Armenians around the world will in April commemorate 100 years simnce the genocide which the Ottomans allegedly committed against them, killing 1.5 million Armenians and displacing millions of others across the world. Those displaced Armenians integrated in the new communities they arrived to and became a fundamental part f of their economic and social structure. Their presence in Lebanon and Syria is proof to that. The Armenians’ problem after 100 years is that Turkey does not recognize the act and refuses to compensate the victims’ sons and grandsons on the financial and moral levels and it also refuses to return property to them.
The genocide was allegedly carried out during the phase when the Ottoman Empire was collapsing. The Ottomans tried to exterminate the Armenian people upon the incitation of the Committee of Union and Progress. Their move was carried out upon the committee’s racial concept based on the principle of Turkification and ethnic or religious cleansing under the excuse of uniting Turanian people. The Turks occupied the rest of the kingdom of Cilicia and Alexandretta – which historically speaking was part of Syrian territories – where many Armenians resided.
Turkey has developed in the military and tourism industries but it hasn’t recognized the massacres against the Armenians
It’s been 100 years and the crisis is still on. Instead of the region’s people progressing to the phase of accepting others and recognizing diversity and plurality after these phases of civilized Arabism, Baathist doctrine, Syrian nationalist, communist and socialist ideologies, secular and leftist movements and other parties trying to imitate the West, we are going a 100 years back. We criticize the racial country of Israel because it was unjustly established in the region, but some Arab countries now resemble Israel and are following its footsteps and have turned into groups and organizations violating all international laws and charters, disrespecting religious and social values and cancelling all diversity and richness in this world.
Turkey has developed in the military and tourism industries but it hasn’t recognized the massacres against the Armenians. It still besieges Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the Orthodox church does not have the ability to breathe freely. Iraq lives through all sorts of racial struggles among Arabs, Kurds, Persians, Sunnis and Shiites and Yazidis. In Egypt, Copts are treated like foreigners and in Syria, the sectarian struggle continues to worsen and on Sunday six innocent Lebanese people fell victim to this struggle.
Perhaps talk is of no use amidst this heated struggle. The horrifying truth before us is that it’s been 100 years since this Armenian genocide but there’s no possibility of retrieving any of the Armenians’ rights. Are the region’s people prepared to keep nothing in the world’s memory except massacres, displacement and all sorts of underdevelopment?
This article was first published in al-Nahar on February 2, 2015.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni