Recently, Germany’s MPs decided to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, a politically sensitive topic because of Turkey’s strategic position and NATO membership. Turkey, naturally, doesn’t want to admit it ever occurred. Indeed, they don’t want to admit other peoples ever lived in Turkey. It’s a combination of the usual behavior from the Islamic world combined with militant Turkish nationalism. Business as usual in the wrecked remains of the old Byzantine world.
Even the BBC puts the word genocide in quotations, as if the thing is somehow in dispute. Like Dr. Evil is describing his laser beam in air quotes.
The genocide happened. My own family speaks of it. Areas containing Armenian ruins, graveyards, churches, and even entire cities no longer have any Armenians in them. Where did they all go, I wonder? Did they all just decided to leave peacefully, perhaps, and cede the land to peace-loving Turkish immigrants?
The official Turkish line is that the Armenians tried to conquer them and were understandably fought off in a defensive action which, regrettably, resulted in some innocent deaths (but not very many). It’s a line of bullshit spun by amateur propagandists who cannot even manage to make a coherent argument.
My own Armenian ancestors came from a region called Cilicia, which was once a Byzantine province that drifted out from Imperial control after the Seljuk Turks invaded Byzantium, became independent for a time, and was eventually conquered in turn by the Mameluke Turks, and then the Ottomans. There are no Armenians left there, either.
So the thing happened. And to spin a line that the Armenians were the aggressors is foolish in the extreme. An argument can be made that some were Russian collaborators during the war, but it must be said that in this era Russia was no great friend of Armenia either. Certainly the Soviets wasted no time absorbing Armenia as a province after the war. Russia, however, was at least willing to concede the existence of Armenians. The Young Turks party in the Ottoman Empire wanted to erase all non-Turkish elements in the Ottoman Empire. Trebizond was still a largely Greek city in this age, in the middle of old Pontus. Today it likewise is Turkish.
I’ve read the first-hand accounts of the genocide, and spent a considerable amount of time researching it. And it must be said that not all Turks were a part of it. My own family was saved because they had a Turkish friend in the Ottoman government who warned them and paid for them to escape. So Turkey admitting that it occurred doesn’t put any personal responsibility on anybody. Most (perhaps all) involved are long dead.
But pretending it didn’t happen is a blatant lie.
I don’t understand why Germany chose this particular moment to admit the thing, but I commend them for doing so.
Soon after the announcement, I posted this to Facebook:
I’ve been avoiding posting inflammatory political stuff lately, at least as much as I am able. The reason is that the political climate of modern America has crossed a worrisome threshold, wherein people are forgetting that the opposing side(s) are still your countrymen, still fellow Americans. I’m not a fan of hardcore identity politics — regardless of the identity in question. Your heritage and various attributes are a part of who you are, there is no denying that, but I don’t advocate shunning those who don’t share every attribute with you.
All that being said, this is an issue that is near and dear to me and my heritage, insofar as my grandfather told stories of our family’s tribulations during World War I, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and the Armenian genocide. I didn’t expect that it would be the Germans who would recognize the thing for what it was before America acknowledged it. Especially since Germany and Turkey have had some deep historical ties. But, perhaps that is because Germany feels a unique responsibility to point this sort of thing out, that it should never happen again.
Regardless of why or how, I salute the Germans for having the courage to do what too many others have failed to do, including my own country. Beware of the fruits of tribalism and identity politics — that is how my own family found itself exiled, how the Jews found themselves in camps, and how many other peoples have been exterminated.
Note that I’m referring to the fact that I avoid posting politically inflammatory things to my public Facebook wall. Considering the direction of modern politics, the recent anti-Trump riots, the SJWs looking to get people fired from their jobs and to destroy businesses… it seems unwise to stir the pot any more than is absolutely necessary. But on this matter I could not keep silent.
I’m wondering if the new Facebook regulations mean this will be removed for hate speech sooner or later.
Anyway, after the post, a few Turkish individuals came out of the woodwork and made some rather unpleasant accusations toward me, spewing blatantly false propaganda. I checked each Facebook profile, and in all instances found a wall absolutely covered with Turkish flags, propaganda, and otherwise.
Not even the most ardent American patriots I have ever met have so much nationalistic material on their Facebook walls. These people were, quite literally (in my opinion, anyway), paid agents of the Turkish government. I’d have difficulty proving this to you, dear reader, in that I have no money trail for them. Nothing that would stand up in a court of law.
But the speed at which they found my post at random, and the utterly fake nature of their profiles gives strong circumstantial evidence to their artificial nature. Turkey is paying people to troll social media with propaganda to avoid admitting that a genocide occurred a century ago. The lunacy of it is staggering to contemplate.
And now they have recalled their ambassador to Germany over it, also. There was a time in which this was considered a precursor to war, and Turkey does this to a nominal NATO ally.
Every country has terrible sins buried in its past. America herself still debates the impact of slavery, Jim Crow, and our broken treaties with the Native Americans. We debate what should be done if, indeed, anything can be done (I don’t think there is much that can be done – history moves in one direction). But we don’t deny the existence of these historical events, especially at an official level, as Turkey has done here.
I want nothing from Turkey, mind you. I am an American. The Armenian side of my family has been here for a century now, there is no going back even if I wanted to, which I don’t. And personally, while I think it would be good if Turkey finally admitted the truth to themselves, I don’t want anything from them. You can’t roll the historical clock back, and every attempt to do so has only resulted in more bodies. But I tire of their punitive antics to try and give life to the lie. Turkey has made a mockery of itself. If any Western country acted half as badly as they do, it would be condemned by every international agency anyone has ever heard of.
It’s only wrong when the West does it.
Erdogan demands that Germany punish its own citizens for insulting him. And far be it for his administration to admit the genocide to themselves, they cannot even stand the notion that another country recognizes it.
All this while boatloads of Islamic refugees continue on into Europe.
What a complete fucking disaster. Pardon my French.