09 08 2008 - 'The Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish and Greek Cypriot Genocides
|Are these macabre, gruesome, phantasmagoric, tragic and blatantly inhuman tales of terror written as a horror movie script to illustrate a latter-day Hieronymus Boschian Hell? Alas, not so. They are far from being ‘out of this world’. Sadly, they partake the world we are living in, even since the end of WW2.
Thanks to the scrupulous research, documentation and lucid presentation of Desmond Fernandes, the impact of the image of living history upon the human mind surpasses, once again, the eureka-power of fertile imagination. Denying its veracity, or complaisantly accepting it as yet one more ‘proof’ of an eternal human nature and fate-inflicted condition, belittles the human soul, diminishing our humanity. To help eradicate terrorism and all its gruesome manifestations, whether individual, mercenary or state terror ultimately vented as Genocide, anywhere in our precious world, by confronting it with all the tools of genuine Democracy, enriches our humanity.
Deep in my heart I wish Armenians had no Genocide experience to talk about. Indeed I feel perhaps I would even have been a happier human being if peoples all over the world also had no such experience. But most importantly, I truly believe that our precious and only world will be a much better place to live, and die for that matter, if that ultimate state terror is banished out of existence for all times to come. No wonder thus advises an Armenian dictum: “I pray God not to let this evil befall my worst enemy.” Wishful thinking? So be it.
The author of this past history and modern politics, Desmond Fernandes, has a water diviner’s instinct for correlating various sources to strengthen the flow of his diligent arguments. He thus strips the state terror of the Turkish Republic of its multi-layered ‘Emperor’s garments’-- worth in excess of hundred billion dollars – a military attire vested upon it by NATO’s godfather supreme and commander-in-chief, assisted by the latter’s comrades-in-arms.
I firmly believe that a genuinely humanist Democracy, once best defined as “the rule of the people, by the people, for the people”, might prove to be the only guarantee to obliterate a major raison d’être of terrorism, the parasitic louse of reactionary, deformed democracy. The latter had a proper name coined in classical antiquity-- Timocracy=the rule of wealth. Where hopelessness, insecurity and pessimism are injected as ingredients for the idealistic belief in violence, there violence manipulates terror as a cathartic pathos in an anti-historical, solitary action, a pathetically individualistic fetish that is only capable of and encourages an extreme reactionary change of the state/military power, leading to Fascism -- the apotheosis for megalomaniac state terrorism.
Authorities of all kinds and hues often luxuriate in their prerogative to censor, expurgate, remove or cancel. Censorship has thus become an act of bureaucratic vandalism. It is activated mainly to deny the existence of a phenomenon, especially when the latter reflects and manifests the truthfulness of a painfully culpable historical reality. No matter. All the censorship and negations notwithstanding, the essential truth remains, albeit often deformed, usually forgotten and sometimes even forcefully presented to appear as its dialectical opposite—a lie, as
in the concepts such as Democracy, Socialism, Freedom, Modernisation, Human Rights, and what not, which are made to lose their essential meanings and made to ‘act’ as their antinomies in real life through their post-modernist, neo-con and neo-liberal abuse. Yes, even language is experiencing a collateral damage indeed.
When the Italian scientist and philosopher, Galileo Galilei, author of fundamental observations and analysis in astronomy, challenged the unscientific, ruling dogmas of the religious authorities of his time (16th-17th cc), the macabre investigation of the Grand Inquisition was set into motion. State religious terror forced the renowned scientist to refute the mathematical analysis of his own heliocentric observations. Galileo reluctantly accepted Inquisition’s geocentric dogma that the sun moved around the earth. But, lo & behold, coming out of the torturous interrogation, the exhausted scientist Galileo is known to have whispered to his student/companion: Eppur si muove, meaning nonetheless it [the world] moves. In other words, no matter what I say, truth remains as it is.
Centuries after Galileo, censorship as bureaucratic vandalism, alas, still remains alive and kicking.
