new piece: ‘Ottoman Child’ … listen!
art & music by moi
new piece: ‘Ottoman Child’ … listen!
art & music by moi
I find it sad that a self-proclaimed Muslim would exhibit such a level of self-loathing.
Over the past few days, I was introduced in a rather, brusque manner, to put it mildly, via Twitter, to Maajid Nawaz, former Islamist turned secularist neoliberal – whatever the hell that means!
He tweeted at Talib Kweli, the infamous Brooklyn MC and social justice activist, critical of his perspective on Islam and radicalism.
This is my response to what I saw as a critical conversation engaging a controversial topic – radicalism in Islam.
This is where things get murky.
To put it simply, I stand against Maajid Nawaz.
Here is why:
There is far too much that Maajid ignores in his perspective. The list is perpetual.
Maajid completely neglects the complicity of the West in basically manufacturing every modern Islamic terror organization, whether directly or indirectly, through funding, indoctrination or occupation – i.e. neocolonialism.
The West has created conditions ripe for Islamism in Central Asia and the Middle East by invading countries, propping up maniacal authoritarians, and overthrowing democratically elected leaders. They’ve isolated the most tolerant, moderate forces of Islamic society. How is this, not radical in itself?
Maajid makes many mistakes by singling out radical Islam, as though it is a pandemic.
It is not.
Ironically, the real problem is the underlying ideology ‘logic’ – or lack thereof – which he is supporting. ideology of neoconservatism – which justifies self-righteous behaviors by states. Today that state is the US.
In fact, Maajid Nawaz’ past says a lot about him. The guy was formerly part of Hizb-uh-Tahrir. Seeing as how I wrote a published piece on Kazakhstan, a Central Asia country, where HUT operates, I feel I have some authority on this issue. Nawaz is the type of erratic individual who goes back and forth between extreme intolerance – whether it was his once ‘Islamist’ intolerance of secularism – or his more recent intolerance of Islamic relativism.
I myself am a liberal secular Muslim, the son of a Syrian mother and Armenian father. My mother wears no hijab but I’ve always respected it. I find the new laws in France, though perhaps consistent with French secularism, inconsistent with Western liberalism, which gives liberals and conservatives the freedom to express themselves.
In my view, Nawaz is no liberal. He is not secular. He is a neoconservative who believes in generalizing the political culture of the prevailing global power, instead of respecting differences and sovereignty, whether political or cultural.
As mentioned before, Nawaz leaves out a lot from his arguments. He is quick to denounce ‘Hamas’ as a terror organization, but says nothing of the fact that terrorism was in fact how the state of Israel, Hamas’ main target, was fashioned into existence, via Irgun. Do you know your history, Nawaz?
That is just the beginning. Have you done your research?
Radical Islamic terrorism spiked in the 21st century. Before then, it occurred spontaneously; and before the twentieth century; it was all but inexistent.
I guess there is no correlation then between the increased presence of the West in the twentieth century onward inside the Middle East and Central Asia, the havens of Islam, and the complete shift in the trend of Islamic violence? Can you not see how foreign interventionism coupled with direct financing for terrorist groups has bred ISIS, al Qaeda, Nusra, HUT and the never-ending saga of Islamist terror groups?
How could you, a Muslim, exhibit so much pride in defending a simplistic approach to reducing terrorism? How could you feed into the Islamophobia?
How could you, a Muslim, retweet a ‘diss track’ written by an individual whose name does not even deserve to be mentioned, authored by an Islamophobic, Trump-supporting racist, who actually supports the occupation of Palestine? Not to mention, this guy who you believed to be a Wu-Tang affiliate has absolutely no affiliation?
Instead, you prefer to pander to those who prop up your ego, because you can’t admit defeat? Why? Is this the same motive that drove you to HUT in the first place?
How dare you show support for Tarek Fattah after he spouted disgusting racism at Talib Kweli; and you have the audacity to label Kweli an anti-Muslim racist? Do you know who you are talking to? This is Hip-Hop. Get it together Maajid! Remember the Jay – Nas beef? Its far long and gone. And even though Jay is my favorite emcee, I’ll have to say…
Consider this my Ether, to you.
