Below, please find, Ara Mgrdichian's original paper delivered as part of an address to the Armenian Bar Association on the occasion of its 31st Annual Conference, September 12, 2020. The atrocities of 2020 Artsakh War would begin on September 27, 2020.
This treatise is an introductory part of a larger, multi-tiered project being developed by the author and all content found, therein, is the intellectual property and copyright of the author and, as such may be reproduced only with the author's--Ara Mgrdichian's--permission. Thank you.
© Ara Mgrdichian, 2020.
An horrific and treacherous poisoning propaganda of the most heinous and highest sort has been deployed and engaged lo’ these many years, in the Homeland and Diaspora, to soften the hard targets of Armenian national interests, identity, and, most importantly, the individual and organizational stalwart men and women who sacrifice, each day, for the sake of Armenia and Armenians.
The familiar contextualization of half-truths, proto-truths, and outright lies bent into projected reality (the foundation of all advertising) to which many have, it seems, become comfortably immune in many areas of their personal and collective lives, is at the core and crux of the soft power Psy-Ops (psychological operations) and Spin (intentional bias placed on news or narratives) that has targeted and mutilated Armenian cultural consciousness.
Taking information and statements out of context, omitting innumerable important facts and actual truths, feelings, and emotions from so-called “reporting,” “news” and “analysis,” is all par for an advanced course in strategic culture cultivation and control, all with an eye towards disempowering indigenous people and diminishing their lands and resources.
And, when all of this is done in the voice and visage of the poster children (read: advance force) for rampant, merciless, violent, foreign and/or local corporate, clan, and/or individual interests--whether those be the archetypes of the “attractive, vacuous commentator;” “the avuncular academic;” “the good Armenian (or Turk),” “the sincere politician;” or “the truthful investigative journalist” (each with their “even-keeled,” “caring,” and oh-so-authentically “objective” meanderings)--these deadliest of cultural killers and narrative-makers wreak havoc upon the psyches and social fabric of all they encounter.
The deadly-democracy gambits and not-so-civil-society projects often lead and tread by representatives, contractors, and/or operators of foreign intelligence agencies or their front groups, have run roughshod-ruin over every country they have ever entered during not only the many tragic Arab and other Springs of recent memory, but a long list of wasted winters of destruction implemented throughout the middle east and the world.
Whether the perpetrators be USAID, the British Council, and myriad NGOs or the “venerable” New York Times, NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, Radio Liberty, as well as a massive proliferation of (social) media players, foreign, Armenian, and questionably funded, the stymieing effects of their activities upon national consciousness and, consequentially, programmatic action for the sake of Armenian national interests in real world and virtual settings is staggering.
This deliberate, strategic narrative building by expert operators--selectively in real world spaces and completely in virtual social spaces--cultivates, often without the outright knowledge of its “followers,” a feigned authenticity for the lies and subsequent actual injustices heralding the coming of a democracy (read: death) to us, and bloody profits to its harbingers.
Pretending a parity of suffering, but always and subtly nudging (read: pushing) the viewer/consumer/target towards empathy for murderers and traitors—Azeri, Turkish, Israeli, European, and turncoat Armenian—instead of their victims, the Human Rights Champions of the World never address the continuous genocide and killing of indigenous people (in this case read: Armenian) and destruction of all things cultural (again, read: Armenian), and, instead, aim to seal the vault of memory from the open field of action for indigenous Armenian national interests—also known as our very survival.
This is just the tip of the spear (not iceberg) aimed at the very heart of Artsakh, Armenia and all Armenians…
It is a shame that these shameful acts of nuanced and not so nuanced propaganda against our nation, from on high and implemented on low, continue without so much as a nod of acknowledgment from our beleaguered, murdered, and still cognitively dissonant government and swaths of our people as they welcome, again and again, the rewriting of their histories, the mythification of reality, and the brainwashing of their own as their/our world collapses.
This is true in the Homeland as well as in the diaspora wherein foreign assets bearing Armenian names are knowingly and unknowingly tearing asunder the very fabric of national identity and national unity even in the most sacrosanct of individual and collective cultural and organizational spaces, at the most fateful of times.
The best lie is truth—rather, a truth, a part truth, which becomes a great lie that reeks of a generic, televisual narrative of truth that serves the enemy and their allies.
The true monsters—the Grendels and Gollums—of this world are preparing, once again, for a New World Order of great magnitude and girth, and the sacrifice for that order, again, is Armenia and Armenians…
Part of getting ready for this new world order is preparing generations that will not only not remember the past and the truth, but will never know it in the first place, and, moreover, will feel no power in doing anything about the critical present and endangered future.
These modern day tyrants, with their minions and machinations, have created demographics so Instagrammatically skewed and hungry to be part of a shiny, dead, zombie world that the victims do not even recognize that these soft power plays, their murderous videos, images, and people and personages, often disguised as journalists, experts, influencers, and purveyors of aid and benign-seeming goods and services, are the precursors to the kind of “democracy” (read: indentured servitude and exploitation) foisted upon many ancient peoples of the world of which we are the last father trying hard not to become fodder for filthy, globalist, mind-numbing, history-forgetting, consumer-creating, embracing-the-vampire canons of destruction…
Just look around the world and to your own host/ghost country… Never forget what happened and is still happening to the indigenous (American Indian) great nations of the Americas for the sake of wealth and power and resources… Or, us, the regular citizens of this land, now, for that matter….
