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Manufacturing Clichés: Turk-Hating Armenians and Genocide Obsession

Meline Toumani and Arman Grigoryan write opinion pieces about topics they know little about and create clichés – one of a genocide-obsessed people and another of the Turk-hating Armenian – that they then attack to prove their foregone conclusions.

A week before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, two opinion pieces were published on the same day, one in The New York Times, titled “We Armenians Shouldn’t Let Genocide Define Us,” by Meline Toumani, and the other in The Washington Post, titled “Can Armenia Move Past Its Hatred of Turkey?” by Arman Grigoryan.

The pieces, leveraging the attention on the upcoming Genocide centennial commemoration, take aim at the authors’ perceptions of the Armenian reality and their recommendations for how to move forward. Unfortunately, both end up as remarkably tone deaf wasted opportunities that exemplify how being Armenian doesn’t make one an expert on Armenians.

The articles are so similar that you might mistake them as two parts of the same piece if they didn’t appear in different publications. But the most striking similarity is the total jettisoning of facts and realities by both Toumani and Grigoryan. They have made up their mind about what is and what isn’t and they choose evidence that fits their narrative, ignoring whatever doesn’t.


Toumani, a journalist who recently wrote the book There Was and There Was Not, discusses important issues by couching them among facile and offensive caricatures of Armenians. Indeed, she doubles down on the arrogance that drove the writing in her book. She is surprisingly insistent on conveying a twisted image of the Armenian reality by selectively choosing bits about it that fit a narrative where Armenians are singularly obsessed with their genocide.

She writes that “beneath this limiting agenda is something even simpler and more banal: the desire to prove, as the poet Paruyr Sevak wrote in a line Armenians cling to like a pep-rally cry, ‘We exist and we shall live on.’”

Scout Tufankjian, a photojournalist who spent the past several years documenting Armenian communities throughout the world for her own recently published book, responded to this on her Facebook wall, writing:

“What is banal about Charles Aznavour’s La Boheme? Or Eric Bogosian‘s Talk Radio? Or the photography of Karsh, Diana Markosian, and Karen Mirzoyan? Or Saroyan’s Human Comedy? Or Atom Egoyan’s Sweet Hearafter? Or Nancy Kricorian’s All the Light There Was? Or Arthur Nersesian’s The Fuck-up? Or Katherine Sarafian’s Pixar movies? … Or do these things not count as Armenian art to [Toumani]?”

The mythical banality of Toumani notwithstanding, the list goes on.

Tufankjian spent six years traveling to Diaspora communities and meeting with Armenians there. She writes that, “I have seen that there is thread that tied us all together, a thread that has a lot to do with our shared history, but our shared history is not just the Genocide, and I did not meet anyone who thought that it was.”

The underlying point here is important: Toumani is not an expert on the Diaspora – or anything Armenian. That’s fine. What isn’t fine is that she writes about these things as an expert. Even though she is a journalist, she makes no apparent effort to try to understand the subject she’s writing about and her only claim to being able to write about Armenians is that she herself is Armenian – that’s not good enough. If there existed an honest summary of her qualifications, it would read, “born Armenian, speaks Armenian, attended Armenian summer camp.”

Due to her ignorance, she writes about complex national issues using clichés she’s invented to replace a gaping void of knowledge. It ends as an example of epic charlatanry: she’s painfully uninformed about the subject but her editors don’t know that she doesn’t know – and she doesn’t tell them.

So, she does things like whittling the Armenian “unity of purpose” to the Genocide, again, to fit her narrow interpretation.

Tufankjian writes about this, as well: “I have seen little of that mindless unity that she [Toumani] seems to think is our national characteristic. Instead, I have met hundreds and hundreds of thoughtful individuals trying to figure out their own place in the world – both the world of their adopted homelands and the world of their Armenian identity. I resent the implication that these people do not exist or do not count.”

Cherrypicking points convenient to her argument is something Toumani does when discussing criticism of her book, as well: she refers exclusively to the wholly negative reviews and ignores all other commentary that might disprove the image of the simplistic Armenian she’s trying to build.

She smartly prefaces her own critiques by discussing the concept of self-hate, to which she then ascribes Armenian disapprobation of her work. She laments that the “label [self-hate] is used not to engage in meaningful criticism, but to dismiss such criticism by chalking it up to shame” – then goes ahead and engages in superficial criticism and dismissing opposing viewpoints.

