jeudi 25 janvier 2018

Paying Tribute to Sarkis Hatsbanian

Paying Tribute to Karabakh War Veteran
Sarkis Hatsbanian

By Raffi Bedrosyan

Sarkis Hatsbanian, Karabakh war veteran, political commentator and activist, passed away last week in Lyon, France. He was only 55.

Sarkis Hatsbanian with an Azeri woman left behind by her family

Born in Adiyaman, southeastern Turkey and former Cilicia, he had left for France in 1980 to avoid persecution of the military dictatorship in Turkey, and then had moved to Armenia to join the Karabakh war in 1990. He participated in the liberation of the Karvajar (Kelbajar) region joining Armenia to Karabakh.

A photo of him with an elderly woman became a symbol of the war. This photo had two stories, one very real, the other a complete lie. The real story was as reported by a French journalist who accompanied the Armenian forces during the campaign, depicting Sarkis with an 80-year-old Azeri woman, Shaikha Hanum. She was left behind, along with other elderly Azeri women and children in the Karvajar district, when all the able-bodied Azeris had fled ahead of the advancing Armenian forces. Her son was a police commander in the district. Sarkis was in charge of taking care of the Azeri civilians, and eventually providing safe passage to Gandzag (Kirovabad). Armenians took such good care of the civilians that Shaikha Hanum stated she loved Sarkis more than his cowardly son who had abandoned her.

On the same day that this story and photo was published in France, a fake story was posted in the Turkish daily, Milliyet, using the same photo, depicting Sarkis as an Azeri soldier, rescuing his Azeri grandmother from the Armenian enemy…

After the war, he became politically active and a fierce critic of the bribery and corruption of the oligarchs in the government and in the church, expressing his views very eloquently and articulately during frequent TV appearances. Sarkis and I met and became fast friends when I took groups of hidden Armenians from Turkey to Armenia. He was fascinated by this new Armenian reality. He would follow our tour itinerary and meet us at museums and churches that we visited, becoming a volunteer guide, counsellor, mentor and lifelong friend to our hidden Armenians.

When he was struck by cancer this past summer, he had to move to Lyon, France to receive the required treatment, in a race against time. He needed a place to stay during the treatments and was in dire financial need. Our numerous pleas for some financial assistance from heads of Armenian organizations, influential or politically active Armenians in France or Europe fell on deaf ears, unfortunately. Ultimately, a fundraising campaign was organized in Canada to send emergency funds to Sarkis and his family, with a few anonymous donors from Turkey also contributing. He passed away disappointed and dejected by the apathy of fellow Armenians.

And now, as soon as he passed away, the accolades and eulogies by Armenian Diaspora leaders rise to the sky for the “Karabakh war hero.”  We have a saying in Armenian — “Kna merir, yegour sirem,” meaning “First go die, then come let me love you.” Perhaps this attitude is unique to Armenians, because I cannot find such a cruel but poignant proverb in any other language.

source :

jeudi 18 janvier 2018

Conférence sur Nagorny-Karabakh

Entre sécession et autodétermination

en présence de Hovhannès Guevorgian
Représentant de la République d'Artsakh en France

le vendredi 2 février 2018 
au CJA, à Alfortville 

mercredi 17 janvier 2018

Le problème de Skopié

Le problème de Skopié

Nikos Lygeros

Le problème de Skopié ne sera pas résolu avec des compromis. Et l'exemple de la France, qui n’a fait aucun compromis à aucun moment en 1973 pour le nom du Royaume-Uni, lequel voulait à l'origine s'appeler Grande-Bretagne, est un exemple à imiter par ceux qui ont une pensée stratégique.

La diplomatie a ses limites quand il y a une stratégie dominante. Parce que si tu t’agenouilles de toi-même, ils te mettront à genoux sûrement, tandis que si tu es digne des circonstances, ils te respecteront. La Grèce dans le cadre du problème de Skopié ne se bat pas seulement pour son droit comme le pensent même les plus positifs. Elle se bat pour les droits de l'histoire. Parce qu'elle ne peut accepter aucun pays qui accède à l'éradication de l'histoire, même si pendant des décennies il se trouvait sous la coupe d'une barbarie qui considérait non seulement que l'histoire devait mourir ou qu'elle était déjà morte mais qu'elle était capable de tuer l'histoire si besoin. Le problème de Skopié est un exemple caractéristique de non-respect du passé, ni de celui de l'histoire.