All bullshit aside – I’d hope you would reconsider your perspective. That isn’t to diminish individualism. It is to encourage peace.
If there is anything I am paranoid about it is about my fate.
But I have faith.
My faith tells me that there are forces – the agents, after me.
This world is similar to the movie, the Matrix, in some ways. In other ways it is not – naturally.
But time is ticking. There are agents. There are phones. I’m in the white room now. But outside – we have to wait till we get to His throne.
I know where I am headed – but why the need to open up?
Like I said. My story begins with Riyadh. But my family. The KRIKORIAN story started much earlier.
Time are changing. I was supposed to have more resources. My family too.
But we were stripped. It began in Turkey. Like in Germany. The collectivists came after us – demanding they get provisions.
What happened to a world where men sought provisions from God and kept their mouths quiet? Today people complain of systems – the problem is people.
You see what I am realizing is you are what you believe; which impacts what you do; and what you know.
But there are inevitabilities of character – these are what distinguish us from one another. I see devils denying that very reality.
The reality is that, envy is a social phenomenon ailing the world.
That is why capitalism and freedom are necessary.
But there is a vast difference between these ideas and outright racism.
The republican party in America is a group of angry, white men without any respect for personal responsibility, which the so-called right-wing supposedly represents.
Today, hope rests with non-populistic centrists, and that cannot exist on the right side of American political spectrum because it has given way to populism, racism and fear, where as internal disagreements in the democratic branch are merely ideological.
Hopefully, as Turkey begins to behave wildly, America might maneuver to recognize the Armenian Genocide/Holocaust, or Medz Yeghern.
We were even considered to be loyal to the Ottomans, referred to as millet-i sadıka by the Sultan. That is why the modern Turkish creation is an imperial endeavor – a British experiment, as usual, because nationalism results in ethnic, religious and ideological division.
Racism against Armenians is historically engrained.
From the Hamidian Massacres to the Armenian Genocide.
Comparable to Nazi hatred of the Jewish people.
But this isn’t about comparing it is about understanding.
The absence of a modern, liberalized, practical and refined Islamic authority has long been absent. This has encouraged radicalism and primitiveness, and hate.
Turkish nationalism is largely an imperial task of the West – seeking to impose its influence in the region. Orientalism says that Islam could be more developed if it weren’t for colonialism. I wonder, perhaps if the Middle East would even be as “Islamic” so to speak if it weren’t for a history of Western involvement. Ultimately, what determines a nation’s ability to endure, which the Armenians have been able to do, with the blessing of God, is its unity.
The Armenian nation suffered as a result of this forsaken tragedy.
From the top tiers of Armenian society to the bottom. But even the Ottoman Empire itself, the expansion of Islam since the 7th century, greatly undermined Armenian sovereignty.
Islamism – is not new. It is old. Modern nationalism in Islamic societies, is more developed Islam; whereas Islamism is a primitive understanding – innately regressive. The absence of a viable moderate, tolerant and modern Islamic authority, male or female, has cast a dark, fundamentalistic shadow upon Islam which vindicates the narrative that Islam cannot modernize. My mother is a muslim. Philosophically I would consider myself muslim, an adherer of the true Qur’an, but equally I am Christian. More importantly, I am neither, but instead a believer in God, the Creator, and eternal philosophy, or wisdom. The rest is politics – and to be frank; imperialism – political hubris. The sort of force which violates balances of power. The modern nation, Iran, Armenia, Turkey, is disrupted by religious, ideological and ethnocentric viciousness which violates sovereignty and practicality. The cause of this is a blatant American and European disregard for human rights outside their borders. It has propped up radicalism, ultranationalism and prevents individual and national prosperity, thus limiting global competition, and guaranteeing hegemony, even when undeserved, to the West. That isn’t capitalism – that is totalitarianism.
Those who are unable to modernize and adapt to tolerance are gripped by a stubborn ego that latches on to contradictory but nonetheless vociferous and violent ideologies.
But in Syria too, they came for us. Because Syria, unlike most Islamic countries, has been political aligned with anti-colonial states, thus barring it from access to the so-called international community. Now, they’ve come for Syria in the same manner as they came for Iraq and Libya, under the premise of liberalization, despite rampant hypocrisy.
We watch global destruction from America, comfortably, which saddens me deeply. My only hope is that I can alleviate the suffering by fulfilling my individual potential in America, so that I may bring attention to their plight abroad, whether in the Caucasus, or in the Middle East.
Let it be known that we the Armenians, the Muslims and the Jews have suffered similar fates, to varying degrees of course, but still, equally atrocious and appalling. There are many more groups to be included, but these pertain directly to me. I would like to add also the struggle of African-Americans particularly [and all American minorities] who have endured similar if not worse suffering – and who have gifted me with the privilege of getting to know their culture and its immense richness and quality.
But the problem in Turkey was not Islam versus Christianity. This is modern propaganda. Islam and Christianity’s relationship in the Middle East, or the Orient, has largely enjoyed harmony.
Turkish nationalism is the main menace. Nationalism generally, is dangerous. Patriotism is different, we can’t mix the two. Nationalism is justification of some type of othering, as Edward Said might call it. It justifies the alienation of a group that is deemed not part of a nation, and worthy of exploitation. This happens historically to many groups, the Armenians being one among them.
The disintegration of the Ottoman Empires produced disasters for the Arab world in fact, contrary to the original aim of so-called liberation. The idea of freeing itself from Ottoman imperial control was not universally accepted or unanimously felt. The Ottoman Empire was relatively tolerant and secular compared to modern Saudi Arabia, for example. Ironically as previously mentioned, the Armenian population enjoyed a rather privileged status in the Ottoman Empire, due to levels of education and tenacity.
Perhaps the Ottoman Empire was not the best ruler for the Middle East, but it was unifying, and instead of being centralized on ethnic principles, it was based on a respect for the leadership of the greater Middle East. This would likely have persisted or shifted to another empire, as it has historically. But the idea that the world has modernized into nation-states, the premise of realist theory in international relations, largely ignores the reality that Western civilization functions as a unit – the Modern Holy Roman Empire if you will – with Washington D.C. serving as Rome. How else would it survive?
Perhaps this might explain why then the Middle East has become so vulnerable to the West following WWII – which might have been more about completely ending regional sovereignty in all parts of the world outside of the West.
It has really been a quest to find myself. Dear God.
Isn’t it ironic that religious minorities enjoyed more freedom under ottoman rule in ME than under ‘secular’ rule.
And that Islamic civilization was more tolerant and less vulnerable to fanaticism then too. Maybe cause they weren’t under foreign dominion?
Sure Ottoman Turkey was foreign to Arabs but nothing comparable to being ruled by British. In fact Europeans split up the Ottoman Empire, in what is known as the Sykes-Picot, a primarily British and French arrangement.
The beginning of colonialism of the ME.
The death of unity, sovereignty and tolerance ensued. Even Saudi nationalism, was a British Experiment. Maybe Germany nationalism, or Nazism was too, a form of containing in the rise of the “East”. This carries weight since Western sympathies for Nazism were not scarce; particularly as a form of anti-communism.
Modern western political theory, where realism or neorealism prevails, argues that since 1700s, or Westphalia, modern political unit is the State, and not for example, the individual, or the Empire [a collection of states]. This is rooted in temporal reality which may or may not persist. But what if the world operates as a collection of imperial organisms – not states, but states within Empires – based on cultures and/or ideologies? The West, is not a series of states united almost overtly behind American neoliberal hegemony? Does this not function as an empire, despite portrayals of it being otherwise?
We are in America now though. Safe. Thank God.