Look at the Serbs in the Balkans, or heroic peoples in the destroyed Middle East or Africa or anywhere and everywhere around the globe, including in this great land of destruction…
The genocides of today are brought to you by the genocide architects of yesteryear…
This is the hard and soft power bloody narrative building, the massaging and massacring, the molding of semiotic code and humanity into the language of the objective documentary and real bloody profits: the thoughtful news--the truth--that you love and trust and watch so much, reeking of authenticity and parity, forced into an all too real and fatal reality, landing us smack dab in the middle of being rape victims over and over again…
This is nothing new, this feigned emotion and empathy for all human suffering spewing from variegated commentators and pundit-politicos owned and shown by merciless corporate cannibals who create all human suffering while attempting to flatten the narrative of Armenian (and human) self-preservation that struggles, not only against one murderous enemy, but multiple enemies large and small…
Don’t underestimate your enemies—they have been expending great resources blatant and subtle—human, financial, material, and cultural--to destroy us for a very long time and always right under our very noses…
It is time to unravel the web of deceit, destruction, and dissonance—cognitive and otherwise--foisted upon us by others (including traitorous Armenians) and allowed by our own softened selves, that constitutes the representational codic mutation of culture and polity that precedes the collapse of frameworks of mores and values that have otherwise buttressed Armenian identity and consciousness inside and outside the Homeland for millennia.
It is time to call things by their actual names, no matter what…
And, the first step in this process of shedding the yolk of manipulation and oppression is to unlearn the lies and untruths that have plagued us and to learn (and never forget) our true histories, values, and our particular place in this world--who we are and what we--and the Armenian Highland--truly represent.
Yes, we must never underestimate our enemies, but we never, ever must underestimate ourselves and the stalwarts of our nation who despite all the horrors, endured and to come, shall still rise up to strike with great might our enemies, external and internal.
Do not misconstrue silent preparation for sleep…
Nine months of gestation is the price of birth and one always must dismantle one world to be born into another…
© Ara Mgrdichian
Interview with T.E. LawrencE (Lawrence of Arabia)— Conducted by Lincoln Steffens, 1919
Lincoln Steffens describes his interview with Lawrence of Arabia as “the queerest I ever had in all my interviewing life.“ Apparently the man who helped create the Kingdom of Iraq remained as mysterious in intimate conversation as he did in the press reports of his political activities. “I offer the curiosity,“ writes Mr. Steffens, “as I wrote it at... the time [in Paris during the Peace Conference in 1919] and I'll have to leave it to those who read it to guess what it's all about, if anything.“
It was my interview. It was in his room, at his hotel, but I asked for it and my purpose was to learn from this Imperial pioneer something about the practical politics of Asia Minor and the Near East. And, I thought, I was directing the course of the conversation. It only occurred to me afterwards, with some shock, that he also had had a purpose, and that his purpose was to load me up with British propaganda for the American mandate over the Armenians. That was what I found I had. Other things, too, but I was amazed and not a little humiliated to discover that I had chiefly reasons—reasons which appealed to me, a self-determinist in theory—why we Americans should go halfway around the world to take charge of the Armenians and not only save them from the Turks, Greeks, French, Italians, British and themselves, but, somehow, to save ourselves from ourselves and them. He said, for example, that the Armenians were “the last word in human impossibility.” They correspond, as a “race, with the last man” in academic debate. To an underdog fancier like me, the undermost dog among nations had, and it has, an irresistible fascination. And I said so.
English humor is not like ours. It's the opposite. American, humor consists, in part, at least, in what is said; the British in what a Britisher doesn't say. This Briton obviously liked, heartily, what I said. I thought he was going to laugh with joy—or something; he swelled up till he looked like the British Empire; as if about to burst. But, he didn't burst; he didn't laugh; he didn’t say anything that showed the slightest sign of humor.
All he said, after a long pause, was:
And, then, after another pause, when he had recovered his self-determination, he spoke seriously, rather dully, in fact, on our American idealism. He thought it fine. I thought he thought it a bit too fine. We Americans were too idealistic. And, he thought the Armenians too practical. We were correctives, the one on the other, therefore; we were cure for them, they for us, both desperate cases, especially the Armenians.
I gathered that he had some inexpressible sympathy or—let me rather say—some knowledge or experience of the Armenians that gave him a human understanding for the Turks (and all the other near neighbors of the Armenians), who are forever trying to kill off this orphan race. He seemed to think that was the only thing to do to the Armenians. He didn't say so. You may observe that I do not quote this authority very freely. The reason is that his method was, apparently, not to say anything himself, but to get me to say the things he wished to have printed in such a form that he could, if necessary, deny them. So, he did not say that the Armenians should be killed off. He only gave me the impression, at the time, that that was the sole solution of the Armenian problem; and that that was his reason for desiring us Americans to take on the job. He felt, or he made me feel, that the Turks shouldn't do it; they were too rough and ready—and not Christians. Nor the Greeks; they enjoyed it too much and were inefficient; they never finish anything, and when their aesthetic pleasure in the killing of Armenians was sated they quit, and, so with all the other old rival races. They stopped work before all the Armenians were dead. Even when they all went at the task together they invariably left a couple here and a couple there: Adams and Eves who, the moment one's back was turned, bred and bred and bred so that the next time one visited Armenia there were the Armenians as before, millions of them, all meek and lovely, but busy by day at business and at night secretly breeding and slyly spreading and spreading and--
He spread all over me his Malthusian despair and such a dread of the Armenians that I was about to swallow whole his whole scheme, for the American-Armenian mandate when my saving American humor gave me pause.
“But why should not the British do this job also? “ I asked, and, to warn his sense of humor that I was striving to be not altogether final but funny withal, I smiled--in vain. He had no sense of American humor—I think. He waited for my genial grin to go away and then, when he saw I was alone again and quite serious, he answered me seriously.
A perfect massacre of the Armenians, he reasoned, might make a scandal, if the British did it, and, he explained, though the Empire had withstood some such shocks and must, of course, withstand others, too many more just now might jar it. And, the Empire should not be jarred, unnecessarily, just now. The British Empire is the beginning of world government. All our great troubles—wars, revolutions, strikes, plagues, etc.—all, came from the fact that the earth as a whole was not governed as a whole. The British will end this anarchism some day. But, the Empire is young as yet, comparatively small, weak, and overburdened. Think of the islands, colonies, strategic points, seas, and trade routes—all the new burdens and responsibilities thrown upon the British Empire by the defeat of German Imperialism! No, The Empire must be spared for the present. Later, when the freedom of the seas is put ashore, so to speak; when British rule is extended from the wave to the land, all lands, then Great Britain could, and it would, go forth gladly to meet a shock like the one I—he said I—was proposing in Armenia; but not yet, not now; not in the infancy of the Empire.
Moreover, he conveyed, British Imperialism, at this stage, was interested rather in natural resources than in peoples, as such. The English are a practical folk; not idealistic, you understand. They realize that a world government must be founded, not like “your” League of Nations, upon ideas and ideals, principles and peoples, but upon solid things—oil, ore, air, and the sea.
“But…“ I argued (and you can see how far he was carrying me on: I argued for his country against my own). “But,“ I said there are rich lands and fat deposits in Armenia.”
He was still. He was so still so long that I thought I had floored him; that he had not known about the wealth of Armenia. But, I noticed again that tendency to swell and go to pieces. And how I did wish he would laugh! It would have relieved me, and him, too, I think. But, no, he didn't laugh; he didn't even smile. He just waited till he could and, then, he reminded me that I had heard, as he said he had, that Armenia was to be divided. The backcountry, where the natural wealth is, was to be cut off from the front, where there is nothing but Armenians. The American mandate was to be over the Armenians; some other ally —not the British, but another equally practical power—was to get Armenia.
“But,” I objected, “what is the use of the natural wealth of a country without the people to work it? Mines, oil deposits, fat lands—natural resources,” I explained patiently to him, “are no good to Capital without Labor to dig and develop them. And, the natives of a country are the natural labor thereof; the cheapest, the most obedient, the least organized, the best.”
He was bored, I could see, but he was polite; he listened, so I gave him examples one after the other, from the American as well as from the British colonies, to show him that it was a mistake to separate the people of a country from the resources of that country. They must be worked together, developed together, and—they were usually. There was no other way. I pictured to him the helplessness of the Turks or the French bankers, or any non-working people, trying to get out the riches of Armenia without the Armenians. And, I would up with what struck me is a very good line.
“I am crying,“ I cried, “not idealistically, not ‘Armenia for the Armenians,’ but practically—‘the Armenians for Armenia.’ “
He looked me up and down with interest, I thought, as if he were getting some new view of us Americans. I had told him he didn't know us, and he had declared that he did.
“Any conscious Englishman,” I remember he said, “can understand any unconscious American.”
Just what he meant by that, I don't quite see, but it was remarks like that which gave me the uneasy impression that he had got us all wrong, and I had made up my mind to show him before he was through with me that we, Americans, are not all such sheer idealists as he and most Europeans seemed to have inferred from the one example of President Wilson and the 14. But, he was too long and too silent in his study of me. I began to feel that he was finding some fault in me or us. Perhaps I had leaned too far toward the practical side; I recalled how he disappointed of the Armenians for that. I hedged therefore. I spoke more idealistically again and, I trust, patriotically.
“If we, Americans, took over the Armenians,“ I declared, “we would do it for their good. We should govern them always with the idea of making them fit to govern themselves.”
“Yes, yes, we understand all, that,“ he said. But, I felt that he didn’t, so I went right on with my syllogism.
“Well, then,“ I said tactfully, “you must see also that to that end: to make the Armenians fit to govern themselves, we should have to make them work. And since you cannot work a people without something to work them on, we should need the mines and the land of Armenia not to get the riches out of them, but as a training ground whereon to teach the people industry, thrift and all the Christian virtues which go into the making of good men and good citizens.”
He looked puzzled, swollen. I didn’t know what was the matter with him till he decided at last to express himself.
“There's no lack of thrift in the Armenians,” he said dryly, “and, of course, you know, that they are Christians, arch Christians?”
Of course I knew that. I had merely, in my enthusiasm, forgotten it for the moment. He had me there, however, so I backed up on work and I stuck—and I stick—to work.
“But,” I said, “the Armenians must work. That is the secret of success whether for an individual or a nation— work, hard work. And, the Armenians must have Armenia to work on.”
“Armenians won't work,” he said, “that is the trouble with your plan and that is the trouble with the Armenians. That is the trouble, really, with all these old races that have been civilized, learned the game and, having once dominated the world and worked it, have lost control, gone back, as you say; or, as I say, carried on. They have gone forward logically, psychologically, and physiologically. They do not care for hard labor. It is that which distinguishes them from the childlike, truly backward nations you Americans have had to do with. Primitive peoples are merely lazy. They can be forced forward, worked, developed, exploited, if you please. There is some hope for them; some use. But these forward peoples, the ex-civilized nations— they are not lazy. They are too intelligent to work for others. They are exploiters themselves, instinctive, inbred, incorrigible, hopeless.”
“All nations are breeding men. They talk about developing their countries, but it's the other way around: their countries are developing them. And, the old nations show the kind of men the new nations are making. These old peoples are the result of evolution. You can see on the shores of the Mediterranean what you are selecting, breeding, evolving at home, now. The living among the old races here are the survivor of a civilization, commercial in character, like yours.”
“Ours,“ I corrected, to get the English into it. He drove right over me.
