Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015, 1965, 1945... how about 1915?

Korea's logically talking a lot about the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII (and of Korea's Liberation), and the 50th anniversary of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, particularly in the light of persisting denials of Imperial Japan war crimes and sexual slavery system ('Comfort women')*. It could be interesting for the Koreans as well as for the Japanese to learn more about the 100th anniversary of another yet to be resolved historical issue: the Armenian Genocide.
I pause here to make things clear to my - dear and many - Turkish friends and readers: 
. I love Turkey as much as I love Korea, Japan, or my native country France (and had this Summer, as always, a fantastic time in the great city of Istanbul)
. I believe that each nation grows stronger when it faces all sides of its history (and I keep repeating that Korea must set its own record straight to show a positive example to the world and its neighbors, instead of using the rise of revisionism overseas as an excuse to do the same at home)
. Denying the Armenian Genocide is as unacceptable as denying the Holocaust. 1,5 M died in the Armenian Genocide, which was fueled by an abject ideology, and involved concentration camps, mass deportations and murders (not to mention the destruction of whole neighborhoods and of thousands of cultural landmarks)...
For atrocities perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire a century ago, the Turkish government still refuses to officially accept the term 'genocide', in spite of mounting international pressure. Citizens who dare speak up in favor of a resolution are exposed to harassment, even when they are famous (one more reason to respect the great Ohran Pamuk). And nowadays, the soul of this great nation is threatened by its own leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is regularly accused of undermining democracy, fueling nationalism and international crisis, and trying to roll-back history - he even got rid of the usual local euphemisms to refer to the Genocide, rewording "the so-called Armenian Genocide" into "the Events of 1915"!

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? 

My first message is to the Japanese people: don't expect international outrage to abate with time; the worst thing to do is to do nothing, and to let corrupt leaders add further disgrace to your great nation; the only solution is to restore Japan's honor by doing the right thing.
Memo to #Japan: #Turkey still shamed for negationism 100 y after #ArmenianGenocide. Reject now #ShinzoAbe's #ImperialJapan revival (twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/591198372117098496)

My second message is to the Korean people: I wish you could have visited this most efficient 'Armenie 1915' expo in the Paris City Hall (April-July 2015). It was much more convincing than anything I've seen anywhere and particularly in Korea because it was on a purely factual, fair, and descriptive mode. If the visitor is moved, he is never manipulated, never played any emotional, nationalist, us-vs-them tune.

I don't have new messages for Shinzo Abe, who as usual will try his best to do his worst. 

He is under growing scrutiny regarding the content of his Abe Statement, and this time, Japanese audiences may pay closer attention, particularly after his controversial speeches in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If he ends up conceding such  key terms as 'aggression' or 'apology', they're bound to be surrounded by his usual smokescreens, double entendres, asterisks and footnotes**.

Regardless of the content, Abe decided to deliver his Statement on August 14th instead of August 15th, which fundamentally undermines its significance (that day, the world will more talk about the reopening of the US embassy in Cuba), and confirms to his base that in his mind, the Empire never surrendered. Furthermore, August 15th is the day Abe usually pays tribute to War Criminals by either visiting Yasukuni, or sending his best wishes...

Anyway, que sera sera, whatever will be will be...

Now I bet Abe is more than a bit jealous of Erdogan: not just because all survivors of the Genocide have already passed away (while our last, dear Halmonis keep demonstrating every week - see "One Thousand Weednesdays"), but also because unlike his dear JSDF, the Turkish military is already free to strike beyond its borders without declaring a war***.

#Erdogan provokes #Kurds on 100th anniv. of #ArmenianGenocide
#ShinzoAbe restores #militarism on 70th anniv. of #WWII
... #Peace please (twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/630935725043613696)

Seoul Village 2015
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*let's not go all the way to the 120th anniversary of the assassination of Empress Myeongsong (1895)
** if you want to revisit Japan history with pink glasses, read the report tailor-made for him ahead of the event ("Report of the Advisory Panel on the History of the 20th Century, on Japan's Role and the World Order in 21th Century"). Not fully Nippon Kaigi-friendly, but biased enough.
*** and with the benediction of the States (even if said strikes seem to target less ISIS than the Kurds who fight it, conveniently fueling in Turkey, weeks after a major electoral upset, both nationalism and tensions against Kurds)

1 comment:

  1. Just read that the Turkish government hired a PR firm in DC to lobby against Armenian Genocide recognition


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