Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Celal Birader Has Found The First President Of His Fan Club


Dear James,

You are too kind; and, I am very flattered.

You are probably only seeing Jesus in me as my family will attest to my many faults and failings.

Nevertheless, be assured that the job will always be yours for the asking.


Celal Birader
Icarus Redeemed

Quote of the Day

"Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular"

- Anonymous

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quote of the Day

"I have avoided referring to my heritage in my work until now. After all, I have lived in Los Angeles most of my life, not Iran, and expressing "pride in cultural diversity" has been too fashionable a movement for me. However, in recent years, as in 1979, when my family immigrated to the United States, I have been confronted by my "otherness" on a more regular basis. As the battles between fundamentalists on both sides of the globe rage on, so do my bicultural conflicts."

Max Emadi

Linkestan 2007 10 25

"They demand that we empathise"
: update on the trial and investigation of the Hrant Dink murder

Why they killed Hrant Dink - Maureen Freely

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Personal Reflection on the Armenian Genocide

Is the murder of 6 million Jews 60 years ago worse than the murder of 1.5 million Armenians 92 years ago ?

What about the murder of the unique Son of God 2,000 years ago ?

I understand Rembrandt did a number of self-portraits, as many painters do.

One of them is a portrait of the crucifixion in which Rembrandt appears as the one lowering Jesus from the cross - as if to say "I was there".

Similarly, it was the unique stories of two individuals - that of Hrant Dink and that of Haroutioun Kebedjian which drew me into the "I was there" historical pain and injustice suffered by Armenians.

As a Turk, I probably stand alone (or with a handful of others) and separate from 75 million other Turks in trying to come to terms with this heinous crime.

But, that is where I am. That is where you will find me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taner Akcam weighs in on the Genocide bill before Congress

"(...) For his part, "A Shameful Act" author Taner Akcam acknowledges the force of these pragmatic arguments -- but rejects them.

"Look, we can make a list of reasons why this resolution will make matters worse," Akcam said in a phone interview from his office at the University of Minnesota.

"First, it explicitly politicizes the problem. Second, it makes a historic problem a diplomatic fight between the United States and Turkey. Third, it increases the aggressive attacks of the Turkish government against those inside and outside the country. Fourth, it increases the animosity and hatred against Armenians generally in Turkey. Fifth, it can never solve the problem. It aggravates the problem.

"OK, so we've made this list," Akcam went on. "But what is the answer?

Whoever is against the resolution must show an alternative to the Armenian people. Unless you give an alternative policy, saying 'Shut up and stop' is not a policy. The Armenians don't have any options. As long Turkey criminalizes the past, as long as Turkey kills journalists, as long as Turkey drags its intellectuals from court to court, as long as Turkey punishes the people who use the G-word, as long as Turkey doesn't have any diplomatic relations with Armenia, as long as Turkey threatens everybody in the world who opens the topic of historical wrongdoing, it is the legitimate right of a victim group to make its voice heard."

Akcam dismisses the argument that the time was not yet ripe for the resolution. "You can use the timing argument forever and ever. Who will decide when the timing is right?"

But Akcam argues that a long-term solution requires much more than a U.S. resolution. He says two steps are necessary: Turkey and Armenia must establish normal relations, and Turks must learn that confronting their history does not threaten their Turkish identity, but strengthens it.

This means that Turks should look at the conflict not as a zero-sum game in which any Armenian gain is a Turkish loss, but as a necessary part of the process of becoming a democratic nation. It's an approach to resolving bitter historical grievances called "transitional justice," and it has been effective in helping resolve historical grievances between Germany and the Czech Republic, within South Africa and in other places.

The Armenians, too, need to rethink their approach, Akcam said. In the new paradigm, the Armenian diaspora would present its policy not as being totally against Turkey, but for a new democratic Turkey. "Until now this was a conventional war between Turkey and Armenian diaspora, and congressional resolutions were the effective weapon in this conventional war," Akcam said. "What I'm saying is we should stop thinking in these conventional ways."