It’s not her failings, of course, or the legitimate concerns of her critics but their inability to think outside the box, like she can, which compels her to write with such concern about Armenians’ wrong trajectory.

Toumani outdoes herself when she quotes Russian-Jewish writer Vassily Grossman, writing in 1962, and smugly whitewashes the whole of Armenian culture: “poetry, architecture, science and history no longer mean anything to these people. They matter only insofar as they testify to the superiority of the Armenian nation.”

Did she just use a half-century old observation of Armenians in the Soviet Union, written barely a generation after the obliteration of Armenian culture to describe Armenians in 2015? Yes. Yes, she did.

Reading her piece, we are left with one conclusion, at which Toumani has already herself arrived: Meline Toumani is an Armenian, version 2.0, and the rest of the Armenian Nation is stuck in beta.


In The Washington Post piece, Grigoryan, a scantly published academic, seems to confuse Armenia, Armenians, and the Armenia Diaspora, discussing them interchangeably or ambiguously at times. In the end, he uses his platform for an unoriginal hit piece about all of it: Armenia, Armenians, and the Diaspora. But, his preferred boogeyman is the Turk-hating Armenian.

Sometimes copying the language from Toumani’s book verbatim, he writes that “we can hardly hope to win their solidarity if we continue to indulge in anti-Turkish rhetoric…or portray Turks as a race of bloodthirsty barbarians to our children in schools and summer camps.”

Let’s be clear: the Young Turks, the organizers of the Genocide, were bloodthirsty barbarians. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching this history as it is. If the barbarism of the Young Turks draws unwanted attention to modern-day Turks and Turkey, it is their own responsibility, and not that of Armenians, to dissociate themselves with their violent past by making amends.

Likewise, the modern-day Republic of Turkey, in its reprehensible drive to continue denying the Armenian Genocide and to permanently erase Armenian culture from the territory of its current state should be condemned at every possible instance for its attempts to rewrite history. This is not radical, extreme, or anti-Turkish. For Grigoryan to equate speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and its subsequent denial with virulent racism is, put lightly, dishonest: remembering genocide and working toward justice is not hate.

Grigoryan also has a problem with what he calls “hardline” Armenians and, true to an apparent rite-of-passage of ambitious pseudo-intellectuals, takes aim at the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the ever-popular whipping boy of the Armenian world.

He writes that “when the first post-communist government of Armenia adopted a course for normalization with Turkey, it became the target of a vicious campaign by some organizations in the diaspora, including the most powerful one [the ARF].” As a member of that first post-communist government, this is where his intentions in the article come into full bloom: the man has a bone to pick.

As might be expected, Grigoryan presents the rosy picture he wants people to remember. While later accusing them of supporting the “anti-democratic” government in Armenia today, he fails to mention that the government of which he was a part had, quite anti-democratically, banned the ARF.

Seemingly unaware of developments in the community he’s criticizing, he suggests that “ordinary and decent Turks should be our allies in the struggle for recognition by the Turkish state.” In what seems to be a trend, he forgets the Progressive Politics conference at which he was a presenter in 2012 (and to which he was invited, incidentally, by the ARF): in previous and subsequent years, Turkish academics and intellectuals Umit Kurt, Asli Bali, Ragip Zarakolu, and Bilgin Ayata were also invited.*

But these facts don’t adhere to Grigoryan’s straw man of the ubiquitous Turk-hating Armenian, so he doesn’t include them.

In a total disregard for the integrity of his statements, he falsely states that it “should be painfully obvious the Turkish state will never soften its stance on recognition in the face of these claims.” Outside this alternate reality, it is indisputable that it has been in the face of unyielding Armenian demands that Turkey has progressively softened its denial. It’s embarrassing for an academic, but facts are secondary for Grigoryan.

“Turkey, in fact, has undergone some important changes with respect to the ‘Armenian issue.’ Literature on the Armenian genocide is freely available there, many Turkish scholars and intellectuals have acknowledged and condemned the genocide, commemoration ceremonies are held annually in Istanbul and the Turkish state has even moved from its preposterous position of flat denial to acknowledging the Armenian tragedy and offering condolences,” he writes. Did this progress fall out of the sky?

