Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cultural Ties, Genocide and Democracy

Posted by Jay:

Tuesday April 28, 2009: Today morning, I got to work, and I logged onto Gmail, as usual. A while later, I saw my friend Shant’s chat status voicing rage towards the Lebanese government. Intrigued, I asked her what was going on. She pasted the below excerpt from the Daily Star for me:

“BEIRUT: Turkish Cultural Week opened Monday evening with a lavish meal organized by the Turkish Embassy in Beirut. The week's events aim to strengthen cultural ties between the two countries, with a wide range of activities taking place in Beirut and in the northern city of Tripoli, with the goal of embracing the cultural richness of the two Mediterranean countries.”

Naturally, I understood her frustration; I was more than irritated myself. To launch a “cultural tie strengthening” event with a nation responsible for mass genocide a mere THREE days after the Armenian Genocide’s 94th year unrecognised is more than disrespectful - it’s downright disgusting. Slowly, it flared up, and resulted in a decision to protest the Cultural Week at the turkish traditional and contemporary music concert that was to take place at the UNESCO Palace later in the evening.

We spread the word throughout the day using our available means (namely Facebook) – and the number of people to confirm attendance steadily rose during the day. At 19.30, armed with nothing but banners stating “Recognise the Armenian Genocide”, 15 young women and men set out to Corniche el Mazraa, to the UNESCO Palace, and revealed the banner there.
Around an hour into the sit-in I wasn’t able to attend, I sulkily texted Shant and asked her how it went. Her response? “We are in the makhfar (police station).”

...That is democracy for you, ladies and gentlemen. A few minutes into their having displayed the banner, the police showed up and took “their measures”. Currently, the 15 feminists are being indefinitely detained in the Ramleh el Bayda Police Station. Everything is under control, however, the activists are calm and composed, and we are working on solving the issue.


Nadz said...

Awesome work Deems and Jay! And great picture.. who took that?

Shant said...

Are you seriously asking who took that ya Nadz... :D
I took it and when we got arrested I passed it on to someone who passed it to someone so they go with it and publish the photos ...

Roxanne said...

Thank you for organizing this bold protest. As a feminist, Armenian, and activist, who lives on the other side of the world from you, I am proud and empowered by your action.

Roxanne Makasdjian
San Francisco

Nadz said...

Hahahaha.. Why do I keep asking the questions whose obvious answer is always Shant? :) Excellent photo!

Hoba said...

There are no narrow causes, there are narrow-minded people. I don't think one has to be Armenian to feel disgusted by the Turkish governement's criminal politics. Keep fighting !

Shant said...

Thanks Roxanne and Hoba :)