11 03 2008 - ARMENIAN JEWISH LEADER CONDEMNS USE OF ISRAELI FLAG AT OPPOSITION RALLY
|On February 19, just before USA Armenian Life Magazine's deadline, I wrote an article titled "Raffi Hovannisian Panders to Turkey at the Cost of Political Bankruptcy."
Both positive and negative responses were received. But the most notable response came from a denialist Turkish Prof. Gürbüz Çelebi of Ege University in Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. He enthusiastically used Hovannisian's replacement of the term "Armenian Genocide" with a very weak term "Great Armenian Dispossession," as a weapon to undermine the justice sought by Armenians.
Bernard Bagrad Nazarian wrote: "I read your piece debunking Raffi Hovannisian's distortion of Armenian history with great relish and satisfaction. It's timely and 100% SPOT ON. Well done! Below I forward you my own modest response to his ("Heritage" party's) unacceptable and potentially disastrous distortion and 'intervention'/meddling/messing around with Armenia's diplomacy and history - dated 15 Feb. You may be interested to learn that I have received no response to this direct e-mail to them, which itself was in response to their own direct e-mail to me titled 'Herqum' ('Denial'). The attachment to it was their denial of the "Hayots Ashkharh" (The Armenian World) article - the entire e-mail trail is there all dated 15 Feb."
Nazarian continued: "What is curious to me is that not only have they not responded to or acknowledged my e-mail but looks like they have 'blacklisted' me or eliminated me from their distribution list altogether as I have received nothing (I do not consider that a great loss!), since my e-mail after sending me, unsolicited, regular shots for years."
In his rebuttal of Hovannisian's Heritage party's response, Nazarian underlined: "However, I find it interesting, to say the least, that 'Heritage' is distorting the 'Hayots Ashkharh' report by creating a big distortion of its own, and compounding the situation, presumably in order to hide Mr. Raffi Hovannisian's initial clear distortion of history - evasion from the use of the proper legal and historical word (and the only appropriate one in the context), i.e. Genocide!"
Nazarian further urged Hovannisian: "In your letter to 'Hayots Ashkharh,' you are translating Dispossession as 'Hayrenazrkum' (Ed.-'Deprivation of Homeland')! Now dispossession can be interpreted as 'Hayrenazrkum' with the greatest stretching of the imagination. Its real meaning is 'unezrkum' (Ed.-'Deprivation of property')! The verb 'dispossess' means to take away property, especially land; compel somebody to give up the house he occupies. And it still leaves the question: 'Why not use the proper word which is Genocide?'"
Prof. Armen Ayvazyan, the director of the "Ararat" Center for Strategic Research, wrote: "I congratulate you on this excellent -- though long overdue -- rebuke to the Hovannisian clan! To dig up the roots of their ideological bankruptcy, I would suggest reading my book on 'The History of Armenia as Presented in the American Historiography: A Critical Survey' (1998, in Armenian) as well as the ensuing debates, which are partially presented at the following sites:
An unidentified critic named "Paul S." wrote: "And Mr. Jabarian, I don't know what you are seeing through your diasporan rose-colored glasses, but Richard Hovannisian's comment about Armenia's undemocratic levels rivaling Turkey's was utterly spot on - or have you just ignored the obviously falsified elections which just took place?"
Hovsép Fidanian wrote: "An apologetic clarification is in order, in my estimation. In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with the usage of the word 'dispossession', alongside the accepted phrases of the 'Armenian Genocide', or as I prefer to call it the 'Armenian Holocaust', thus not allowing our Jewish brethren to monopolize the tragedy of their genocide." Why apologize for a factual statement? In fact Fidanian is saying the same thing that I and many others have said: If any one of us wants to use any secondary term -i.e. "Great Armenian Dispossession," let them use it but only in addition to the legal term "Armenian Genocide," not in its place.
Another one of my critics who asked to remain unanimous said to me: "Are you attacking Raffi because he sided with Levon Ter Petrossyan in his candidacy in the 2008 Armenian presidential election?"
R. Hovannisian's jeopardizing Armenia and Armenians' national interests is totally separate issue from his endorsement of Ter Petrossyan. True, Raffi did say during a Feb. 19 rally in support of Ter-Petrossyan: "We are joined together by the imperative for giving a brand new meaning to the legacy of our past, including both its accomplishments and its shortfalls, and by the abiding need firmly to place our nation's future upon the true path of progress. And Levon Ter-Petrosyan has become the principal spokesman for that great return toward the future." But that's irrelevant, because this writer did not endorse any one of the nine candidates in the Armenian presidential race.
Secondly, my Diasporan glasses are not "rose-colored." I'm a realist. In no way have I ever suggested that Armenia is a corruption-free state. It has a long way to go. But I shall not allow myself to further compound Armenia's problems by giving the enemy new ammunition to be used against Armenia. In time, the generational transition will transform Armenia and its society into a healthy democracy. Just like they say in French "Il ne faut pas mettre le chariot avant les bœufs" -- in English it means: "don't put the cart in front of the horse."
Ironically, among the dissenters to my article, the person who has paid homage to the elder Prof. Richard Hovannisian and his son Raffi K. Hovannisian more than any of my critics is this writer. During my entire career as an independent publisher since 1978, the number of news items, photos and articles featuring positive editorial coverage of the equally positive activities by Prof. Hovannisian and his son Raffi, amounts to tens of thousands of print column inches.
It's true. Prof. Hovannisian and his son Raffi have done much to help their people's Cause. But they have also caused considerable damage to Armenia by their compromising remarks. So, what's wrong with giving praise for good deeds and criticizing the bad ones?
While I understand Raffi's frustrations, I do not share his Armenia-disparaging approach.
I am seeking the resurrection of the former Raffi K. Hovannisian and the former Prof. Richard Hovannisian who were more interested in helping Armenia unconditionally rather than looking for personal/political gains. Can they return to their original selfless love of Armenia?
Who says that today's Armenia is free of corruption? But that doesn't give anyone the "carte blanche" to mutilate its fledgling image on the world stage.
The truth must have hurt. Raffi's younger brother Armen Hovannisian's attack against me proves the point that I raised in my inquiry "One wonders, what's going on in the Hovannisian households in Los Angeles and Yerevan?" Another member of the Hovannisian family just joined father Prof. Richard, brother Raffi K., and nephew Garin.
Armen titled his article "Reckless Journalism." He would have been more accurate had he titled it "Recklessly Factual Journalism."
On July 30, 2007, on the eve of the passage by U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee of the Armenian Genocide resolution 106, Raffi's son Garin wrote in the Washington Times: "Bad congressional resolutions might well begin to sound like good Philip Larkin: 'Sexual intercourse began /In nineteen sixty-three. .../ Between the end of the Chatterley ban /And the Beatles' first LP.'" This was not the first time that the junior Hovannisian has ridiculed and poked fun at his martyred Armenian ancestor's Cause. How can Armen explain the timing between Garin's disparaging remarks in July, just before Raffi's damaging letter in August of 2007 to the president of Turkey?
Armen wrote: "We know that Jabarian strongly inferred that Hrant Dink was an agent of the Turkish government. But what charge does he bring against Hovannisian? Jabarian is not quite bold enough to utter the words himself. So he quotes. He quotes Hayots Ashkharh, ... He quotes one Ashot Grigoryan from Slovakia. They claim, in one way or another, that Raffi Hovannisian has committed "treason!" That, supposedly, was Hrant Dink's crime, too."
He then listed a set of paragraphs derived from a number of articles where Raffi uses the main, legally very valuable term, "Armenian Genocide" in addition to using the secondary term "great Armenian dispossession." I see no problem there. However in his letter to the Turkish president, he conveniently omits the legal term.
Furthermore, Armen grossly misrepresented the events related to the late Mr. Dink's visit of Los Angeles. Nobody inferred. This writer simply asked a poignant question raised by a number of readers of USA Armenian Life, soon after Mr. Dink publicly equated the infamous Turkish law 301 on "insulting Turkishness" with the fair and just French law on punishing the denial of genocide. Does Armen's criteria in journalism not allow this or any other writer to ask questions? How can he expect to "transform" Armenia into a democracy, when he attempts to suppress free journalism? Is that not an act of dictatorship?
ARMENIAN JEWISH LEADER
CONDEMNS USE OF
ISRAELI FLAG AT OPPOSITION RALLY
Yerevan (Mediamax/AZG Armenian Daily - The leader of the Jewish community of Armenia, Rimma Varzhapetyan, told various news agencies on February 28 that she considers the use of the Israeli flag at the rally of ex-President Ter-Petrosyan's supporters to be a "provocation."
"I received many phone calls today concerning this, and this is why I am asking you to report that the Jewish community of Armenia has nothing to do with that, and this is a provocation," Rimma Varzhapetyan told the media.
Yesterday, Armenian TV channels showed the rally of Ter-Petrosyan's supporters where the state flag of Israel was flapping near the platform.
On February 29, Rouzann Pogosyan of Azg Daily reported: "On February 27 Levon Ter-Petrossyan and his supporters expressed jubilation at the two Israeli fags that were victoriously displayed by participants who were standing not too far from the podium. The dancing by Levon Ter-Petrossyan to the contemporary tunes against the backdrop of these flags, viewed the previous day on public television by people, if not incomprehensible, were at least not expected."
A segment of the TV broadcast on Levon Ter-Petrossyan's rally and dancing can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
Armen Hovannisian is Suppressing Free Journalism
Trying to Clear his Family's Reputation
By APPO JABARIAN
Executive Publisher/Managing Editor
USA ARMENIAN LIFE Magazine
USA ARMENIAN LIFE Magazine