Taner Akšam In Montreal
Posted 22 August 2007 - 09:20 AM
Posted 22 August 2007 - 01:51 PM
According to Yeni Şafak, Holdwater is actually the son of a Turkish family which immigrated to America in the 1940s, he was born in New York in the 1950s, and his parents raised him without teaching him a single word of Turkish. He champions the Turkish theses on the Internet site he administers http://www.tallarmeniantale.com.
This does not make any sense. Why would someone with such a small connection to Turkish identity and Turkey spend so much effort? Sending letters since 1980 Holocaust Memorial Council and Carter and then 20+ years later to still maintain the Tall Armenian Tale site. There is something deeper here than that article reveals. Who is his inside connection to the fascist Kemalist ideology if he does not know Turkish?
Edited by Nikephoros_Phokas, 22 August 2007 - 01:52 PM.
Posted 23 August 2007 - 12:59 AM
I don't think it's that far-fetched with Holdzheet. Most American Jews have not even stepped foot in Israel, yet they can be pro-Israel like for dear life. What better reactionarism to resort to if he had been picked on for being Turkish as a kid? Some take the high road, others slump.
Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:10 PM
As told to Ed Hammond
December 8 2007 00:44
The Canadian immigration officer looked perplexed as he sat across the
table from me under the bright strip lighting of the interrogation room
I had been held in for five hours. He told me that even he wasn't
really sure why I was being detained entering Canada from the US.
I had already answered the scripted questions that everyone who is
hauled over by immigration control faces; how much money I had, what
the purpose of my visit was, whether I had any contact addresses in the
country, what I was going to be doing and so on.
The official even asked me, admittedly looking slightly embarrassed, if
I could help him to figure out why I was being detained. I was tempted
to say, `If you don't know, how do you expect me to?' But challenging
him would only make it look like I had something to hide.
I told him that I'm a Turkish historian whose work focuses on the
subject of the Armenian genocide of 1915, and because of this certain
groups target me for my views. I had published a book on the subject
three to four months earlier and, like many Turkish intellectuals, I
had come under increasing attacks from far-right groups who disagreed
with my saying that Ottoman Turks were responsible for the deaths of
more than a million Armenians in 1915.
The campaign against me started almost as soon as I published my book.
Organised groups, who use the internet to preach hatred, turned up at
lectures I was giving to disrupt my speaking or intimidate people
attending. I also used to get death threats telling me that my life
would be cut short unless I retracted my conclusions on Turkey's
actions in Armenia.
Once, when I was lecturing in New York, some people turned up and
started to distribute flyers claiming I was a mastermind of terrorist
violence including the assassination of Americans. They shouted abuse
at me, prevented people in the audience from asking questions and tried
to attack me physically.
Since I started work on the topic of the genocide I have had to alter
my lifestyle, I must be careful with my public appearances, with what I
publish. Not being able to voice an opinion in public is frustrating
and scary, but sometimes I have to decide not to provoke the situation.
I had to do this recently when tensions were raised by the US House
Foreign Affairs Committee passing a resolution condemning the Armenian
deaths as genocide. I have to make these decisions on an almost daily
When the immigration officers finally walked me through the Customs
barrier, I asked if they could explain why I had been detained. I was
shocked by what they showed me. It was a printed page that I
recognised. This was my Wikipedia entry ` the online encyclopedia
written by the public ` that had been vandalised. I had been held
because my entry accused me of being a terrorist and of being involved
in plots against the US.
Travel has become increasingly difficult, and I have had to clear up
the mess generated by the vandalised entry on the website. Although I
feel safe in the US, where I live and work, I try not to travel abroad
unless it is really necessary. I recently cancelled a trip to Turkey
because it would be unwise for me to show my face there at this time.
It is easy for people who do not agree with what I say to make life
difficult for me ` whether it is disrupting my lectures or impeding my
ability to move around freely ` but I don't regret having written my
book. It is the sacrifice that any Turkish academic must make who opens
the topic of Armenia.
I am not outspoken in order to cause trouble, but because I believe
wholly in what I say and write. The consequences of this choice are
something I live with. But this is our responsibility to humanity, to
freedom of speech.
And we must all be responsible for the democracy of one's country.
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