Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Armenian Genocide

Definitely, wrong does not justify wrong… similarly, crime does not justify crime… in this regard, I remember a heated debate I had with late distinguished friend Dr. Ahmed Abdallah Rozza over the attack held on a Jewish synagogue in one of the European capitals during prayers where some Jewish children were there.

The debate was about whether the Zionist crimes against the Palestinians, including children in worship places, schools and streets, and before that their vicious massacre against Egyptian children in Bahr El-Baqar primary school, justify doing the same thing against their children, no matter by Palestinians or others… The debate was fierce indeed… because if one rejected such behavior, he would find reasons justifying his stance… and if one adopted this behavior; meaning killing them, he would find logic reasons corroborating his stance as well.

Usually, under feelings of pain, injustice and oppression, one can overreact in his feelings to the extent that he insists his enemy must go through the same suffering he once forced him to.

I was going through a book I found on my desk when I asked about who bought it, they said it’s a gift from the Armenian General Benevolent Association of Cairo… Actually, it’s not an ordinary book; it’s rectangular in shape, rising 7 cm above the desk surface with 1372 pages of the size 34 cm x 17 cm, with words written in small font… meaning, we have a book holding many volumes within titled “Armenian Genocide” and authored by Dr. Remon Kiforkian who was introduced by the writer of the book introduction; Berg Terizian; honorary president of the association as: “Dr. Remon Kiforkian was awarded the PhD degree in Sorbonne University in Paris at 1980… he is a historian who studied in the French institute of political geography at Paris University… also, he was the research director in the same institute… he also was secretary general of Nubarian Library affiliated to the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in Paris”… then the association chief listed the leading positions occupied and books authored by the author; all of them were prestigious indeed.

As to the book, it talks about the Armenian Genocide committed by the government of Ottoman Turkey during World War I; meaning a hundred years ago and during which million and a half Armenians died… The main motive behind this genocide was the desire of Al-Etihad Wat-Taraqqi party leaders – the party ruling Ottoman Turkey with tyranny at that time – to build a national Turkish state excluding all non-Turkish ethnic minorities.

To achieve this goal, those leaders started following a systematic policy of extermination; they led the Armenians in death convoys from their historic homeland to the deserts of Syria and Iraq… in addition to robbing their assets and money; fixed and liquid.

The publisher of the book is the Armenian General Association in Cairo, first established in Cairo in 1910 as an offshoot of the AGBU that was established in 1906 in Cairo by Boghos Nubar Pasha; son of Nubar Pasha Nubarian; first Premier of Egypt (1878 – 1879)… The association works in the fields of education and providing different social services in the domain of the Armenian community in Egypt… it also pursues cultural activities to revive the Armenian heritage through publishing books and bulletins and holding seminars and art exhibitions”…

That’s what I excerpted from the introduction of the association chief… I believe it’s important to publish such information in this article because I’m sure the information available to the public and intellectuals as well about Armenians, Armenian Genocide and the association are almost nothing.

It drew my attention that the book author insisted on being unbiased in his analysis… he could gather a wealth of documented information… also, his discipline was distinguished and new as he did not separate the controversial relation between the aggressor and victim.

In this regard, he wrote: “… I tried in the first place to know about the institutional, political, social, and even psychological mechanisms that reached their maxima in exterminating the Ottoman Armenians in specific… I worked hard to detect the consecutive phases of fundamentalism in Al-Etihad Wat-Taraqqi party circles… I also paid special attention to decision making processes that are complicated phenomena… if there is a phenomenon of that name… Here I put the controversy about ideas inside Al-Etihad Wat-Taraqqi elite leaders, forming their ideology and what followed later when this ideology turned into fundamentalism… I put this controversy against the parallel rise of nationalism corroborated by the Armenian revolutionary movements…

Those elite leaders of both sides, whether when they opposed the regime of Sultan Abdel-Hamid or later when they came in power, were discussing unceasingly the destiny of their common society… I tried to put this into consideration… also, I paid special attention to the great disturbing similarity between the Armenian elite leaders and Al-Etihad Wat-Taraqqi party… As both sides regarded themselves as guardians of a sacred mission; that is saving the nation… and so you will find this study going back and forth between both sides’ experiments”.

The book that exceeded 1300 pages is translated by Sahar Tawfiq whom the reader would search for her translated books as researchers look for Red mercury… I congratulate her on this tremendous effort, especially that one can notice the diligence and accuracy in her translation despite the lengthy text… as the book is divided into six parts and a conclusion… the parts in turn are divided into 60 chapters… also, there are lists of sources, references and documents in addition to separate indices.

If one contemplates about the Armenian Genocide where about million and a half Armenians were martyred on the hands of Turks, he will remember the Turkish Ottoman tragedies throughout history.

I remember when I was once in a road trip from Thessaloniki in northern Greece heading to old United Yugoslavia – that was before it was divided into states… I went there, accompanied by my friend, the unionist Syrian Dr. Ali Fattal, to give a series of lectures… I have already written about this trip before.

However, I stop by what I saw at the region of Bosnia and Herzegovina starting from simplicity – I won’t say deterioration common among Muslims there – to the appalling scenes I saw as there were many walls in old churches and castles built entirely of courses of Serbs’ skulls… I wish they had covered them with mortar but they left them exposed with the hollow eye cavities and lipless even teeth apparent.

Years later after that trip, I realized why the Serbs were that vicious in fighting the Bosnians… and then I remembered the genuine novel written by Ivo Andric titled “The bridge on the Drina” and translated by Sami ad-Dorobi… in this novel, the writer detected the terrifying horror that spread among the region residents due to the savage behavior of the murderer Turkish invaders… and how the river stones cried upon the scene of murdering the Serbian resistance leader by impalement.

Then one can recall the Ottoman invasion on Levant and Egypt… and despite the massacres were not accurately documented like the case of Armenians and before them the Serbs, one can definitely fill the blanks… as what is known is enough to write what is missing.

Can we imagine the number of victims at the time when the Turkish invaders leaded by Selim I robbed Levant and Egypt of their skilled workers, especially craftsmen, artisans and skillful workers in thousands?... meaning masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, Khayamya artisans, people working in brass and gold products, shoe makers, tailors, veterinaries, apothecaries and spice dealers… to the rest of crafts… they were all taken to Anatolia to work by force in the Ottoman state.

Logically, some must have resisted and tried to escape… and of course, those escaping attempts were met by the known Turkish violence… not to mention the victims killed in battle fields and others who died in death marches of the invading army… that army experienced in violence and blood shedding since their ancestors first came from Central Asia and swept the way through until they settled down in Anatolia.

It’s the Turkish Ottoman mentality that left its footprints in many regions… and what is happening in Upper Egypt toward Egyptian Christian citizens by excluding and forcing them to displace remind us of the Ottoman heritage.

Translated into English by: Dalia Elnaggar

This article was published in Almasry alyoum newspaper on September 21, 2016.

To see the original article, go to:

#almasry_alyoum #ahmed_elgammal #Armenian_genocide #Ottoman_empire #Turkey #Armenians_in_Egypt #AGBU

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