BY APPO JABARIAN
Executive Publisher & Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine
PART II (continued from last week)
Recently, Egyptian Coptic Satellite Bassma TV held an interview with me in their studio in Orange County, California.
Part I of my article on the TV program was published in last week’s issue of USA Armenian Life Magazine and other news portals.
The below link features the entire TV show.
In addition to a host of other issues, Mr. Matta and I also discussed Turkey’s animosity toward Egypt; Political developments connected with Turkey’s support of foreign terrorists (ISIS and Jabhat-Al-Nusra) in Syria and Iraq; and of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Then we talked about the Armenian Cause; as well as Christians’, Muslims’ and Kurds’ plight In Syria, Iraq and Turkey. I highlighted the current makeup of the ethnically very diverse population in Turkey, including millions of hidden Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Jews, Assyrians, Alevis and other minority peoples.
Below is the second and final installment featuring a set of interesting questions.
Matta: The Armenian people and Armenia presented their case to the entire world and demanded from the world to recognize the Genocide that took place. Approximately what is the number of nations that recognize the genocide?
Jabarian: Before 2014 there were 26 nations that officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. In the last two years the following nations joined those that recognize the genocide: Bolivia in 2014, Austria (2015), Brazil (2015), Bulgaria (2015), Czech Republic (2015), Germany (2015), Luxembourg (2015), Syria (2015). Of course United States is among the 26 original nations that officially recognized the genocide. Within the United States there are 43 states that individually and officially recognize the genocide in addition to the U.S. federal government that officially recognized the genocide in a 1951 U.S. official document submitted to the International Court of Justice.
Matta: But up until today, the rest of the nations are very delinquent in recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Do you think they are thinking of recognizing it?
Jabarian: They shouldn’t be late in their recognition not just to help Armenians heal (their wounds) but also help themselves by stating their official and determined position that they are against the notion of genocide.
Matta: Obviously so, because they would be rendering service to humanity so that no other nation repeats similar crime that happened with other nations. That’s why they should reject the idea of genocide.
Jabarian: All nations should recognize all genocides! Not just Armenian Genocide but all genocides! So long as there are nations that don’t’ recognize the Armenian Genocide, they give a renewed opportunity to genocidal Turkish leaders to commit another genocide that they are attempting to commit today under ISIS’ cover in Iraq and Syria as well as in Kurdistan and the Kurdish region of what is now called Turkey! … I always say “what is now called Turkey.” The meaning is that now temporarily it is called “Turkey.” The right-sized Turkey has a land mass that is far smaller than what it is today. Eastern Turkey is Turkish-occupied Western Armenia. The lands in southeast and southwest … are Kurdish, Assyrian and Armenian – Armenians hailing from the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia; and the Alexandretta (Iskenderun, Antioch – now called Hatay) region belongs to Syria! Additionally, on the Black Sea coast, we have Greek regions like Pontus; and on the Mediterranean Sea’s eastern basin Constantinople which is now called Istanbul and Izmir — historically known as Smyrna are also Greek lands.
Matta: And Northern Cyprus…
Jabarian: Yes, Northern Cyprus is occupied by Turkey. … Even a major segment of the people who are currently living in Turkey – I didn’t say the Turkish people. I said the people living in Turkey — are not Turks.
Matta: It’s nice that you’re specifying and defining.
Jabarian: The majority of the people living in Turkey – nearly 70%, are non-Turks. They are living under the cover of Turkish identity but in reality, they’re hiding their true identity out of fear. According to reliable information, there are between 20 and 25 million Kurds; between 2 and 5 million Armenians; between 3 and 5 million Greeks as well as millions of other minorities like Arabs, Jews, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Yezidis, and between 15 and 16 million Alevis. …
Matta: These are great details. Thank you. What are the most recent developments relating to Armenian Cause? Why are there still nations that have not recognized Armenian Genocide? Is it because they have special affinity for Turkey, or they have economic interests?
Jabarian: They may have economic interests and Turkey always threatens them that if they recognize they will cut off economic ties. But these (blackmailed) nations need to learn from the rest of the countries that have (courageously) recognized – especially countries in Europe, North and South Americas…
Matta: All the countries that have recognized.
Jabarian: For example, Turkey threatened France on a number of occasions. France still recognized. Turkey threatened Germany (their longtime allies). But Germany didn’t care. They showed similar behavior toward Austria. Austria remained determined and recognized. I think time will come when many more nations will join the nations that have officially recognized the genocide.
Matta: Honestly, it’s essential!
Jabarian: Recognition of Armenian Genocide and — for that matter all genocides, creates the grounds for discontinuation of genocidal policy at the hands of any evil forces. Today, this genocidal policy is continuing under another form by the same type of Turkish leadership that committed genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and today, they are continuing these policies against the Kurdish people.
Matta: Sadly so! … Armenians of the world are demanding the return of their lands that were usurped by Turkey. Do you think that these demands will persist indefinitely, or there is some hope that someday justice will materialize?
Jabarian: The most important is that we, as descendants of orphaned survivors of Armenian Genocide, maintain our determination and faith that Justice will emerge victorious against evil — although it may take time. For example, from political point of view, in the 1970’s when a segment of the world Armenian population talked about the possibility that Armenia may gain independence from the Soviet Union, another segment wouldn’t believe so. Who knew in late 1970’s that Soviet Union would collapse in late 1980’s!
