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The 1915 Armenian Genocide and its Russophobic Origins

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Johann von Bernstorff (German ambassador); “The way the Armenian problem was solved was hair-raising. I can still see in front of me Talaat’s cynical expression, when he emphasized that the Armenian question was solved.”1

Einar af Wirsén (Swedish Diplomat) “When I kept on pestering him about the Armenian question, he once said with a smile: ‘What on earth do you want? The question is settled, there are no more Armenians'”.2

Henry Morgenthau (American Ambassador (He was Jewish)); “Whatever crimes the most perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecution and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people. I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.”3

On May 30th 1915 Talaat Pasha issued the Tehcir Act, which on paper was a security measure the Turks put forth to prevent a Russian-Armenian revolt by forcibly relocating the nationals of Armenia to Mesopotamia and Syria.4 This was the story the Young Turks told the world to avoid and minimize any public disapproval or foreign resistance. The relocations involved disarmed Armenians being forcibly marched to camps in the inner deserts of Anatolia and Syria, and these camps were not stocked with necessary supplies for survival.5 The properties of these people were confiscated and sold to new arrivals, the men were often singled out to be killed first, and the women were often enslaved and raped en masse.

The accusation of Russian-aligned rebellion was used as justification and cover. American Ambassador Henry Morgenthau frantically remarked;

“Have you received my 841? Deportation of and excesses against peaceful Armenians is increasing and from harrowing reports of eye witnesses it appears that a campaign of race extermination is in progress under a pretext of reprisal against rebellion.

Protests as well as threats are unavailing and probably incite the Ottoman government to more drastic measures as they are determined to disclaim responsibility for their absolute disregard of capitulations and I believe nothing short of actual force which obviously United States are not in a position to exert would adequately meet the situation.”6

A confession is considered as valuable only if it contains some true and verifiable details of the crime the investigator did not know of. This rule of criminal investigation was observed in the controversial telegram transcriptions written in The memoirs of Naim Bey.7

On March 25, 1915, Talaat states: “It is the duty of all of us to effect on the broadest lines the realisation of the noble project of wiping out the existence of the Armenians who have for centuries been constituting a barrier to the Empire’s progress in civilization.”8

What events led to these horrific genocide and near destruction of the Armenian people, and why are the Armenian people important for European history?

Armenians are an ethno-linguistic-religious group distinct from their surrounding neighbors. They have their own church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which was founded in the 1st century CE, and became in 301 CE the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion. They have also their own alphabet and language which is classified as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. The historical homeland of the Armenians sits north of the Fertile Crescent, a region of substantial importance to modern human evolution. Genetic and archaeological data suggest farmers expanding from this region during the Neolithic populated Europe and interacted/admixed with pre-existing hunter-gatherer populations.

Furthermore, Armenia’s location may have been important for the spread of Indo-European languages, since it is believed to encompass or be close to the Proto-Indo-European homeland (Anatolia or Pontic Steppe) from which the Indo-Europeans and their culture spread to Western Europe, Central Asia and India. 9

The Holocaust of the Armenian people wasn’t simply stopped at the borders of Turkey; Ottoman troops by the Young Turks insistence had also invaded Persia. During this invasion Christian Armenians and Assyrians alike were slaughtered. In fact, approximately half of Persia’s Christian Assyrians alongside about four-fifths of the Christian Assyrian leadership were killing during this time by Turkish and Kurdish invaders.10

Two months after the (largely Jewish led) Bolshevik revolution the new Russian government began withdrawing Russian troops from the Caucasus. This withdrew the only ally the Armenians had and put their remaining people at risk of extinction. At this time the last refuge for these people was the small remaining unconquered land of historic Armenia centered around Mount Ararat.11

Mount Ararat is traditionally the Christian-accepted location of Noah’s Ark in the Book of Genesis. Armenia was the first Christian country in the world. The Armenian language is the most ancestral, oldest Indo-European Language left since the extinctions of its Indo-European predecessors Anatolian and Tocharian. It’s hard to overstate the ethnocultural significance in this event threatening complete extermination of the most ancestral Indo-European speakers and also the most ancestral Christians. Much of the Armenian highlands were lost; Western Armenia was renamed “Eastern Anatolia” by the invaders. With the survivors and refugees concentrated in Caucausia the impending invasion threatened complete annihilation.

