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Sunday, 29 January 2012

State of war in words

It is a shame that the publication
" The Armenian People, from Ancient to Modern Times: 
Vol I: The Dynastic Periods: from Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century" by Professor Richard G. Hovanisian has been the victim of a petition by some academics of the Republic of Armenia over supposed wording that could be construed to infer that Armenians are foreign to the region.
I have both volumes 1 & 2 and never found anything to complain off so far.
In a purist historical way, to understand the tribes of the ancient past, to accept that modern nations are built on a rich history and prehistory of differing peoples, is now impossible in the Republic of Armenia and as a subject of discussion in general.
This is because the Republic of Azerbaijan, with its petro dollars, is waging a war of words.
These words involve the concoction of an unbroken history that sees the Sumerians as being the founders of the Azerbaijani nation north of the Araxes river thousands of years ago. This fantasy had been the creation of Pan Turkist "scholars" in the 1970's.
No serious, honest, scholar accepts any of this. 
This war is also being fought online in particularly on YouTube were anyone can make a "documentary" and it is likely national governments follow such "documentaries" if not sponsor them.

The result of this war of words is that merely to write how for example "the Urartuans invaded the Armenian Highland from the south and created a kingdom" or "the Cimmerians, Scythians invaded the Armenian Highland from the north and settled down" or "Phrygian tribes invaded Anatolia and reached as far as the Armenian Highland and settled down".
None of this infers that no one was living in the Armenian Highland before any of these people decided to invade, prior to that the Armenian Highland is mentioned by the Assyrians as the land of "Nairi" and a very prosperous and populated land at that. Civilization reaches back thousands of years in that land, even by there mere artifact of a shoe testifies to specialist skills, and so, civilization.

The problem is, mental health sufferers who can pass of or get dressed up by governments with nationalist agendas as bonafide experts will seize on anything that refers to tribes "invading" the Armenian Highland to mean that all the Armenian people invaded it and are therefor illegal occupants. Pasting onto this nonsense is the Sumerian origin myth.

In the west we are free to look deep into the fault lines of history without fear that by doing so will bring about an invasion by a hostile country.
Alas this is not the case in the Republic of Armenia, where any such inquiries must be prevented, as a matter of national security.

Lets make an example.
Imagine during WWI or WWII in England if some journalist wanted to write that "not every German was a blood thirsty monster", such a thing would be treason at the time, probably punishable by long term imprisonment, and the writer would probably become the victom of a hate campaign.
Theoretically what such an imagined journalist would not be wrong. But to make such statements to the public at a time of war would jeopardise public moral and even the war effort.
Such a statement could be seized by "tosh mongers" of the Tabloids to become a "headline grabber" such as "enemy traitor loves Hitler" or "execute the German lover!"
Rabid Tabloid nonsense in times of peace deserve the ridicule they are askign for and can be dismissed as ultimately harmless. But in times of war such spoutings will be tacitly allowed by the government, and become the offical mind set of the masses on what is right and wrong to say, and that "all Germans are evil and must be killed."

In that analogy we see why such mentionings in books such as "The Armenian People, from Ancient to Modern Times" of the formation of the Armenian people can be seized upon as "treason" and the result is that now no in depth study of Armenian history can ever be done in the current war situation.

So references to Herodotu, who stated that warriors living in western Armenia wore Phrygian hats, Strabo stating that the religious customs of the Armenians came from the Medes, must be banned. 
It never dawns on the modern censor that these real ancient witnesses are proof of the existence of Armenia in ancient times, wheras they do not mention the existence of Azerbaijan.

To theorise that the ancient region of "Sakashen" refers to the Scythians who invaded from the north in the 6th century BC or that the ancient city of Gyumri derives its name from the Cimmerian people who invaded from the north, before the Scythians is now like a blasphemy, deserving a Fatwa. 
That these were singular settlements amongst a larger native population does not factor in.
It does not infer that everyone settled there in an empty land and the people of the Republic of Armenia have no right to live there. 
However as stated, such studies are seized upon by the Pan Turkic government of Azerbaijan and contorted to infer just that, that the Republic of Armenia has no right to exist.

As stated, in the west, such historical observations would attract little interest in the general public and be of no concern to national security. 
This does not work in the troubled Caucasus region of today. 

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