“You new nations have got to learn from the old peoples,” he repeated, “that the modern representatives of the ex-great and ex-famous nation are the inevitable, the natural products of the artificial selection of an order of society which imprisons the courageous, deports the original, depresses the mass, discourages any sort of variation; from the average of the species and preserves the meek, mean, sly, shrewd, and thrifty. For these are the commercially fit. The modern Greeks are the direct heirs and their unpleasant characteristics are the enduring traits descended from the ancient Greek culture—as the old Greeks actually practiced it; not as the great, exceptional Greeks talked and sang; and carved it, but as the average Greeks practiced it in business—the Greeks, I mean, who sentenced Socrates to death. The Egyptians, as we British inherit them, are the great-great-great little grandchildren of Egyptian culture, the belated answer, to the riddle of Sphinx, which their great-grandfathers raised up so beautifully out of their childlike labor. The Arab of today is the dust of the desert dried by the arts, the customs, the business, of ancient, glorious Arabia—''
He stopped another protest of mine, anticipating it: “The Greeks of old, and the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Turks and the rest, they had their geniuses too—their poets and artists, their generals who conquered backward peoples and captains of industry who gave them employment, and they had their own Labor also. But, the picked breeds, the aristocracies, plutocracies did pot last. Their descendants did not descend--they didn't even survive. The children of the successful, of the rich, of the powerful, the privileged, went to the dogs, and they will with you. And, the succeeding generations of Labor, overworked, underfed, dispirited and disciplined, reduced to dull slaves, died or were killed off. It was the middle class that proved and proves fit to survive in that sort of organization of society, the lower middle class. So, you have all the ancient world peopled now with practically nothing but business men, little business men—merchants, traders, shopkeepers, money-lenders, peddlers, non-producers. They will buy and sell, and, descended from buyers and sellers, selected through many generations of commercial competition, they do go anywhere in the world to trade; not to create, not to organize, build, plan, labor. Their brothers who did those things are the childless dead. Not only the merest, shrewdest traders live and them we find everywhere beating their way. I have met Arabs in the Straits, Colonies, and South America, peddling, trading, and getting rich. And, as for the Syrians, Greeks, Armenians—“
“And-Jews,“ I suggested. He ignored me.
“My old peoples,” he said, “will go anywhere where there are workers to work, venturing slyly, suffering meekly, saving money, working. Yes, they work. They work as a laborer won't work. They work as only a businessman will work—long, hard, close upon a narrow margin of profit. But,” he distinguished, “they will not labor. They can't. They cannot see 'work for wages.’ It is an instinct with them, a trait, an intelligence developed as we develop pointing in a pointer dog and setting in a setter, by successful selection. They know in their blood that it is no use working for wages, even high wages, if you want to get on and be rich. There is nothing, there can be nothing, but a bare living in any possible wage-scale—no interest, no capital, no compound progress. They don't say this; it's too obvious to them; they live it. They are wise as only an old race can be wise—to the game. They see from the moment they open their puppy eyes, that it is absurd to labor to produce wealth. The thing to do is to watch and wait till the wealth is produced and then, somehow, to get it from the producers. And, they know how to do this as an animal knows the animal business and a plant knows the vegetable business—by instinct. So, they will practice medicine, law—any profession that, like a business, gets a variable share of the finished final, coined form of the commonwealth after the common people have made it. But, to go out and by the sweat of the brow dig up and manufacture the raw stuffs of the earth into marketable commodities—no. The old peoples hate to do that and, as for your Armenians they simply won’t.”
He rested, watching me and, seeing that I wasn't watching him, he slipped me some more of his propaganda. “The Armenians,“ he said, “are the most intelligent, the most perfectly selected, the most highly developed race in the world— from the civilized point of view.”
“The Jews,” I echoed. “You spoke of them before, and I was gratified. It showed that you were getting an inkling of what I was trying to say about old races. The Jews are the most familiar example to an untraveled person of an old, shrewd, intelligent people, and, yes, they are instinctive exploiters. They drive at second-hand wealth. But, they will work. They hate to, but they can be made to work. And, worse still, they are creative, inventive, and sentimental. There are artists, philosophers, and prophets among them still. They are imperfect. They are an unfinished product of civilization, about half-done. I understand why they are feared and hated; they have some of the mental superiority of race-age. But, to mention Jews in the same breath with the old peoples I am talking about is absurd. Why my old races drove or traded your Jews out of their own country. They can't live on the Arabs, Syrians, and Egyptians. They do well in England, they get rich in France and Germany, and, of course, in the United States, they—yes, yes. But, the Chinese, for example, the Chinese absorb Jews as a whale does little fishes; our own Scotch skin them alive; so do the Arabs, Turks, Greeks and, as for the Armenians—“
“Jews,” he said, taking breath, “the Jews themselves feel about Armenians the way the anti-Semitic Europeans feel about the Jews; and so do the Greeks, Turks—all the other races that have ever had them on them. They feel that the Armenians would put them all to work. And, they would. The Armenians are all that the Jews are, plus all that all the other races are—and they are Christians besides!”
He halted not for words, I take it— an educated Englishman has plenty of English. It was more as if he were balking at the conclusion that he preferred to have me jump at rather than to have it to quote from him. And, when I didn't jump, he went on, dully, to give me another chance.
“The Armenians,“ he said, “must not have Armenia, not the back lands. They would not work them themselves, not even for themselves. They would not even do the work of organizing the work or development. They would let them out as concessions to others to manage. They want to live on the coast, in cities, on rent, interest, dividends and the profits of trading in the shares and the actual money earned by capital and labor.”
“There are lots of people like that,“ I said. “The Armenians aren't the only ones.”
“I see you still do not grasp my point,“ he said. "There are indeed others who would like to do that. The French bourgeoisie is moving in that direction, and our own English are coming to it, especially our Little Englanders of the so-called upper class. They have that as their ideal. They would like to do nothing, but they can't. They are harmless. They are willing to do nothing, but spend. But, they do spend, you see. Even your Jews are spenders, great spenders. But, your Armenians will do nothing and they won’t spend. They get and they save; they sell, but only to buy again and, so, get more and more. It takes evolution to develop such perfection of the true commercial spirit, and is a matter of degree. And, the Armenians are the nth degree. I tell you that if ever the Armenians are given a fair start in the world, if they get a free hold of any corner of the earth, they will own the whole planet and work all the rest of mankind. That’s what the Turks know and dread and the Greeks and—all of us who know them. And, so—“
He was drawing upon me for his conclusion again—I didn’t want to say it. And, so I urged him on. “And, so—“ I said.
