ACTIVISTS DETAINED AT SIT-IN, IN PROTEST OF TURKISH CULTURAL WEEK IN BEIRUT

Menassat
http://www.menassat.com/?q=alerts /6458-activists-detained-sit-protest-turkish-cultu ral-week-beirut
April 29 2009

BEIRUT, April 29, 2009 (MENASSAT) - Around fourteen feminist activists
were temporarily detained by the Lebanese police on Wednesday night
for protesting the opening of the Turkish Cultural week at the UNESCO
palace in Beirut four days after the commemoration of the Armenian
genocide.

Tens of demonstrators gathered at the site for the inauguration
ceremony and were approached by security forces shortly after they
dropped a banner reading "Recognize the Armenian Genocide" before
hundreds of diplomats and statesmen, according to a press release
issued by the demonstrators.

A member of the security forces proceeded by ripping the banner and
some demonstrators were taken into custody at a police station near
the UNESCO palace where they were held for approximately three hours
until the ceremony had ended.

The demonstrators believed that holding the Turkish Cultural week
only days after the commemoration of the Armenian genocide was an
"insult" and a "sign of disrespect to its memory."

"The head of UNESCO came up to us and told us how hurt he was. I
snickered and my friend told him 'well, my people have been hurting for
94 years and this is what you care about? A diplomatic affair? Before
your fellow citizens'? We shamed them, they said. I wonder if he
realized how much he shamed me as a citizen when he disrespected my
culture, our dead, our memory," detained demonstrator "Shantal P"
wrote in her personal account of the sit-in.

The day after the sit-in, "Shantal P" received a phone call from
her mother. Had she heard about what happened at the sit-in, her
mother asked?

"Yes, I said. She (my mother) told me: 'your dad wished he was
there.' I replied 'Mom I was there, it was our idea.' She was
shocked. She finally asked: 'were you arrested?' I said yes. She
laughed and told me she was proud."

"I thought of the police officer that kept nagging and wanting to
be right about all of us (demonstrators) being Armenian. I felt like
saying 'my mom isn't Armenian and what makes her special is that she
gets it. She gets the cause, our cause and like my friends she views
it as something beyond race and ethnicity but instead as something
fundamentally righteous, fundamentally human," wrote Shantal P.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress