Archive for the 'Abuse' Category

Serj Tankian Speaks Out on Murder of Armenian Journalist

I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Hrant Dink’s murder (more like assassination) today in front of his Agos newspaper offices, in Istanbul Turkey.

I met Hrant Dink at the L.A. premiere of “Screamers“, the documentary by Carla Garapedian featuring System Of A Down. Hrant is interviewed by Carla in the film where he explains how the “deep state” in Turkey is utilizing an outdated penal code, Article 301 to try him, Orhan Pamuk, and other journalists, writers, and human rights activists for “insulting or offending Turkishness.”

In his newspaper Agos, Hrant discussed issues important to the Armenians of Turkey. He was quite careful not to insult anyone in Turkey present or past regarding the Armenian Genocide or any other “sticky issues” that may be taken negatively. He instead tried to truly understand why so many people in Turkey were in denial of their past, why it was important to have a “real democracy” there where everyone can speak freely without worrying about retributions. He was by no means a fanatic nor extremist, but was a humble, kind, yet truthful individual who cared about Turkey, his country, and being Armenian, his culture and heritage.

He yearned to bridge the understanding between Armenians and Turks to get over the pains of the past stemming from the Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans in 1915. The difference between Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk and other writers or journalists incriminated under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code was that Hrant Dink was of Armenian descent and therefore may have been viewed more so as a traitor than other Turks of Turkish descent.

After many attempts at appealing the 3 different cases brought against him in reference to Article 301, Hrant was ready to take his case of freedom of speech to the European Court of Human Rights. In the last article he wrote for Agos on Jan. 10th, he made it very clear that the overwhelming amount of death threats against him were psychologically punishing him for speaking out. He felt his life was in extreme danger and asked for help from security officials of the country, but was not given any. When friends encouraged him to leave Turkey to avoid danger, he said that if he left now, he would be betraying the fight for democracy in Turkey, and that wouldn’t be fair to others in his situation. I am not that heroic, I would have left. And funny enough when we met, he mused with me, calling me heroic, the whole time while I looked into his gentle eyes and knew in my heart that he was the true hero. It’s easy for me to speak out against things, because at worst, I’ll be faced with brutal disagreement, where he was faced with prison terms, harassment, psychological torture, and now death.

So he was killed, brutally, in daylight, with bullets to the head, another beautiful soul silenced no more.

Hrant Dink’s cases along with Orhan Pamuk’s past case and many others facing incrimination in Turkey under Article 301 of the penal code encouraged me to work with Amnesty International in getting the word out and working on trying to reverse this unjust incrimination of the freedoms of speech there

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Nothing to be “thankful” for!

^Is this your Meal today ?^

More than 45 million turkeys are killed each year at Thanksgiving, and more than 22 million die at Christmas.

Before ending up as holiday centerpieces, these gentle, intelligent birds spend five to six months on factory farms where thousands of them are packed into dark sheds with no more than 3.5 square feet of space per bird. Turkeys on factory farms are denied everything that is natural to them, such as foraging for food, dustbathing, and raising their young.

To keep the overcrowded birds from scratching and pecking each other to death, workers cut off portions of the birds’ toes and upper beaks with hot blades and de-snood the males (the snood is the flap of skin that runs from the beak to the chest). No pain relievers are used during any of these procedures.

Turkeys are genetically bred to grow as fast as possible, and they often become crippled under their own weight. A PETA investigator videotaped one turkey farmer beating sick and injured birds to death with a pole, a killing method deemed “standard industry practice.”

Turkeys won’t breathe fresh air or feel the sun on their backs until they’re shoved onto trucks bound for slaughter. They are transported for hours without food or water through all weather extremes—and many will die on this nightmarish journey.

At the slaughterhouse, the survivors are hung upside-down by their weak and crippled legs before their heads are dragged through an electrified “stunning tank,” which immobilizes but does not kill them. Many birds dodge the tank and are still fully conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife fails to properly cut the birds’ throats, they are scalded alive in the tank of boiling water used for feather removal.

Please don’t support an industry that abuses these fascinating animals. Click here for a free vegetarian starter kit.

Adopt a Turkey Project!

TOUCHED BY A TURKEY
Thousands of Farm Sanctuary visitors have met our feathered friends and seen that turkeys are unique individuals with distinct personalities and feelings, just like other animals. One visitor remarked, “Turkeys remember your face and they will sit closer to you with each day you revisit.” Another visitor told us how she learned to scratch a turkey, “I have scratched dog ears and cows backs and a host of other animal hard-to-reach spots — but I never dreamed a bird, let alone a domestic turkey, would ask for a belly rub.”