“And, so,“ he sidestepped, as we Americans say crudely, “and so we must divide them up, Armenia to one mandatory, the Armenians to another.”
“And, so,“ I sparred, “you are for Armenia for some ally, some partner of the British capitalist and the Armenians for us Americans. All right. Two questions occur: What can your ally do in Armenia without labor? And, what in the world can we Americans do with the Armenians without Armenia?“
“Oh,” he said, “there are other peoples in the Balkans, Asia Minor, India and Africa—backward nations, really backward, nations that would labor. These can be brought to Armenia and put to work. There is no lack of labor.”
“So that solves the British, the practical problem,” I said. “Now for the idealistic, the American problem. What are we to do with the Armenians?”
He would not say. His British humor or his diplomatic caution, or something wouldn’t let him. He shied off upon the danger to Asiatic labor and European capital of having the Armenians anywhere near where the mines and land were being worked.
“And, so,“ I said, not without some (American) humor. “And, so—“
A shadow crossed his eyes, but not his voice. He spoke sunnily again of “American Idealism.” I was tired of hearing it, awfully bored, but he liked to talk about it. And, this time he changed the key of the song a little. He called us young, said we were inexperienced as yet in the management of other, older races and, therefore no doubt, prone to judge harshly the colonial conduct of the British and other practical rulers whose most conscientious agent sometime found it necessary to kill and otherwise put the fear of God into the minority of a subject people in the common interests of the majority and the security of invested capital.
“You don't realize,“ he concluded, “how difficult and delicate a task it is to govern a strange, a foreign people.”
“You're wrong,” I said, exasperated and I repeated my charge that he didn’t know us. “You are as ill-informed about my people,” I declared, “as you say we are about the Europeans, Turks, Armenians, and the rest.“ I cited the Philippines, Cuba, and the Sandwich Islands—all foreign countries that we were governing successfully. And, I reminded him that we had all sort of foreigners in our very midst. The United States was not called the melting pot without reason. We had all sorts of foreigners there. We made even his Armenians labor. We did our hard job, I asserted, as well as any government on the face of the earth, no excepting the British, and to convince him that we were practical, I related what I had seen done to foreign labor in New England, down South, out West and all over. But, I happened to mention also our own natives, the American Indians.
He fairly leaped at that. “That’s it,” he cried. “That's what I have had in mind all along. Your policy with your Indians is the one for Armenians.”
I was taken aback, astonished. I asked him what he thought our Indian policy had been and he said he understood that we had killed them all off—all; had we not?”
I looked him over the way he had me several times. I enjoyed doing it, too.
“And so,” I said after a long pause, “you think that that is what we ought come over here and do to the Armenians— kill ’em all off.”
“No, no, no,” he corrected. “How you pressman do misunderstand and misquote.”
He didn’t mean at all to say that we should adopt massacre as a policy. He knew we would not, could not do that.
Well then, what did he mean? What should we do? He would not say. We wheeled round and round like a couple of whirling dervishes; it was wearisome. But, I got it at least. I had to say it myself, but it was right—I think. He didn't correct me.
He definitely and distinctly did not mean that we should set out consciously and deliberately to wipe out the Armenians. Not at all. He merely trusted or believed that after trying everything else we would end by doing "That;" and doing it well, too; leaving no Adam and Eve to go on raising Cain--
“But wouldn't that be a scandal?” I asked.
He thought not. He reminded me that we were so idealistic and enjoyed such repute for philanthropy, which we seemed to be able to do anything within reason without losing either our idealism or our good name.
“There was no scandal, was there, over your Indian policy?“ he asked. ‘And you never ceased to think that what you did was right? You have conquered part of Mexico, you have occupied Hawaii, taken the Philippines and Puerto Rico by force of arms from Spain; freed Cuba and kept a mortgage on it; you have bought the Danish Islands; and you have put your Marines ashore in Central America and forgotten them. You will soon be forced to restore order in the rest of Mexico. And, yet,” he said, with admiration, I thought, “you are still for self-determination for small nations. You are a small empire, and you have warned us in your Monroe Doctrine that you are going, when you get ready, to be a great empire. And, yet you are anti-imperialists. You have just fought war against German Imperialism, and—“
“So did you,” I shot in.
“Oh, that is different,” he fired back. “We are Imperialists. We frankly call ourselves an Empire and we fought honestly, for our Empire against the German's Empire. But, you—you fought against empire for—self-determination.”
There was a point there, and he waited maliciously, I felt, for me to meet it. And, when I didn’t—I couldn’t right off in second like that—when I didn’t answer, he went on.
“I believe that you Americans can do whatever and not be doubted either by the world or by yourselves. There is something great, very great about that, something useful to the world. It suggests that you Americans could, and you surely would, do in Armenia proper that which has to be done there, with thoroughness; gradually, but completely, without missing a single or, rather, a married Armenian, and all without a scandal, without disturbing in the least your belief that you are—How shall I say? —well, not like us English or the French, Germans, Turks and, I am afraid, not a bit like the Armenians.”
“And,” he hastened to add, “somebody has to solve the Armenian problem. It seems to me to be poetic justice, good politics, and sound business to let the most idealistic people in the world take over the most practical people in the world.”
What was he giving me? Was this British humor? I looked at him, hard. He didn't blink. He had that puffed-up appearance I had noticed before—but, no—not a twitch. It's a strain to interview an Englishman, and a risk. I remembered that he would repudiate the interview if there were the slightest “come-back.” I decided to put him to the test right away.
