Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Pigeon on the Bridge is Shot

I recently signed up for e-mail alerts from the Middle East Research and Information Project, and this intriguing title appeared yesterday: A Pigeon on the Bridge is Shot.

The article was introduced as follows: The late Armenian Turkish journalist and writer Hrant Dink devoted his professional life to publicizing the discrimination suffered by minorities in Turkey, and helping Armenians and Turks come to terms with the horrors of the past. His assassination by a Turkish nationalist youth in January underlined the lengths to which some will go to prevent Turkey from becoming the country that Dink envisioned -- a place where citizenship is a guarantee of rights, and not an instrument of assimilation with "Turkishness."

What I know about the Armenian genocide in the early 1900’s is that most of the world ignored it. Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation – The Conquest of the Middle East describes in some detail this first major genocide of the 20th century.

What I find odd is that most of the world, which rightly condemns Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, ignores the Armenian Holocaust.

The final paragraph in the article is very moving: Hrant Dink lived his life like a pigeon on a bridge connecting the feelings and thoughts of Armenians in Turkey with those outside, as well as with Turks. He was a pigeon on a mission to make such bridges more than symbolic. He was shot by trench diggers, who remain powerful opponents of his mission. On the day of his funeral, however, Hrant Dink’s bridge was flooded by thousands who wanted to guard it in his name. He would have loved the sight.

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