Monday, October 16, 2006

Monument stolen in France!

At home I am famous for my notorious monogamous love for Arte. My mom for example always tries to put Arte when ever I’m around, but the problem’s that she can’t remember where to find it, not to mention that she always calls it ART (like Arabic Radio and TV). On Saturday my Mom’s attempt to reach Arte led us to France2. So we watched the French news, it’s more interesting and diverse than our local news.

What caught my attention the most was the news about a monument being stolen in France. The monument in question represents the Armenian alphabet. The Armenians naturally accuse the Turks of this act. Which isn’t unlikely especially that 2 days ago a law that incriminates the denial of the Armenian genocide was signed in France. The Turkish government certainly refuses this new law and I suppose the French-Turks are probably not pleased. So far officials are excluding anti-Armenian motives but it’s not impossible.

This incident comes at a time when the Armenian presence in Lebanon is also protesting. Armenians are refusing that Turkey would participate in the Neo-UNIFIL force, unless they admit and apologize for the genocide. According to Armenian activists “a country that perpetuated genocides and refused to admit them cannot help preserve peace in another country”… In other terms, aggressors can’t protect.

Considering the circumstances, their calls haven’t really been answered or even taken seriously. Most people around here consider the Armenian demands as natural but don’t consider the Lebanese people to be concerned with an “Armenian problem”. There are reasons for this indifference; of course Armenians integrate very naturally the Lebanese society, none can deny or even question the Lebanese identity of Armenians in Lebanon. The Armenians are the best example for a people that went through an ordeal asked refuge in a totally different country and then integrated the new society. And all through this preserving their identity and culture (they still speak and learn Armenian). BUT:

  • Armenians are merchants and businessmen, they are famous, among other things, for there dominance in the textile sector. Rumor has it that they buy their material is imported from Turkey!

  • Politically speaking, and of course the question of Turkish participation in the UNIFIL is a political one, Armenians never EVER integrated the Lebanese politics. They have their political parties (Ramgavar, Hunchakian and the Dashnak) that take no stand in the Political debates; they support whatever government in place, even though the Armenian public is pretty close to the Christian groups they make no political stand. That avoided them any losses during the Civil War (the ‘ouwet attacked many of their headquarters here and there when they refused to back them, but nothing that serious). On the other hand this political lack of interest caused a sense of political apathy toward the Armenians in Lebanon. No one would engage in their struggle

  • Armenians are rather reclusive and closed. They are famous for being good businessmen, smart and nice. Their intelligence and solidarity earned them both the respect and the jealousy of others. The situation can be compared to the Jewish situation to a certain extent, but they are not accused of any illegal actions or any Divinity Genocide! So people don’t like them for that

  • In spite of any feelings toward the Armenians and their cause in Lebanon, the Turkish participation is a NEED, the Lebanese need Turkey’s participation as the only Muslim country that is willing to participate without being terribly radical! And this I believe is the most important reason why the Lebanese people’s not willing to answer the Armenian demands.

If we see the Armenian cause as a whole, they deserve great sympathy. In my life I have met many Armenians and frankly they are a Lebanese group to be proud of! Regardless of the political situation that helped them, I doubt that any country managed to “reappear” on the world map as the Armenians did… Except for Israel maybe, but that’s a totally different situation, today’s Israel is definitely not the Israel that was destroyed 2 millenniums ago. The Palestinian presence and its effect on the Lebanese situation is the biggest proof of how special the Armenian presence was for us. The Armenians also introduced into the Lebanese community their own culture, in Lebanon not only you can learn: Arabic, Lebanese, French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Syriac/Aramaic, Hebrew, Russian, Greek… You can also learn Armenian. When the Armenians first came to Lebanon they were given a very small piece of land in which they still live here, no one really helped them, but still they flourished. The Armenians I have personally met were smart people. An old man that I once knew had actually survived the genocide he used to fill his time reading! He read in Arabic, French, English and Armenian of course, he had virtually read all the books from the Library of the American University in Beirut (his son worked there). He used to talk to my mom about his journey from Armenia to Lebanon, the family members he lost, he dreamt to go back and visit Armenia at least once before his death. He never did, he died a few years ago. Another Armenian I met while working last year had studied in Armenia, he worked two jobs to provide the best education for his only son (he put him in an Armenian school of course).