The Christian leader Catholicos Gevorg V ordered Church Bells to peal for six days as all classes of Armenian people were called to take up arms with the women and children readying supplies and the entire survivors of the nation prepared for total war.12 The President of the Armenian assembly stated “If we are to perish, let us perish with honor.”13

In the battles of Sardarabad, alongside Abaran and Karakilisa, the outnumbered Armenians managed to defy the odds and fight off the Turkish invaders. Historian Christopher Walker remarked that with a loss at Sardarabad “it is perfectly possible that the word Armenia would have henceforth denoted only an antique geographical term.”14

The Destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire resulted by most estimates with 1.5 million of the 2 million Ottoman Armenians being exterminated.

The history of Armenia is intertwined with that of Europe and Russia especially. Russia had generally had an Armenian presence through its history but after the Russo-Persian wars in 1828 Russia annexed parts of the historical Armenian nation. Since that time Russia has generally defended the rights of Christian minorities in the Ottoman lands. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is perhaps the most visible example of a Russian Armenian given that he was born to an Armenian father.

But the Armenians had, for the most part, been very well integrated in the empire as well. Armenians were formerly dubbed the “loyal millet”.15 The Armenians opportunities in the region arguably increased with the transition from Greek Byzantine rule to Ottoman rule. Armenian villages traditionally had a high degree of autonomy as well. Any sort of separatist nationalism would seem unviable, and the main Armenian conflicts with the Ottoman Muslims were based about regional autonomy and protection from bandits. The primary Armenian political organizations with public protests were advocates pushing for autonomy such as the 1890’s Kum Kapu demonstration.16 These requests were quite reasonable as the Armenians had suffered various attacks and murders from Muslim Kurds and other bandits who, by the Ottoman empires laws, held legal superiority in court.

During this time the Sultan Abdul Hamid II attempted to shed the “sick man of Europe” label his failing Ottoman Empire had by encouraging a modernization of the Empire, which required a stronger and more centralized government role in citizens affairs. Abdul Hamid II was attacked in the British press as the “Red Sultan” for various atrocities committed against minorities such as Armenians and for all intents and purposes was the perfect archetype of a Tyrant.17

The Young Turks who sought to overthrow him by contrast were revolutionaries. They shouted their slogans of “Hürriyet, Musavat , Uhuvvet” inspired from the French “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” meaning “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. Turkish ethnicity is often described as a “melting pot” of all Anatolian people ranging from the gene pools of the Balkans, Anatolia, and parts of Asia.”18 The Young Turks were also rationalists following a materialist ideologies like positivism which they prioritized over religion; The Islamic authorities the Ulama even denounced them as “trying to change Islam into another form and create a new religion while calling it Islam”.19

The Ottoman Empire was historically a place where Jews could live without fear of persecution according to one of the Erdogan aligned newspaper the Daily Sabah.20 Indeed this tolerance extended into the post-Sultan era of the Young Turks, as the Encyclopedia Judaica noted that various Zionist groups were hopeful in 1908 for opportunities to press their interests; “the absence of antisemitism in Turkey made the idea [Jewish settlement in Palestine] possible”.21 Talaat specifically was very open to these ideas;

“Four years later Talaat even propagated the fantastic idea of a ‘Muslim-Jewish Alliance.’ The Balkan wars had plunged the Ottoman Empire into financial ruin and Talaat, who became a key member of the CUP’s ruling triumvirate following the military coup of January 1913, expected the Zionists to link the empire with the fabulous wealth of ‘world Jewry.'”22

Knowing this background of the states historical pluralism, alongside the progressive and secular motto of the new government and its noted tolerance of Jewish minorities, one has to ask how a genocide could have even been possible. How could such a progressive government proceed to horrifically genocide many of the states indigenous Christian populations?

If we take a closer look at the killings we come across many disturbing disparities in the treatment of these minority groups. After all in the Great fire of Smyrna catastrophe of 1922 the Christian Armenian and Christian Greek sections of the city were destroyed while the Jewish and Turkish sections were not.23 In 1918, three years after the passing of the Tehcir law, Talaat Pasha made a Turkish Balfour declaration equivalent expressing support for the establishment of Jewish Palestine.24 Clearly it is a strange sort of nationalism the Western world is unfamiliar with when the Jewish minorities are spared.