If it were left to Grigoryan, he would have you believe this was a function of random chance, not that of the prolonged, obstinate effort, emanating largely from the hardliners he bemoans, which has led to these changes.


The problem with both Toumani and Grigoryan is the same: they don’t know what they’re talking about – and they don’t care to learn. They have their minds made up about what is and what isn’t and their interest is in finding anecdotes that confirm their predetermined conclusions.

Neither of these people are part of the Armenian quotidian – and that is their claim to authority. The subtext is that their ability to get a book published or to get a professorship or to have access to national newspapers suggest that they know something their plebeian co-nationals do not. This might be true if they took any interest in writing about the subjects they’re writing about honestly. Sadly, they don’t.

Both are given a license to write about these topics by The New York Times and The Washington Post because they are Armenian and not much else. It’s like inviting Albert Einstein’s progeny to write about developments in physics because they’re Einsteins. It’s a silly proposition but it’s the same logic that got Toumani and Grigoryan published in these national papers.

Without much background in the topics they’re writing about and uninterested in looking for anything even slightly beneath the surface leads them to create fantasies based on social media posts and worn clichés, especially their preferred muses of the genocide-crazed Armenian and the Turk-hating Armenian.

Former Director of the National Competitiveness Foundation in Yerevan, Armenia, Pegor Papazian, wrote on his Facebook wall about Toumani’s piece, noting that although he was a fan of the book, he was not a fan of the article: “[Toumani is] stuck on some notion form [sic] decades ago that Armenians are being brought up to hate Turks, for which I can find no evidence in Armenia or the Diaspora. It’s just bad journalism. And poopooing genocide recognition on the eve of the Centennial is bad taste.”

The same can be said about Grigoryan.

Armenians, rather than being hateful, have been all too tolerant of hatred toward them. Even after the Genocide, they continued to live in Turkey where they have been continuously harassed and subject to violence to this day. It is not Armenians who have methodically worked to erase Turks or their history from this earth.

Neither mention the unbelievably horrifying statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to deport Armenians living in Turkey – for the second time. They forget the 91% of Turks who don’t think a genocide ever took place, including the president and prime minister of the country.

Do some Armenians say nasty things about Turks or identify solely through the Genocide? Yes. But is that really enough to make it some national malaise? For Toumani and Grigoryan, it is.

Both are impressively devoted to portraying Armenians as Turk-haters while pointing to the infinitesimal minority of Turks who, quite progressively, are not complicit in the ongoing trauma of Genocide denial. This is like saying all Armenians hate Turks even if an overwhelming majority don’t. Wait a second…

Indeed, if anyone has a right to hate, it’s Armenians. But they don’t.

Despite it all, Toumani and Grigoryan’s concern is the Armenians who remember their ancestors being tortured, raped, and massacred, dispossessed of land and other property, and expelled from their homeland of four millennia – and who remind the country that immortalizes the architects of that mass murder (however difficult it may be, I trust my recollection of this history will not lead anyone to extrapolate that I am obsessed with the Genocide, Armenian victimhood, or hating all things Turkish.) These two see reason to assail a respite for the unresolved trauma of genocide: memory. They are blaming and shaming the victims – and it’s ridiculous.


Meline Toumani and Arman Grigoryan are not self-hating Armenians; on the contrary, they love themselves. They are entranced with their own opinions and believing that they have achieved an enlightened state, neither seem to have much interest in being part of the community they so freely advise. If there existed an Armenian ivory tower, they would be residents of its top floor.

It’s ironic that neither have much of a reputation in their chosen fields but are both trying to make a name for themselves by becoming arbiters of opinion in non-Armenian settings by tying themselves to the things they disdain the most: the Genocide for Toumani and the Diaspora for Grigoryan.

Tragically, if they were actually sincere in their efforts, they could find an audience among a new cadre of young and forward-thinking Armenians who are interested in moving the conversation forward. Instead, their offensive and combative tones that reinforce stereotypes and build clichés based on falsehoods are more likely to enrage and annoy than lead to some productive discussion.

With no other discernible explanation for the purpose of these two opinion pieces, we’re left with the feeling that that they were exercises in the writers satisfying themselves about their advanced state compared to their pedestrian compatriots, less interested in progress and more focused on seeing their names in prestigious publications.