Nomad said...

so far I haven't read anything about that stolen monument, I'll enquire

The turcs are getting on my nerves !

shlemazl said...

Not sure what you mean when you say that Armenia is the only country to reappear. What about 14 other former Soviet Republics or new states of the former Yugoslavia? The whole of the Arab world is somewhat different as most of these states have not existed in the past in this form.

Chantal said...

What you wrote is interesting, specially about the turks and the lebanese needing them , i don; tunderstand how fast we are able to forget our past. Why is se7tel chouhada named as so. who was jamal bacha? what ahppened to the lebanese starvationb during wwI?

the civil war? my dad's huge studio, 3 millions of dollars pouf went out in smoke. The armenians didn' take part in it? it hurts to know that you think it such . but thanks.

last but not least armenians reclusive and closed?
i am the daughter of a lebanese and an armenian. half half if u'd like and yet 100% each...
lebanon is my country as much as it is any of yours.

whek just needed to rant...
i don't give a flying hoot about our need for a muslim country when this country is neither democratic nor respects human rights and does not even respect its own past.

as a lebanese with "half " ( that's how i was always qualified everywhere nes nes )armenian blood, i will fight for the cause of genocide and THAT my friend WILL make it a lebanese cause because i AM lebanese....

here's my email in case someone cares to reply:

bis dann meine freundin bleiben sie gesund

shlemazl said...


I think we are all with you on this one; particularly that it's not just the past. Turkey is blockading Armenia today.

Einmal said...

Really? That's funny because heard it on french news!

Of course there are other countries in general that reappeared, but I don't think many believed Armenia would reappear. The genocides were a clear sign that Turkey wanted Armenia not just to oocupy Armenia but to erase the whole country, in the case of the soviet union I see it differently, the soviets occupied these countries as an expansion, as to annexe new countries. And yugoslavia was a failed attempt to create a new identity in these people. But in armenia the people were killed or kicked out, regardless of the purpose that turkey had, the message was clear, they didn't want any armenian not just to destroy the republic.

I do agree with you on what you said, and I am not in any case saying that Turkey is innocent or anything, but let's face it we forget all too easily. I admit that.
I didn't mean to say at any point that the Armenians were isolated from the war, I said that they were politically indifferent, I know about many many armenians that actually held arms and went to wat actively. And I do know that the Armenians were targetted by both the Muslims and the Christians. But again I say: The armenian political parties refused to participate in the war and ever since they have been been very keen on standing with whoever rules, that is no secret.
I do know that the Armenian demands are rightous. The genocides did happen, and turkey did not change, if it had changed it wouldn't still be acting the same in Cyprus and it would have admited its crimes, that is a fact. But have you noticed that no political faction has adopted the Armenian demands? I am not oblivious to the Armenian role and importance in the Lebanese society but let's face it, politically Armenians haven't gained a place in the Lebanese panorama, that is not MY fault it's a fact that I am stating.
I have known people somehow like you, I have even met Armenian lebanese that have Armenian mothers and fathers and that are still 100% Lebanese. but there's still a significant proportion that feels skeptical toward others. And if this tendency is fading, it didn't appear by chance, there are still Armenians that woul refuse to help non-Armenians in learning the armenian language.

Einmal said...


thanks for leaving a comment, and I am curious: how did you get to my blog?

Und vielen dank ... :D

Chantal said...

I got ur blog from a forum ur in , helem... and was attracted by the name since i speak german and have been there so many times.

I understand what you are saying about politicians but it doesn't mean that by rejecting the armenians that they are not complete asses ...

