground” has any place in a political discussion is really too immature. Armenia has never given up the moral high ground in its history, it has gotten Armenia nothing but massacres, destruction, exodus, genocide, and the reducation of a once great nation into a tiny sliver on the map that exists only because it serves Russian interests for it to exist.

    Regarding Israel, let’s not compare Armenia to Israel and Jews. Apart from Turks, Azerbaijanis, and western-backed Sunni Muslims like Pakistanis and Saudis, Jews are unique in that local Jewish organizations and influential Jews ACTIVELY go out of their way to defend the Turks and OUTRIGHT DENY the Armenian Genocide. This is a well-documented fact. Armenian demands regarding the Armenian Genocide are limited to recovering Armenian property in Historic Armenia. Jews use massacres which were committed in Europe to justify their own occupation of lands in the Middle East and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, not to mention using the Holocaust in order to encourage wars of aggression against Israel’s peaceful neighbors like Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq – countries which just happen to be home to survivors of the Armenian Genocide but where the Armenian community has been subjected to renewed persecution by western, Israeli, and Turkish backed bombings and Islamic groups in the last five decades.

    And the freakshows that somehow turned the comments section into an anti-Russian flame war have no business shoving their noses into Armenian politics.

    • Exactly, Sarkis jan. I am glad you brought this up.

      Regarding to your question why no one here mentioned that China is an ally of Armenia (not on par with Russia but a natural ally nonetheless), the answer is simple: Armenians are by nature (genetically/cutlutally) a politically illiterate and self-destructive bunch. The politically illiteracy and self-destructive behavior is so deep in our people, that a significant number of Armenians today actually think if Armenian “united”, Armenia can survive in the South Caucasus without Russian support. I want to also add here that the North American Armenian diaspora is a conveyor Western/Gloablist toxicity inside Armenia. Although there are some outstanding Armenian-Armenian (e.g. Harout Sassounyan), generally speaking, the American-Armenian community is the CIA’s and the US State Department’s pack animal…

    • Concerned Armenian, I honestly do not know what “if only Armenians united” even means. If the claim was “if only Armenia had weapons of mass destruction to use on cities like Istanbul and Baku” or “if only every Armenian had 50 children each so we could launch human wave attacks against Turkey and Azerbaijan in two decades” then at least the claim would make sense in its own ridiculously childish way. What does “uniting Armenia” even mean? We already have one nation-state (I count the Armenian and Artsakhi republics as one entity because you have Armenian men from Gyumri to Kapan standing shoulder to shoulder with Armenian men from Stepanakert on the Line of Contact with Azerbaijan.) We have one language. We have one Church (over 97% of Armenian citizens are members.) We have one Armed Forces. We have One Nation, One Culture as our national motto. The Armenian state exists, it is homogeneous (Thank The Lord!) and it has a well-trained and well-armed (Iskanders Missiles and Sukhoi Su-30s!!!) Armed Forces for all of its patriots to serve in.

      What else is there to “unify?” Even if all 10 million or so Diasporan Armenians moved to Armenia (which will never happen) and forced into the Armenian Armed Forces (a terrible idea) the fact remains that the over 100 million Turks and Muslims surrounding Armenia would utterly destroy Armenia within a week or two if they declared war and Russia did not intervene. Such a thing almost happened in 1993 until Russia literally threatened to nuke Turkey actually. Iran and China might strongly object, but no one other than Russia is going to put boots on the ground to save Armenia from Turkey. So you are absolutely correct, No Russia = Armenian Genocide Part 2, The Final Chapter. This has been the case for over a century now, Armenians inside Armenia know this fact well. Turkey today with its NATO training and American weapons is more dangerous than the Ottomans in 1915. The Armenian American diaspora, which focuses pretty much exclusively on “recognition” from the clowns in Congress for the Armenian Genocide, somehow fails to grasp this simple fact.