Ce n'est pas seulement une attaque contre l'hellénisme comme le pensent la plupart. C'est une tentative d’assassinat de l'histoire. C'est une tentative de meurtre du temps. C'est une tentative contre les droits fondamentaux de l'Humanité. Ceux qui ne voient le problème que localement n'ont pas compris son essence.

Le problème de Skopié n'est pas une négociation mais une lutte de justice. Le Temps est avec nous et nous l'utiliserons parce que nous sommes avec lui depuis l'Hellénisme existe.

Traduit du Grec par A.-M. Bras

dimanche 7 janvier 2018

Agreements undertaken by the State of Israel as to not recognizing the Armenian genocide

FOIA request for information on agreements and commitments undertaken by the State of Israel
vis-a-vis Turkey and Azerbaijan as
to not recognizing the Armenian genocide

On April 24 1915, in the midst of WWI, the rulers of the collapsing Ottoman Empire began the annihilation of the Armenian people. In less than four years, after 2,400 years in which Armenians lived and thrived within the region between the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, hardly any Armenians remained. More than a million were murdered and the survivors were scattered all over the world. Men, women and children were sent on “death marches”, detained in concentration camps, raped and murdered. News on the genocide was published by newspapers in the US and Europe as it was happening.
US Ambassador in Istanbul at the time, Henry Morgenthau, tried to help the Armenians and lessen, if only slightly, the extent of the atrocities. Sarah and Aharon Aaronsohn, Eitan Belkind and other members of the Nili group witnessed the events and their hearts told them a hidden thread connected the fate of the Armenians and the fate of the Jews. Franz Werfel, a German writer of Jewish descent, learned of what happened to the Armenians and published his book "Forty Days of Musa Dagh" in Germany in November 1933, ten months after Hitler's rise to power.
The Turkish state which was founded in 1923, was determined to forget and cast into oblivion this terrible episode in Turkish history. In 1965, after descendants of the Armenian refugees in the diaspora began to demand international and Turkish recognition of the genocide, Turkey embarked on an extensive and resolute denial campaign. Similarly, and in view of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia as to the Nagorno-Karabakh province, Azerbaijan has become Turkey’s partner in leading the denial of the Armenian genocide.
Unfortunately, in spite of the existence of an Armenian community in Israel and in spite of a continuous public, academic and political campaign, the Armenian genocide has not been recognized by the State of Israel.
Prima facie, it seems that the official Israeli denial of the Armenian genocide is tied to its diplomatic and military relations with Turkey, and in recent years to the relations with Azerbaijan. Turkey and Azerbaijan have purchased from Israel military training and weapon systems worth billions of USD.
Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Danny Ayalon, former Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, MK Alex Miller, as well as additional MK's from 'Israel Beitenu' party clarified unequivocally that the State of Israel would not recognize the Armenian genocide so as not to harm relations with Azerbaijan, over controversial historical issues concerning century-long events. Their arguments remind those of holocaust deniers.
Under these circumstances, one suspects that not only does the State of Israel “trade” in the recognition of the Armenian genocide, but that it has also taken upon itself real commitments on this matter, in agreements with Azerbaijan and Turkey. 
This is why together with the genocide scholar Professor Yair Auron, we asked the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to expose to the public: Any documentation of agreements, understandings, commitments vis-a-vis Azerbaijan and Turkey as to the question of recognizing the Armenian genocide; Any correspondence with Turkish or Azeri representatives on the question of recognizing the Armenian genocide; Any documentation of meetings or communications between representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Turkish or Azeri representatives on the question of recognizing the Armenian genocide; Decisions and position papers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as to the question of recognizing the Armenian genocide, in view of Turkey and Azerbaijan's objection.

