Monday, July 18, 2016

A Nation Divided

There is news about the Baton Rouge situation. Here are my thoughts. I don't know all of the facts as of yet. 3 officers were killed and 3 others are wounded in Baton Rouge. We know there is one shooter and possibly more. This is a tragedy and a sad time for America and the world. We all condemn these acts as evil as there is no excuse for murder. Some people believe that there is more than one shooter. People will still say that we must condemn violence. I condemn unjust violence, but I will never condemn self-defense. The Revolutionary War involved killing. The Vietnam War involved killing and murder. Police brutality involves evil violence and in many cases murder. Therefore, there is no justification for the cops in this situation in Baton Rouge to be wounded and murdered. Yet, when unjust wars exist, the far right doesn't say stop the killing or stop murder. I wanted to say a lot more stuff, but I will keep my peace for the sake of God. Therefore, some people have to be consistent. If murdering cops for an unjust reason is wrong (which it is), then murder involving unjust wars are wrong too. Change comes by continuing to stand up for our human rights and not bowing down to the establishment. What is disgraceful is how the chairman of the FOP saying that the President isn't doing enough to support the police when the President in every speech during this month (involving policing, etc.) has praised the police institution. The FOP Chairman didn't condemn Patrick Lynch's words about how the Mayor of NYC has blood on his hands (which is false). I find it ironic that the same ones who lecture us that not all cops are bad don't say that all black people aren't all bad when intraracial crime comes about. Those same hypocrites ignore or minimize police terrorism. They have a superficial view of reality. They (or the post racial types who reject anyone talking about racial & social justice) don't want others to judge them, but they judge people unfairly who stand up against racism, classism, sexism, and other injustices overtly. We are supposed to tell the truth in season and out of season. One of the most despicable acts done by some is for some to exploit this tragedy as an excuse for many folks to condemn peaceful protesters or the BLM as well. Those who do that do a disservice to the victims of this tragedy. I believe in unity, but not fake unity. We know how racists hate Black Unity and I will forever promote Black Unity and Black Love. Unity deals with establishing justice. We want a better society for humanity.

There was the failed military coup in turkey. It was headed by a section of the Turkish officer corps. On Saturday, the coup was ended by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The rebel military and police units fought each other in Istanbul, which is the country’s economic center and in the political capital of Ankara. At least 265 people have been killed and hundreds of more have been wounded. Over 3,000 military personnel have been arrested and thousands of judges have been suspended. The coup represented a wing of the military and state apparatus who disagreed with Erdogan. They wanted to in their minds, “reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged.” Erdogan is an autocrat and has done a lot of evil in Turkey, but he has been democratically elected.  Erdogan, who was on holiday at an Aegean Sea resort, used a FaceTime video call to a live news broadcast on CNN Turkey to denounce the putsch and call for “people to gather in squares and airports” to defend his government. Thousands of people in Istanbul, Ankara, etc. were in the streets to occupy locations like a media center. They also stopped the coup from taking shape. Near Arkara, Turkish Air Force F-16 jet fighters shot down a helicopter operating in support of the attempting putsch. The Turkish parliament building was bombed by the rebels in Ankara. A large section of the armed forces, the main Turkish business, federation, and the Obama administration opposed the coup. The coup was defeated by pro-government forces. The TRT main state television broadcaster was retaken by pro-government individuals. So, this was a breakdown of the bourgeois government of Turkey. We have global economic crisis, social inequality, and the consequences of the Western imperialism (where U.S. imperialists and its allies want to dominate the oil rich Middle East plus undermine Russian and Chinese influence in every part of the world). This comes after the fallout from the Leave vote in the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. America continues to have a political crisis over police killings and the possibility of Donald Trump unfortunately winning the November Presidential election. France is ruled by emergency rule. NATO expands in Eastern Europe near Russia. There are the contested claims in the South China Sea. Erdogan is allied with the AKP. For years, thousands of Islamist militants came from Syria into Turkey and back to fight Assad. Many of them have sought refuge in Turkey. Turkey has been hesitant in fighting ISIS until recently when Turkey allowed the U.S. to use its areas to launch attacks in Syria and Iraq against ISIS. Turkey doesn’t want a strong Kurdish hegemony especially when Kurdish fighting in northern Syria has created a de facto autonomous region in northern Syria near Turkey’s border. To divert internal social tensions and pre-empt renewed unrest among Turkey’s Kurds, Erdogan has carried out a brutal crackdown on Kurdish-based political parties and the Kurdish population as a whole.  The failed coup could inspire Erdogan to increase his crackdown on dissidents in Turkey. Erdogan accused imam, Fethullah Gulen of organizing the coup as Gulen is a known opponent of Erdogan. I don’t agree with Erdogan on many issues and the people democratically elected him.