There are so many real problems in the Armenian Nation that need to be exposed, discussed, and resolved that pieces like these by Toumani and Grigoryan, shamelessly riding the wave of a centennial genocide commemoration, waste precious energy on what might otherwise be a productive effort. These types of pieces shift the attention to baseless and dishonest soliloquies that resolve nothing with their presumptuousness and ignorance, driven by their authors’ narcissism. Frankly, they’re useless.

What did you think of the opinion pieces of Meline Toumani and Arman Grigoryan? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

*The original version of this article incorrectly listed Ayda Erbal as a Turkish academic who was invited to the Progressive Politics conference in 2012. In fact, Ayda Erbal is an Armenian academic from Turkey. Thanks to our reader AK for the correction.


  1. Elena Elena Apr 22, 2015

    OH MY! THANK GOD someone wrote this! I hated, hated, hated Toumani’s piece. she’s like some little brat who has nothing to do except complain. Oh my I’m so glad someone wrote down what I was feeling!

    • jerry jerry Apr 24, 2015

      Toumani projects indulgently and egotistically: “What’s true for me must be true for all Armenians,” sayeth she.
      Toumani has transformed her self-therapy into an angry book full of misconceptions, generalizations, inaccuracy, and far too many examples of lazy thinking and lazy writing.
      I can’t see any reason why the publisher released her book other than that it’s always good marketing to go against the grain. The publisher expected to get lots of ink because of the controversy…and got it.
      I guess her next book will be titled “How I Was Crucified by the Armenians”.

  2. Orkan Orkan Apr 22, 2015

    Sadly, dehumanizing racism exists in every culture. Many of us involved in Turkish-Armenian dialogue make a serious effort to help mend what seems like something that will take generations to heal – especially between our two communities with a long shared cultural history.

    In this respect, one of the important outcomes of inter-communal dialogue is exposure and education about ‘the other’ — the way this person thinks and what sorts of personal experiences does this person have regarding an assortment of matters including trauma and memory. I mention this because beyond acknowledgement by a variety of state apparati – true penetration and understanding of the genocide will be achieved with the assistance dialogue (listening, speaking from your own experience and feelings only, etc…)

    In this respect, I’d like to comment on a quote made by the author , that ‘91% of Turks do not believe a genocide took place.” Yes, this is very true. We’ve discussed this in our sessions before. To the surprise of many of the Armenians in our session the day this came up, the Turks who were present *and of whom were born and raised in Turkey* all said the same thing: that while they were living and studying in Turkey, they had no knowledge it even happened! This immediately indicates a deeper reality that many outside of Turkey do not fully realize: that the Turkish government, as a matter of policy, whitewashes what happened by rewriting the textbooks and actively indoctrinates a counterfactual narrative of the events during WWI.

    It is only when Turks come to Europe or America to study and/or work do they learn that what happened was a genocide.

    It stinks – and it certainly doesn’t make it right – but it is the reality of the political and national landscape of present day Republic of Turkey and this is what one is dealing with if you want to win over the every day Turkish Joe.

    • Avery Avery Apr 23, 2015

      {“It is only when Turks come to Europe or America to study and/or work do they learn that what happened was a genocide.”}
      Maybe some do, but evidence suggests that majority of Turks in Europe and America _hate_ Armenians with a passion.
      There are lots of reasons for that, and it goes back centuries, but your assertion that Turk denial is due to lack of knowledge is not supported by facts.
      I am sure you yourself believe it, and have no doubt you mean well, but wishing will not make the ugly facts disappear.
      Below I will give the link of a truly vile exhibition by a group of young Turkish-Americans who were celebrating – yes, celebrating – on April 24, 2010 in Washington D.C. outside Turkish embassy. These Turkish-Americans knew very well what April 24 was. And they were celebrating the launch of the mass murders of Armenian women, children, and babies. What is more egregious is that not a single Turkish-American NGO or prominent Turkish-American called them out on it.
      Plus, Turkish-American NGOs here in US actively participate in AG denial campaigns.
      In Europe, when France was considering AG denial criminalization law, Turks living in Europe went to Paris by the 1000s to participate in denial parches.
      The video:
      [Turkish-Americans celebrating the Armenian Genocide, Washington DC, 2010.]
      One last thing friend: {“our two communities with a long shared cultural history.”}
      Sorry, Turks and Armenians have no “shared cultural history”.
      We are two very different peoples.
      Whatever common culture Turks have with Armenians, it is Armenian-origin culture that Turks misappropriated: we did not voluntarily share it. It was taken from us without our consent.

      • Orkan Orkan Apr 23, 2015

        I mean all comments in peace and all sincerity. My aim here is to let you know what the reality of things are from the perspective of the “other” — don’t assume that you know his/her mind. It is too easy to judge an entire country and land of 73 million people based on the actions of overzealous nationalists demonstrating abroad with the sanction of the home government. We know what that sort of thing leads to.

  3. SM SM Apr 22, 2015

    Great opinion piece, haven’t read the book by Toumani or the other articles, but what is described in this article seems just. I only have one comment to make, although I may disagree with what they have wrote, I would not voice this on social media or anywhere else accessible by others, I would however tell them if I met them in person.
    Why? Because it makes Armenians look divided, and of course we are masters at criticizing each other, I am impressed by the Jewish community for example, never have I ever heard them criticize each other or their country. On the contrary all you ever hear is praise. So, all I would like to say is that we as Armenians should stop criticizing each other especially in public and focus on the positive efforts of other Armenians. It is completely ok for us to disagree with the book and dislike but bringing another Armenian negative publicity is not…..

  4. Orkan Orkan Apr 22, 2015

    For those interested in the evolutionary crisis the Young Turks underwent from being outside agitators – to reformists all the way to agents of anihiliation, I strongly recommend the new and very well researched book
    “Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire” by Bedross Der Matossian.

  5. Patrick Patrick Apr 23, 2015

    “Due to her ignorance, she writes about complex national issues using clichés she’s invented to replace a gaping void of knowledge. It ends as an example of epic charlatanry: she’s painfully uninformed about the subject but her editors don’t know that she doesn’t know – and she doesn’t tell them.”

    I loved this line. Toumani is a poser, a charlatan, a fake. She doens’t represent a single ounce of the Armenian community. What makes me cringe most about her is that she thinks she is actually saying something progressive.

    Now, with her publication of a book, I fear that her hubris will only expand – yet it will be based on the nothing that she knows, and the facts that she pulls out of a hat of her own creation. She reminds me of a conspiracy theorist who thinks chem-trails are real but would not think so if she just read about the existence of clouds. Poor fellow – I pity her. Maybe someone can refer her to an course to take a journalism 101 class

  6. Peter Musurlian Peter Musurlian Apr 23, 2015

    Perfect pitch. Perfect commentary.

    It’s too bad someone like Bairamian has to waste his precious time (on such a thoughtful piece), in order to expose two despicable and destructive figures in the Armenian community.

    But, I am glad he did.

  7. Sevke Sevke Apr 23, 2015

    Astute piece. It seems to me what is so patronizing about Meline Toumani’s editorial is that she presumes she can serve as interpreter for white people re: quaint, backward Armenian clannishness. Her analogy between the two groups is offensive and lazy. She is a debutante, pseudo-intellectual. The fact that she gets published in such a high-profile way, however, should tell us something about the dearth of informed people capable of speaking articulately about the Armenian cause and linking it to that of other oppressed peoples. I was not as bothered by Arman Grigoryan’s piece. He may have a bone to pick with the ARF-D, but that does not mean he does not genuinely disagree with their tactics and think their ideology to be harmful. They did assassinate Karen Demirchyan and Vazgen Sargsyan after all…

    • Avery Avery Apr 23, 2015

      {“They did assassinate Karen Demirchyan and Vazgen Sargsyan after all…”}

      Do you have any evidence ?

      Why would ARF assassinate them ?
      To achieve what ?
      How would ARF benefit ?
      I can’t think of any: can you ?
      On the other hand, lots of foreign interests would benefit from a civil war in Armenia.
      You can guess who that might be.

      Also look up the concept of ‘false flag’: not everything that appears as something actually is what it is presented as.