TURKEY LOVE
Turkeys love cuddles, kisses and tickles just as much as people do! Read about Lydia the hugging turkey, who liked to give turkey hugs to shelter visitors…or Megan the Cuddling turkey who gives turkey kisses. Like dogs and cats, turkeys are very affectionate and companionable.

Every Thanksgiving, visitors flocked to Farm Sanctuary’s California shelter to receive a hug from Lydia. The famous “hugging turkey” would flap her wings and run toward guests. As visitors bent down, Lydia embraced them by pressing her chest against them and stretching her head and neck over their shoulders. Lydia brought much happiness to her visitors, and she enjoyed teaching people that turkeys need love too!

Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s annual Adopt-A-Turkey Project has rescued over one thousand turkeys from a thankless fate at the dinner table and given thousands of people an opportunity to adopt a turkey for the holidays.

Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project offers two ways for people to adopt turkeys this Thanksgiving holiday.

1. Sponsor “adopt” a turkey who lives at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen, New York or Orland, California shelter for farm animals. For a one-time $20 adoption fee, adopters receive a color photograph of their turkey, an adoption certificate and a year subscription to Farm Sanctuary’s quarterly newsletter. The adoption fee provides funds for feed, bedding and veterinary care for the turkeys. Please call 607-583-2225 or click here to adopt a turkey who lives at Farm Sanctuary.

2. Home adopt and provide a safe, permanent and loving home for two or more turkeys. Home adopters must be vegetarian or vegan, and committed to providing lifelong care for their turkey friends. Individuals interested in home adoptions must complete an adoption application. Approved adopters will be placed on a schedule to have their turkey companions personally delivered by Farm Sanctuary staff on the Turkey Express.

Every year, more people are choosing to celebrate a compassionate Thanksgiving for ALL, by saving a turkey!

The Adopt-A-Turkey Project is a program of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s largest farm animal rescue and protection organization.

Turkish Crimes Against Humanity

THE GREEK HOLOCAUST OF THRACE
ASIA MINOR AND PONTOS

What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia, unto Ephesus and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira and unto Sardis and unto Philadelphia and unto Laodicea. (Apoc. I11).

The seven churches, the seven torches of light of the Greek-Christian civilization are no longer burning. The land of Asia Minor, an area where for 3000 years Greek civilization flourished is now being trampled by foreign invaders: the Turks.

The Turks invaded Asia Minor in two waves: The Seljuks were first at the end of the 11th century and the Ottomans came later, at the beginning of the l3th century.

Using indiscriminately force, murder, genocide, and Turcification they managed to hold on to a foreign land expelling or exterminating its natural residents: Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, and Arabs.

In the 8th century, the Oguz Turks, a semi-savage nomadic people moved westward from their homeland in Mongolia, and settled in what is today West Turkestan.

The Seljuks, a sect of the Oguz Turks, moved further in the direction of Persia and today’s Iraq, where they served as mercenaries for the caliphs of Baghdad.

From this encounter with the advanced Persian and Arab civilizations, they enriched their poor vocabulary, adopted the Arabic script and became Muslims retaining simultaneously their warring nomad characteristics.

Their king, Alp Arslan (1063-1072), unified the various Seljuk factions, invaded Armenia, and sacked its capital of Ani in 1064. After that he and his armies invaded Byzantium and following the critical battle at Manzikert (1071) where the Byzantines were defeated, the Seljuks occupied a large part of the Asia Minor provinces of Byzantium. Previous to the invasion, there was not a single Turk living in these provinces.

In this foreign, for the Turks land there were thus established a number of Seljuk controlled emirates.

After a short period of time the Byzantines and the Crusaders dissolved nearly all of these emirates, except one whose capital was Iconium. This had been named as the Sultanate of Roum in other words the land of the Romans, as was the official title of the Greek Byzantine Empire, which was a continuation and succession of the Eastern Roman Empire.

The raids by Genghis Khan’s (1167-1227) Mongols forced another Turkish tribe, led by Suleyman-Shah, to abandon Turkistan and to head towards the west. This group tried to settle in Eastern Asia Minor, but the Armenians and Kurds ousted them. In an attempt to cross the Euphrates river, their leader was drowned and buried there, which ever since has been known as Turk-mezari, or the tomb of the Turk. A title which is indicative of how alien the Turks were in these areas.

The tribe then moved toward the Sultanate of Roum where it settled often assuming the role of border-guards. Suleyman’s grandson, Osman, (1259-1326), took over the title of Sultan from the Seljuks and he gave his name to the Turkish people: The Ottomans.

