The Associated Press reported this week that the oldest leather shoe in the world was recently discovered in a cave in Armenia. The perfectly intact shoe had laces and was stuffed with grass. It’s suggested to be approximately 5500 years old and predates anything by Christian Louboutin by at least 3500 years. High Fashion World Cup score update: Armenia – 1 and Fashionistas – 0.
The discovery is yet another example of some of the amazing artifacts that remain uncovered in the historic Armenian lands. And although the shoe says many things about the people who lived in Armenia for thousands of years, there is more that one can learn if we take a closer forensic look at the evidence available. For instance, the shoe is said to be a woman’s size 7 and was worn on the right foot. What’s significant here is that the left shoe is missing. Most likely, they’ll find the left shoe when they find the remains of the child who was undoubtedly disciplined regularly with that particular pair when he misbehaved. This would explain why Armenian mothers are such expert marksmen when it comes to using their papooj (slippers) as projectiles. Growing up, I knew a lady from the building next to us who could accurately clip a moving target from her third story balcony window. Her weapon of choice was a papooj followed closely by a wooden spoon.
Some other interesting details about the shoe are that it doesn’t have a super pointy tip; was made in Armenia and not in Italy by someone other than a famous fashion designer; and was not discovered on the remnants of a skeletal man who was squatted down amidst the remains of ancient sunflower seed shells. This leads one to conclude that the aforementioned styles and practices were all brought to Armenia by foreign invaders – most likely invading Roman armies.
So now Armenians can make bold and ludicrous claims that they were the first at yet something else; of course, I will have to endure numerous family gatherings where boastful Armenians will say things such as “If it wasn’t for Armenians and what we have contributed to civilization, everyone would be walking barefoot!” The only thing worse would have been if someone discovered an ancient cave drawing resembling a Mercedes or BMW logo. God help us all if that ever happens.
But who needs an ancient shoe to worry about when we have another one just waiting to drop at any moment. I’m referring to the frayed relations between Israel and Turkey over the recent Memorial Day Flotilla incident involving Israeli forces boarding ships sending humanitarian aid to Gaza sponsored by Turkey or Turkish interests.
The clash has just drawn further attention to the deteriorating relationship between the ruling Turkish government and the Israeli government. At a recent anti-Israel demonstration in Turkey, one protester was spotted holding up a sign asking Hitler’s spirit to guide the Turks and save them from this ‘situation’ with Israel. If that’s not the epitome of anti-Semitic behavior, I don’t know what is.
I even noticed that pro-Israel organizations and Jewish lobbying groups in DC are abandoning their ardent support of Turkish interests in Washington, DC and in the halls of Congress (“American Jewish community ends support of Turkish interests on Hill” Washington Times, June 8, 2010) Like the shoe that tells us so much about the life of the people that lived in Armenia thousands of years ago, this article also reveals a great deal about this pact with the devil that Israel made with Turkey when they struck up this “strategic relationship” supposedly dating back to early 1982.
What is more telling than the facts stated in the article is the story that lies between the lines. For instance, in an effort to court whatever Islamic allies Israel could get for its own security, the government of Israel ignored the moral implications of allying itself with a genocidal regime in the form of the Turkish Republic. The article alludes to this alliance continuously for the reasons of strategic preservation but never is the morality issue raised. How can Israel, which has suffered various forms of persecution and genocide, aid Turkey in its efforts to distort historical facts and oppose legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide? Well, I guess someone in the Israeli intelligence made a snap decision without understanding the long term effects.
I should impress upon anyone reading this article that some of the most ardent advocates for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide are members of the Jewish faith and the list of these righteous people is too exhaustive to list. But our focus is not on these individuals but rather their brethren who undo all of their hard work by sneaking behind the backs of the Jewish people and make these clandestine alliances with the Turkish government.
It’s unfortunate that Israel must learn this lesson so publicly, that Turkey is not a reliable ally to anyone but its own interests. It is even more tragic to see that the only reason that some of the same organizations that have trained and aided the Turkish lobby in DC are now only returning to the moral high ground because of a contradiction with their own interests rather than because it is the right thing to do.
I hope that these organizations will feel more at home in this political dog-fight helping Armenians expose to the world the hypocritical and pathological nature of Turkish the “alliance” and “friendship.” Because as two people with histories in the region that date back many millennia, we have to walk down the same road, sometimes alongside each other and at other times leading each other. We both want to live on our ancestral lands in peace and unmolested. It is going to be a long road. But it will be a lot longer if we both have to have the Turkish pebble in our shoes.
Skeptik Sinikian prefers to travel the earth barefoot like David Carradine of Kung-Fu notoriety. You can reach him at [email protected]