As I understand it,“ I said, „we Americans are a commercial culture, as the Armenians, as all these old nations were that ought to be killed off.” He nodded. “They thought they were developing business when they were really developing a certain variety of the human species—a race o£ businessmen dependent upon the productive labor of other people whom they do not now govern and who hate them because they can beat anybody at trade and live without working—liars, profiteers, parasites— the most practical brains with the most Christian ideals and manners.“
“You Americans talk well,” he said. “No Englishman could be found to state anything like that as clearly as that.”
"If now we Americans could, in our present, the early state of the development of this sort of man—if we could, by governing the Armenians, see close up the practical workings of our culture; if we could understand that what we were looking at and dealing with in the Armenian of today is the American of the future—“
“Of tomorrow,” he corrected.
“Then,” I went on, “we might, fail with the Armenians, we might in exasperation, kill them all—“
“We might kill all Armenians, but we would go home—“
“Cable,” he suggested, “it’s quicker.”
“Cable home,” I accepted tentatively, “cable a warning to lookout: ‘Look out for the crossing of practical business with Christian idealism.’ Too much business and too much idealism might injure both these good things and us also, as a people.“
“Hear, hear!” he exclaimed.
“It might make of great, rich America an Armenia which the British and the Russians (of the future) would find it 'necessary' to take over as a mandatory divided into two parts: one, the United States proper for England; the other, the people themselves, for Russia.“
He was silent. I waited to see whether he had any sense of American humor. He waited, too, for a while and then, seeing; that I expected something, he spoke.
“Your idea—“ he began.
“My idea!“ I exploded.
“Yes,“ he said. “That's an idea. It's a good idea, good in theory, but— It's characteristically idealistic. I am considering it practically. Do you believe really that any American governors of the Armenians would be conscious enough to see their likeness to the Americans?”
“Yes, English do,” I retorted cuttingly.
“True,” he agreed thoughtfully. “We see the meaning of the Armenians to the Americans, we Imperial British do. But I doubt, I am wondering whether our Little Englanders could be brought to foresee their fate in the fate of the old nations they govern.”
I was beaten, helpless, flabbergasted. Fortunately he didn’t see that. His eves were down. He rose, but he was thinking deeply, as he led me to the door. There he looked up.
“Good-bye,” he said, “I like your theory. I am afraid it won’t work out in practice, but write it. It's suggestive. Write it carefully; not too clearly, and, by the way, don't quote me. I have said nothing, nothing.“
Lincoln Steffens’ birthplace was San Francisco. He received his education in California and at various continental universities. He was veteran newspaperman, magazine editor, and contributor. Mr. Steffens achieved fame as an interviewer and an author.
A Sinister Nomenclature
It is of dire importance to any authentic representation of the century-long Genocide of the Armenians still on-going, to clearly and without any presentiment, note that what has been and is being described by journalists, politicians, pundits, and so-called experts as “ethnic clashes,” “a long brewing conflict,” “fight for disputed territories,” etc., in regard to Turkish and Azeri state violence, directed at Artsakh, Armenia, and the Armenian people, are part and parcel of a larger spectrum of false monikers aimed at propping up a series of grand narratives that serve specific regional and transnational, global interests, pursued vis a vis governmental and non-governmental players aiming to gain from the destruction of Artsakh, Armenia, and Armenians.
The lexicon used to describe the immense human tragedy--still unfolding--not only minimizes and diminishes the scope of these crimes against humanity committed (and being committed, still) against Armenians, but promulgates the aforementioned lethal set of grand narratives that belong to a long history of revisionist propaganda archetypes used to relegate the victims of these crimes to the odious, semiotic dustbin of history and journalistic oblivion.
Just as the genocide of the Armenians begun a hundred years ago was not a “massacre” or “the tragic result of world war,” the anti-Armenian violence (referenced often as of late), of the late 1980s and early 1990s--the pogroms of Sumgait, Baku, and Kirovabad--were not “ethnic clashes” that were the result of “lingering historic animosities” or any other sinister nomenclature that seeks to disguise, purposefully, the true nature of these offensive, unilateral, genocidal attacks against the Armenian population.
The intentional, premeditated violence against Armenians of the late 1980s in Baku, Sumgait, and Girovabad were acts of extreme, one-sided violence stemming from state sanctioned and initiated genocidal policies against Armenians that resulted in murders, rapes, mutilations, and the fleeing of surviving refugees, to the four corners of the earth, including, at the time, to assumed safe haven in Artsakh and Armenia.
And, no, “both sides” did not “suffer comparable losses,” despite the attempts by pro-Turkish, global apologists to create false equivalencies.
These crimes were, and are, in fact, the direct, unabashed, continuation of a systemic and systematic policy of racism and genocide, both human and cultural, aimed against the Armenian people, with its most glaring antecedent being the genocide begun and perpetrated by Turkey proper against Armenians at the beginning of the last century and the cultural genocide emanating therefrom and continuing to date.
To describe these acts in any other way is to be complicit in the crime of genocide; it is to participate in the destruction of a people, and to aid in the denial of this most grave crime against humanity.
The Azeri state, at the center of current and previous maelstroms of violence carried out against the Armenians, was created by the Bolsheviks, with close advisement from a slew of often oppositional regional and global players of agency, as a way to control and exploit Transcaucasian resources and territories through fomenting divisions, both territorial and otherwise, among the newly Sovietized states and oblasts.
Prior to this time, there was no Azeri state, but there were people termed Caucasian Tatars, Azeris, Muslim Turkic peoples, as well as distinct and, to this day oppressed, ethnic groups such as the Lezgis and the Talish, who inhabited, what was once part of historical Armenia, and only later became Azerbaijan, with its capital Baku, whose creation and development as a petroleum center was the handiwork of native Armenians.
Genocidal massacres and pogroms against native Armenians, conducted by Azeri Turks, numbering into the tens of thousands--up to at least 30,000 or more in one case alone—occurred in Artsakh (Karabagh), particularly Shushi, even prior to the creation of Azerbaijan SSR.
