InstaHate

My wife, who is a talent manager in Hollywood, has 84,000 followers on Instagram.2015 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals

This is mostly because of her client Selena Gomez.

Selena fans, or Selenators as they are known, skew toward the teen and pre-teen.  They are big users of social media.

When my wife posts an image of Selena, or even just a photo of our family dog, the love and emoji-kisses pour in from around the world.  Japan, Sweden, Brazil, everywhere.  It’s kind of random, but awesome nonetheless.

But the love dried up on April 26.

My wife posted a photo of an Armenian Genocide memorial event two days earlier in Los Angeles.

Geno2

A few words about the Genocide.  No reputable historian disputes it happened.  An estimated 1.2 to 2 million Armenians were murdered or starved to death during forced relocations by the Turkish government during World War I.

As with the Holocaust, there are thousands of hours of recorded testimony from survivors.  There is an entire book by Henry Morgenthau Sr., then U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, detailing not only the daily slaughter, but also Morgenthau’s conversations with the genocide’s architect, Talat Pasha.

hanging

Contemporary accounts from American and British missionaries described public hangings, rapes, mutilation, and the deadly march of hundreds of thousands of Armenian refugees into the Syrian desert.

Hitler himself took encouragement from the Turkish example as he contemplated his own race-based extermination.

“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Hitler said.

The heads of Armenian men decapitated during round-up and execution of community leaders in 1915

Armenian men were decapitated in attacks targeting community leaders

In the United States, many were at least dimly aware of the tragedy.

When my parents were growing up in Nebraska, if they left food on their plate, they were told to eat it up.  Think of the starving Armenians.

Today, countries such as Germany and Rwanda publicly acknowledge the famous genocides which took place within their borders.

Germany, in particular, sets the gold standard for coming to grips with historical atrocity.

However, Turkey has taken the opposite approach.  The government aggressively denies the Armenian Genocide occurred.  Denial is a staple of public education and a basic criteria for doing business with other countries.

The United States and Israel, which should lead the way, instead refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide as a genocide (even though the word itself was created by human rights lawyer Raphael Lemkin in specific reference to both Armenians and Jews).

The U.S. and Israel don’t want to alienate Turkey, an important strategic partner in a chaotic region.

On the other hand, countries such as France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden and dozens of others have all done the right thing.  They recognize the Armenian Genocide as the first mass kill-off, by race, in the 20th century.

Back to the young Selenators.

My wife’s words about the Armenian Genocide unleashed an absolute torrent of abuse from Turkish Selenators.

SLUT!

BITCH

Fuck you

#fuckarmenia

Why are you so stupid

FUCK YOU!  SHUT UP BITCH ARMENIANS

MOTHERFUCKER aleen YOU SHOULD BUY A BRAIN AND USE IT

ASSHOLE SHUT THE FUCK UP BITCH

We hate u

Go and buy a brain racist

Oh, baby, you make me laugh.  Am i wrong?  Can you show me proof ’bout ‘Ottoman Turks killed 2 million Armenians in 1915″?  You can’t.  Bc this never happened.  You don’t know your “great” grandparents’ history.  Ironic.

You should read a book

Racist bitch

hate makes you ugly, you’re selena’s manager and i’m sure that selena isn’t a racist.  stop lying about us, we didn’t kill Armenians. YOU killed our people, and we made your parents go to another place. we did it with respect, please read history.

i hope you die

You don’t know anything about history

You should read history Aleen.  I don’t want to be rude but you shouldn’t judge people by ‘wrong’ history information.  Don’t be racist and vengeful.  God bless you

Aleen keshishian you are writing this article for what.  Yes we understood you are a fuckin disgusting human.  Sorry I said human.  You can’t be human if you think this about us

Racist prostitute!!!!

This single post by my wife triggered more than 14,000 comments.  Nearly all of them said similar things, either in English or Turkish.

By now, the hatred has migrated onto all of my wife’s other pictures on Instagram, too, including family ones.

hate

For a while I would comb through these comments and report them to Instagram, one by one.

But for every comment I reported, ten more would pop up.

Finally, I decided to leave it alone.  The comments speak for themselves.  They are testament to the Turkish government’s 100 years of aggressively denying what happened.

Most comments are from teen and pre-teen girls.

You can get cancer ‘kay?

All the usual disclaimers apply.  The above comments do not reflect the views of all Turks.  There are plenty of honest, fair-minded Turks who acknowledge not only the genocide, but also the wholesale expropriation of Armenian lands and property.

But the Instagram comments do illustrate, at least anecdotally, the results of extreme, aggressive denial.

So, for people who DO want to ‘read a book,’ as the Turkish Selenators helpfully suggested, I recommend four:

  1. The Murder of a Nation, Henry Morgenthau Sr., 1918
  2. Black Dog of Fate, Peter Balakian, 1997
  3. There Was and There Was Not, Meline Toumani, 2014
  4. Orhan’s Inheritance, Aline Ohanesian, 2015

Also worth reading is A Century of Silence, which appeared in the New Yorker on Jan. 5, 2015.

Or go to the Wikipedia page about Hrant Dink, the courageous journalist in Istanbul who kept writing about the Genocide despite multiple prosecutions by the state for ‘denigrating Turkishness.’

“There are Turks who don’t admit that their ancestors committed genocide,” Dink said in an interview.  “If you look at it, though, they seem to be nice people …. So why don’t they admit it?  Because they think that genocide is a bad thing which they would never want to commit, and because they can’t believe their ancestors would do such a thing either.”

Hrant_Dink

One of Dink’s prosecutions stemmed from this public remark:  “Of course I’m saying it’s a genocide, because its consequences show it to be true and label it so.  We see that people who had lived on this soil for 4,000 years were exterminated by these events.”

I wish there were a happy end to Dink’s heroism.  But as you might guess (based on the venom unleashed by a simple Instagram post), his courage ended up killing him. Dink was shot to death in 2007 outside the newspaper office where he worked.

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About kittroyer

Kit Troyer lives in Los Angeles.
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15 Responses to InstaHate

  1. Paul Martino says:

    God Kit what a horror for all of you guys! The comments are really so upsetting but look at the world we are now living in? Donald Trump the front runner for the Republican Party and four children playing with family guns and killing themselves. Does it really surprise you ? It’s all so troubling this time we live in! I miss you guys and think of you all the time in Hollywood hope I get to see you all soon my love to my Sistha,Lulu and of course the soon to be 13 year old birthday guy! And YOU!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. I am climbing Everest for a variety of reasons, all personal… maybe I can somehow associate this horrendous situation with a transcendent moment on the summit, if I am able to make it. Will shout my outrage from the top of the planet… NeverGiveUp, and WeAreWithYou.

  3. apaurbach says:

    Kit, Paul’s blogging has been nothing short of inspirational, you need to follow it!

  4. Todd Hoffman says:

    Nothing can erase the 14,000 comments except truthful ones like yours — one by one. That, and a lot of hope and prayer. Thanks Kit.

  5. Alexandra Zapruder says:

    This is just appalling, Kit. I¹m sorry to say I¹m not surprised, however. these politics are unbelievable vitriolic. and then add dumb teenagers and the internet and wow. I hope your wife isn¹t too upset. I don¹t suppose Selena would like to comment? Like maybe to tell her fans to stop insulting and trolling her talent manager? Anyway, that¹s not why I¹m writing. Your post reminded me of a book I read and loved called There Was And There Was Not which is about the Armenian genocide but from a very different point of view. I¹ve become friends with the author who is Armenian and has tried to complicate the conversation about the genocide in very interesting and provocative ways. She¹s gotten it from every side ‹ not just from Turks but from Armenians, too. Anyway, she¹s incredibly smart and thoughtful, and a very sensitive person and her book is well worth reading, I think. Just wanted to pass it along. I hope Selena¹s little fans learn some history themselves ones day, and some manners while they are at it. But I¹m not holding my breath. Sorry for Aleen. I hope this passes quickly. What a shit show. xoxo A

    From: Kit Troyers Blog Reply-To: Kit Troyer’s Blog Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 2:42 AM To: Alexandra Zapruder Subject: [New post] InstaHate

    WordPress.com kittroyer posted: “My wife, who is a talent manager in Hollywood, has 84,000 thousands followers on Instagram. This is because Selena Gomez is one of my wife’s clients. Selena fans, or Selenators as they are known, skew toward the teen and pre-teen. They are big user”

    • kittroyer says:

      Yes, that title is the beginning of all the old Armenian fables. “A long time ago, there was, and there was not …”

      Can’t wait to read the book. Sounds awesome. And if she ended up pissing off both sides, she probably got it just right 🙂

      When I finish reading it, i’ll likely add it to the list within the blog post. Thanks for alerting me!!!

  6. jake says:

    Great post, Kit.
    I cringe when i think things are not any better in that region, one hundred years later.

  7. David yarnell says:

    Venomous comments that make my skin recoil….that elusive and rare element the TRUTH is beaten down yet again by ignorant and mean spirited members of mobs…we are in the midst of an election where that mood and spirit is exemplified by Donald Trump and his followers….let us pray!

  8. Kathy Hoskanian says:

    Jean Claude & I were moved by your post, Kit and outraged at the hate messages towards Aleen. We share the responsibility to overcome genocide denial, defend truth, justice and human rights. Thank you for raising awareness in your blog.

  9. Lynne Englert says:

    So sorry your family is having to endure this- there’s little comfort to be found in the fact that the tweeters are young and ignorant when it is clear that the misinformation and hatred they’ve received at the hands of their elders can be perpetuated indefinitely and that very few will likely grow up to know the truth. The case of Hrant Dink is just horrendous. My support goes out to you and Aleen.

  10. Leslie Simpson says:

    This is beyond repulsive. I hope you and your family are well. Great writing.

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