BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
With what can only be described as breathtaking hypocrisy, the nut-job extremists who are Moslems seem to be undertaking their own “CRESCENTade” to “defend” their religion. These are the same people who still hold a grudge against Christian nut-jobs of a millennium ago for engaging in the CRUSades. Of course the reference is to the murders in France a few weeks ago.
At root, these deluded people are no different than the abortion-doctor-killers of the U.S., the participants in the Jonestown Massacre mass suicide in Guyana, New England’s witch hunters of early colonial times, or adherents of any number of equally whacky groups.
Obviously, the affront to freedom of speech displayed by the killers of Charlie Hebdo’s (a satirical publication in France) staff is extreme. If the murderers are so insecure in their beliefs that they have to “cleanse” the “offenders” by killing them, they should make common cause with Hitler or his modern day ideological progeny. I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out the Republic of Armenia’s score in Reporters Without Borders’ annual report on press freedom around the world. While it is not great, RoA’s rank (78th out of 180 counties) is far better than all nearby countries with which there might be some natural basis to compare, except Cyprus. Even Georgia, with its much ballyhooed connections to the West, and Greece are ranked lower! So it was laughable that leaders of some of these countries, Turkey in particular, had the nerve to march in the demonstrations that followed the attacks. The “We Are All Charlie” slogan is certainly reminiscent of the “We are all Hrant” and “We are all Armenians” slogans that appeared following Dink’s murder.
But what is most worrisome from an Armenian perspective is the particular branch of lunacy that the current visible crop of nuts is dropping from. It is the same mindset as what allowed Ottoman sultans and Young Turk chauvinists to whip into frenzies-of-murder otherwise calm masses who may not have loved Armenians, because the latter were Christian and therefore “impure”, but who nevertheless managed to live with our ancestors.
The extremist streak among Moslems seems to be manifesting itself ever more stridently over the last two-plus centuries, whether it be the Wahhabism of the Saudis or the political Islam of the Moslem Brotherhood. It’s an interesting coincidence, at least, that Wahhabism origins are about a millennium after the inception of Islam, much as the Crusades began a millennium after the inception of Christianity.
Of course IS (“Islamic State”) in Iraq and Syria is the most potent and extreme manifestation of this phenomenon. From beheadings to rape of Christian women to demolition and conversion of Christian churches, these people are carrying on the tradition of the last Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire and its successor state, Turkey. They are very dangerously dedicated to their destructive belief system and are operating dangerously close to the Armenian plateau. The only thing between them and the slowly reemerging Armenian population of our Turkish-occupied highlands is the fledgling Kurdish state in northern Iraq (and, arguably, the PKK).
We should be supportive of efforts to undercut the socioeconomic conditions that breed the desperation that produce conscripts for outfits like IS. Maybe the romanticism of following in Mohammad’s ferocious conquest out of Arabia inspires them, but their lives’ misery and squalor is what actually impels them to act on that inspiration. Simultaneously, we should advocate policies that prevent the kind of sneaky support provided to IS by the likes of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, despite the lip service they might give to “opposing terrorism”- blah, blah, blah.
Talk to your members of congress (MCs), push them in the right direction of supporting the governments of Syria and Iraq along with the Kurds (KRG, PKK, & PYD) and Assyrians in their war against IS extremists. And, when you do your advocacy, stay focused and do not stray to tangents.