The leaders of the Osmanlis quickly realized that since they comprised a minority of conquerors it would be difficult for them to control the occupied lands, and simultaneously to pursue further conquests without taking certain special measures!

Thus, they decided to adopt and apply harsh methods previously unknown to the whole world. Methods, which were never repeated again by another nation on earth. The primary measures taken were as follows:

They declared their state a warrior or Gazi state. In other words, a state that was bound to declare holy war (Jihad) against the non-believers. This way, they were able to bring together all kinds of adventurers, who were willing to fight either for ideological reasons, or for just the spoils of the war.


They adopted the inhumane measure of forcibly recruiting young Christian children. In other words, they forcibly took male children of the enslaved Christian families (mainly Greeks. and later also Armenians Bulgarians, Albanians and Serbs), and brought them up in special camps They conditioned them to become fanatic Turks and relentless killers to their own people. These children would grow up to believe that their father was the Sultan and that if they were to die in battle they would go to heaven. Thus, because of this New Army, or Janissaries, (Yeni-ceri in Turkish) the Turks continued to pursue their conquests.

They slaughtered systematically millions of Asia Minor’s inhabitants, in order to change the ethnic character of the land. It has been estimated that during the seven centuries of Turkish presence in Asia Minor several millions of Greeks, at least two-three million Armenians and hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Syrians, but also Serbs, and Bulgarians in Europe, were systematically massacred. In the 20th century alone, it has been estimated that approximately 1,5 million Armenians and more than 1 million Greeks were exterminated.

In this manner, the Turks managed to hold on to Asia Minor, a foreign land for them, where Greek civilizations had flourished for 2.000 years before the appearance of the Turks.The Turks just destroyed these civilizations and unfortunately did not even try to take advantage of its accomplishments.

In two previous occasions the Greek people contributed in civilizing their conquerors, as was the case with the Romans and the Franks. One must possess a cultural identity to be able to absorb what is creative and good from other civilizations. Unfortunately, the conquering Turks lacked such an identity.

The Turks also failed to administer their subject peoples within the Ottoman Empire. There were no laws in the civilized sense of the word. The Sultan’s word was the law in the capital and arbitrary rule of local representatives was the law in the provinces. The property, honor, and life of the conquered were completely at the mercy of the occasional Turkish official.

The only bond that kept the multiethnic empire together was the crude use of force-ultimately the butchery-of the rulers. Slaughter was the rule without concern for innocence or guilt.

Under these conditions the Turkish administration was truly detestable to all the subject people who suffered and patiently waited for each opportunity to throw off the Ottoman yoke.

The Turks failed to assimilate the various nationalities within their empire. They could not also administer them efficiently, not even control the economy because commerce and industry was left in the hands of the Greeks, Armenians and Jews, while the Turks kept busy with governing and simultaneously exploiting the profits while terrorizing the inhabitants.

For the enslaved people to be finally liberated from their rulers there took place a series of revolutions, which led to the establishment of independent states. In 1908 the Young Turk revolution forced the Sultan to grant a constitution to the remnants of the Ottoman Empire.

In spite of the apparent liberalism of the formally bourgeois revolution, which was spearheaded by the military without the participation of the people, there continued to develop additional centrifugal tendencies as they did in the times of the Sultan’s despotism. For those nations still within the Empire whose fellow nationals had established independent states, e. g. the Greeks- it was natural for them to seek union with their free compatriots. Those peoples still within the Empire that had not attained separate statehood, e.g. the Armenians, and the Kurds, focused all their energies towards the attainment of self-determination and the establishment of autonomous national homelands.

The Young Turks sought to rid themselves of troublesome non-Turkish ethnic groups so that they could build a homogeneous Turkish state and so they could avoid further mutilation of Turkish controlled territory in areas where non-Turks were in the majority, such as Eastern Thrace,

Western Asia Minor and Pontos, where the Greeks were in the majority, Eastern Asia Minor where the Armenians were in the majority and, Southeastern Asia Minor where the Kurds were in the majority.

Thus, the supposedly liberal and constitutionally oriented Young Turks returned to the usual Sultanic abrasiveness and brutality, which now became much more organized and systematic and assumed genocidal proportions.

The massacres were premeditated: It was decided that the Ottomanisation of all Turkish citizens, which never succeeded through persuasion, had to be done by the force of arms.

This was stated in the L o n d o n T i m e s on the 3rd of October 1911 summarizing the proceedings of the Council of Union and Progress (The Young Turks).

