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Friday, 25 April 2008

'Un-hate a Turk Today'

24 April 1969


Always unconventional, Armenian American artist Onnig Kardash, staged a protest/performance on April 24, 1969 in front of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The action seemed to underscore the need for love in the face of hate.

April 24 is the traditional day to commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide, Kardash’s protest shocked many Armenian Americans who were angry and confused at the radical protest on such a solemn day.

Art critic Neery Melkonian noted:

“..[it} rejected the [Armenian American] culture’s collective identity as a victim.”

*source - Hrag Vartanian

23 April 2008


Even before today, thousands of young Armenians affiliated with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation — Dashnaktsutyun (ARF-D) assembled in Yerevan’s Liberty Square before embarking on a now traditional candlelight procession to the memorial overlooking the capital. Of course, this being the most nationalist of commemorative events, the Turkish flag was doused in petrol and set alight first. Interestingly, but not convincingly at all, Armenian Public Radio reports that the organizers deny such an act is ever planned:

“We do not plan to burn the Turkish flag and do not spread hatred, it was the initiative of the participants”.

* source: The Caucasian Knot

8 comments:

proudly anonymous said...

Thanks for the post.
Seeing the Dashnaks' rally in all of its triumphant tastelessness and tactlessness absolutely killed me. Burning the Turkish flag on the steps of the Opera House in the Freedom Square was a new low even for today's Armenia. I shudder at the thought of what we've become.

artmika said...

Actually, it's not new. Flag burning became a 'tradition' for them for the last couple of years.

Here are relevant posts from last year:

On April 24… Գարուն ա … Ձուն ա արել…

Please, do not burn the flag!

reflective said...

Is it more appropriate to call for the president's (of Armenia) head on April 24?

Funny what gets oh-my-God attention, and what goes as "freedom of speech" or "human rights" these days.

I shudder at the thought of people shuddering at these thoughts.

parisan said...

I didn't know Kardash. I followed the link to the site you've given, it's beautiful!

Sometimes I believe we should be burning all the flags... but then what would we get... a New World Order?

artmika said...

Armenian Patchwork reports:

"A day before the 24th of April, the day of mourning the victims of the Genocide, Armenians marched towards the memorial Tsitsernakaberd. The march with torches has become a tradition. I don’t remember whether it was also done last year, but the public burning of the Turkish flag was something that surprised me. Afterwards throughout the way I heard people shouting the most offensive things. Maybe this approach is normal and I’ve simply forgotten how nationalistic we can be, but I just don’t see what it leads to."

reflective said...

"On the 24th of April, the day of mourning the victims of the Genocide, Armenians marched towards the memorial Tsitsernakaberd. At the same time, Levon's supporters with him at the helm started chanting anti-(Armenian) government slogans. I don’t remember whether it was also done last year, but the public chants against Armenia's president was something that surprised me. Afterwards throughout the way I heard people shouting the most offensive things. Maybe this approach is normal and I’ve simply forgotten how misguided and inappropriate we can be, but I just don’t see what it leads to."

proudly anonymous said...

Artmika, I didn't realize this was a tradition. Wow.

Repetitive,
No one was calling for the president's head as you claim. Sure, you might argue that perhaps this wasn't the best day to let your political affiliation be known by chanting "Levon" or "Serzhik leave" as you walked to Tsitsernakaberd, but then again no day is ever good for that sort of thing in today's Armenia.

I had my doubts about the march, but seeing the videos, I thought it was mostly conducted in a respectful manner. Particularly once they got to Tsitsernakaberd, they grew quiet and solemn. As their rights to express themselves, to voice their opinion, to move freely, to stand ( to sit, to breath, and so on), to organize rallies, etc. have been taken away, you have to forgive people for getting carried away. I do anyway.

Very few people, if any, have any criticism of people mobilizing on April 24th, 1988 and again on April 24th, 1989 to reignite a silenced protest movement. You may disagree with the guys at the front of the march (LTP, Armen Zavenich, etc.), but people walking behind them firmly believe they are a part of a similar liberation movement.

As for the Dashnak march...I fully understand that perhaps I'm letting bias take over, but I didn't particularly approve of it. There were songs, claps, whistling as if they were at a soccer match, and finally the flag burning(of both Turkey and Azerbaijan, multiple times)just sealed it for me. Someone on H1 actually claimed that the Turks "are afraid of such displays." Words fail me...

Anonymous said...

Agree with unhating a Turk, disagree with criticism of burning the modern Turkish Republic's flag. I hope you guys see the difference between the people, and the state (which is engaged in active denial campaign, blockade of the border, military support for Azeri dictator etc.).

Just imagine how many German flags would be burning in Israel and around the World had Germany did the same to Israel and the memory of Holocaust...