The Armenian Holocaust was not only unexpected by the victims but in fact it is still to this day denied by the perpetrator state Turkey. And until recently, the execution of the genocide itself was only known by third party observers, with the state of Turkey claiming the genocide was really just a civil war. The only direct evidence of intentional genocide were in translated telegrams written in the 1921 published The Memoirs of Naim Bey which lost much of the source material telegrams.

In October 2016 however Prof. Taner Akçam found archived Ottoman telegrams confirming the legitimacy of various events from The Memoirs of Naim Bey and confirming that they were not mere fabrications for propaganda.25

This legitimacy was confirmed further when the “smoking gun” of April 2017 was discovered, an original telegram directly inquiring over the murder of Armenians. The official Young Turks government telegram asks directly if the deported Armenians are being killed or “merely sent off and deported”.

Are the Armenians who were deported from there being liquidated? Are the troublesome individuals whom you have reported as having been exiled and expelled been eliminated or merely sent off and deported? Please report honestly.”26

This is a telegram with an Ottoman letterhead and with the Ottoman coding system acquired by an Armenian Catholic priest, Krikor Guerguerian. He held the evidence in a private archive wherein it was secured by his nephew. The issue being re-raised has re-opened conflicts between Turkey and the international community. During the Western progressive-leftist worlds drama over President Donald Trumps Holocaust remembrance statement of “11 million”, an angry and emotional response from the Jewish Telegraph Agency made some very interesting admissions on the Jewish Holocausts history.27

The “5 million” has driven Holocaust historians to distraction ever since Wiesenthal started to peddle it in the 1970s. Wiesenthal told the Washington Post in 1979, “I have sought with Jewish leaders not to talk about 6 million Jewish dead, but rather about 11 million civilians dead, including 6 million Jews…”

I said to him, ‘Simon, you are telling a lie,’” Bauer recalled in an interview Tuesday. “He said, ‘Sometimes you need to do that to get the results for things you think are essential.’”

Bauer and other historians who knew Wiesenthal said the Nazi hunter told them that he chose the 5 million number carefully: He wanted a number large enough to attract the attention of non-Jews who might not otherwise care about Jewish suffering, but not larger than the actual number of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, 6 million.

With the newly opened international drama of the Armenian Holocaust denying Turkish government, we can find some interesting admissions of the origins of the Young Turks revolution. The Young Turks Revolution broke out in Salonica. Salonica was the largest Jewish city in the world at this time with Jewish people constituting over half the population. According to a prominent Turkish Newspaper in a very recent article on October 13th 2017; 28

“The most prominent financier and mentor of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), which seized the government in 1908, was a Jewish banker of Italian origin from Salonica, Emmanuel Carasso. When Greeks, who had held a privileged status up until then, fell into disfavor after the Constantinople massacre of 1821 targeting Greeks, Jews were hoping for a second chance.

However, with their art facilities scattered around Anatolia, Armenians came in first thanks to their capital surplus. As a result of the Jewish lobby’s recommendations, the Young Turks government removed Armenians from Anatolia in 1915. Hence, the economy of the country was left in the hands of Jewish capital.

Carasso, who was a part of the committee that informed Abdülhamid II of his dethronement, was the closest confidant of Talat Pasha, the figure responsible for the deportation law. In fact, when Talat Pasha escaped abroad in 1918, he entrusted his entire estate to Carasso. To take an active role in the foundation of the Ankara government, Carasso returned to his homeland before his death.”

The allegations of the Armenian Holocaust denying Erdogan-aligned newspaper are very important and need to be explored in depth, as these allegations may help to uncover background historical interactions between Jewish groups and European/Christian groups in a multicultural environment.

In his book Banality of Indifference, Yair Auron alleges that the Jewish citizens of Turkey during this time were apathetic to the murdered Armenians. Regarding the attitude of the Jews towards the Armenians, he wrote:

“A slight grimace on their lips, a short heartfelt sigh, and nothing more. The Armenians are not Jews, and according to folk tradition the Armenians are nothing more than Amaleks! Amaleks? We would give them help? To whom? To Amaleks? Heaven forbid!”29

During the 1922 great fire of Smyrna, in which the Greek and Armenian portions of the city were burned down while the Turkish and Jewish sections were spared, the accounts of Jewish teachers alleged that either the Greeks or Armenians started the fire themselves.30

This apathetic and dismissive attitude has even been shown in the Jewish “Anti-defamation league” which as recently as 2007 campaigned against the American governments recognition of the Armenian Holocaust.