I only pray that I can be recognized as a US citizen but that means I have to marry an American or get it from my family and hopefully it will happen soon. I would also like to get some financial support or amnesty and recognition for my crafts. Perhaps I will write on Armenia one day, to explain my origin and its legacy. Return dignity to my people.
Racism against Armenians in America goes back. I did not know it ran this deep. In the 1920s, Armenians were officially banned from owning businesses of certain kinds as part of an anti-Ottoman policy tradition maintained by the US. The Armenians possess a unique position in history, as a historically Christian nation, swallowed up by the Muslim Ottoman World. Still, their positive reputation for loyalty and competence earned them respect in the Ottoman Empire. It was not until the birth of fascist Turkish ultranationalism that anti-Armenianism became institutionalized. The Armenians have always been harmonious with Muslims and the Turks. This tradition in America, is grounded then in the anti anything that isn’t Anglo-Saxon – aka American racism or White Supremacy.
In relation to Armenian-Islamic or Armenian-Turkish relations however Armenians are not anti-Islamic or anti-Turkish. In fact many like me are from mixed religious families (obviously with the exception of certain fringe groups or peoples). The qualm is against Turkish ultranationalism and the mainly British imperial hand which leveraged it to initiate the Armenian Genocide. Today the Brits are largely replaced by the Americans. Perhaps that is why in both nations, the Genocide remains unrecognized. Neither does Israel, by the way. Peace and love to all.
This image really captures my identity.
I do think it visually symbolizes who I am – half Armenian half Arab – Syrian.
My heritage includes Palestinian, Italian too. Perhaps there is more European blood from my father’s side – but nonetheless, that side of my family is vehemently Armenian. About as homogeneously Armenian as the ethnic group itself.
Culturally we are influenced by Christianity, Philosophy, Secularism, Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam.
One day I hope to visit Yerevan, my original home. Perhaps then I can built a modest home with my family, and create hip-hop, musical masterpieces eternally from there!
God bless Armenia and my people. I only pray we can one day meet again. I also pray you may understand my struggles, and how being half Muslim, ostracized me even further from my Armenian roots. But the truth is that the genocide produced this reality.
Still deep in my heart I know Armenians have no qualm with Islam.
There are extremes everywhere, but for the vast majority, there is harmony. Remember, in its conflict against Azerbaijan, a Shia muslim country, Iran, the world’s biggest Shia muslim country, stands with Armenia, a Christian nation, out of principle.
Furthermore, Armenians have no qualms with Islam or Turks – rather they wish for historical atrocities and political justices to be recognized and initiated. Was this not healthier for Germany in the long run?
I do love my Syrian-Arab heritage too, equally. That is precisely why this picture evokes my emotions so well. I believe in tenants of Islam too; as well as the narrative. I do believe in many cases though, like all religions, it has been distorted.
Perhaps one day we shall all meet and I may share my unique, perhaps twisted, conception of religion which has become my faith, thanks to my Syrian mother, and Syrian-Armenian father. I dedicate this to them, my grandfather Yervant, the bright and shining genius of our family whom I look up to and aspire to be like. I also dedicate this to the fallen souls of the Armenian Genocide who shall never be forgotten, ever. Finally, I dedicate this to my other home, Syria, which is in utter catastrophe and destruction. God be with you all.
the son of KRIKOR & al Ghaib,
In America, they call me Danny K!
There are so many opportunities I, and many like me, were denied due to institutional obstacles for immigrants, even one like me, who has lived in the US since he was 6. That was in 1996. It’s now 2016, and I’m 28. I still have no status anywhere except Syria, my home country, which for the most part, has been ravaged by yet another global war.
My story begins in Riyadh. I was born there because like most Arab expatriates, my father found work in Saudi. I am of the so-called generation from Riyadh.
When I moved to the US, it was for similar reasons – cultural freedom, economic opportunity – the sort of scarce liberalism you could not find in the Middle East anymore. Especially after the fall of the Shah, the Lebanese Civil War, and the post-WWII era which saw a combination of colonialism, religious extremism, sectarianism and political primitiveness in the form of authoritarianism – hopes for freedom of any kind were wishful thinking.
