That’s what the open face of the semi-globe shaped monument unveiled in Ottawa on September 20 by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Canada and Turkey, John Baird and Ahmet Davutoglu, represented according to its Turkish designers. It is a gift from Turkey and it was built there, disassembled, shipped to Canada in crates, and finally re-assembled in Canada.
The massive monument, mostly composed of 1,100 pieces of hardwood, each one representing a diplomat around the world who has been assassinated by terrorists or otherwise victimized by violence, is a solemn reminder of the scourge of terrorism amongst us. The plated face of each piece is an eternal flame that keeps alive the silent memory of a fallen diplomat somewhere around the globe.
It is all the more meaningful when one considers the tragic murder of an American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, in Binghazi, Libya only eight days earlier. Glyn Berry, a Canadian diplomat killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan in 2006, is not too distant memory, either. But perhaps the most moving tribute, a lone prism, was to the slain Turkish envoy, Turkish military attaché, Col. Atilla Altikat.
Altikat was gunned down in cold blood just a few feet from the location of the monument, on his way to work as he stopped at a traffic light on the morning of Aug. 27, 1982. It was the most shocking, heinous, and dastardly attack on a diplomat on Canadian soil. To this day, this hate crime remains unsolved, despite the overt and arrogant claim by one of the numerous Armenian terror groups.
Baird put it succinctly: “The great struggle of our generation is international terrorism, and that all began for Canada right here, over 30 years ago.”
Davutoglu was equally articulate: “While the Turkish diplomats have been targets of extremist Armenian groups in the past, we know very well that terrorism is a broad international threat that cannot be associated with any ethnic, religious or political groups… The right to life and security are sacred… (Altikat) will remain in the collective memory of our great nations, as fresh as the first day (he was) fallen.”
ATAA congratulates both Turkish and Canadian governments for their courage and vision in focusing a modest, though momentous, light on international terrorism. While Armenian terrorism may be a small part of global terrorism, it remains the best kept secret in America today.
We hope that the U.S. government takes this hint and, again jointly with the Turkish government, erects a monument in Los Angeles, to the silent memory of Turkish Consul General Kemal Arikan. He was also shot at close range on his way to work when he stopped for a red light on Wilshire Boulevard on January 28, 1982, and the perpetrators were also Armenian terrorists.
Another monument in Santa Barbara, California (for the killing of Turkish diplomats Mehmet Baydar and the Consul, Bahadir Demir by another Armenian, Yanikian, on January 27, 1973) and a third monument in Boston (for the murder of Turkish Honorary Consul General Orhan Gündüz by Armenian gunmen on May 4, 1982) would be not only appropriate and meaningful but also essential as reminders that international terrorism is very real, very personal, and that it takes a village to fight it.
Such a humane gesture could at last usher in a welcome change in American ethnic politics, especially in Congress, where some representatives see it fit to renew their perennial efforts to legislate history in order to curry favor with ethnic lobbies, being totally oblivious to Armenian terrorism and Turkish suffering.
May this poignant monument open the gateway to peace!