      I wish I could say Armenians are not self-destructive, but the past one thousand years speak for themselves. And yes, I have noticed Armenian Americans seem more concerned about American issues (feminism, homosexuality, overthrowing Bashar al-Assad and replacing him with ISIS, claiming that Ukraine and Georgia(!) have some alleged right to occupy non-Ukrainian and non-Georgian territories, covering up the fact that Jewish yeshiva students regularly spit at Armenian priests in Jerusalem, propping up a Turkish-backed Sunni fake state in Serbia’s occupied Kosovo province, and now apparently trying to prop up a Turkish-backed Sunni fake state in China’s Xinjang province because of course…) You’d think maybe the Armenian American community would show some concern that allegedly “pro-Armenian” Congresspeople like Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi were calling for the overthrow of Assad and his replacement with Turkish-backed ISIS terrorists who in 2014 occupied Kessab and destroyed the Armenian Genocide memorial in Der Zor. Or maybe Armenian Americans would say something about America threatening Armenia for sending HUMANITARIAN AID to Syria. Or the whole “God Bless Turkey, a Model Muslim Democracy” that every single US President repeats ad nauseam. Or you know, the fact that America, Britain, and Israel are the only notable western countries which not only do not recognize but ACTIVELY DENY the Armenian Genocide! Or that maybe the US is literally hellbent on destroying Iran, the SINGLE neighbor that Armenia has that doesn’t destroy (Turkey and Azerbaijan) or appropriate (America’s darling Georgia) historic Armenian Churches, and instead protects sites like the UNESCO-listed “Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran.” Literally, a war against Iran might destroy Armenia as an unavoidable consequence. You are once again 100% correct, Armenian Americans sure seem self-destructive to me.

      The saddest thing to me, again, is that it is the Dashnaktsutyun, once home of Dro and Nzhdeh, which is now promoting ideas which are so destructive to Armenia.

    • Sarkis,

      It feels like you missed the objective of the article: They way I interpreted is that Armenians like to portray Armenian Genocide recognition as a human rights issue: in other words, anyone of any race or religion should support it because it’s morally right. We call Israel or the United States hypocrites because they refuse to recognise the Genocide because they don’t want to antagonise their warm relationship with Turkey (kind of exactly how you say Armenia shouldn’t antagonise China) – The point (I gather) is that its easy to champion the Armenian Genocide as a human rights cause when it’s self-serving, but if this is really about human rights (not just a cover) then the real test comes when we uphold the banner even when it might hurt us (by antagonising China) or when calling out injustices against the relatives of Turks. Of course, if you don’t care about that, then it’s not an issue.

  18. I am NOT fond of one-way streets. Turks deracinated the Armenians from their native lands, committed genocide and no apology nor retribution to this date. The Jews also shove their “Hell of cost” down our throats but REFUSE to recognize the Armenian genocide in their Knesset and OFTEN muscle the US into not recognizing our genocide. How ironic, Lemkin couldn’t have defined nor would have been able to give legal teeth to “theirs” had it not been for the Armenian genocide and yet a deafening silence prevails from both. The minute murderers and deniers recognize our pain, then I may oblige in kind. We have been waiting for over 100 years, my friends, and counting ….

  19. The ‘plight of the Uyghurs’ is agitprop and disinformation being pushed by the same regime change intel and NGO operatives in the West that were behind the shooting of both sides to get the coup going in Ukraine, the White Helmets false flag operations against the Syrian people, the attacks on Venezuela (now being organized by Elliott ‘Iran-Contra’ Abrams, etc.

    The ‘plight of the Uyghurs’ false narratives are part of the emerging US threat to China. I was born and live in the US and from talking to Americans around me know that they are ignorant triple cubed and at the mercy of the US intel agency directed MSM.

    I had hoped that such ignorance would not be exhibited by my fellow Armenians. Ken Dilanian (a ‘reporter’ that writes reports at the direction of the CIA) and other Armenians I talk to in the US seem to have internalized the ‘indispensable and exceptional’ supremacist attitudes common to most Americans. I had hoped that those inside Armenia would have their eyes open.

  20. Hey raffi,
    Soft power starts with the composition of skilled diplomats, let alone all the other branches. I am not convinced that this new government demonstrates the experience it requires to be influential in the international arena. For a starter,their agenda started on a wrong footnote; recalling the CSTO General Secretary, Yuri Khachaturov without having a replacement. So far these young, inexperienced and somewhat anti-Russian PM and the MP’s have not been very impressive.

  21. Concerned Armenian says: “Like I said, when Russia decides pulls its troops out of Armenia (won’t happen but let’s say it does)”

    Thanks for bringing that up… and that is PRECISELY why Armenia needs to develop its relations with the USA up to a high level just in case Vlad has one bottle of vodka too many one day and decides to back-stab Armenia. The ideal is, Russia and USA would compete to gain Armenia’s favor. Current state: Russia uses Armenia like a rag, and USA laughs at Armania’s incompetence.

  22. I am Armenian and support China. Contrary to the politically ignorant statements I understand the situation. Given the history of how the uighur and their relatives acted when they became a dominant group, China’s actions here are justified. China knowing the history of these people does not want to take chances with them. I say good for the Chinese. In addition Armenia and China have good relations. Maybe this can be a unifying point for Armenia and China.