These massacres occurred in tandem, prior, and subsequent to the genocide of Armenians in Western Armenia, now Turkey, as part of a Turkish (and western state/corporate) program to deplete the Armenian Highland of its indigenous population. The direct connection, politically and historically, with the Turkic populations of Transcaucasia and the Turkish state proper, whether it is called the Ottoman Empire or the Republic of Turkey, is glaring and cannot be ignored, as their most recent alliances, acts of violence, and war crimes attest.
Subsequent to the bloody Stalinist, Bolshevik betrayal against the Armenians, through collusion with the genocidal Ataturk regime, and multiplied tenfold by the betrayal of Armenian sovereignty and territorial rights by the West (with the subsequent loss of all of Western Armenia), the horror of destruction continued with the fragmentation of the Armenian state and the award of two historically and strategically integral Armenian regions—Artsakh (Karabagh) and Nakhichevan--to newly created Azerbaijan. This was done, as noted earlier, both as compensation to violent neighbor Turkey, but, moreover, as a way to divide, conquer, and keep Soviet control of Transcaucasia (hegemony and oil) and to facilitate the initiation of a new world fossil fuel order that both the West and East had demarcated in the aftermath of WW I.
But, most importantly for us, it was in the interests of all concerned—proximate and distant operators, all--to keep Armenia stymied in its development as a state, much as is the case today.
The genocidal practices of the Turks continued against the Armenian people both within Turkey and Azerbaijan during the totality of Soviet rule. With Artsakh (Karabagh) and Nakhichevan being given to Azerbaijan as so called “Autonomous Oblasts,” the Azeri Turks were provided official cover to consistently and constantly subject indigenous Armenians to the ravages and violence of cultural genocide and systemic racism resulting in measurable, dire consequences for Armenians and their native land.
In addition to this tragic fragmentation and hand-over of strategic, resource-laden Armenian territories, other equally strategic Armenian regions, particularly Karvajar and southern, as well as eastern portions of historical Armenia, had been ordained as Azerbaijan outright—not even as oblast or autonomous zone.
The historically Armenian region of Javakhk became Georgian fragmenting Armenia further and, of course, one must remember, again, with great pain, the colossal territorial “elephant in the room” at the time (and possibly for all time) and that is the complete appropriation of Western Armenia by Turkey—Kars, Erzurum, Van, et al--despite all treaties, talks, and transactions by and from the “Great Powers,” who were, in fact, at the core and center of the orchestration of this callous quartering of a nation.
Azerbaijan continued its oppression of native Armenians in what was left of their indigenous homeland of Artsakh throughout the Soviet period via forced relocations, policies of exclusion from state programs and positions of local and regional power--while advancing Azeri Turks in their stead; diverting water and other resources from Armenian towns and villages to Azeri settlements, as well as destroying and vandalizing ancient Armenian historical sites, artifacts, and monuments.
When they did not destroy these global treasures outright (the most heinous instance being the complete destruction of all Armenian Cross Stones (Khachkars) and churches in Nakhichevan) the Azeri Turks often turned sacred monasteries and ancient structures into barns housing cattle and their excrement and used ancient cross stones, and other artifacts, as fodder for constructing outhouses and sheds as had been done, simultaneously, in Turkey proper over the course of decades.
The Armenians of Artsakh were, moreover, the victims of an orchestrated policy of biologic terrorism through the intentional tainting of natural resources by their Azeri Turk governors. Artsakh Armenians were forced to suffer the consequences of unsafe, toxic drinking water and irrigation supplies in many areas of their otherwise fecund homeland, over long years during Soviet Azeri rule (among the ravages of other chemical and heavy metal pollutants) resulting in vastly heightened cases of cancer, sterility, and other health issues of note pronounced within native Artsakh Armenians.
When the fall of the Soviet had already begun in the sad afterglow of Glasnost, the Turk Azeris of Baku, Sumgait, Girovabad, and elsewhere took it upon themselves to restart the once overt and active genocidal policies they had been forced to curtail into cultural and more "subtle" means of ethnic cleansing (kidnappings, disappearances, beatings, etc.) during Soviet rule, and began, once again, to carry out pogroms and massacres against native Armenians.
Bereft of regulation from imperial overlords or others, the genocidal Azeri Turkish state, instead of ceasing and desisting, in fact, renewed and enlarged its policy of genocide by pursuing an unprovoked, violent, one-sided military offensive against the long-suffering, indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh and Armenia proper, with the clear intent of continuing their policy of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and destruction of all traces of indigenous Armenian life.
What started in the proximate past in Baku, Sumgait, and Kirovabad, with its antecedents in the first genocide of the 20th century, was pursued into Artsakh, literally chasing the Armenians westward, further, into what was left of their indigenous lands.
The Azeri Turkish state, with the help of Turkey and both the official and unofficial West (as well as Soviet Special Forces early in the aggression), then, attempted to pursue their mutual, historic, and ongoing genocidal policies directly to Artsakh and Armenia proper, launching brutal attacks specifically against civilian Armenians and their indigenous cultural correlatives, from 1989/1990 to 1994.
Thus, the “Artsakh (Karabagh) War” of 1990 to 1994 was not intended as “a war of liberation” or was it ever “a war for disputed territory” or “a brewing ethnic conflict” in some “backwater,” but the existential, life and death struggle for self defense and survival by an indigenous people, in its indigenous land, against an unrelenting enemy force seeking to perpetrate genocide, destroy its very existence, and erase all trace of that existence from the face of the earth.
In the process of this life and death struggle for self-defense and survival against planned policies and acts of genocide—not “a war for territory”--the Armenians of Artsakh were able to protect their existence, at great human and material cost, eventually forcing a peace with a most ruthless belligerent. In the process, the Armenians of Artsakh and Armenia were, also, able to liberate historic Armenian lands, “gifted” to Azerbaijan by Stalin, dotted with thousands of architectural and historic monuments and artifacts attesting to the land’s Armenian provenance.