Matta: Or the Berlin wall would be destroyed!
Jabarian: That’s the reason why one should keep his faith strong and struggle like a lion and a tiger!
Matta: Bravo! It’s commendable! I salute your spirit. I am privileged to be in the company of a great Armenian. … Vladimir Lenin and later, despotic Stalin carved Nagorno Karabakh region out of Armenia and gave it to Azerbaijan. Can you tell us about what happened? Can you shed light on the issue?
Jabarian: Nagorno Karabakh region, originally called Artsakh, is located just east of contemporary Armenia and is one of two Armenian regions – Nakhitchevan and Artsakh (Karabakh) that were carved out of (1918-1920) Armenia by (Soviet dictator) Joseph Stalin and were ‘gifted’ to then artificially formed republic of Azerbaijan in 1921. Before that era there was no such republic of Azerbaijan. They manufactured it and they ‘gifted’ them the two Armenian regions. I have written several commentaries about how these Armenian regions were “Stalinized” creating the term “Stalinization of Armenian territories.” Once Armenians liberated Artsakh Armenian territories (in the 1988-94 war) from Azerbaijan, I started referring to the process as “Destalinization of Armenian territories.”
Matta: Now we’re showing to the TV viewers a monument depicting a man and a woman in Karabagh. Can you explain the meaning?
Jabarian: This monument represents the spirit of family unit in Karabakh-Artsakh illustrating the fact that Armenians believe in the sanctity of family. Family is very important – the monument shows that there is a strong alliance between a father and a mother forming a strong and perpetual family guided with a resilient spirit.
Matta: Beautiful! Very beautiful! … So what’s the current state of affairs?
Jabarian: In mid 1994, a cease fire has been implemented. … On every occasion Azerbaijan creates problems in order to start a new war. I urge the international community to warn Azerbaijan against instigation of war. If war breaks out, it’s going to be an all-out military confrontation, and there are going to be great losses from both sides. … I would like to thank Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA 39th District) from Orange County and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY 16th District) for initiating a congressional resolution demanding that Azerbaijan abstain from hurling war threats; and to stop bullying by wielding the threat of war against Armenia. In any case, if there is going to be war… and if Armenian people are forced to fight another war, they will fight one more time!
Matta: Approximately, how many Armenians are living in Nagorno Karabakh-Artsakh?
Jabarian: Approximately 200,000. The area of Armenia beside Karabakh-Artsakh is 29,000 sq. km. And the area of Karabakh-Artsakh is nearly 9,000 sq. km. … I have been to Artsakh on several occasions. Many visitors from Europe describe Artsakh as “The Switzerland of Caucasus.”
Matta: When talking about Armenia and Armenians, one cannot ignore the Armenian Church. Can you tell us a bit about the Armenian Church?
Jabarian: Armenian Church is Orthodox Apostolic which was founded during the early stages of Christianity. Christianity was officially adopted as a state religion in Armenia in 301 A.D.
Matta: Armenia became the first nation in the world that adopted Christianity as its state religion.
Jabarian: I am very joyful that the relations between the Coptic and Ethiopian churches are centuries-old, very deep and strong. The ties are also strong with Assyrian, Greek, Russian and Serbian churches …
Matta: And Eritrean …
abarian: Correct. They all come from the same tree of religion.
As we were speaking, a short video documentary presented Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II’s historic April 24, 2015 visit to Armenia on the occasion of Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration.
Jabarian: I must acknowledge that Egypt had the largest official delegation among all international delegations that went to Armenia on the occasion of Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration. According to reliable information there were between 140 and 150 members in the delegation. I would like to join many world Armenians expressing appreciation to the Egyptian people.
Matta: Armenia is a democracy where people elect the president once every five years … and members of the parliament. There are 131 seats in the Armenian parliament. And there are 13 counties. How do Diaspora Armenians carry out their democratic duties in Armenia?
Jabarian: Diaspora Armenians endeavor to assist Armenia economically and politically as well as technologically. It’s important for us that Armenia continues being a model state in the Caucasus region in terms of democracy and civil society. It’s great that the Armenian Constitution defends the rights of its citizens vis-à-vis the government, whereas in Turkey, the Turkish Constitution defends the government against own citizens.
Matta: It’s awesome that Armenian citizens as well as Diaspora Armenians protect their national dignity. And in all countries where there are Armenians, Armenian people have left their imprints. Many have achieved remarkable success. Because of their compatibility, Armenians became well-integrated with the societies in which they live and that’s very impressive.
Jabarian: The host societies where Armenians live are also good-hearted people. Like the saying goes, “The beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” If one doesn’t have a good heart, cannot love others. The host societies are good-hearted communities. That’s why they love Armenians and they support them in all aspects of life.
Matta: That’s beautiful!
In culmination of the program, Mr. Matta presented a video on Armenian children singing Armenia’s national anthem.
In closing, he saluted Armenians’ will to survive as a nation, focusing on Armenia, Armenians and Armenians’ contributions to world civilizations including that of Egypt.