At first, the persecutions took place against the Greeks, made under the pretext of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). Persecution took the form of lootings, expulsions and murders. After the wars, persecution continued even more intensively, to the point where on the 25 of May 1914 the Ecumenical Patriarchate was forced to declare that the Orthodox Church was under attack.

The Patriarchate, further, in a show of protest and mourning, suspended the activities of Greek churches and Greek schools throughout Turkey.

After the declaration of World War I, the Turks found the perfect opportunity to organize more effectively the massacres against ethnic minorities, so that they could finally transform their empire into a homogeneous nation-state.

Prominent officers of the Young Turks movement, while serving as members of the government, organized the expulsion of the inhabitants as well as the lootings and massacres that were perpetrated against them. Specifically, Talaat Pasha, minister of the interior, was prominent as the mastermind of the pogroms. However, the entire Turkish state administration participated in the organization and the execution of the extermination program.

They began with the genocide of the Armenians, who did not possess a state, which would rush to their aid and followed it up with mass expulsions and massacres of the Greeks. The victims of this period are over 2.5 million people of which 1.5 million were Armenians. In the chronological Index one can see detailed figures regarding the persecution of the Greeks of Asia Minor, Thrace and Pontos.

After the end of World War I, the Allies recognized that the Turkish government could not protect the property, honor, and life of the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire.

They assigned to Greece the responsibility to administer Eastern Thrace and the Smyrna district. This arrangement was contained in the Treaty of Sevres. Simultaneously, there was established a separate and independent Pontian state.

In 1920, Alexander Millerand, president of the Supreme Allied Council stated: The Turkish government not only failed in its duty to protect its non-Turkish citizens from the looting, violence and murders, but there are many indications that the Turkish government itself was responsible for directing and organizing the most cruel attacks against the populations, which it was supposed to protect. For these reasons, the Allied powers have decided to liberate from the Turkish yoke all the lands where the majority of the people were non-Turks.

The Turkish government signed the Treaty of Sevres but Mustafa Kemal refused to recognize it.

After 40 long months of war, during which Kemal’s forces secured considerable foreign assistance, the Greek military front in Anatolia collapsed.

The Turks reoccupied Asia Minor and entered Smyrna on September 8, 1922. In Smyrna, in the meantime, there was an influx of refugees from various parts of Asia Minor. And the conquering Turks set the city on fire and unleashed the last phase of the genocide against the Greeks and Armenians.

These were moments of unbelievable horror. The pier turned red by the blood of the victims. The bishop of Smyrna Chrysostomos was publicly ridiculed and then slaughtered. Events were too horrible to even describe. The American Consul in Smyrna, George Horton, gives a detailed and objective picture of the chilling Turkish crimes in his book
T h e B l i g h t o f A s i a (Indianapolis: Bobb and Merryl, 1925).

The Treaty of Lausanne ended the Greek-Turkish war and imposed the unjust and mandatory exchange of 300,000 Turks from Greece for the 1,400,000 Greeks that survived the holocaust.

The Greek refugees of Asia Minor, without being consulted had to give up their ancestral homes to the Turks, after almost 4,000 years of glorious and productive history.

Through the unjust actions of massacre and persecution of Greeks and Armenians, the contemporary Turkish state was thus created. It was a state founded on crime, the state about which French prime minister George Clemanceau said on the 25th of June, 1919: We do not find even one example in Europe, Asia, or Africa, where the imposition of Turkish sovereignty had not been followed by a decline in material prosperity, and by the impoverishment of its culture. Also there does not exist one example where liberation from Turkish control was not followed by the advancement of material prosperity and an improvement of the cultural level. Whether dealing with Christians or Muslims, the Turk has managed to bring destruction wherever he conquered. The Turk has never been able to develop in peace that which he won through conquest.

On the 26th of November 1979, the New York Times wrote quite characteristically: According to the most recent statistics, the Christian population in Turkey was diminished from (4.500.000) at the beginning of this century to just about 150,000. Of those, the Greeks are no more than 7,000 yet, in 1923 they were as many as 1, 2 millions (After the massacres of many hundreds of thousands).

Even though human justice has not yet punished the Turks, we believe that there is a Divine Justice to which the Turks will sooner or later be answerable.

Beit Hanun Massacre – Photos without Words

Click on the Picture, to see the remaining 157 Photos of the Beit Hanun Massacre!

A genocide on children…CHILDREN!!

Armenian Genocide – Turkification!

The French College in Aintoura, Lebanon or Jemal Paha’s orphanage where Armenian children were to be turkified!