    • Hi, I. Chess. Thank you for your support to our nation and for your unbiased and insightful points.

      First thing first, to many Armenians misled by western media, there is no “genocide” in Xin Jiang area of China. As the western media repeatedly bombarded on this issue, they only cited sources from Chinese dissidents and never had first-hand investigations. Those reporters from New York Times went there and reported only issues with “concentration camps” but never people being killed.

      Chinese authorities know how to hand Muslims by learning from History. I won’t say there are no human right issues but must say Chinese laws are not on part with Western counterparts. In 19th century, Muslim in Northwestern China rioted and killed more than ten million Han Chinese (a number times more than genocided Armenian victims), then Chinese government sent armies and killed millions of Muslims and almost exterminated them. Ever since, peace remains in Northwestern provinces except Xinjiang. I bet western media won’t say a word about it, will them? From 1990s till 2017, there are endless terrorist attacks by Uighur each year that Western media turned blind with or biased as free fighting. The worst is in July 5, 2011 when around 150 Han Chinese were tortured to death in one day. And in March 1, 2014 5 men/women with knife killed 29 innocent passengers and wounded 140 more.

      The so-called concentration camps by NGO and western propaganda are only re-education camps to let poor and illiterate Uighurs get away from poverty and extremist belief. Again, I will say I ‘m unsure if there is against human right. But please keep in mind that many Uighur do not go to public schools but to religious schools since 5 years old. And that’s why you see thousands of Uighur Free Fighters in Syria.

      Finally I am in deep sympathy with Armenian people under the threat of wars right now, and so are most Han Chinese if you can read Chinese social media. Although Armenia and Azerbaijan are both in a friendly relationships with China, but many of us are really uncomfortable with extremist Muslims. Good luck!

  23. Had Armenians been not been a politically illiterate people, instead of writing nonsense like this article, they would instead have taken the opportunity posed by the Turkic/Islamic movement among the Uighurs in China to establish deeper/closer relations with Beijing…

  24. Concerned Armenian,
    I’m not quiet sure what to make of your very interesting comments, clarifications,or explanations. Your responses are rather confusing and may or may not necessarily constitute to reality. Anywho, going back to the 1990-’94, Karabakh war, Turkey secretly purchased over $800 million dollars worth of weaponry from then defunct East Germany, they then shipped these very same weapons to Azerbaijan for obvious reasons. In addition, over twenty retired Turk generals and some 20,000 off duty Turk soldiers, along with 5,000 Grey Wolf volunteers participated in the war,fighting alongside their brethren, Azerbaijan ( not to mention hundreds of volunteers that came from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Middle Eastern countries) . You seem to be very ‘interesting Armenian’ (?), maybe you would like to enlighten on this comment ( no pun
    intended ), I’m curious what you have to say. Thanks.

    • Jay, there is nothing confusing or false in anything that I have said. Regarding Artsakh’s liberation: It’s simple. Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union (in late 1991), Armenians were clearly losing the war. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reemergence of Russia, Armenians suddenly began wining the war. Ask yourself why? Reminder: The liberation of Xojalu and Shushi (the first two major battlefield successes Armenians achieved) happened within months after the Soviet Union was no more. In fact, at the time there were reports that the liberation of Xojalu (which paved the way for the liberation of Shushi) was supported by Russian troops. Simply put: Moscow had begun supporting Armenians after the Soviet Union’s collapse. Armenians began winning the war because the region’s geopolitics had suddenly and drastically changed in late 1991. With the Soviet Union no more, Russian officials had no reason to support the Soviet Union’s and therefore Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. In other words, with the Soviet Union gone, Russian officials had no reason to support Turkic/Muslims against Christian Armenians in the south Caucasus. Moscow therefore began supplying Armenians with increasing amounts of weapons systems and military know-how starting in 1992. This is a very fundamental geopolitical nuance that goes over the heads of most Armenians. In a nutshell: We won the war not because of this or that war hero or the Diaspora (only several dozen Diasporans volunteered to fight) but because we began getting supplied with powerful anti-tank rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, multiple rocket launchers, tanks, helicopters and military training. With Russians supporting Armenia starting in 1992, there was no way Baku was going to take Artsakh.

  25. Anton A,
    Why is it so important that the Jews should recognize the Armenian Genocide? Does it matter? I personally don’t care if they do or not. Their recognition is meaningless to me. I mean look at them, they’ve been waging wars and atrocities against their neighbors since 1948 over a land the size of a Walmart parking lot. Get real.

