Yes…in this century!

In case anyone is under the impression that our world is getting truly more peaceful and that racial/ethnic hatred is a notion better left to the darkness of a bygone century…read the following and ask yourself: Am I content to live in a world where it’s possible to develop video games that call for “ethnic cleansing” of the “other:”



Comments on “When They Died…” II

Wanted to share the comment below…in response to the article I had written a few months back:

Dear Gonca,
After reading your article, it occurred to me that I had an experience
similar to yours. During a 1979 visit to the Los Angeles Consulate to get
an extension on my Turkish Passport I met Turkey’s  Consul General
Mr. Kemal. Mr. Arıkan, a kind, good natured “Babacan” gentlemen who
after signing my passport, asked me questions and was interested to hear if
I was able to cope working and going to school, and that I could call if I
needed help, and he was proud of my accomplishments. Every year I
looked forward to visiting the TR Consulate, getting my passport signed,
drink the çay and tell the consul general how I was promoted to a project
engineer and how everything was just great and so on and so forth. The last
stamp I received on my passport was January 27, 1982.
The next day, our Kemal Bey was shot and killed.
Harry Sassounian took his revenge for the crimes committed long before
our Kemal Bey was born. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation
supports Sassonian as a hero to this day. How does one deal with this?

First of all you stop all thoughts for a while and just get on with life. Next
step is to disassociate the underdeveloped individuals from the ethnic
group they belong.
Today, I enjoy the company of my good friends Agop Bey and Corina
Hanım, the owners of the Armenian restaurant Shiraz in Worcester. I have
completely disassociated the killer of Kemal Arıkan from my Armenian
friends. Similarly, my Armenian friends appear to have disassociated me
from the revolutionaries who murdered our citizens and destroyed our
Going forward, what can we do to soften the anger Armenians feel towards
the Turks and the seeming lack of compassion Turks exhibit towards
Armenians?   Frankly I don’t think there is a lot we can do. Since 1915
mankind has evolved, however not enough for the majority to value a
human being for what he or she is, rather than clutter the equation with
gender, age, race, religion, nationality, etc.

Gonca, we have both been subjected to ultra nationalistic and downright racist
primary education, I have begun to question things ten years ago after turning fifty,
and having read your article, you are obviously well ahead of me and at an earlier age. I truly admire your sense of right thing to do.
Ahmet Erkan



What does Ramadan mean to me II

I wish it hadn’t come to this but it has.  It pains me to admit but I have to extend my thanks to Mitt Romney, the ex-Governor of my state of Massachusetts and the current Republican Presidential nominee.  I have to thank him for making the closing point of my last blog all the more essential.  It is no surprise that Mr. Romney didn’t hear my shout-out to the world when I asked: Are you saying what youre saying because you believe it to be absolutely true, or are you saying it just so you can win the argument, score more points and keep up your status quo?  Because if Romney had heard me, he would have thought twice about declaring that “culture makes all the difference” when it comes to economic success among nations.  Does he really think that the main reason why Palestinian lands are lacking economically is because of their traditions handed down from their ancestors?  Does he really think most neighboring countries with diametrically opposing economic conditions like to have their economic statuses analyzed in terms of what they prefer to eat and what music they like to celebrate with at weddings?  I don’t think so.  It is one thing to do the expected and sycophantic gesture of visiting Israel to amass the Jewish votes back home, but it is something entirely different to minimize the conditions (both current and historical) of disadvantaged populations down to the slippery slope of “culture.”  And if a politician does that, I call that “hubris” and suggest he thinks twice before he utters his next pithy sound bite.