Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Commentary by Edward Tashji   
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It's tragic how many Armenians are so blinded by hatred that they prefer to live in the past, and deny themselves the joys of their roots. Not all Armenians are like that. Some Armenians prefer concentrating on their emotional attachments to the old country. These Armenians know Turkish music, food and language form as much a part of their identities as anything else, and don't appreciate being ostracized by the larger, more hateful Armenian group. They feel they are robbed of their precious past and cherished memories, and resent the domineering attitude of the other group.

I'm a big fan of Edward Tashji, who has the guts and the love to come right out and declare where he stands. In his own words, this "Armenian-American has become 'famous,' (he said with all humility), within the Turkish community, while becoming "infamous", (he said with deep regret), within the Armenian community." Also, in his words... he is : "An American born of an Armenian mother and a Syrian-Orthodox father (.) He is the younger son of parents who had been born in Ottoman Turkey, became eye-witness to the conflagration of the First World War in their beloved homeland, and as a result, their destiny brought them to the land where millions had emigrated."


The Enigmatic Armenian Continues To Fumble

Of all the articles presented in this section by this writer, none has taken the time and the arduous effort as has this offering. It is not for the lack of factual information; on the contrary, it is because there is so much to present that space prevents me from presenting the totality of the evidence which only this writer can submit to the readers of The Turkish Times. Am I being presumptuous or egotistical? Not at all! In the preparation of this article, I have had to utilize my ability to speak Turkish, Armenian, and of course, English. In addition, most of the information presented below is incontrovertibly confirmed by my collection of Turkish music records with its thousands of recordings. (Some are dated to the 1921 period!) When preparing my article on Turkish music, printed here on December 15. 1997, I had no idea that one month later, on January 15, 1998, I would come into possession of a lengthy article printed in the Armenian Mirror Spectator, dated November 29, 1997. Its title, “Armenians on 8th Avenue,” quotes the statements of Mr. Harold G. Hagopian, who has produced compact disc and cassette recordings taken from old “78” and”LP” records; for sale, of course.

I have chosen only eight examples from the article which will display how the Armenians in this country have found themselves inexorably immersed in the quicksand of hatred:

1. Referring to so-called nightclubs located on 8th Avenue in New York City, where during my youth, many Armenian and Greek musicians had performed during the late 1930s through the 1960s, the producer, Mr. Hagopian, says: “... these clubs were frequented increasingly by chic New Yorkers and celebrities...“ — WRONG! As I indicated in my article on Turkish music, during my youth because of my deep love for Turkish music, I had had the misfortune of performing at some of these clubs, which are accurately named in the Hagopian article. (The reader might remember I had revealed my playing the "darbuka,” a Turkish drum, with two American-born musical groups.) The area was far from being a pleasant and safe locale. Not as bad as today, but anyone entering those dirty establishments certainly were not “chic” nor a discriminating audience of Turkish music. In addition...

2. Describing the clientele, they would: “... marvel at the artistry of authentic belly dancers..." — WRONG! Though people of our background did yearn for the music and songs which were an integral part of their culture in Turkey, the overwhelming majority of individuals who had patronized those seedy places were Americans looking for scantily dressed women who were not Turkish, were not respected professionals, and had no conception of the art as it was intended to be performed.

3. The paper says: “...Hagopian understands that this music, sung by Armenians in the Turkish language, is a subject of much discussion and debate. In his essay, he (Hagopian) writes: ‘...How is it that an album featuring Armenian artists contains nothing but songs sung in Turkish... For Armenians...still preoccupied with sorting out their cultural identity since the Genocide of 1915...' ” I have a question: Why don’ t the Armenians have a problem with Charles Aznavour, the world famous vocalist, singing his entire professional life in French??! Aznavour, quite naturally, sings to the music of his birth and country. No discussion or debate in France, evidently.

4. Hagopian writes: “,..music fans who gathered in these clubs wanted to put politics aside and enjoy the music they remembered...” — Absolutely CORRECT! (And you thought I could not agree on anything.) In the clubs or concert halls, it was the music, Turkish music, their music, songs, taksims, pesrevs, dancing; it was pure delight, which, of course, was also filled with sadness, because of the tragedies of war. But when the joy of “The Turkish Delight” came to an end, the hate monster would resurface and in their communities hatred for Turks continued to be the basis of their existence.

5. Hagopian writes: “...I don’t believe that Armenians who listen to this music are preserving Turkish culture. This belongs as much to the Armenians as to anyone else who played and sang it in Ottoman times...”. WRONG! and CORRECT! (See how fair l can be?) Of course the music belongs to the Armenians; it belongs to every segment of the country who contributed their talents to Turkish music. That includes, the Suryanis, (remember them?), the Greeks, the Jews, the Kurds, and yes, the Armenians as well, and let us not forget the Turks. The culture and traditions of all these groups remain inseparable!

6. Hagopian writes that Armenian “..artists composed or sang about Armenian circumstance...”. The paper quotes a selection on a CD "...where an Armenian woman sings in Turkish...”, and translates the lyrics into English: “...You are an orphan, who will wipe your tears? Sleep my baby angel...”. — MISLEADING! The “circumstances” unquestionably refers to the mythical “genocide; as the child has lost its parents. It took a long time, but in my record collection l FOUND the original “78” recording of this song! The paper “forgot” to give the title of the song, it is: “NINNI”!! The Turkish word for: LULLABY!! I listened to the recording repeatedly: The child is an orphan, the song is sung as a lullaby, speaks of love. longing, and “smile my sweet”. NO mention of conflict, NO mention of circumstances! How could I refute the implication of the article, if I did not have the actual recording??! (Yes, I'm shouting!)

7. Among numerous artists named in the article (some included in my article on Turkish Music), a vocalist is mentioned as, “Sugar Mary.” WRONG! I had known this vocalist for years. Mary Vartanian’s stage name, the name everyone called her, was “SEKER” (Turkish, for sugar) Mary!! Why was she not called “SHAKAR”(Armenian, for sugar)?? The Turkish form of the word evidently was not a cause for “discussion and debate”!

8. Reference is made in the article to another famous vocalist, she is named, Madin Araradian, her actual name is Madlen Araradian; yes, I had known her personally, also. This is the lady who sang the “Ninni” described above, which the paper did not mention. The paper also overlooked recordings which I did not know were in my possession. I found THREE “78” recordings by Madlen Araradian on her own label, SIX vocals all sung in Turkish!! On the recordings are the great kanun player, “rahmetli”, (Turkish word for respectful memory of a deceased person) Ahmet Yatman, and “kardesim” (my brother), Tarik Bulut!! (I hope our American readers are increasing their Turkish vocabulary).

At this point let us put aside the article about 8th Avenue, and review briefly two cassettes entitled, “Udi Hrant” which l had purchased months ago and are tapes filled with old "78” and “LP” recordings. With the tapes l had received a booklet written by Mr. Hagopian. He is very complimentary of Udi Hrant, an ethnic Armenian who was blind all his life, and describes his life and masterful accomplishments of the Turkish “ut.” He also acknowledges the high esteem in which he continues to be held in his homeland of Turkey. While describing the many recordings, Hagopian does not refer, however, to one selection which is called: “Egin Havasi” (could be misspelled), in which the Master Udi Hrant has sung this old Turkish song in Armenian, as he accompanies himself. The following is my translation from the Armenian from some of his lyrics: “the beautiful bodies of water of lstanbul...how the sweet breeze of love flows... if God would grant my wish for me to go and enter the sea...” THIS is my kind of Armenian! But Hrant’s words were NOT printed by Hagopian, as I have accurately translated them — because to do so, to present the eight facts presented above, would conclude that the totally fallacious accusations of the Armenians against the Turkish Nation would be proven false to the very letter!!

Mr. Hagopian appears to be a victim of the Armenian enigma, in that his apparent love for his cultural music has been manifestly destroyed by the diabolic mentality of the Armenian “hate merchants.” But that corrupt design has not and can not penetrate the heart and soul of this humble servant of my ancestral, cultural, and historical homeland — The Republic of Turkey! Where my future humble efforts will take me, I have no way of knowing, but by the Grace of our God of all mankind, our work continues...