Armenians have a tendency to stick up to those who rule because as a minority they are still afraid to be wiped out again and you shouldn't forget that part of the reason of the genocide is the christianity of armenians and the ottoman empire wanting to create a huge ouma some kind of empire of turan so armenians when they got to lebanon they were sceptical about the muslim community by pure self-defense and paranoia if you know what i mean.
My mother is lebanese 100% if u will and yet she has learnt to speak armenian bass akid as a matter of habit at home we grew up speaking lebanese. My father ( born in lebanon ) wanted us to know our language bass in no way no bloody way would he even consider himself more armenian thatn lebanese, this is his country , he sweat here, he built a family, he made money , he spent money , he helped rebuild what they stole from him and that's all that should matter and 3ayb on our politicians who keep fragmenting our society . I for one am in a huge dilemma i don' tknow where i belong and believe it's the case of many minorities in lebanon.
It disgusts me that people say christian, muslim , arab, before they say lebanese.
All the europeans around me state their nationalities bass ne7na no , we still live in our head and forget and forget and forget thinking that the past is useless and that anyway ne7na cha3eb gher chekel we don't need to learn and that our genius is our given right.

Chantal said...

oh btw no one take any offence, debate is good, we need more of it in lebanon :D
And i love arte too, will be working there next year :)

shlemazl said...

I am not so sure Europeans state their nationalities first. In Britain people say "I am English" or "I am Scottish" or "I am Irish/Welsh/Cornish...

In fact if you go to some parts of Wales, people would stop speaking English and swap to Gaelic.

Chantal said...

Yes but all those adjectives are not related to religion or political party etc. they are related to a geography which makes the matter different.

Oh and Einmal .
Just a question,
How much do you know about ur armenian compatriots? Am just curious?
Have you ever read their history ( which like the phoenicians dates thousands of years bc? )
do u know that arak ( the lebanese pride ) is originally armenian? ( if u want more info am glad to give it ) Do u know that Dikran the second had conquered the near east from north to palestine and that armenian culture has not been present in Lebanon only since 1915... ? :D None of these are stated in our history books either , again a matter of our short-term memory...

BTW am from Jounieh too, more precisely ADONIS - Zouk Mosbeh. Jounieh is my favorite place in the world , when u are at HArisa and see the bay , it's breath-taking . . . don' t you think ?

Einmal said...

I thought you'd be THAT chantal I had theories but wanted to be certain, so you've been to germany, that's interesting, which means that you've led a far more interesting life than mine. I am glad you like jounieh, I like it too, well I like a lot of places, the place is fascinating the people are pretty interesting also. But I wasn't always a Jounieh cittizen I have lived in the north for years and before that in different regions of Kesrwen... But I am from Beirut suburbs... But I originate form the norht.... Don't tell me about beloging diffculties ;) hehe

Anyway, I believe the problem in our politics is the lack of principles we have no goals and there fore we have no clear ways to question our leaders, frankly, we dont even try. We have built a republic on sectarian belonging and we are scared to death from everyone and everything. I am a Maronite christian and I feel like I totally don't belong anywhere in the political panorama

And no I am not well informed about the Armenian history I would be grateful for any interesting sites. I like the style of the armenian alphabet, but never tried to learn it... at least not yet

Chantal said...

oh so u know me , hmmm bass i still don't know who u might be , i suppose on the same list that i am on?
Well perhaps someday our paths will cross in jounieh or beirut hek i can teach u armenian... it's not too difficult . ( i think :))
btw what's ur name?

Chantal said...

btw yeah i lived in germany and have been to many places there like wilhemshaven , meissen, coswig but i specifically spent most of my time in Dresden and Leipzig. My partner's parents live there so i try not to miss out on the christams market it's the oldest in europe and the best . ( the one in dresden )

Einmal said...

Yes chantal I remember your name from the list, I havent posted there yet. But you'll recognise me, I am pazuzu everywhere.

Hey you lived in Leipzig?! Like THE city of books? that's cool

Chantal said...

yiiii m editing your article :)