Dear editors of Asharq Alawsat and especially Mr. Shobokshi,
I am, technically speaking, an Armenian. However when I am asked I usually say that I have Armenian blood and Palestinian-Syrian-Lebanese heart, so you decide for yourself… I could be called an Armeno-Arab hybrid. My father was born in Haifa, grew up in Jerusalem, lived in Damascus, moved to and died in Beirut where I was born and bred… I have a deep respect and love towards all Arabs not solely for the role they have played in saving the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and hosting them in their countries, but also for their own virtues and first of all for fear of God and the deep rooted sense of rightfulness and justice (haq wa adl)… However, taking into account those criteria, the article of Mr. Shobokshi does not say that he is an Arab at all!
Ignoring the minor details, let me point out some of the major misrepresentations in the article:
1. Stating that the Armenians lost “large numbers of relatives in various battles” made me laugh. What a battle it should have been to have 1.5 million dead! Including pregnant women, elderly, children… All in arms!!!
2. You say that “Turkey has taken important steps towards building bridges and having mutual interests with Armenia and improving the standard of living of the Armenian community in Turkey”. What improvements are you talking about may I ask? Your statement is like firing in the air. Do you understand under IMPROVEMENT throwing them a bone now and then after having confiscated many of the community's properties, taxed them to the point of destitution just because they are Armenian, or doing everything to hinder even the restoration of community buildings? Will you say the same thing if, for example, the Israelis start distributing some humanitarian aid in Gaza after having made all the Palestinian people refugees in their own homeland? I am sure that the Isrealis would have done a lot more had they killed the millions of Palestinians and reduced them to a community of sixty thousand in Israel…
3. Your statement that “The historic step taken by the Turkish President Abdullah Gul by visiting Armenia and agreeing on some important treaties is still fresh in the memory of many people. Nevertheless, Armenia obstructed the implementation of the agreements signed when it reopened the age-old issue of genocide” is an outright and shameful lie. First of all the rapproachement initiative was that of the Armenian president and the protocols were signed WITH NO PRECONDITIONS. Though Armenia (and the Armenian people in general) has all moral and legal right to be the one to put preconditions, namely that of recognition of the genocide and restitution, for the sake of starting a new page in relations it did not do so contrary to what you say. But this does not mean that the Armenians in general should forget or stop fighting for justice.
Would you deny that your neighbour has raped your wife just because you have some business interest with him?
AND Armenia only SUSPENDED the ratification process after it became clear that Turkey itself never intended to do so and was using the protocols to blow dust into the eyes of the west and draw precondtions regarding Karabakh, though they were signed WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS…
4. You say that “Turkey is not the Ottoman State in the same way that Germany is not Hitler or Nazism to Israel”. WRONG! Germany certainly is not the Nazi Germany simply because it openly repented, apologised and even today continues to compensate for the losses of the Jews. Has Turkey done so? The Turks may not be riding horses or using swords and axes any more, they are more sophisticated and advanced nowadays, but you cannot convince anybody that the state of Turkey is not the Ottoman one still surviving.
5. You say: Many Armenian politicians and businessmen make ?odd? statements that cast doubt over the history of the Turks and their ties with others. Well, I did not know that speaking of historical truths is CASTING DOUBT. If you have doubts yourself, just take a ride to Deir el-Zor, I am sure you will have no doubts after that. You can collect truckloads of women's and children's bones, the ones that you state that have died in battle…
6. “There is no room for Armenian weeping in the Arab world.” No sir! The Armenians are not weeping any more. They are demanding. The Armenians you mention are citizens of their countries, be it Lebanon, Syria, Jordan or any else. They have a right to demand of their states whatever they wish! They have earned this right with all the big contribution they had in their new homelands, which fortunately you do not deny.
7. “Turkey today is a responsible state that solves the problems of its factions and communities such as the Jews, Christians, and Kurds, in a balanced and rational manner and even the rational Armenians have testified to that.” This statement desrves a Nobel Prize for falsification! Go to the Kurds and tell them that they are being treated in a “balanced and rational manner”. And about your “rational Armenians” it is like putting a mouse in the cat's cage and telling him to say that he is being treated right otherwise the cat will eat him…
Your statement that the Armenians “have long preferred to remain silent about the Israeli massacres against Arabs” is also not true. Just go and read your local Armenian newspapers. What concerns the position of the state of Armenia, I agree that it is not openly opposed to Israel. Personally I disapprove of such a stance but understand the geopolitical tight situation which Armenia is in. After all it's a small country in a fragile position. But have a look around you among your own Arab brethren. One of the giants of the Arab world, Egypt, is it doing any better? I would say much worse. Even the Saudis are playing on both ropes… So please, stop waving the Israeli flag in front of the Armenians' eyes and using it to raise sentiments against Armenians.
Sir, having said all this, I would have liked to believe that your article is the result of being misinformed about the history of all this. But I smell a rat here. It seems that you have some business interests with Turkey and doing them a favour in return.
Sir, your article in whole is a big piece desecrating the memory of Sharif Hussein the Protector of the Holy Cities who himself had issued a decree to all true Muslims to save the survivors of the genocide. It is like spitting over the graves of those honourable bedouins who saved thousands of children and women from starvation and certain death.
I can find only one suitable word to end my letter…
Aibishoom (shame on you).
Arshak (ibn Zaven) Davidian MD
Stepanakert-Republic of Mountainous Karabakh
04 May 2010
Arshak Davidian refers to Asharq Alawsat's policy on not publishing comments by Armenian readers*
Dear Editors of Asharq Alawsat,
A few days back I had posted a comment on Mr Hussein Shobokshi's article “Are you with us or not?” on your English webpage. However, on a second visit today I realised that your website does not display any readers' comments at all (or may be I was clumsy enough not to find one). I would like to ask you how ethical is this. Is this how journalism works in the Arab world? To publish whatever you like without giving any opportunity for your audience to have a glimpse on opposing views and ideas? I wonder how such behaviour is called in British laws?
Although I do not expect an apology from Mr. Shobokshi (a contemporaray Arab Faust who evidently has sold his soul to Iblis) for deliberate and overt lies and distortions of facts about the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman empire, I do expect my response to be published on your website (without edition) either as a comment or a separate article. In fact, I demand that you do so and also to revise your policies and publish the relevant comments of your readers. I believe that your readers in the Arab and Islamic world deserve an opportunity to have a handkerchief to wipe away the dust blown into their eyes by such articles.
Please find my response re-submitted below.
Arshak Z. Davidian MD
Stepanakert-Republic of Mountainous Karabakh
PS. I just found out that your Arabic pages display a “Corrections” link, which boasts Asharq Alawsat to be the first Arabic journal to run a daily corrections page since 2005 because it is very careful to relay correct information to its readers to keep journalistic credibility… So, please be true to what you announce and do the same in your English edition.
*Note from Azad-Hye: As expected, Arshak Davidian's comment was not published in Asharq Alawsat. We have to note that, in previous occasions, Azad-Hye has tried to post comments on other articles related to the Armenians, but the editorial team of the newspaper did not allow any voices in favor of the Armenians to be heard.