Nouvelles d'Armenie    
“ The Irony of History” by Hrant Dink

The last editorial Hrant Dink wrote at the Birgün newspaper before he was assassinated :

“ The Irony of History”

First let me reiterate the news : "The opening date which has almost turned into a riddle of the Surp Haç Armenian Church at the Akhtamar Island of Van the restoration of which was completed last year has been changed [but] for the third time. According to the written proclamation of the Van Governorship this past weekend, it was declared that the Akhtamar church the restoration and perimeter work of which had been completed would be opened to tourism on April 11 th . It was expressed that the opening ceremony to be attended by international guests will be organized through the cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Governorship of Van."


Ten years ago, I had called out to the authorities in Van with [my article] title[d] "Akhtamar labor battalion" and had stated the following ::

"Rather than creating “monsters” in an attempt to draw tourists, try to take care of the historical artifacts that are right in front of your eyes. Why is there any need for such false endeavors ? What you call Van is an ocean in terms of historical artifacts. Why is it that no one thinks of properly sitting down and restoring the region in its entirety. They say ‘then Armenians would come,’ so let them come, let them see the places their ancestors lived in, let them satisfy their longing, so what ?” And I had then continued on :

"If there is any need for help or labor, we are ready.”

Oh history... Oh future !..

Youth from Turkey , Armenia and even the Diaspora are ready to volunteer.

’The Akhtamar labor battalion’ is ready awaiting your commands... Let it be known.

“Come on, do not let the Akhtamar restoration solely be the restoration of a building, let us also restore our dilapidated spirits."


In the end, even though a long period of 10 years has since transpired, finally the Akhtamar restoration has been completed. One would have wished that the restoration had been on the cooperation agenda of the countries of Turkey and Armenia and [thus] jointly executed.

Unfortunately, that is not how it happened.

One still needs to mention the meticulous work of Cahit Zeydanlı who undertook the project, brought experts from Armenia to take their views and suggestions into consideration, and included the Turkish Armenian architect Zakarya Mildanoğlu in its execution, and one has to thank this valuable team.

They did the best they could and produced a job that could be regarded as excellent.


They reached perfection, but the bureaucrats and the politicians managed to screw it up.

They could never schedule the opening ceremony.

They delayed the opening ceremony that was first determined as 4 November 2006 to the April of 2007 due to inclement weather conditions. Then the Minister of Tourism and Culture Atilla Koç declared that the ceremony would take place on the 24 th of April.

It was not long before there were reactions to the opening date Koç had declared. ’The Armenian Patriarch Mutafyan noted that "if the opening took place on April 24 th , not a single Armenian including himself would attend the ceremony".

Last week the topic went all the way to the Assembly. Erdal Karademir, the Republican People’s Party deputy from İzmir submitted a written question as to whether the choice of 24 th April which was the anniversary of the Armenian genocide was [determined as] a consequence of the policy of the AK party government.

The nationalist media carried the opening date of the Akhtamar church on April 24 th to their headlines as “the revengeful opening at Van."

And now the date of April 11 th has been given.


One could not have possibly derailed such a decent job and totally messed it up as thoroughly as they did with this one.

The secret intention that cannot be hidden could only have been so evident.

A total comedy... A total scandal !

The government has still not been able to formulate a correct method and course in relation to the “Armenian problem.”

What it is interested in is not solving issues, but rather gaining points like a wrestler in the middle of a match. How he is going to go to the back of his competitor to throw him by a trick. That is all it cares about

It is not at all sincere.

It pretends to invite Armenian historians to discuss history, but is not at all hesitant to try its own intellectuals for having opposing narratives on the Armenian genocide.

It even restores an Armenian church in order to bring tourism to Eastern Anatolia , but sees no problems in messing things up by stating “How can I market this to the world and get many varied political advantages from this ?”.

The move of the opening date of the Akhtamar Church to April 24 th is also an indication of how this disingenuous intention is brought to the forefront.


And now pay attention !

Although the opposition of the nationalists and even the Armenian patriarch to this date create the opportunity to correct the mistake, this time the irony of history intervenes.

The calendar of truth states “So it is that you engaged in heedless behavior, let me top it up for you” and reveals that the newly chosen April 11 th was actually April 24 th itself.

It so happens that the 11 th of April in 1915 and April 24 th today is exactly the same day on the same calendar.

Anyhow, the date April 24 th has entered Armenian literature much later with the new calendar. The real date or, put in other words, the date of the seizing and sending into oblivion of the Armenian intellectuals and leaders is actually April 11 th 1915.

Now there is one question :

Those busybodies who first preferred April 24 th, but then found it problematic and then came up with April 11 th , let us see if after this explanation of ours if they are going to change April 11 th as well ?

Of course, those who want to can also ask the question in the following way :

Are you sure ? Is this your final decision ?

lundi 19 février 2007,
Stéphane ©

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