Foxman finally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide in his remarks. It was an encouraging development given that ADL’s only formal statement on the genocide is worded in such a way as to actually circumvent the intent required for a finding of genocide by the UN Genocide Convention.”31

That statement, issued in 2007, said that the “consequences” of the Turkish massacres of Armenians were “tantamount” to genocide, implying it was not a planned extermination. This statement was widely censured, but calls for an unambiguous confirmation were rebuffed by ADL.”

It needs to be noted here that the American ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau was himself a Jew, and quickly became of the fiercest advocates for recognition of this genocide, and even demanded American intervention to protect the Armenian victims. But of course exceptions don’t break the rule.

The post-WW2 world has served to served to center all discussions of prejudice on nomadic minority ethnic groups. The topic is very well studied with any and all possible ethnic and political roots examined. By contrast, prejudice and oppression of Indo-European nationalities and their culture or religious practices are not widely discussed. While these events are minimized in the social/academic spheres of the Western world, Christophobia and Europhobia have not only happened historically but continue to happen today.

This lack of study for this sort of prejudice is very problematic for the modern “multicultural world” especially as anti-European/Christian prejudices are increasingly apparent and ignored by the mainstream media/academia.

This lack of study needs to be adequately addressed. The future and survival of European Christendom is depending on it.


1   A., Bernstorff (2011). Memoirs of Count Bernstorff. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-169-93525-7.

2   Avedian, Vahagn (21 May 2008). “The Armenian Genocide 1915: From a Neutral Small State’s Perspective: Sweden” (PDF). Uppsala University. Retrieved 17 June 2016.

3   Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, Page 119, Blackmask Online

4   Akçam, Taner (2006). A Shameful Act. New York: Holt & Co. pp. 165, 186–187.

5   Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). “Tehcir Law”. In Whitehorn, Alan. The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1610696883.

6   http://origins.osu.edu/milestones/april-2015-armenian-genocide

7   https://er.anca.org/akcam-the-authenticity-of-the-naim-efendi-memoirs-and-talat-pasha-telegrams-2/

8   Naim Bey., . (1920). The memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish official documents relating to the deportations and massacres of Armenians. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

9    http://www.armradio.am/en/2015/02/26/armenians-have-a-high-genetic-affinity-to-ancient-europeans-new-study-reveals/

10   Baumer, Church of the East, at 263. The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, Christoph Baumer, I.B. Tauris, 2006.

11   http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/details/179324/

12   Bobelian, Michael (2009). Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 34. ISBN 1-4165-5725-3.

13   Akçam, T. (2006). A shameful act: The Armenian genocide and the question of Turkish responsibility. Macmillan.

14   Walker, Christopher J. (1990). Armenia The Survival of a Nation, 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 254–255. ISBN 0-7099-0210-7.

15   Dadrian, Vahakn N. The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1995, p. 192. ISBN 1-57181-666-6

16   “Fighting In Constantinople.; The Armenian Patriarch Mobbed – Soldiers And Rioters Killed”. New York Times. 29 July 1890.

17  “Abdulhamid II | biography – Ottoman sultan”. Retrieved 2015-09-29.

18   The Ottoman Peoples and The End of Empire by Justin McCarthy (2007), p. 200-205

19   Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü, The Political Ideas of the Young Turks.

20   http://archive.is/LHJkH

21   Roth, C. (Ed.). (1972). Encyclopaedia Judaica (Vol. 15). Encyclopaedia Judaica. P. 544

22   E. Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923.

23   Clogg, p. 98.

24   https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/2017/12/the-ottoman-balfour-declaration/

25   http://archive.is/8gpWZ

26   http://archive.is/dzIvs

27   http://archive.is/ZINFw

28   http://archive.is/LHJkH

29   Ya’ir Oron, The Banality of Indifference:Zionism and the Armenian Genocide, Transaction Publishers, London, 2002, p.126.

30   The Post Magazine and Insurance Monitor, Volume 85, Issue 2 (1924), Buckley Press, [2] p. 2153

31   https://archive.is/WS7eA

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‘Fight Club’ author Chuck Palahniuk reflects about his life: From building his own castle to making the audience faint | Culture

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Portrait of writer Chuck Palahniuk in Italy in 2007.
Portrait of writer Chuck Palahniuk in Italy in 2007.CENDAMO LEONARDO (Getty Images)

The Covid-19 pandemic divided the world in two: those who tackled personal projects, taking advantage of the collapse, and those who later regretted not having done so. For Chuck Palahniuk, 60, confinement was not as problematic – after all, a writer needs a certain degree of isolation in order to concentrate – as the closing of the gyms. Suddenly, he had no way of working up. So, he set himself a new routine: building a castle with his bare hands on top of a cliff outside of Portland. He chuckles as he recalls: “I changed a completely abstract activity in the gym for lifting rocks weighing more than 40 pounds. I started with a simple room and before I knew it I was making windows, niches for statues, a patio… There it is, without ceilings, like a strange uninhabitable fantasy.” During those months, he took on something he had been avoiding: teaching and preparing a manual for aspiring novelists: Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different (Grand Central Publishing).

Collage that mixes photos of the writer Chuck Palahniuk at different times in his life with images of film adaptations of his books such as 'Fight Club'
Collage that mixes photos of the writer Chuck Palahniuk at different times in his life with images of film adaptations of his books such as ‘Fight Club’Miguel Vides

Question. You start this book by saying that you never wanted to write it. What made you change your mind?

Answer. Before publishing Fight Club, I used to work on a truck assembly line. There were so many of us journalists in that company that we joked that they should teach welding during the career. Then I signed up for the writing workshop of Tom Spanbauer [author of The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon] and everything changed. I owe him a lot of what I know. Thanks to him, I was able to develop my career. And since Tom is not in good health and was never going to write this book, I owed it to him.

Q. Tom Spanbauer created the concept of “dangerous writing,” which you practice. What is it about?

A. It’s about exploring something threatening and unresolved in your life, overcoming fears from painful personal truths.

Q. What advice, as a writer, would you have given to yourself as a young person?

A. Relax. You need to take your time to publish something that matters; you only have one first novel.

Q. In your case, it was Fight Club. You did take your time… you wrote it when you were 33.

A. I was still young, wasn’t I? [Laughs]

Q. How did you manage to keep grounded after its success?

A. It was not a success, on the contrary. During my first promotional tour, in Seattle two people showed up, and in San Francisco, nobody. And even though the film rights were acquired, nothing indicated that it would actually be filmed. When it was finally released, it lasted a couple of weeks in the theaters. By then, it had hardly been sold; almost all copies of the book remained in a warehouse. It wasn’t until Fox released it on DVD that it really found its audience.

The author dancing in a photograph from a few years ago.
The author dancing in a photograph from a few years ago.

Q. Is it true that after you were introduced to Brad Pitt on the set, you wanted to get his lips?

A. [Laughs] We all have our insecurities. I, for example, have been trying to hide my neck since I was a child. It’s too long. That’s why I always had my promotional photos taken with a turtleneck. But I hadn’t paid attention to my mouth until a friend told me: “Have you noticed how the attractive thing about Brad Pitt are his perfect lips?” They are very pronounced, very full. That made me self-conscious about mine; they are quite thin. I needed lips like those. So I called several cosmetic surgery offices to get information and tried one of those telemarketing-style inventions that do suction to achieve a fuller effect. It was a complete disaster. And I took the opportunity to write about it, of course.

Q. Why are you so keen on exploring the limits of the body?

A. Funny you should mention it, because I have realized that the stories that most attract me as a reader are those that include some physical element. And that is always present in my writing: it could be in violence, in sex, in drugs or in illness. Creating a very intense feeling of the character’s body generates a physical reaction in the reader.

Q. When would you say you moved on from your obsession with provoking?

A. The 1990s was the decade of transgressive novels. It started with American Psycho and continued with Trainspotting and Fight Club. Novels about bored kids who would try anything to feel alive. But everything changed with 9/11. Suddenly, anything transgressive was in danger of being accused of inciting terrorism, and publishers decided not to take legal responsibility for their authors. That is why there was such a strong revival of codified formulas of transgression, such as horror. I published my own horror trilogy: Lullaby, Diary and Haunted. I had to sharpen my wits to hide the message. I don’t see it as something bad; on the contrary, it forces the reader to exercise their intelligence to decode what you’re really telling them.

Q. You have a short story, Guts, about risky forms of masturbation that can end in tragedy. It is famous for causing fainting among the audience. Why do you like to read it in public so much?

A. Guts comes from true stories. I wrote it as a personal challenge, thinking about Shirley Jackson and her story The Lottery. When she published it in The New Yorker in the 1950s, the magazine lost subscribers; some people were very offended. I was obsessed with the idea: what would a story capable of amassing the same level of anger look like today? Reading it in public is the most humiliating thing I can do, because I have to put all my dignity aside. It is a message especially for the youngest: in order to create, the first thing you have to lose is shame – only then do you end up facing your own fears.

Chuck Palahniuk in a selfie he shares with ICON from his book cover shoot, in which he got several fake tattoos on his face.
Chuck Palahniuk in a selfie he shares with ICON from his book cover shoot, in which he got several fake tattoos on his face.

Q. Shirley Jackson’s daughter sold her mother’s ashes online, and gave you some. Where do you keep them?

A. They are too precious a relic to keep in my hands. I bought two beautiful wooden boxes from an antiques dealer, split them up and sent them to my agent and publisher. The truth is that I’m not particularly fetishist.

Q. In your book, you raise two unanswered questions: why are we so obsessed with stories about losers? Why do high culture tales end badly?

A. In most movies of my generation the good guys used to lose. Rocky lost, Rosemary gave birth to the devil’s son, Taxi Driver croaks, Carrie kills everyone and then herself, Midnight Cowboy ends terribly… Everyone goes after an ideal and loses the battle, although many persevere. Someone named this “romantic fatalism.” We had seen the failure of Vietnam, Nixon’s corruption, the environmental crisis… Nobody was going to go for a nice ending, we had to see the hero try and try and fail. The decline of the Summer of Love would give rise to the Me Generation of the 1970s and the yuppies of the 1980s. And so, we have remained in love with tragic endings until today.

Q. In 2018, you experienced a particularly difficult moment: you lost the income of your last years due to the embezzlement committed by your literary agency’s accountant. What was it like to suddenly find yourself in scarcity?

A. It was disturbing, but it helped me not to be so confident. In any case, I didn’t start writing for money, and it has never been my main goal. I’m not a big spender either. So, essentially, nothing changed. At that time, much worse things happened to me, like the death of my father-in-law from cancer.

Q. You have always been very discreet about your relationship with your husband, with whom you’ve been with for almost 30 years. But you now talk about it more openly. What has changed?

A. The death of my parents was decisive. I didn’t want to embarrass them when they were alive, because homosexuality wasn’t something they quite agreed with. Also, my husband feels more comfortable with it. In 2018, we were invited to the Rome Film Festival, and when I walked the red carpet we posed together and he hugged me from behind. It was a natural gesture that we don’t usually do in public.

Q. You’ve had no problem writing about your addiction to sedatives, but I read that you’ve given them up. What drove you to do it?

A. I started because I suffer from insomnia. I can spend weeks wandering sleeplessly. Then I discovered that they were a fantastic tool for writing in one sitting or for keeping up with the pace of promotional tours. Vicodin or Ambien were useful to turn my body into a machine that responded to the need to rest or to be awake when needed. Until I was invited to a cultural festival in Borelo, Palermo, and I got hammered mixing pills with booze. I ended up acting like a jerk in front of people I admire, like the writer John Irving. On my return to Portland, I was so embarrassed that I said to myself: never again.

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Norway accepts European military aid to secure oil sector

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ENERGY

Norway’s prime minister said Friday the country, which has become Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas, had accepted military contributions from France, Germany and Britain to secure its oil and gas sector.

Published: 30 September 2022 19:01 CEST

Pictured is Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre

File Photo: Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 22, 2022. (Photo by Tomothy A. Clary / AFP)

“We are in discussions with our allies to increase the (military) presence in the Norwegian sector and have accepted German, French and British contributions,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store told a press conference, following the alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

His comments came days after four leaks were discovered in the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, which bring Russian gas to Europe.