      • Sevke Sevke May 3, 2015

        Robert legalized the ARF-D in Armenia right after his two biggest rivals were assassinated. Seems suspiciously like quid pro quo. That is the why and the what. Also, clearly the ARF-D would have had a vendetta against a guy like Demirchyan and would be willing to act on behalf of US interests if they could benefit, which they clearly could. Not sure how you don’t see that. Obviously Nairi Hunanyan would profess to be acting alone and his prior suspension from the party would offer decent enough cover.

        Of course nothing has been proved because it is a matter of high-level geopolitics – the US vying for a sharp break from the Soviet past to solidify its strategic presence in the region. The ARF-D’s motivation in this regard is pretty obvious, and its collaboration with the western interests makes sense. Of course they deny involvement. But aligning with the superpower’s interests provides substantial cover for this type of thing so we shouldn’t take that at face value. It is simply not believable that Hunanyan was acting independently. And for better or worse the ARF-D has a history of using political assassination when it suits them.

        Yes, there is the false-flag theory, too. I just see the ARF-D, Kocharyan, and NATO having much more to gain from undermining the will of the Armenian people than any of the other potential actors. Also, if ARF-D motivations are so opaque to you, on what basis to posit the false-flag theory? If you don’t like my theory, pitch your own. Civil war between whom and whom? Power was completely consolidated after the parliament shootings. Armenians are still suffering from the awful political repercussions of this event.

        • Avery Avery May 4, 2015

          Coincidence is not the same as cause-and-effect.
          Lots of events occur simultaneously in life: people who are biased to see patterns in random events, see them.
          People who want to fit something into their theory pick and choose data that fit their hypothesis.
          Happens in science all the time: that is why scientific hypothesis are subjected to rigorous peer reviews before they are accepted.
          And when you accuse a major Armenian political party of assassinating two great Armenian patriots, you better have more than conjecture.
          Yeah, maybe ARF was involved.
          Or maybe it was the Russians.
          Or maybe the Neocons (…together with Turks and Turkbaijanis): make it appear as if ARF was involved; two birds with one stone – create chaos and possible civil war in RoA, plus put the blame on ARF (neuter the Diaspora).
          Or maybe it was just a bunch of delusional Armenians who thought they were “patriots” doing “good” for their country: has happened through human history in every country.
          {“ Armenians are still suffering from the awful political repercussions of this event.”}
          How so ?
          How are they suffering as a direct or indirect consequence of that terrorist act vs all other factors unrelated to that event ?

  8. Avery Avery Apr 23, 2015

    {“Armenians, rather than being hateful, have been all too tolerant of hatred toward them. Even after the Genocide, they continued to live in Turkey where they have been continuously harassed and subject to violence to this day. It is not Armenians who have methodically worked to erase Turks or their history from this earth.”}
    Of the entire article, I find the above paragraph the most powerful and penetrating.
    Particularly this: {“ Armenians have been all too tolerant of hatred toward them.”}
    That sentence contains so much insight and explains so much about our Armenian Nation’s misfortunes that it should be on every Armenian’s workdesk as a constant reminder.
    The visceral, genocidal hatred directed at Armenians from super-majority of Turks from every corner of the world, day in and day out, has been overwhelming.
    Confused, if well meaning, Armenians need to put a stop to the nonsense of declaring: “….I don’t hate (all) Turks….”.
    When you say that, you are inadvertently propagating the subtle denialist meme that was cleverly planted by Turks.
    They are deliberately equating our legitimate demands for justice to some mythical ‘hate’ we allegedly harbor towards them: nonsense manufactured out of thin air, and picked up by some Armenians who think they are being magnanimous.
    Going back to the sentence: {“ Armenians have been all too tolerant of hatred toward them.”}
    Therein lies the answer to one of the reasons, if not _the_ main reason, why we are in the pickle we are in today.
    Look at how other ethnoses behave (and I mean other than Turks): I have. Extensively.
    Study how they treat those who have done them wrong, those who have not done to them 1/1000th of what Turks have done to us – and compare their behaviour to us.
    You will be surprised.
    Indeed: we as a people are too tolerant of hatred towards us.
    That needs to change and very soon.

  9. David David Apr 24, 2015

    I suggest that Toumani and Grigoryan form a group therapy circle for people like them with deep-seated identity and emotional issues.

  10. Alex Alex Apr 24, 2015

    Wonderful commentary.

