Saturday, October 21, 2006


"Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts."
~ Mother Jones.

There is an important petition online that has been posted by Aram Publishing House, Istanbul, in order to protest the prosecution of Aram, its owner Fatih Tas, editors Omer Faruk Kurhan and Lutfi Taylan Tosun, and translator Dr. Ender Abadoglu, for their translation and publication of Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman's book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of The Mass Media. The petition is available on an English-language page and on a Turkish-language page.

Both pages contain more information including a statement by Noam Chomsky, the petition itself, and legal documents on the charges. Scroll down and you will have the opportunity to sign a second petition, this one in support of Aram Publishing House owner Fatih Tas and translators Lutfi Taylan Tosun and Aysel Yildirim for their translation and publication of John Tirman's book, Spoils of War: The Human Cost of the American Arms Trade. Again, there is more information about the charges for the publication of that book, too.

Please take the time to sign both petitions.

The trial for Tirman's book began almost a year ago, while Noam Chomsky's writings were in the crosshairs of the fascist Ankara regime in 2002. Both Tirman and Chomsky are professors at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and both have made a joint statement on recent freedom of expression violations by the Ankara regime. In addition, John Tirman's site has been attacked:

Now, I wonder who would do a thing like that? Possibly a different MIT than the MIT that employs these professors? Is the US government also helping to hack or bring down websites of those who publish the extremely uncomfortable truth of US complicity in the genocide of the Kurdish people? After all, we all know that the First Amendment is on its way out.

It appears that John Tirman has the same bitch that I have, namely that the US and the rest of the West only acknowledges the fascist practices of the Turkish regime when famous literati like Orhan Pamuk or Elif Safak are attacked for their works:

The U.S. Government, and most of the American press, has been mute. Only when celebrity novelists like Orhan Pamuk or Elif Safak are prosecuted does the press take notice (and thank goodness they do so at all). The Bush administration, to my knowledge, has said nothing in protest of the prosecutions, despite its endless incantations about supporting freedom in the world. It has told Europeans to mute their criticisms of Turkey’s human rights record, however, and so it seems that is the official policy. (It needs Turkey for a number of errands in the region, such as not messing with Iraq’s Kurds, which indeed was the point of my book.)

So Fatih Tas may go to jail for my sins, as could the two translators. Washington stands in cowardly silence. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, NBC, Fox, et alia follow suit. It’s a dispiriting experience, and one that reveals our inability to cope with the ‘tweeners of global politics, those that are neither Jeffersonian democracies nor Saddam-like tyrannies. Turkey is on a path to self-destruction, for this and other reasons, and we can, in that event, only wonder why “someone” let it happen.

There is also a statement from Aram Publishing House, from August, on the Chomsky prosecution, available at ZNet. Apparently, those who write or publish the truth, “openly humiliates Turkishness, Turkish Rebuplic, Turkish Parliamentry, Turkish army and Turkish security forces” and incites "ethnic hostilities and hatred among the population."

This brings to mind a question: If writing and publishing the truth incites "ethnic hostilities" and "hatred among the population," what in the hell do the American and Turkish regimes think they are doing when they forcibly remove families, destroy thousands of villages entire, behead gerîlas, extrajudicially murder, bomb and shoot children in Amed and other Kurdish cities, or torture, rape, and murder those they detain? Who then is truly guilty of inciting ethnic hostilities and hatred? Among which population? And for what purpose?

There's an excellent point in the ZNet article about the comparison with Kosovo:

It is estimated that approximately 2-3 thousands of deaths have occured in Kosovo. Yet in Turkey’s war against Kurds 30.000 people have died and 2-3 millions of Kurds have been expelled. In spite of this, the mass media gives large coverage to the atrocities in Kosovo and uses, rather frequently, the terms of “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide”. Yet when it comes to Turkey – the client state and a NATO ally of USA – both the atrocities are given little coverage and the accusatory terms are pronounced so rarely.

The statement mentions the increase in oppression against dissidents in Turkey, and this is related to my bitch about the fact that no one pays attention to the real dissidents because they are not famous literati:

The oppression especially on the dissident publishing and the Kurdish media has increased. Aram Publishing House, which describes itself as a component of the Kurdish opposition, is engaged in many other lawsuits. Recently, the publication and distribution of Free Agenda (Özgür Gündem), the newspaper which is an important component of the Kurdish opposition, has been banned from publication and distribution for 15 days, via the jurisdiction of the new Anti-terror Act. It is stated that the prosecutors will not let this paper survive.