ARTICLE BY: Nora Parseghian

The Armenian nation lived the most horrible phase of its history in 1915. The Ottoman authorities executed the Genocide which resulted in the killing of over 1 million Armenians, while most of the Armenians remaining on the western parts of historic Armenia were compelled to leave there cities and villages and deported, marched towards the deserts of Iraq and Syria.

Parts of the deported Armenians reached Lebanon where they believed that they were left in peace without realizing that in one of the not-so-far villages of Lebanon, namely Aintoura, near Zouk, Keserwan, which is about half an hour drive from the capital city Beirut, a plan of Turkification of Armenian orphans had been put in motion in 1915.

Such a new page in the history of the Armenian Genocide was recently discovered by Missak Keleshian, who is an avid collector of all kinds of photos of the Armenian Genocide. This is how he speaks about this most recent discovery:

 “A few months ago I was reading a book entitled “The Lions of Marash” by Stanley E. Kerr, (President of the American Univerity of Beirut) who tells about his personal experiences with Near East Relief during the years 1919-1922.

In the book I came across a shocking photo with the following caption:

“Jemal Pasha…on the steps of the French College at Aintoura, Lebanon. Jemal Pasha had established an orphanage for Armenian children in the college building and had appointed Halide Edib to be its directress”.

Halide Edib Hanum was a famous Turkish feminist and very well known for her efforts to turkify Armenian orphans. Beside being shocking, the photo was the first step that lead to a new discovery.

“On December 8, 2005 I visited the village of Aintoura and located the school where the photo was taken. It’s a famous French College and it was established by the Jesuit priests 1657-1783 and Lazarist priests 1783-1834.

I met with the school principal Superior Lazarist Father Jean Sfeir and after showing him the photo, I asked for his permission to research the school’s archives for additional information about it and reveal its entire history. He was also amazed by the photo and asked the archivist of the school to assist me.”

“The archivist of the school Mr. Jean Sebastian Arhan, a Frenchman who came to Lebanon 43 years ago and has been since working in the archive of the French College in Aintoura. I showed him the photo and explained to him what I was looking for. To my amazement he was not only well aware of that part of the school’s history that I was interested in but he had also gathered all the archival material pertaining to that period in a separate file which he gave to me.”

According to Missak Keleshian, the most important revelation of the photo is the presence of Jemal Pasha and Halide Hanum beside Armenian orphans. Halide Hanum (Halide Edib Adivar 1884-1964) was one of the world renowned feminists of her times. She had received higher education American College for Women in1901. Best known for her novels criticizing the low social status of Turkish women; her first novel Seviye Talip, was published in 1909, Her first husband, Salih Zeki, then she remarried Dr. Adnan Adivar in 1917.

She served as a sergeant in Turkey’s nationalist military. Lived in UK, France, and as one of the early feminists met with Gandhi and visited the United States of America for meeting with the leaders of the feminist movement there. She fell in love with Kemal Atatourk but the latter rejected her.

Halide Hanum was a strong supporter of the pashas who planned, organized and executed the Armenian Genocide and played a crucial role in the efforts to turkify the remnants of the Armenians and was one of the leaders of that effort with Nigar Hanum.

Halide Adivar was Member of Parliament 1950-1954.

On October 29, 1914 the Ottoman Empire declared war against France, Great Britain and Russia. Therefore the agreement signed between the great powers and the Ottomans giving Mount Lebanon special status on June 9, 1861 was voided.

The last christian governor of Lebanon, Ohannes Kouyoumdjian Pasha, is replaced by Ali Mounif Bey, during whose reign Lebanon lived horrible condition including hunger, very harsh economic conditions and a surge in the number of executions.

At the end of 1915, the kaymakam (district governor) of Jounieh informs the responsible of the Aintoura College that they must close it down. The clergy are compelled to leave to another monastery on a higher altitude, others are taken to Anatolia and Ourfa while a few older priests, who are unable to travel, remain in Aintoura.

Following the expulsion of the Lazarist priests the school is transformed into an orphanage for Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish children. In 1915 the school housed 800 orphans and 30 soldiers who guarded the school. The staff consisted of 10 Lebanese and the director was Nebih Bey. This is when efforts to turkify the Armenian orphans start to be implemented.

The boys are circumcised and they are given Arabic and Turkish names by keeping the first letters of their Armenian names.

This is how Haroutiun Najarian becomes Hamid Nazim, Boghos Merdanian becomes Bekim Mohammed, Sarkis Sarafian becomes Safwad Suleyman.

Poor sanitary conditions, lack of nourishment and diseases prevail in the school and as a result a big number of children die. Turkish responsibles visiting the school blame Nebih Bey and accuse him of incompetence.

