Un-hate a Turk Today, An Unconventional Genocide Commemoration

Always unconventional, Armenian American artist Onnig Kardash, staged a protest/performance on April 24, 1969 in front of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The action seemed to underscore the need for love in the face of hate.

April 24 is the traditional day to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide, Kardash’s protest shocked many Armenian Americans who were angry and confused at the radical protest on such a solemn day.

Art critic Neery Melkonian noted:

“..[it} rejected the [Armenian American] culture’s collective identity as a victim.”

8 responses to “Un-hate a Turk Today, An Unconventional Genocide Commemoration”

  1. […] Hrag Vartanian remembers an unconventional action staged thirty-nine years ago by American-Armenian artist Kardash Onnig outside an Armenian Church in New York. The protest which called on ethnic Armenians to “Un-hate a Turk” was held on 24 April, the day Armenians worldwide remember the 1915 Armenian Genocide. April 24 is the traditional day to commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide, Kardash’s protest shocked many Armenian Americans who were angry and confused at the radical protest on such a solemn day. […]

  2. Have you read Kardash Onnig’s book written while he lived for a year in Shushi? It was called “A Fool’s Guide to the Caucasus” or something and the chapter I read was very hard-hitting. Would like to know if it’s available online anywhere.

  3. […] ???? ?????????? ????? ? 1969?. ?????? 24-?? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????? ?????????? ??????, ??? «????? ?????? ?? ??????» ????????????? ????????? ?????????? ?????? ??. ?????? ???????? ???????? ????? «???? ??????? ?? ?????????? ???? ??? ???? ?????????????????»: […]

  4. I think Onnig Kardash was addressing this banner to himself. I do not know any Armenian who doesn’t approve a sentiment of “unforgiveness” towards Turks. Some can name it “hatred”, some can name it “rancoeur”. Whatever! But this is a common issue. And by bringing this subject in the public space, the authour certainly was questioning himself by inviting others to do the same. It’s much easier to find replies with a bunch of folks than alone. Excellent idea by the way! Provocative but excellent!

  5. […] Hrag Vartanian has recalled the protest/performance staged by the Armenian American artist Onnig Kardash on April 24, 1969 in front of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhatten’s Murray Hill neighborhood. The artists stood with a poster “Un-hate a turk”, thus “underscoring the need for love in the face of hate”, the blogger writes. […]

  6. Micha,
    That’s an interesting interpretation but you need to remember that 1969 was another generation and Armenian Americans were at the forefront of the Armenian Genocide recognition movement (in fact, we began it) and people were still grappling with feelings about recognition and the Genocide.
    Also, the medium of “protest” is not usually an internal expression as much as an external one which educates others (or demands change). But, then again…it is art and many interpretations are always welcome as long as they’re grounded in the work and its context (or lack of context).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: