What Does April 24th Mean To This Ethnic Armenian?
It's tragic how many Armenians are so blinded by hatred that they prefer to live in the past, and deny themselves the joys of their roots.
Not all Armenians are like that. Some Armenians prefer concentrating on their emotional attachments to the old country. These Armenians know Turkish music, food and language form as much a part of their identities as anything else, and don't appreciate being ostracized by the larger, more hateful Armenian group. They feel they are robbed of their precious past and cherished memories, and resent the domineering attitude of the other group.
I'm a big fan of Edward Tashji, who has the guts and the love to come right out and declare where he stands. In his own words, this "Armenian-American has become 'famous,' (he said with all humility), within the Turkish community, while becoming "infamous", (he said with deep regret), within the Armenian community." Also, in his words... he is : "An American born of an Armenian mother and a Syrian-Orthodox father (.) He is the younger son of parents who had been born in Ottoman Turkey, became eye-witness to the conflagration of the First World War in their beloved homeland, and as a result, their destiny brought them to the land where millions had emigrated."
What Does April 24th Mean To This Ethnic Armenian?
It is inconceivable to this writer that there could be a single person of Turkish background who is unaware of the significance of this date. Once again the American media in numerous states around the country have given time and space to the rantings and rhetorical diatribes of those purveyors of hatred who proclaim to honor the memory of innocent victims of war. Once again the Armenian “hate merchants” have taken center stage and politicians are racing to join their wealthy supporters in their annual anti-Turkish demonstrations.
I vehemently condemn this ubiquitous anti-Turkish ritual not because it mourns the victims of war, but rather because the Armenians profess to remember the victims of a mythical “genocide.” Some day, in the near future, I shall attempt to reveal in depth to the reader, my reasons for not accepting the Armenian perversion of the events of 1915 Ottoman Turkey; it might require two articles however. Each year as the month of April approaches, my mind and heart become filled with the memories of my youth and the educational stories which had been related to me by my parents. These memories have become an integral part of my life for each day I live, but during the month of April, the monster of animosity becomes visible and the chorus of hatred darkens my soul. During a season of renewal and hope, we are immersed in evil.
But why?! I had been taught that our peoples, the Armenians and the Syrian-Orthodox, had suffered — fact. But a World War caused the intolerable suffering of all peoples — Christian, Jew, and Muslim. in Ottoman Turkey. That indelible pain remains within us, but WHY must the venom of hate continue to cripple young minds eighty-three years after the horrific war? It is convenient for this country to support the Armenian allegations against the Turkish Nation in spite of Turkey’s long standing alliance with the United States. But, to be cognizant of Armenian treachery and twenty-five years of rebellion in Ottoman Turkey, and witness the dastardly activities of those who profess to be faithful Christians, is for me intolerable. April 24th should also signify the transition from hate to compassion, from pain to healing, from division to reunion. Who is it that says this is an impossibility, the Turk or the Armenian?! On April 24th or on any other day, we have the choice of raising our hands with the banners of hate or the gesture of a handshake. Who is that says this writer is hallucinating, the Turk or the Armenian?! God has given each of us the power and capacity to follow His teachings and build temples of love. Again I ask, who is it that says this philosophy is void of all logic, the Turk or the Armenian? To each question, it is manifestly, the latter.
When the seed of hate is planted can we expect anything other than a new growth of intolerance and animus? During my childhood I was taught my history by parents who had endured the ravages of war, and yet how is it that I bring the honor of their name to this newspaper? Because they had possessed the rare quality of compassion and the intellectual integrity to admit our (the Armenian) initiation of the hostilities which had created divisive suspicion and deplorable human suffering. Their honest interpretations found guilt and suffering on both sides, and concluded with the eventual restoration of peace, harmony, and brotherhood among our peoples. In all logic my beloved wife (an ethnic Armenian) and I CAN NOT hate a people and a nation with whom we share over six centuries of cultural and historical affiliation. In addition to this inescapable fact, I am convinced we are indebted to the Turkish people for the continuation of this mutual history to the present times in the Republic of Turkey.
Another April 24th has passed and the “hate merchants” surrounded by their clergy (!), and American politicians, have presented another shameful display of their specious campaign to distort history while defaming the honor of a great nation. How are we to respond to the allegations of the Armenians? How can we hope to reach the attention of Americans with the Turkish perspective? Most assuredly, it is an extremely difficult task, but it is not impossible! In 1982, this writer had prepared a ten page program on what we (the Turkish-American community) must and can do to reverse the tide of anti-Turkish sentiment in our country. In a future offering I shall attempt to introduce our program to the readers of the Turkish Times.
The most damning evil is the perpetuation of animosity. That succeeding generations will inherit a legacy of hatred defies all comprehension. While the nations of the world we on the brink of annihilating all mankind with its arsenal of nuclear weapons; we must strive to achieve understanding and harmony. I have grown weary of the disease of hate, and my primary concern before my God — yes, even as the sinner I am — continues to be what have I done to make this a better world for today’s children. Why is hatred so desirable for some people?
Dear reader, I believe this is the twelfth time we have "met” here in this column, and for the first time the writer has not been able to include an attempt at humor. This is the curse of April 24th in my heart. But I will not permit hatred to overcome my God-given desire to seek love and peace among all peoples! With this conviction I offer the reader a true narration of a love story!! The factual account of how my beloved patents had met the first time will be described here, when next we “meet.” They had met in the hell of war. but their destiny joined them as husband and wife and brought them to the United States. In spite of April 24th, our work continues....
The love story Mr. Tashji promises may be found here:
In The Midst Of War — A Letter And A True Love Story
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