The U.S. could play an important role in helping both parties break the impasse, Akcam said, but it is hampered by its lack of credibility in the Middle East. He points to what he calls a "stupid distinction between national security and morality. If you follow the whole discussion in Congress, on the one side you have the moralists, who say that Turkey should face what it did. This doesn't convince most of the people in the Middle East because we know that these are the guys torturing the people in Iraq, these are the guys killing the Iraqi civilians there, these are the guys who haven't signed the International Criminal Court agreement.

"On the other side are the realpolitikers," Akcam went on, referring to the Bush administration and the foreign-policy establishment, like the secretaries of state who signed the letter opposing the resolution. "They say the bill jeopardizes the national interests of the United States, Turkish-U.S. relations, interests of U.S. soldiers in Iraq."

Akcam argues that both elements must be present to have an effective foreign policy. "The fact is that realpolitik, the U.S. national interest in the Middle East, necessitates making morality, facing history, a part of national security. The basic problem between Turks and Armenians is that they don't trust each other because of their history." Akcam's point is that unless the U.S. is willing to look unflinchingly at the region's history, and try to broker deals that address legitimate grievances, it will not be able to achieve its realpolitik goals.

"If America really has a strong interest in its national security and the security of the region, it should stop following a national security concept that accepts human rights abusers," Akcam said. "It doesn't work, it makes things worse in the region. And it supports perpetrators who have committed crimes in the past and are committing crimes today."

( Read More )

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On Satan

"The most popular image of Satan's intention is that he is in a struggle with God for our souls. There is little if anything in scripture to support such a notion. There is no battle raging for men's souls. Such an idea is wrong on many fronts.

For one thing, if Satan is dueling God, a tug of war for our souls as it were, it makes him an enemy of comparable power. We already know that is far from the truth. Satan is powerful compared to us, but worse than a 98 pound weakling compared to God.

The other problem is with God's perfect justice. If we are lost because Satan snatched us, then we are lost for something that is not our fault.

God doesn't send people to eternal damnation because of something that isn't their fault. We stand condemned on our own account, as reprobate sinners.

In my opinion, Satan doesn't care about our souls, and has no use for them.

What Satan wants, what he always wants, is to rob God of the one commodity that God wants, the very reason that He made us. Satan wants to diminish God's glory.

The compelling evidence that Satan is interested in robbing God's glory and not in stealing our immortal soul comes from the book of Job, specifically the two conversations between Satan and God. Let's look at the first one: "

( Read More )

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How Are The Families of Martyred Christians Faring in Turkey Since The Malatya Murders ?

Last Sunday night on the way home from church services, a sad little voice came from the back seat of the car.

“Mommy, I miss my Daddy so much. Can’t Jesus bring him back to us?”

Her mother sighed, and then turned from the front seat to explain gently once more to her 6-year-old daughter, “Esther, Jesus decided to take Daddy to heaven, to be with Him. So we have to wait until Jesus takes us to heaven to see Daddy again.”

The little girl thought for a few seconds and then declared, “Well, if Daddy isn’t coming back, then I want to go to heaven too!”

( Read More )

How Are Christians Faring in Turkey Since the Malatya Murders ?

Turkish Protestants have reported increasing attacks and threats in recent months despite claims by President Abdullah Gul this week that Christians in Turkey are not targeted.

Believers told Compass that threats have increased since two Turkish Christian converts and a German Christian were tortured and killed at Zirve Publishing House in Malatya on April 18. Neighbors have threatened Christian radio station workers in Ankara in recent weeks, and a visitor to Antalya’s Bible Church (pictured above) this summer attacked an elderly member with a chair.

Antalya Bible Church pastor Ramazan Arkan said that he is pursuing four court cases against Rasim Eryildiz, a construction worker who began threatening church members in May.

( Read More )

Saturday, October 06, 2007