In a masterpiece of a poem titled Akþam Gesintisi =An Evening Promenad), written soon after he was released, in 1950, from years of imprisonment in his own country (hence the general heading, Hapisten Çýktýktan Sonra), the world-renowned revolutionary and proud Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet not only sketched the soul of his Armenian friend, Karabet, but also referred to the Armenian tragedy as “a shame brought on the Turkish people” (bu karayý sürenleri Türk halkýnýn alnýna). Most characteristically, he built a monument in verse celebrating humanity’s brotherhood while accusing iniquity, war, terror, and Fascism, whether national or international, of brutalising the individual, who is indeed the microcosm of humanity and history.
To mark the poet’s 100th anniversary of birth, the Turkish Ministry of Culture deployed the famous actor Genco Erkal to record on CD the poems of Hikmet. Among the poems recited, the above mentioned “An Evening Promenade” appears mutilated...In Genco Erkal’s recitation Nazim Hikmet’s own feelings and thoughts “concerning the Armenian Genocide” (assessment of Info-Turk, Bruxelles, E-mail June 1, 2002) are omitted, both on the CD and in the booklet of Hikmet’s poems published to accompany the CD... One wonders, how much of the original poems of Nazim Hikmet are kept intact when consumed “officially”, as the Republic of Turkey continues its obsessive denial of the Genocide of the Armenians, not to mention of the Assyrians, Pontic Greeks and of the Kurds.
Hence, a controversy was kindled and echoed with rage, and rightly so, in Info-Turk, Bruxelles (E-mail June 1, 2002), in Yeni Safak Gazetesi (June 10, 2002), and amplified in Toplum Postasi weekly, London (June 27, 2002, p 50 and p53). All titles, i.e., “Insolence to Nazim Hikmet” and “The Great Insult to Nazim Hikmet” (Hikmet’e büyük saygisizlik) highlighted the essence of censorship as an insult. More significantly, such denials of historical facts hence censorship were not only assessed as an insult to the “Armenian people and the other ethnic groups who were the victims of the despotic regimes in their native territories”, but an insult to the Turkish people as well, “who are thus deprived of the right to know about the atrocities perpetrated by their leaders against the other ethnic groups in Anatolia” (Info Turk.)
To contrast, its worth mentioning that the first anthology of Nazim Hikmet’s poems in the Armenian language was published in 1953 in Yerevan, the Capital of Armenian SSR, translated by the great Armenian poet of his generation Gevorg Emin, with a Foreword titled About the Poet and Poetry, written by Nazim Hikmet himself, the latter saying that he wrote: “especially for the first ever edition of my poetry translated into the fraternal Armenian language.”
Paradoxically, and perhaps even auspiciously, admitting the truth by an ex-denier might well enrich the ex-denier with the grace of humanism. Because the tenacity of those who dared survive the ultimate state terror in all its horrendous manifestations, including Genocide, and then persisting to pass on that struggle to the next generations to regain full justice, peace and humanity for all, is in itself, I humbly believe, a valiant act of altruism, of stretching out to the denier too that ultimate gift worthy of all the material riches of the world-- Humanism. Therein lies the essence and valour of truth, reparation and reconciliation-- surely the happiest way towards welcoming the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of October 9th, 1948.
The research scholar Fernandes has not ‘forgotten’, as many have, to remind the public in general and the people struggling for freedom in particular, of the importance of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Peoples, of July 4th, 1976. He seems to be in tune, and rightly so, with the “conviction”, as noted in the Declaration’s Preamble: “that the effective respect for human rights necessarily implies respect for the rights of the peoples.” Indeed, a timely reminder that we are approaching the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of October 10th, 1948.
As the Preamble of the Verdict of the prestigious Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal of April 16th, 1984, concludes: “Indeed, acknowledging genocide itself is a fundamental means of struggling against genocide. The acknowledgement is itself an affirmation of the right of a people under international law to a safeguarded existence.” Being in tune with this Verdict, allow me to pronounce this gentle wish, paraphrasing the above-mentioned Armenian popular dictum: Let’s pray God to let this grace befall our brethren of denial.
DEEP IN MY HEART
Khatchatur I. Pilikian
The Grand Committee Room, The House of Commons, Westminster
Desmond Fernandes' new book
'The Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish and Greek Cypriot Genocides
and the Politics of Denialism'
Sponsor: David Drew, MP.
Monday, July 21st 2008