    But it is necessary to make one small word in defense of Grigoryan (full disclosure: I was one of his students): he did not choose the title of the article. Colleagues of mine who have written for Washington Post told me that it is the editorial staff who chooses the titles of editorials. In my opinion the most objectionable and “straw-man” part of the article is the title. Armenia does not harbor “hatred” for Turkey, even if such hatred would be justified.

  11. Yev Jimmy Yev Jimmy Apr 27, 2015

    I’m not Armenian, even not American but I have read the book. Basically and respectfully agree with William Bairamian in lot of aspects. Meanwhile I think it’s an important book. Important because like a footprint of our time. A “lost” generation struggling with their identification problems when values getting relativized. We can see another typical today’s phenomenon: how the ego can extend itself and overgrown the theme.
    Her book like a “journey” to the “emptiness”…
    Sure, a comment cannot be so long, maybe I’ll write an article, too. Shat mersi! 😉

  12. Gina Gina Apr 27, 2015

    So well written, so perfectly put! Loved it so much that I read it more than once. Besides the paragraph that Avery loved so much, about us being way too tolerant to hatred towards us and so annoyingly weak at times, I would add, I loved the following point (and many others) by Bairamian:

    “Let’s be clear: the Young Turks, the organizers of the Genocide, were bloodthirsty barbarians. There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching this history as it is. If the barbarism of the Young Turks draws unwanted attention to modern-day Turks and Turkey, it is their own responsibility, and not that of Armenians, to dissociate themselves with their violent past by making amends.”

    Yes, yes, and yes! Why is it our responsibility to try so hard not to offend the feelings of those who have offended us so badly and who keep doing it mercilessly at every opportunity? It is their responsibility to clear their names. And it is our responsibility to put them in place when they try to do it to us it again.

    It does not hurt, of course, that the author is also so eloquent and sophisticated as a writer. His points would be absolutely on the spot even without that but it was an added bonus.

    Mr. Bairamian, I am very proud to have someone like you among us. Thank you for your time and effort.

    Toumani and Grigoryan are extremely arrogant, which is a reflection of their ignorance and amateurism. Toumani seized the opportunity to get back at her critics in her article. She complains that Armenians attacked her, but Turks, surprisingly, didn’t. Why would they? Your writing is music to their ears. I thought it should be clear to someone so bright.

  13. teresa teresa Apr 27, 2015

    Both Toumani and Grigoryan are two ignorant and self-obsorbed narcissists whose empty conceitedness and grandiosity has already come back to bite them. I have read only Toumani’s piece. As for Grigiryan’s article, I am not going to because to me people like him who want to portray themselves as the brightest stars in the Armenian sky by conveying everyone else in the community as nomads from dark ages, are just unimportant or like William said useless!!!!

  14. TK TK Jun 8, 2016

    ARF-D orks went berserk in the comments when two decent Armenians had to say something sane.

    • Peter M. Peter M. Jun 8, 2016


      At least one of the people you label as “decent,” has been roundly and righfully excoriated for her hate-crime book: “There Was and There Was Not.”
      Meline Toumani is a dishonect disgrace or, perhaps, an incompetent sympathetic figure. You can choose.


      • jerry jerry Jun 8, 2016

        “Toumani” should become a verb, as in currying favor by betraying one’s own with banal falsehood.
        Alternately, it could also mean morbid disassociation.

  15. Peter M. Peter M. Jun 8, 2016

    BTW…these critical comments about Toumani, by people like Jerry (above) are not being made by teenage internet trolls. The criticism of Toumani is being made by thoughtful and active members of the Armenian Community, who have no vested interest in appearing mean spirited. But, when someone like Meline Toumani is such an intellectual fraud, it brings out the rebuttals.

    The blasting of Meline Toumani, by serious (not anonymous) members of the Armenian-American Community, is something I have never seen before, at this level. And, it is well deserved. She has “officially” been written off by the Armenian Community and can go hang-out with the folks she was trying to impress with here dishonest and hate-filled book: the self-important wine sippers in Brooklyn.

  16. TS TS Jun 8, 2016

    Sadly, the NYT and WaPost chose Toumani and Grigorian precisely because of their twisted views. It is not an accident nor done from ignorance. Mainstream media outlets in the US walk in lockstep with the US State Department — which has its own agenda quite different from those who seek restorative justice for the Armenian Question.

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