Link to the FOIA request:

mercredi 3 janvier 2018

Pres. Trump Gets Slapped Twice

Pres. Trump Gets Slapped Twice
In One Week at the United Nations

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Pres. Trump added two new major mistakes last month to the long list of misguided foreign and domestic policy decisions throughout the year.

On December 18, 2017, the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that called for the reversal of Pres. Trump’s announcement to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy to that city. All the other 14 members of the Security Council, including Britain and France, voted for the resolution which correctly asserted that “Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations.” It further called for all states to refrain from moving their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem is a highly controversial and emotional issue for Jews, Muslims and Christians. Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed it in violation of international law. Israel considers Jerusalem its “undivided and eternal capital.” Palestinians, on the other hand, consider East Jerusalem to be the capital of an eventual Palestinian state. Immediately after the UN vote, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas announced his refusal to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to the Middle East. The trip was postponed to a later date. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in many Islamic countries against Pres. Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. The Palestinian leadership announced that they will no longer consider the United States as an honest broker of peace between the conflicting sides.

During the Security Council session, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladinov warned that Pres. Trump’s unilateral action lessens the chances of peace, “undermining moderates and empowering radicals.”

Pres. Trump justified his decision by basing it on a 1995 law passed by Congress to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. However, all U.S. Presidents since then have signed a national security waiver postponing the move every six months. They did not wish to undermine the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and inflame the passions of the Arab and Islamic world.

The fact that Trump had made a promise during his campaign to transfer the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem cannot excuse his recent decision. As I wrote a year ago, Trump had made an unwise promise and keeping it could become dangerous.

To make matters worse for the U.S., the UN General Assembly, where the United States does not have veto power, overwhelmingly adopted a resolution on December 21, 2017, declaring Pres. Trump’s decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “null and void.” It is highly embarrassing for a Superpower like the United States to have 128 countries vote against it, only 8 other countries supported it, 35 abstained, and 21 were absent. Thus Pres. Trump has made the United States the laughing stock of the world, particularly since the U.S. and Israel were supported by tiny countries that most people have never heard of, such as Togo, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau.

In contrast, many of the major countries voted against the U.S. in the UN General Assembly: France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and dozens of others.

As if this embarrassment was not sufficient, Pres. Trump and his UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, proudly declared that the United States would cut off aid to any country that voted against the U.S. This is a ridiculous statement, as the United States is not going to eliminate aid from many of these 128 states. Furthermore, when a world power like the United States provides foreign aid, it does so to pursue its own interests. By cutting off aid, the United States would jeopardize its own national interests. Giving foreign aid does not mean that the United States automatically buys a country’s sovereign right on how to cast its vote at the UN and try to intimidate it into submission.

Regarding the Jerusalem issue, there was much discussion in the Armenian press about the appropriateness of Armenia voting against the U.S. at the UN on December 21. The fear was that Armenia would not receive foreign aid from the U.S. and would antagonize Israel.

In my opinion, both of these points are not valid. I am confident that Armenia’s many supporters in the U.S. Congress would restore the aid against the wishes of the White House, in the unlikely possibility that Pres. Trump would carry out his threat.

With regard to relations with Israel, Armenia does not have much of a risk as Israel has not been friendly with Armenia. It has no Embassy in Yerevan, has refused to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and has sold billions of dollars of lethal weapons to Azerbaijan to kill Armenians! Even Azerbaijan, despite its love-fest with Israel, voted against the U.S. decision. Needless to say, Turkey also voted against it.

Furthermore, abstaining from voting at the UN or being absent would have isolated Armenia from the rest of the world, from Armenian communities in Arab and Islamic countries, and contradict the wishes of the Armenian Patriarchate in Jerusalem which has condemned the US decision.

Finally, Israeli leaders should not celebrate Pres. Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, as it is not in Israel’s interest to antagonize the rest of the world and isolate itself. Israel needs to win over other countries, especially Palestinians, to arrive at a peaceful resolution through negotiations, not bullying or violence!