In 1916, the commander of the Fourth Turkish Army Jemal Pasha decides to visit the orphanage. Upon being informed that the official who had appointed him to his position and charged him with the responsibility of turkifying the orphans is planning a visit, Nebih Bey orders the statues of St. Joseph and the statue of father Saliege removed from the school’s entrance. Jemal Pasha arrives at the school accompanied by feminist Halide Hanum, who is immediately appointed to replace Nebih Bey as the principal of the orphanage.

 Halide Hanum is assisted by five Lebanese nuns from the Sacred Heart Order, who are responsible of the sanitation and nutrition of the orphans and other chores. Beside the Aintoura orphanage, Halide Hanum is also responsible of the Sister Nazareth school in Beirut, which is closed down in 1917.

400 new orphans between the ages 3-15 are brought to Aintoura with Jemal Pasha. They are accompanied by 15 young women from Turkish elite families, who join the team of 40 people working towards the islamization and turkification of the orphans.

Halide Hanum, the principal of the school, was the highest authority and was supervising all the activities aiming at the full turkification of the orphans in the shortest possible interval. Her goal was to transform the Aintoura College into an idea Turkish institution.

While famine was prevailing in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon and the Turkish plan to exterminate the Armenians by the sword and the Arabs by famine was being carried on, cows, sheep and flour were abundant in the Aintoura orphanage.

The goal was to have well fed and healthy newly turkified children. Lebanese outside the compound walls used to gather and beg for food.

Teaching at the orphanage was in Turkish. Older orphans were trained in trades – shoemaking, carpentry and others and the mullah assigned to the schools called the children to prayer five times a day.

Every night the band used to play “Long live Jemal Pasha”.

In the summer of 1916 leprosy starts spreading within the orphanage while the Ottoman Armies start loosing on the fronts in the Balkans and in Palestine.

Lutfy Bey, Rashid Bey and Halide Hanum abandon the school and the orphanage starts falling into chaos. Students start leaving the school compound and disorderly conduct leads to fights between the Turkish and Kurdish students on one side and the Armenian orphans – who were blaming the parents of the Turkish and Kurdish students of having killed their parents – on the other.

It is only through the interference of the Turkish soldiers stationed at the school that killings are avoided.

From the 1200 orphans kept at the Aintoura orphanage one thousand are Armenians and the remaining 200 are Turkish and Kurdish.

The Armenian orphans used to keep forks and other sharp objects to defend themselves. When the Ottomans retreat and the French and British arrive in the region, accompanied by members of the clergy, they find a chaotic situation in the school. One of the Lazarist leaders approaches Bayard Dodge, an officer of the American University of Beirut for assistance, who immediately complies with the request and arrange for shipments of food through the American Red Cross.

On October 1, 1918 the Turkish Army abandons Lebanon. On October 7 Father Sarlout returns to Aintoura and realizes that the situation is untenable. He arranges for the Turkish and Kurdish orphans to be transported to Damascus to ease the tension within the orphanage.

He then gathers the Armenian orphans and starts working with them to remember their Armenian names and tries to explain to them that the turkification process they were going through is no longer in force.

Once convinced, the Armenian orphans start calling each other by their original names then they gather all the forks and sharp items they were hiding and “surrender” them to the school officials.

The statue of St. Joseph is returned to its podium and the French flag flies over the school. But father Sarlout realizes that his resources are limited and he cannot support that many orphans. He calls upon Bayard Dodge and the American Red Cross to support the school and the orphans.

Mr. Crawford is then appointed principal of the Aintoura school, the staff of the school is replaced by Armenian teachers and the orphans are offered lessons in Armenian and English. Later “Near East Relief” takes over the school and keeps it until the fall of 1919, when the male orphans are sent to Aleppo and the females to the Armenian orphanage in the village of Ghazir, Lebanon.

While the school was under Turkish control, as a result of malnourishment, lack of sanitary conditions and diseases (mainly typhus), 300 Armenian orphans die. They are buried during 1916 in the backyard of the school.

In 1993 the school directors decide to build an extension in that same backyard. When they start digging the ground they come across human remains which they gather and rebury in a few joint graves in the cemetery belonging to the Aintoura priests.

When the Turks leave and Father Sarlout returns to the school, he finds there 670 orphans – 470 boys and 200 girls.

“Wondering in the different parts of the school, one corner looked very familiar to me. At a first glance I couldn’t remember where or how I had seen that spot but I was sure that this was not new to me. When I returned home I started working in my collection of photographs and after three hours I found what I was looking for:

it was the photo of a young orphan, which was actually taken in the same corner of the Aintoura school that looked familiar to me. The original of the photo was in the archives of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon, in the documents and photos belonging to Maria Jacobson.

The writing on the side of the photo notes: “Armenian orphan, clean-cut and bright”. The seal of “Near East Relief” is still visible at the bottom-left of the photo. At the time, the photo in question did not seem that important but toady, following the newly discovered facts about the Aintoura college, it was another piece of the puzzle I was faced with”,- says Keleshian.

By putting the photos side by side and researching the archives of the Aintoura College, Missak Keleshian succeeded in reconstructing one of the most horrifying phases in the life of the orphans of the Armenian Genocide – Turkification, which was nothing else but another portion of the general plan of annihilating the Armenian nation.

NATO Unaffected By Turkey-France Military Row: Officials

NATO UNAFFECTED BY TURKEY-FRANCE MILITARY ROW: OFFICIALS

Agence France Presse — English November 16, 2006 Thursday

NATO’s operations will not be affected by a decision by the Turkish army to suspend its military relations with France, officials at the defence alliance said Thursday.

Turkish army chief General Ilker Basbug made the announcement late Wednesday in retaliation to a French parliamentary bill which would make it a crime to deny that the World War I massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks constituted genocide.

“It’s a bilateral issue. It won’t affect their relations at NATO,” an official in Brussels said. Both French and Turkish troops were operating in Kabul, he added.

“They’re there today,” he stressed. French and Turkish troops operate side-by-side in the Afghan capital, under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), combatting a fierce insurgency by Taliban rebels.

However, General Basbug told reporters in Ankara that high-level visits between the two countries had stopped, according to the Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency.

Turkey has warned that bilateral ties will suffer a great blow if France adopts the bill, which foresees one year in jail for anyone who denies that Armenians were the victims of genocide by Ottoman Turks between 1915-17.

The bill was approved by the lower house of the French parliament last month but still needs the approval of the Senate and the president to take effect.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million of their people were slaughtered in orchestrated killings during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey’s predecessor.

But Turkey rejects the use of the term “genocide”, saying some 300,000 Armenians died when the Ottoman Empire fell apart, but at least as many Turks did too. ”

This doesn’t concern NATO,” a diplomat at the military organisation agreed. “We don’t foresee any difficulties in the NATO sphere. There won’t be any impact on the functioning of the Alliance”.

Top military officers from NATO and Partner nations were completing two days of talks in Brussels Thursday, two weeks ahead of a NATO Summit in Riga, to shape and inform military advice for the North Atlantic Council.

Iraqi tribunal sentences Saddam to hang

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity in the 1982 killings of 148 people in a single Shiite town, as the ousted leader, trembling and defiant, shouted “God is great!”

As he, his half brother and another senior official in his regime were convicted and sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, Saddam yelled out, “Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!” Later, his lawyer said the former dictator had called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and refrain from revenge against U.S. forces.

The trial brought Saddam and his co-defendants before their accusers in what was one of the most highly publicized and heavily reported trials of its kind since the Nuremberg tribunals for members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime and its slaughter of 6 million Jews in the World War II Holocaust

“The verdict placed on the heads of the former regime does not represent a verdict for any one person. It is a verdict on a whole dark era that has was unmatched in  Iraq‘s history,” said Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s Shiite prime minister.

Some feared the court decision could exacerbate the sectarian violence that has pushed the country to the brink of civil war, after a trial that stretched over nine months in 39 sessions and ended nearly 3 1/2 months ago. The verdict came two days before midterm elections in the United States widely seen as a referendum on the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. U.S. and Iraqi officials have denied the timing was deliberate.

The White House praised the Iraqi judicial system and denied the U.S. had been “scheming” for the verdict.

Iraqis “are the ones who conducted the trial. The Iraqi judges are the ones who spent all the time pouring over the evidence. … It’s important to give them credit for running their own government,” said Tony Snow, the president’s spokesman.

In north Baghdad’s heavily Sunni Azamiyah district, clashes broke out between police and gunmen. Elsewhere in the capital, celebratory gunfire rang out.

“This government will be responsible for the consequences, with the deaths of hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands, whose blood will be shed,” Salih al-Mutlaq, a Sunni political leader, told the Al-Arabiya satellite television station.

Saddam and his seven co-defendants were on trial for a wave of revenge killings carried out in the city of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt on the former dictator. Al-Maliki’s Islamic Dawa party, then an underground opposition, has claimed responsibility for organizing the attempt on Saddam’s life.

In the streets of Dujail, people celebrated and burned pictures of their former tormentor as the verdict was read.

