BEIRUT — In recent days Lebanon’s ethnic Armenian community has come under racist attacks by individuals espousing Ottomanism and Turkey, specifically Erdogan.
It all started when Nishan Der-Haroutunian, the host of a popular Lebanese TV show on Al Jadid TV, received a social media message from a spectator calling him “a refugee p**…” a migrant and insidious foreigner. In response, Der-Haroutunian confronted the caller and stressed that Erdogan, Turkey and the Ottomans are insidious, and those who think otherwise should study Ottoman and Lebanese history.
After the show, dozens of people, most of whom live abroad, made provocative statements against the Armenian community, justified the Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks and said “you Armenians are insidious and deserve those murders.” They also praised the fact that they were so-called Ottoman Turks and the followers and supporters of Erdogan.
In a viral video, Mounir Hassan, President of the so-called Lebanese-Arab “Mardalia” Union made direct threats to Nishan Der-Haroutunian, Lebanese-Armenian personalities and the greater Lebanese-Armenian community. He also threatened to slaughter Armenians in Bourj Hammoud, calling Ottomans “his ancestors” and that they did a good job slaughtering Armenians. He continued by calling Armenians stupid, traitors, evil, disrespectful, and making other obscene remarks at Der-Haroutunian. He also insulted other prominent Lebanese politicians, Wiam Wahab and Walid Jumblatt, who represent the Druze community, calling them traitors, liars, etc.
On Thursday night, June 11, representatives of the three traditional Armenian political parties, S.D. Hunchakian Party, A.R.F. Dashnaktsutyun and the A.D.L. Ramgavar parties, convened a special meeting to discuss the political and social situation in Lebanon. Touching on the threats towards the Armenian community via social media and the small number of pro-Erdogan agitators on Lebanese streets, the three parties consider the remarks made by Hassan, enticing violence, contrary to the spirit of law and unity and civil security of Lebanon. Thus the three parties demand the Lebanese authorities take appropriate measures and prosecute Hassan as soon as possible.
A statement issued by Lebanese youth and student organizations of all the predominant ethnic and political sectors of Lebanon condemned the systematic “traitorous campaign,” espoused by foreign powers against the Armenian community of Lebanon.
Lebanon, after Syria and Libya, is seen as another perspective battleground for Erdogan’s aspirations to re-establish Ottoman dominion over the Arab world and be considered as a regional powerhouse. Both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have recently been battling against Turkey in Libya and Syria and against Ankara’s influence over Islamic sites in Jerusalem.
In recent days, Lebanon’s currency has taken a nosedive, losing around 70% of its value since October. The currency’s collapse has stirred panic in a country that relies heavily on imports for its basic needs.