(Holdwater: During the early 1950s, Mr. Tashji had the distinction of being a member of the first Middle-Eastern band in New York City,  named Nor Ikes [Armenian for music]. The five members of the band were all Armenian-Americans, led by Charles "Chick" Ganimian, who would later become perhaps the most successful American-born ut player. The band's repertoire included Turkish, Armenian, Arabic and some Greek dances and songs... and just like the Beatles, the ability to read music was superseded by playing by ear!

Not long after, and as a member of the American Musicians Union Local 802, Mr. Tashji found better harmony within the group The Garabed Boys, led by Joe Garabed — a master violinist, and of Syrian Orthodox extraction.)


Edward Tashji

I am Called: "Turk Dostu" — A "Friend of Turks"

The Turkish Times

March 15, 1998



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...Is to expose the mythological “Armenian genocide,” from the years 1915-16. A wartime tragedy involving the losses of so many has been turned into a politicized story of “exclusive victimhood,” and because of the prevailing prejudice against Turks, along with Turkish indifference, those in the world, particularly in the West, have been quick to accept these terribly defamatory claims involving the worst crime against humanity. Few stop to investigate below the surface that those regarded as the innocent victims, the Armenians, while seeking to establish an independent state, have been the ones to commit systematic ethnic cleansing against those who did not fit into their racial/religious ideal: Muslims, Jews, and even fellow Armenians who had converted to Islam. Criminals as Dro, Antranik, Keri, Armen Garo and Soghoman Tehlirian (the assassin of Talat Pasha, one of the three Young Turk leaders, along with Enver and Jemal) contributed toward the deaths (via massacres, atrocities, and forced deportation) of countless innocents, numbering over half a million. What determines genocide is not the number of casualties or the cruelty of the persecutions, but the intent to destroy a group, the members of which are guilty of nothing beyond being members of that group. The Armenians suffered their fate of resettlement not for their ethnicity, having co-existed and prospered in the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but because they rebelled against their dying Ottoman nation during WWI (World War I); a rebellion that even their leaders of the period, such as Boghos Nubar and Hovhannes Katchaznouni, have admitted. Yet the hypocritical world rarely bothers to look beneath the surface, not only because of anti-Turkish prejudice, but because of Armenian wealth and intimidation tactics. As a result, these libelous lies, sometimes belonging in the category of “genocide studies,” have become part of the school curricula of many regions. Armenian scholars such as Vahakn Dadrian, Peter Balakian, Richard Hovannisian, Dennis Papazian and Levon Marashlian have been known to dishonestly present only one side of their story, as long as their genocide becomes affirmed. They have enlisted the help of "genocide scholars," such as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Samantha Power, and Israel Charny… and particularly  those of Turkish extraction, such as Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek, who justify their alliance with those who actively work to harm the interests of their native country, with the claim that such efforts will help make Turkey more" democratic." On the other side of this coin are genuine scholars who consider all the relevant data, as true scholars have a duty to do, such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Erich Feigl and Guenter Lewy. The unscrupulous genocide industry, not having the facts on its side, makes a practice of attacking the messenger instead of the message, vilifying these professors as “deniers” and "agents of the Turkish government." The truth means so little to the pro-genocide believers, some even resort to the forgeries of the Naim-Andonian telegrams or sources  based on false evidence, as Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Naturally, there is no end to the hearsay "evidence" of the prejudiced pro-Christian people from the period, including missionaries and Near East Relief representatives, Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others. When the rare Westerner opted to look at the issues objectively, such as Admirals Mark Bristol and Colby Chester, they were quick to be branded as “Turcophiles” by the propagandists. The sad thing is, even those who don’t consider themselves as bigots are quick to accept the deceptive claims of Armenian propaganda, because deep down people feel the Turks are natural killers and during times when Turks were victims, they do not rate as equal and deserving human beings. This is the main reason why the myth of this genocide has become the common wisdom.