The extent of these liberated historical Armenian lands, once usurped by Soviet overlords and Azeris, fortunately and necessarily, went beyond the catastrophic, artificial territorial lines created by the Bolsheviks and Stalin in service of their own imperial interests. They, in fact, became minimal necessary operational buffer zones to guarantee a modicum of safety for Artsakh and Armenia from what had proven to be an unrelenting and deadly onslaught by a genocidal post-Soviet, Turkish Azerbaijan, aiming to eradicate Armenians and Armenian culture in the indigenous Armenian homeland.
This onslaught, during the early 1990s, included official and unofficial support from Turkey and Turkish paramilitary organizations, US actors and operators—both official and unofficial, and, at various time-scalings, imported Afghan Mujahedeen, Chechen Jihadists, Pakistani and Ukrainian mercenary fighter pilots, and a slew of other military and paramilitary resources used to bomb Armenian civilians and cultural heritage sites and destroy thousands of Armenian lives.
For approximately 30 years, a tenuous “peace,” constantly peppered with Azeri aggression and violations of ceasefire agreements including a four day war, plagued this beautiful land and resulted in countless deaths of both its soldiers and civilians. That is until September of 2020, when the unfathomable occurred--Azerbaijan and Turkey, supported by Israel, Ukraine, Georgia, Pakistan, and thousands of Jihadist mercenaries imported to the region by Turkey, green-lit by the West (UK, US, et al), unleashed the next level of this genocide ongoing resulting in 5000 or more Armenian deaths, 10,000 or more crippled and wounded, hundreds still missing, and scores abused in Azeri prisons.
The ongoing Genocide against Armenians took on a more blatant, sinister, and global dimension in 2020 as the Turkish High Military Command took direct control of Azeri, Turkish, and imported terrorist forces, and deployed Turkish Special Forces, thousands of deadly drones, F-16s, and other weapons and personnel, en masse, into the theater of operations in Azerbaijan and, subsequently, into the Republic of Artsakh.
Thousands of Jihadist terrorist forces from northern Syria were transported into Azerbaijan, and the region, by Turkey, with the help of others, to wage battle against Armenians in numbers far greater than the Afghan, Chechen, Pakistani assets and other mercenaries deployed during the 1990s. The Azeri state also enjoyed the full support of Israel, who, most sadly, not only sold Azerbaijan the latest drone, communications, and radar technologies over the years, but was, along with Turkey, flying large capacity cargo aircraft 5 to 10 times a day, full of weapons and other supplies out of Tel Aviv to Baku--even on their holiest of high holy days, Yom Kippur.
The Turks, US, UK, and related assets provided unofficial support and “military advisors” during the 1990s, including certain front organizations for their respective intelligence services, but nothing near the magnitude of what was allowed and provided for during the most recent attempts at annihilation.
Azerbaijan, in no uncertain terms, clearly exploited, in this latest manifestation of genocide ongoing, Israeli, Turkish, and other NATO satellite and Hum Intel at every turn, and had its lapdog Georgia close off its airspace to Armenian flights and to flights aimed at providing humanitarian aid to Artsakh and Armenia during this most horrific time. In 2020, the Ukraine also continued to support the Azeri state and Turkey with arms, weapons, and other resources, as did Pakistan.
In the run-up to its genocidal designs of 2020, Azerbaijan spent untold millions retaining top global public relations organizations, journalists for hire, and a phalanx of social media “assassins” aiming to inundate all platforms with fictitious news accounts, revisionist propaganda, and false narratives regarding Azeri and Turkish aggression and its history, as well as projecting the victims of this ongoing genocide—Armenia and Artsakh—as aggressors.
And, as 100 years ago, it is no surprise that the world sat—and continues to sit--in complicit and conspiratorial silence, both publicly and in private, as these genocidal acts and their horrific consequences continue to unfold.
As we begin to call things by their actual names and begin to dispose of the sinister nomenclature that destroys worlds and humans for the sake of greed, we begin, in turn, to destroy the “rose colored glasses” whose hue is, in fact, derived from a sanguine red, tinted and tainted by the innocent blood of our own families.
Truth to power is born in the very words we use to raise high the sacred mantle that we now carry.
This is how we begin to tear away the camouflage--whether fine muslin or rough foliage--and see how we have allowed ourselves to be duped and destroyed.
This is how we begin to see the true nature, depth of direction, and collusion in our destruction by the very states from which Armenians have, sadly, sought help and sponsorship for decades and decades, as well as--most sadly--the direct complicity of the current illegitimate regime in Armenia in all of this bloody mayhem.
This is how we realize that the narratives and mores of a “greater” so-called “civilized society” are not at all civilized, nor greater, but the precise opposite—exploitation and murder couched within a saccharine sweetness sure to kill.
So, let us, now, note and remember, then, the importance of calling things by their actual names, rather than participating in the further embedding of a sinister nomenclature--false global narratives--within ourselves and others, that aid in the erasure of a people--our people--and its culture for all time.
Those narratives and mores we have been trained to hold dear by those aiming to exploit us, often, if not always, have tethered us to the posts where we are slaughtered.
This is how we begin to destroy a sinister nomenclature that defines the operational course of human oppression and to forestall the destruction of the Armenian people.
Let's Get It On...
Transterritorial, Transnational, Transgenerational:
Epigenetic Armenia Beyond the Nation State
Ara Mgrdichian's address to the Armenian Bar Association's 31st Annual Conference, 9/12/20
This work--and address--is an introductory part of a larger, multi-tiered project currently being developed by the author and all content found therein is the intellectual property and copyright of the author and, as such may be reproduced only with the author's (Ara Mgrdichian's) permission. Requests for written version publication and/or video presentation, as well as personal address via Zoom, et al, may be directed to the author via the CONTACT form on this site.
Thank you for your interest and consideration...
New Talks shall be forthcoming...