    • Well said Anton…
      …if they have no principle and humanity
      we can never teach them ..
      neither to complaint about
      The nations know them and every honest nation know us …
      we are respected, loved everywhere we immigrated …
      Our honesty and contribution everyone knows…

  26. Hello!

    Your a protestant right? From your writing, I can tell. Armenian are not protestant and are Orthodox. In true Christian sayings, we let others (Muslims) take advantage of our faith and slap us and we turned a cheek. Not on more! Your liberal perspective makes me laugh harder of how naive and soft you are. This (Ulghurs) have always been the aggressor! They have killed and tarnished the Mongols, until Gangis, They have done the same to Bulgurs, Maygar, Arabs, Chinese, Persian, Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds, and still continue. You want all these people to recognize there so called genocide? If this is true? Then why is Mr. God (Erdogon) and all the other ulghur or Yahut people step in and condemn it and recognize it? Because they are not fools, thats why or are they? This world is cruel and no one cares, everyone cares about there interests not what is going on. So, quit writing BS and do some good for your people who will benefit from you; not a savage people who have other much bigger brothers who can do something.

  27. I would like to see more articles about how the world has abandoned and ignored the deliberate destruction of Armenian Nakhichevan and the authors of such articles to call on the nations of the world to denounce Genocide and cultural destruction to set a proper example than to ask Armenians to demand that the world listen to us about our plight or the plight of any other people when they are clearly disinterested in anything we Armenians have to say. And unless the Aurora Award begins advancing justice for the Armenian Genocide the initiative is useless to our Cause …. millions of dollars being given away when we ourselves face extinction …

  28. That is amazing, Concerned. Russians didn’t stop there , also, they were instrumental in helping Sparabed Vartan Mamikonian in defeating the Persians during the Battle of Avarayr. Had it not been for the Russians we Armenians could’ve been practicing a different religion today. Thank you ,thank you dear Russians, yer the best thing happened to the Armenians. Nastrovya.🤤

    • Not only that, King Tigran was an ethnic Russian! Actually directly related to taday’s Putin family. But even at that time, they were so generous that they pretended to be Armenian so that Armenia would be able to exist.

    • It’s actually amusing. You two are vivid examples of how little Armenians understand their history. Jay, I hate to break it to you (on the eve of Vardanants nonetheless) but the Persians defeated Vardan Mamikonyan… Lao, I hate to break it to you but Tigran the Great was a Persian. Anyway, you guys just go on and continue living in your wonderful world of make-belief. LOL

  29. Yes, we know, the Persians defeated Mamikonian, but they failed to impose their religion upon Armenians. I guess, with all that raving coming out of your ‘keyboard’ about ,’Russia this and Russia that’, one should ask you a simple question, ” What is your point”?

  30. Guys, most commented here are not adequate. Liberalism and our affiliation to the Western World and our aspirations to be NATO and EU part has nothing to do with this Uygur issue, guys. Our national interest demand the deep weakening of Turkic factor. I am very sorry for repressed Uygurs, but our national interest can not tolerate the strengthening of Pan-Turcic factor. SO Chinese do right job for us. Politics is not sometimes about choice between good and bad. It is about bad and worse and worst.

  31. While I condemn any form of persecution, I am not sure about supporting the Uyghurs. Isa Alptekin, a Uyghur leader during the 20th century, once remarked that “the Armenians were killing innocent Turkish villagers.” This was during a trip to Turkey. When somebody clearly makes such an utterly unsubstantiated claim, I am reluctant to support them. The Uyghur are very Pro-Turkish, and they could care less about the Armenians. We as a people need to come to the realization that other oppressed groups will not always support and ally with us.

    • oh no, armenians who live in canada become western puppets, will western save armenia if turkey and azerbaijan invade armenia territory? the answer is Big NO. Since when did western countries really care about Uyghur Muslims? LOL look at Palestine, will Canada impose sanctions on Israel? In the 1980s China became the enemy of the Soviet Union and all western countries suddenly praised China. They don’t remember where the uyghurs live

  32. I have read all the comments,and what I found is that majority of Armenian actually supports uyghurs is so uyghurs are related to hamidian massacres,this is thinking beyond my comprehension.if you armenian does not show concern to the one who were oppressed,then there is serious problem with your ideology.uyghurs were genoecided by ccp many a times,urumqi genoecide and guljha for government,before occupation Uyghur government was socialist government.united states and united nations already passed resolutions against china on uyghurs for uyghurs joining isis,there are few and maybe because of chinese oppression.

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