By 1914, Ottoman authorities had started a propaganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire as a threat to the empire’s security, which is ludicrous. An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office admitted that the Armenians were scapegoated as the enemies of society. There was the April 23-25, 1915 tragic even called Red Sunday (or what Armenian people call  Կարմիր ԿիրակիGarmir Giragi). On that date, the Ottoman government rounded up and imprisoned an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders of the Ottoman capital Constantinople. They rounded up other people in other centers and they were moved into two holding centers near Ankara. Interior Minister Talaat Pasha ordered the arrests. This date coincide with the Allied troop landings at Gallipoli after unsuccessful Allied naval attempts to break through the Dardanelles to Constantinople in February and March 1915. After the passage of the Techir Law on May 29, 1915 (it was supported by the CUP Central Committee), the Armenian leaders, except for the few who were able to return to Constantinople, were gradually deported and assassinated. The Tehcir Law gave the Ottoman government and military authorization to deport anyone it “sensed” as a threat to national security. The date of April of 24 is commemorated as Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians around the world. In May 1915, Mehmet Talaat Pasha requested that the cabinet and Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha legalize a measure for the deportation of Armenians to other places due what Talaat Pasha called “the Armenian riots and massacres, which had arisen in a number of places in the country." However, Talaat Pasha was referring specifically to events in Van and extending the implementation to the regions in which alleged "riots and massacres" would affect the security of the war zone of the Caucasus Campaign. Later, the scope of the deportation was widened in order to include the Armenians in the other provinces. The Tehcir Law caused the confiscation of Armenian property. Also, the slaughter of Armenian continued after the enactment of that unjust law. It outraged much of the western world.  While the Ottoman Empire's wartime allies offered little protest, a wealth of German and Austrian historical documents has since come to attest to the witnesses' horror at the killings and mass starvation of Armenians. In the United States, Times reported almost daily on the mass murder of the Armenian people, describing the process as "systematic", "authorized" and "organized by the government." Theodore Roosevelt would later characterize this as "the greatest crime of the war.” Historian Hans-Lukas Kieser states that, from the statements of Talaat Pasha it is clear that the officials were aware that the deportation order was genocidal. Another historian Taner Akçam states that the telegrams show that the overall coordination of the genocide was taken over by Talaat Pasha.

The Armenian genocide involved death marches too. The Armenians were marched out to the Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor including the surrounding desert. There is no evidence that the Ottoman government gave extensive facilities and supplies to sustain the lives of hundreds and thousands of Armenian deportees during their forced march to the Syrian Desert and after. By August 1915, the New York repeated an unattributed report that "the roads and the Euphrates are strewn with corpses of exiles, and those who survive are doomed to certain death. It is a plan to exterminate the whole Armenian people.” Talaat Pasha and Djemal Pasha were completely aware that by abandoning the Armenian deportees in the desert they were condemning them to certain death. A dispatch from a "high diplomatic source in Turkey, not American, reporting the testimony of trustworthy witnesses" about the plight of Armenian deportees in northern Arabia and the Lower Euphrates valley was extensively quoted by The New York Times in August 1916. The article from the NY Times mentioned that witnesses saw thousands of deported Armenians under tents in the open and they were in hunger begging for food and water. They were starved to death. Similarly, Major General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein noted that "The Turkish policy of causing starvation is an all too obvious proof, if proof was still needed as to who is responsible for the massacre, for the Turkish resolve to destroy the Armenians.” There were German engineers and laborers involved in building the railway. They also saw Armenians being crammed into cattle cars and shipped along the railroad line. Franz Gunther, a representative for Deutsche Bank which was funding the construction of the Baghdad Railway, forwarded photographs to his directors and expressed his frustration at having to remain silent amid such "bestial cruelty.” Major General Otto von Lossow, acting military attaché and head of the German Military Plenipotentiary in the Ottoman Empire, spoke to Ottoman intentions in a conference held in Batum in 1918.

He said that the Turkish authorities wanted to exterminate the Armenians in Transcaucasia. Many military leaders from Turkey raped Armenian women. Many deportees were sold as sex slaves in some areas in Mosul and Damascus according to the report of the German consul there. Many Armenian girls and women were left behind dying. The Ottoman government created a network of 25 concentration camps to murder Armenians who had survived the deportations to their ultimate point. This network, situation in the region of Turkey’s present day borders with Iraq and Syria, was directed by  Şükrü Kaya, one of Talaat Pasha's right-hand men. Some of the camps were only temporary transit points. Others, such as Radjo, Katma, and Azaz, were briefly used for mass graves and then vacated by autumn 1915. Camps such as Lale, Tefridje, Dipsi, Del-El, and Ra's al-'Ayn were built specifically for those whose life expectancy was just a few days. According to Hilmar Kaiser, the Ottoman authorities refused to provide food and water to the victims, increasing the mortality rate, and Muslim men obtained Armenian women through recorded marriages, while the deaths of their husbands were not recorded. Bernau, an American citizen of German descent, traveled to the areas where Armenians were incarcerated and wrote a report that was deemed factual by Rössler, the German Consul at Aleppo. He reports mass graves containing over 60,000 people in Meskene and large numbers of mounds of corpses, as the Armenians died due to hunger and disease. He reported seeing 450 orphans, who received at most 150 grams of bread per day, in a tent of 5–6 square meters. Dysentery swept through the camp and days passed between the instances of distribution of bread to some. In "Abu Herrera", near Meskene, he described how the guards let 240 Armenians starve.

By Timothy

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