Saddam’s chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi condemned the trial as a “farce,” claiming the verdict was planned. He said defense attorneys would appeal within 30 days.

The death sentences automatically go to a nine-judge appeals panel, which has unlimited time to review the case. If the verdicts and sentences are upheld, the executions must be carried out within 30 days.

A court official told The Associated Press that the appeals process was likely to take three to four weeks once the formal paperwork was submitted.

During Sunday’s hearing, Saddam initially refused the chief judge’s order to rise; two bailiffs pulled the ousted ruler to his feet and he remained standing through the sentencing, sometimes wagging his finger at the judge.

Before the session began, one of Saddam’s lawyers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was ejected from the courtroom after handing the judge a memorandum in which he called the trial a travesty.

Chief Judge Raouf Abdul-Rahman pointed to Clark and said in English, “Get out.”

In addition to the former Iraqi dictator and Barzan Ibrahim, his former intelligence chief and half brother, the Iraqi High Tribunal convicted and sentenced Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the head of Iraq’s former Revolutionary Court, to death by hanging. Iraq’s former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Three defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison for torture and premeditated murder. Abdullah Kazim Ruwayyid and his son Mizhar Abdullah Ruwayyid were party officials Dujail, along with Ali Dayih Ali. They were believed responsible for the Dujail arrests.

Mohammed Azawi Ali, a former Dujail Baath Party official, was acquitted for lack of evidence and immediately freed.

He faces additional charges in a separate case over an alleged massacre of Kurdish civilians — a trial that will continue while appeals are pending.

The guilty verdict is likely to enrage hard-liners among Saddam’s fellow Sunnis, who made up the bulk of the former ruling class. The country’s majority Shiites were persecuted under the former leader but now largely control the government.

Al-Dulaimi, Saddam’s lawyer, told AP his client called on Iraqis to reject sectarian violence and called on them to refrain from taking revenge on U.S. invaders.

“His message to the Iraqi people was ‘pardon and do not take revenge on the invading nations and their people’,” al-Dulaimi said, quoting Saddam. “The president also asked his countrymen to ‘unify in the face of sectarian strife.'”

In Tikrit, Saddam’s hometown, 1,000 people defied the curfew and carried pictures of the city’s favorite son through the streets. Some declared the court a product of the U.S. “occupation forces” and condemned the verdict.

“By our souls, by our blood we sacrifice for you Saddam” and “Saddam your name shakes America.”

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued a statement saying the verdicts “demonstrate the commitment of the Iraqi people to hold them (Saddam and his co-defendants) accountable.”

“Although the Iraqis may face difficult days in the coming weeks, closing the book on Saddam and his regime is an opportunity to unite and build a better future,” Khalilzad said.

Two U.S. officials who worked as advisers to the court on matters of international judicial procedures said Saddam’s repeated outbursts during the trial may have played a key part in his conviction.

They cited his admission in a March 1 hearing that he had ordered the trial of 148 Shiites who were eventually executed, insisting that doing so was legal because they were suspected in the assassination attempt against him. “Where is the crime? Where is the crime?” he asked, standing before the panel of five judges.

Later in the same session, he argued that he was in charge and he alone must be tried. His outburst came a day after the prosecution presented a presidential decree with a signature they said was Saddam’s approval for the Dujail death sentences, their most direct evidence against him.

About 50 of those sentenced by the “Revolutionary Court” died during interrogation before they could go to the gallows. Some of those hanged were children.

“Every time they (defendants) rose and spoke, they provided a lot of incriminating evidence,” said one of the U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Under Saddam, Iraq’s bureaucracy showed a consistent tendency to document orders, policies and minutes of meetings. One document gave the names of everyone from Dujail banished to a desert detention camp in southern Iraq. Another, prepared by an aide to Saddam, gave the president a detailed account of the punitive measures against the people of Dujail.

Saddam’s trial had from the outset appeared to reflect the turmoil and violence in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

One of Saddam’s lawyers was assassinated the day after the trial’s opening session last year. Two more were later assassinated and a fourth fled the country.

In January, chief judge Rizgar Amin, a Kurd, resigned after complaints by Shiite politicians that he had failed to keep control of court proceedings. He, in turn, complained of political interference. Abdul-Rahman, another Kurd, replaced Amin.

Hearings were disrupted by outbursts from Saddam and Ibrahim, with the two raging against what they said was the illegitimacy of the court, their ill treatment in the U.S.-run facility where they are being held and the lack of protection for their lawyers.

The defense lawyers contributed to the chaos in the courtroom by staging several boycotts.