The leaks were caused by underwater explosions corresponding to hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives and look like a deliberate act, a Danish-Swedish report said Friday.

“I understand that people are worried about the consequences that the situation in the Baltic Sea may have and that something similar may happen to the oil installations,” Store said.

“We have no indication that there are any direct threats to the Norwegian oil sector,” the Norwegian leader added.

Following the Nord Stream explosions and leaks, Norway had already said it would beef up security around its oil installations, amid allegations of sabotage.

“The government has decided to put measures in place to increase security at infrastructure sites, land terminals and platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Norwegian Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in a statement on Tuesday.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.

On Friday, Støre said that two Norwegian Coast Guard vessels had been diverted to patrol near oil platforms and that the area was also being monitored by a maritime patrol aircraft.

The Norwegian prime minister met several European leaders and the head of NATO on Friday, and is expected to visit the Sleipner oil platform in the North Sea on Saturday.

Norway, as well as Britain, France, and Germany, are all members of the NATO military alliance.



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‘After my generation, no one will speak Ladino’ | Culture

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Ivo Molina, the director of the weekly newspaper Salom, in front of a stand displaying copies of his publication.
Ivo Molina, the director of the weekly newspaper Salom, in front of a stand displaying copies of his publication.Luis Mazarrasa

Although the last publications in Ladino – or Judeo-Spanish – have been surviving in Turkey against all odds, this Romance language is about to disappear.

“We are the last generation of Sephardic Jews who speak Ladino… even my children barely understand it,” warns Ivo Molinas, 60, director of the weekly Salom and the monthly El Amaneser. Both papers – founded 75 years ago – are published entirely in the language used by the Sephardic community in Turkey.

Molinas notes that he directs the only press in the world that has published uninterruptedly in Ladino. The reasons he gives for the decline in the language – which is in real danger of extinction – are both demographic and cultural. The Turkish Sephardic community has decreased over the last few decades from about 50,000 to only 16,000 members, with the vast majority concentrated in Istanbul. Meanwhile, the new generation prefers to speak Turkish, English… and now Spanish, since Spain granted Spanish nationality to the descendants of Jews expelled in 1492 by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. It makes more sense to use some of the world’s major languages, rather than learning a minor one that’s on life support.

“In fact, while 40% of the community understands it, we no longer speak Ladino like our parents did,” Molinas explains. However, he believes that the use of the old language will survive through the newspapers: more than 3,000 copies of Salom are sold weekly, with even more readers checking out the online version. He thinks that there will always be someone to take care of these publications – even if it’s just out of love.

Newspapers written entirely in Ladino were very popular in Turkey in the past. Since 1492 – when Jews were expelled from Spain – the language laid down roots in the area. In Izmir – where there was once a large Sephardic community – three newspapers with many readers were published at the end of the 19th century: La Buena Esperanza, El Novelista and El Meseret. In the first years of the 20th century, El Pregonero, La Boz de Izmir, La Boz del Pueblo and El Comercial joined the list, according to Dina Damon, professor of Judaic Studies at Binghamton University in New York.

The director of Salom points out that Spain does not show much interest in the preservation of Ladino… although he recognizes that the real problem is the disinterest of his own community. In fact, the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul had to cancel some free Judeo-Spanish courses last year due to a lack of students. The Sephardic Jews who come to the Institute are more interested in learning Spanish.

The inside of a 1769 edition of Cantar de los Cantares in both Hebrew and Ladino – one of the canonical books of the Jewish Scriptures
The inside of a 1769 edition of Cantar de los Cantares in both Hebrew and Ladino – one of the canonical books of the Jewish ScripturesYael Macías

Gonzalo Manglano, director of the Cervantes Institute in Istanbul, argues that Spain does everything possible so that Ladino does not disappear: “Together, with the Saramago Foundation of Portugal and the Jewish community of Turkey, the Cervantes Institute has requested a tender within the EU Horizon Program for a €3-million project aimed at rescuing languages in danger of extinction.”

If the funds for this project are obtained, the Cervantes Institute will lead the project, in coordination with the Casa Sefarad of Madrid and the Turkish Ministry of Culture. This initiative plans to renovate the Selaniko synagogue in Istanbul, which will host a cultural center that promotes – using modern technology – the preservation of Ladino… a language that any Spanish-speaker can understand.

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