BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
This week we have three instances of disgusting gall garnished with insufferable temerity, to rub our (Armenian) and all of humanity’s face in the mire of human shamelessness— one hails from Turkey, the second from Armenia, and the third, from Los Angeles.
On March 31, the LA Times reported (Turkey targets Getty, other museums, p.1, Jason Felch) that the Republic of Turkey (RoT) is cracking down on those holding antiquities stolen from its territory. Who knew? Even the Ottoman Empire (OE) had a 1906 law against this kind of theft (Isn’t it interesting that in this context, there’s a presumed continuity between the OE and RoT). This is a legitimate concern, and is shared by many countries.
Egypt, Greece, and Italy are among those in the news in recent years. They have been pursuing the return/repatriation of looted statues, artifacts, etc. The Getty Museum has been at the center of some of these storms, including the illuminated Armenian manuscript pages from the Zeytoon bible they currently hold. So the overall situation is quite understandable.
But there’s something jarring about RoT doing this. Just about anything of cultural value that might have been unearthed and stolen is not culturally Turkish. It’s Armenian, Greek, and numerous other cultures’ creation. So it is a situation that resembles, in southern California terms, a coyote complaining that a crow “stole” some of the food it had meant to eat. Both are scavengers, thieves. It’s also like the Armenian saying “koghuh koghen kghtzav, Asdvadz desav, zarmatzav” (a thief stole from a thief, God saw this and was amazed).
Chalk up another example of Turkish shamelessness and flexing of its newly developing power as a significant player on the world stage.
Unfortunately, RoT’s not the only shameless outfit. It seems Ankara has company in Yerevan. Sadly, the Republic of Armenia’s parliament did not vote for a bill condemning the genocides of Assyrians, Pontiac Greeks, and others’ at the Ottoman Empire’s hands. Is this even conceivable? How can something like that fail, as it did, because of a lack of quorum in parliament? Clearly, the two biggest players, Prosperous Armenia and Republican parties, wanted it that way. These people are obviously completely oblivious to the negative public relations impact and seeming hypocrisy of the situation they have created!
And just to round out the week of shame, we had Kobe Bryant celebrating the first anniversary of his shilling for Turkish Airlines. Remember, the airline is owned by the Turkish government. Helping the airline helps the RoT. When the Kobe news hit last year, I’d written that if he doesn’t pull out, I’d advocate a complete boycott of the Lakers, the team for which he plays basketball. A year out, I think it’s time— all Armenians should stop watching the Lakers, live, on TV, or otherwise. We should stop buying all their paraphernalia. Schools should educate students about the obscenity of such behavior. And, the Kardashian connection to the Lakers should be exploited too!
Get busy expressing your disgust at these developments to the appropriate targets!