Now, I’m 28, searching to establish my footing in America – specifically here in Orlando, FL. Though I know I belong in New York, or LA. I need to be there now. I wish to act too, and direct – put this novel[s] of mine into action. I have come across obstacles here too though, in America. They have been social and economic, since in the free world, democracy limits conflict between civilians – at least to a certain degree relative to non-democracies, where law and order are swept under a dirty rug of lies blood and slander. What I mean is, democracy means we compete without violence – but that doesn’t guarantee justice. Unfortunately nothing or no one can – but God. Trusting any man or group of men with too much power is dangerous though. In the West, struggles are social – against conformity and pressure, and financial coercion [socio-economic]; whereas in the East coercion is more socio-political.
But I was born to be free. Like all humans. Only, I knew, that unlike all humans I must somehow gain the courage, by God, to rise above the average, and fulfill my individual destiny, completely, and wholly. I pray each human can accomplish it, but bearing such a burden is not my responsibility. In fact that has precisely slowed me down. Because people know what I am capable of, and instead of allowing it to flourish completely, they wish to allow it only flourish subtly which I cannot afford because that is not my destiny. I know that. I have always believed it, but they have tried to convince me otherwise. The so-called “THEY” does it – as DJ Khaled calls it. I cannot flourish economically or artistically or morally if I am not to be myself fully and that person is not who my so-called partners but actual competitors do not understand. I do not care anymore. I must flourish. I understand that freedom also means people fail – but I believe in my destiny. It is true, that might either believe it blindly, not possess any talent and so forth – but in my case I don’t think this is so. That is my conviction. I do believe that existence and being is perfect and that destiny triumphs in the end. That being said, I must present particular products and sell them as they are intended, eternally.
That could not be done anywhere but in the freest of the all nations – America.
But even here, I have also encountered political distress, mainly because, after 9/11 the immigration process disenfranchised people like me living inside the US, and people outside. The truth is I am now realizing what it means to be an American citizen, while still being so distant from that reality.
It’s like a ship sailing away from the statue of liberty, but always remaining close enough so that the passengers onboard can still see it.
That is the metaphor of my position.
And even then, I have still striven. I have been persistent and ambitious. In the face of my social dilemmas, and competitors, who, through peer pressure, seek to stifle my growth and potential. I have striven in the face of inhumane institutionalized delays and political injustices. I am the child of immense political injustices [Armenian Genocide; Syrian Crisis], a history stained with much betrayal [Autocracy; Zare; Courage]. I was denied financial aid of all sorts, scholarships, grants, basic public aid – due to my immigrant status.
I thank God for all these feats despite the setbacks, as He makes it all possible. I currently create music as Danny K, my brand, despite many struggles against my competitors as well as with the industry itself. Furthermore, I am enrolled as an MA student at UCF – studying political science, which I hope to utilize in the future in diplomacy, research, writing and teaching.
But the story of my life is of two portions, past and future.
And the future is upon which legacies are made.
The legacy of mine and my family and our Creator shall triumph.
Though troubling, our past has led us to this fine point of no return.
It is time to uncover my personal legend fully. I have delayed it long enough, have I not? For my self and my family, I must do this. But most importantly, for God.
To celebrate this wonderful day, I’d like to give you guys a flashback to one of my favorite songs.
Remember, “Afraid to be King”? That sample though!
Dear world: I’ve decided to rebrand as Danny K, my original title. I do this for my Creator, for my family, and for my home countries, Syria & Armenia [The Middle East at large – Falastin], for my grandfather’s legacy of ingenious, and finally, perhaps selfishly, for myself.
From now on you can follow me on all social media outlets [Twitter, Instagram & Facebook] via @dannyk1988/@dannykrikorian.
New album coming SOON.
It will be available via Spotify, TIDAL & Apple Music/iTunes – this September.
Stay tuned for more updates. Show dates TBA. Visit the store to purchase new shirts for the upcoming album & to preorder a physical copy of the album itself.