If you're curious as to why the American media, and others, remain silent in the face of genocide and the practice of classical fascism, then you need to read Chomsky's book, Manufacturing Consent. Or wait until the Turkish version is available, and show support for Aram Publishing House by purchasing a copy of that. I mean, it's gotta be good if they don't want you to have it.

In other news on the Great Silence surrounding these issues, I had wanted to comment on a new and very important article by Desmond Fernandes, but it appears that the site on which that article appeared--briefly--is also down. Coincidence? I think not. However, the moment I get permission, I will post the article in its entirety here on Rastî, with credit, naturally, to the original publisher. If the site comes up beforehand, I will direct your attention over there.

This one will be far too important to miss, boys and girls.


tari ronahi said...

dest xweş hevala hêja!

i hope that you will always have the strength, courage and will to do bring those secrets out in the light and make everyone see it, even if they dont want !

thank you again and serkeftin

philip said...

Sorry, my Rasti-friends, but when we posit Noam Chomsky as a hero and role-model, we have crossed a sad and totalitarian line into kookdom, insanity and irrelevance.

Chomsky was the man who dismissed the reports of genocide in Cambodia, made common cause for decades with Yasir Arafat, and opposed every effort to oust Saddam Hussein.

Yes, a stopped clock is right twice a day, but it doesn't mean we shd adopt it as a source.

Farewell, my Rasti friends, and good luck in the struggle.

Vladimir said...

People like Noam Chomsky and newspaper like ZDnet are big hypocrites. They only are agitating against Turkey, because it's an American ally. But if it's about Iran, Iraq or Syria, they stay silent. Recently I made a comment on an article posted it on ZDnet:

The person ZDnet interviews, says Iran is a pro-Western state. While they have executed thousands of Kurds and recently arrested 21 Kurds... But since Iran is the enemy of America, it's the friend of the "left"?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rasti,

Another good article. Chomsky is one of few intellectualls who spoke against the oppression of the Kurds in northern Kurdistan during a period when many of the intellectualls were quiet.

Mizgîn said...

Philip, the US government also dismissed the Cambodian genocide, funneled plenty of money to Yasir Arafat, and supported Saddam Hussein for decades. Therefore, it sounds very much like a stopped clock too.

Vladimir, guess what? All of those who support Turkey only do so because it's an American ally.

Another thing, the US has also been AMAZINGLY silent on Kurds in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. So has the EU. Where was all the media at Helebçe? And which media was it that was there? Only a handful of individuals alerted everyone to the exodus of Kurds into Turkey in 1991, and it still took two weeks for the American administration to decide to do something about that--FOR THE SAKE OF TURKEY, NOT FOR THE SAKE OF KURDS.

In fact, the US only trots out Bashuri when they need some good press for the whole Iraq thing. In the meantime, every State Department hack who has gone to South Kurdistan, from Condoleeza Rice down to the janitor who cleans her toilet, has used each opportunity to berate, beg, or threaten South Kurdistan to remain good players of Team Iraq.

Where's the US on PKK's ceasefire? They've rejected it, along with the Ankara regime, they placed a member of the world's most prominent defense contractor in charge of "coordinating" the PKK for Turkey.

Why is that? Who are also big hypocrites?

I KNOW how the old song and dance goes. To hell with 20 million Kurds under Turkish repression, we've all got our own interests to look after. Be patient, and MAYBE in 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years, We'll look into the problem . . . that is if Lockheed Martin and the US government don't have another attack aircraft to push on the market.

And we can say the same about the Rojavayî and the Rojhelatî.

Maybe someone can find another, more acceptable person to call attention to the fact that America and Europe's ally, Turkey, is a genocidal, fascist regime? Like maybe all those good folks at FOXNews, or some of the conservative, right-wing bloggers. If you can do that, please knock yourself out, and I'll be right behind you to support you. Good luck with it too, because those people are so CONSUMED with this PHONY War on Terror® and are so brainwashed by successive American administrations, that all they have to do is hear the word "Kurd," and like the good little lapdogs of the Pashas they are, they only think "TERRORIST."

But we all make choices, don't we? So choose not to sign the petition in support of Aram, and when you do that, remember, NEVER complain about freedom of expression violations in Turkey--including violations of freedom of expression in Kurdish. Don't complain about Turkey trying to shut down RojTV. Don't complain about Kurdish-language books being forbidden for import. Don't complain about radio stations that get shut down or fined or both for airing Kurdish music.