Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama, Auntie Zeituni, Turkish and people

When I saw the news about the possibility of the deportation of Zeituni Onyango, aunt of Obama, who began his visit to our country last night, I once again came face to face with what Obama’s presidency meant for the world. I perceived how we yearn for egalitarian practices, even the upsetting ones, as in the case of the deportation order issued for Auntie Zeituni. While American democracy managed to elect a black citizen with a Kenyan Muslim father as its President, it was also able to issue a deportation order for his real aunt as she had failed to meet the requirements for being a legal immigrant. The case is now in appeal. Her lawyers are struggling to cancel the order claiming she could be harmed by those trying to convey a message to the US in case she went back to Kenya.So, what is the likelihood of Markar Esayan or his child, who have been living in this land for hundreds of years, becoming, say, chief of general staff?What about president, prime minister, or foreign minister?Let me tell you; zero percent! A huge ZERO!If you’re thinking to yourself, “You aspire too high,” I would then ask you to show me, say, one Armenian street sweeper, I mean, - no offence - a dustman in Turkey.There was one guy years ago. And they had him dismissed from the municipality by hook or crook. The story had coverage in Agos, I recall it very well.You can’t show me any, don’t bother, there’s none.I don’t want to be a chief of general staff after all. Obviously, it is not in my nature.So, does this mean that we have solved the issue?But see, in a country where an Armenian can’t be appointed as chief of general staff, that means things besides that Armenian’s unhappiness are happening; this is basically what I want to tell hereby.In that country, democracy can’t be restored in its fullest sense, for example.
***That’s the thing, that black Obama, who has a Muslim African father, is finally in Turkey… Interestingly enough, one of the major agendas of his visit to Turkey is whether he will utter the word “genocide” on April 24 while he is commemorating those Armenians who lost their lives in 1915… Doubtless, there is also the Armenian Genocide Bill introduced in the US Congress. Turkey is in preparation and the high tension of overcoming these two risky issues without any damage to itself. The issue of 1915 is still one of the most challenging issues Turkey is facing. The problem is not only the fear of the possibility of being stigmatised as a people involved in a genocide and of being pushed into a difficult position by the arising demands ensuing its official acceptance. That’s because even in diaspora, except for a small, marginal segment, no one takes Turks as a whole block and holds them responsible for this tragedy; they can’t anyway. People who have some knowledge in the issue know that this catastrophe was a result of the cunning of one segment of Ittihatists (Young Turks) who came to power through a series of military coups, that is, of Ergenekonists of the time, in the final phase of the Ottoman Empire under the conditions of war and disintegration. The thing is many of these Ittihatists who had been tried by “Divan-i Harbi Orfi” Courts (Military Courts) between the years of 1919 and 1922 and convicted of their roles in the Armenian massacres later joined the movements of the Mudafaa-i Hukuk (the Society For Defence of Rights) and Kuvva-i Milliye (the National Militias) in Anatolia, assuming significant roles there. Mustafa Kemal made use of Ittihatists along with others who shared the blame for what happened in 1915 – due partly to exigencies of the period and partly to overlapping ideologies-, while, on the other hand, he ‘pruned’ them at times availing himself of such occasions as Izmir Assassination (attempted against Ataturk). However, Ittihatists have always had a say in the Turkish administration. These people also known as Ergenekonists today have done in the history of the Turkish Republic whatever they did to Armenians in the past to guard their privileged status.This is why the issue of 1915 is the hardest one to solve for Turkey and will remain so for a long time yet. Don’t be alarmed; most probably, Obama won’t utter the word “genocide” on April 24. His advisors must have whispered into Obama’s ear that Turkey would cut off its nose to spite its face when it came to the issue of 1915. In the speech he delivered in London, Erdogan tried to prove to Obama that he was able to switch himself rather swiftly to the most denying position of the official ideology regarding this issue by saying, “As Turkey, it is not possible for us to accept the so-called Armenian genocide. It isn’t possible to accept a thing that didn’t happen.” In the same speech, I also heard him bemoaning about how he had suggested that a joint history commission be established with Armenia to discuss what happened in 1915 and how he hadn’t been answered yet. How easy life is when you don’t bother to be consistent, isn’t it? For only such a comfortable position can give one the opportunity of asking, in Davos, for the account of the 1200 Muslims who died in Gaza, while simultaneously backing El-Beshir, the person who is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris of African origin.In brief, Turkey may manage to prevent Obama from uttering the word “genocide”, or the Bill introduced in the Congress may be left aside for the moment. We only hope that thanks to this, the closed border between Turkey and Armenia is re-opened, the two countries draw closer together and the Karabakh conflict is resolved without bloodshed. Our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters’ hearts are not broken, the Nabucco Project is not ruined, Erdogan’s big brother charisma is not tarnished. All this bears far more significance than a word that will come out of Obama’s mouth.What about the great tragedy that befell the Armenian people in 1915?We are dealing with it between ourselves through Commissions of Common Conscience, don’t you worry.
Obama, Auntie Zeituni, Turkish and Armenian PeopleMarkar Esayan, Taraf, April 6, 2009
When I saw the news about the possibility of the deportation of Zeituni Onyango, aunt of Obama, who began his visit to our country last night, I once again came face to face with what Obama’s presidency meant for the world. I perceived how we yearn for egalitarian practices, even the upsetting ones, as in the case of the deportation order issued for Auntie Zeituni. While American democracy managed to elect a black citizen with a Kenyan Muslim father as its President, it was also able to issue a deportation order for his real aunt as she had failed to meet the requirements for being a legal immigrant. The case is now in appeal. Her lawyers are struggling to cancel the order claiming she could be harmed by those trying to convey a message to the US in case she went back to Kenya.So, what is the likelihood of Markar Esayan or his child, who have been living in this land for hundreds of years, becoming, say, chief of general staff?What about president, prime minister, or foreign minister?Let me tell you; zero percent! A huge ZERO!If you’re thinking to yourself, “You aspire too high,” I would then ask you to show me, say, one Armenian street sweeper, I mean, - no offence - a dustman in Turkey.There was one guy years ago. And they had him dismissed from the municipality by hook or crook. The story had coverage in Agos, I recall it very well.You can’t show me any, don’t bother, there’s none.I don’t want to be a chief of general staff after all. Obviously, it is not in my nature.So, does this mean that we have solved the issue?But see, in a country where an Armenian can’t be appointed as chief of general staff, that means things besides that Armenian’s unhappiness are happening; this is basically what I want to tell hereby.In that country, democracy can’t be restored in its fullest sense, for example.
***That’s the thing, that black Obama, who has a Muslim African father, is finally in Turkey… Interestingly enough, one of the major agendas of his visit to Turkey is whether he will utter the word “genocide” on April 24 while he is commemorating those Armenians who lost their lives in 1915… Doubtless, there is also the Armenian Genocide Bill introduced in the US Congress. Turkey is in preparation and the high tension of overcoming these two risky issues without any damage to itself. The issue of 1915 is still one of the most challenging issues Turkey is facing. The problem is not only the fear of the possibility of being stigmatised as a people involved in a genocide and of being pushed into a difficult position by the arising demands ensuing its official acceptance. That’s because even in diaspora, except for a small, marginal segment, no one takes Turks as a whole block and holds them responsible for this tragedy; they can’t anyway. People who have some knowledge in the issue know that this catastrophe was a result of the cunning of one segment of Ittihatists (Young Turks) who came to power through a series of military coups, that is, of Ergenekonists of the time, in the final phase of the Ottoman Empire under the conditions of war and disintegration. The thing is many of these Ittihatists who had been tried by “Divan-i Harbi Orfi” Courts (Military Courts) between the years of 1919 and 1922 and convicted of their roles in the Armenian massacres later joined the movements of the Mudafaa-i Hukuk (the Society For Defence of Rights) and Kuvva-i Milliye (the National Militias) in Anatolia, assuming significant roles there. Mustafa Kemal made use of Ittihatists along with others who shared the blame for what happened in 1915 – due partly to exigencies of the period and partly to overlapping ideologies-, while, on the other hand, he ‘pruned’ them at times availing himself of such occasions as Izmir Assassination (attempted against Ataturk). However, Ittihatists have always had a say in the Turkish administration. These people also known as Ergenekonists today have done in the history of the Turkish Republic whatever they did to Armenians in the past to guard their privileged status.This is why the issue of 1915 is the hardest one to solve for Turkey and will remain so for a long time yet. Don’t be alarmed; most probably, Obama won’t utter the word “genocide” on April 24. His advisors must have whispered into Obama’s ear that Turkey would cut off its nose to spite its face when it came to the issue of 1915. In the speech he delivered in London, Erdogan tried to prove to Obama that he was able to switch himself rather swiftly to the most denying position of the official ideology regarding this issue by saying, “As Turkey, it is not possible for us to accept the so-called Armenian genocide. It isn’t possible to accept a thing that didn’t happen.” In the same speech, I also heard him bemoaning about how he had suggested that a joint history commission be established with Armenia to discuss what happened in 1915 and how he hadn’t been answered yet. How easy life is when you don’t bother to be consistent, isn’t it? For only such a comfortable position can give one the opportunity of asking, in Davos, for the account of the 1200 Muslims who died in Gaza, while simultaneously backing El-Beshir, the person who is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris of African origin.In brief, Turkey may manage to prevent Obama from uttering the word “genocide”, or the Bill introduced in the Congress may be left aside for the moment. We only hope that thanks to this, the closed border between Turkey and Armenia is re-opened, the two countries draw closer together and the Karabakh conflict is resolved without bloodshed. Our Azerbaijani brothers and sisters’ hearts are not broken, the Nabucco Project is not ruined, Erdogan’s big brother charisma is not tarnished. All this bears far more significance than a word that will come out of Obama’s mouth.What about the great tragedy that befell the Armenian people in 1915?We are dealing with it between ourselves through Commissions of Common Conscience, don’t you worry.

Taraf, April 6, 2009

No comments:

Followers