At first I thought I was reading a column from the satirical online newsletter–The Onion (www.onion.com). But I was wrong. It was as real as my five o’clock shadow which usually starts setting in around noon. I looked at the headline again and then again just to be sure. "Turkish Group Protests Schwarzenegger Film." Sure enough–it was from Associated Press. If that’s not a relatively reliable news source then my name is Skeptoglu Pasha!
Here’s the basic gist of the article. According to the Associated Press? Wait; let me use a term that is too often wrongly associated with Genocide-related issues. The Associated Press "claims" that "a Turkish group uniting hundreds of businesses and organizations demanded Tuesday that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies be banned from Turkish television to protest the California governor’s use of the term genocide to describe the massacre of Armenia’s by Turks during World War I."
The article goes on to quote a statement from Sinan Aygun–head of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce. "We condemn and protest movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger–who declared April 24 a day to commemorate the Armenian genocide and accused Turks of genocide by acting under the influence of the Armenian lobby–and without researching historical truths. We don’t want his films shown in Turkey."
But wait! There’s more. My favorite part of the article is where they describe Ergun Kirikovali’s commen’s. Kirikovali is a spokesperson for the American Turkish Association of Southern California. "Kirlikovali said the Turkish people are particularly upset with Schwarzenegger–whom they believed was ?one of our guys,’ because of his Austrian ancestry. ?He turned around and stabbed us in the back,’" Kirlikovali said.
I’m in the same boat as you are. I can’t figure out what Ergun means–"One of our guys" because of his Austrian ancestry? What Austrio-Turkish link is this man referring to? Maybe Ergun was referring to the great relationship shared by the Austrians and the Turks when Turkish armies invaded Europe and tried to burn down Austria’s capital of Vienna–not once–but TWICE during the 16th and 18th centuries. Nothing says "Best Friends Forever" like coming over to someone’s house and setting it on fire!
OR–maybe he means the Austrio-Turkish alliance of World War I? That might make sense. By the time the Great War started–many Austrians had already forgotten that less than 200 years before–the Turks had tried to forcefully convert the European continent to Islam and raped/murdered anyone who refused. And after all–Turkey didn’t seem to mind the old–shall we say–friendly rivalry of the past and readily joined the Central Powers of Germany and Austrio-Hungary. The same guys who turned a blind eye as the Young Turks and Kemalists butchered thousands of children and women. Could that be the connection?
Wait! I think I got it. It’s probably the fact that Arnold’s father–Gustav–was a volunteer member of the Sturmabteilung–or SA–the notorious Nazi storm troopers also known as brownshirts. Maybe this is the reason Ergun referred to him as "One of our guys." Hmmm?this is very interesting. Someone should tell poor Ergun that Arnold detests his father’s fascist past and has openly disagreed with the elder Schwarzenegger’s racist views.
Well–I hope that the Governator is not losing any sleep just because an entire nation of "Terminators" has decided to boycott "Kindergarten Cop" and "Eraser."
Quick side note: Is it right for the Turks to make Danny DeVito a victim of their ineptitude just because he starred in "Twins" with Arnold?
Anyway–I’m just glad that Arnold didn’t buckle under any pressure from this so-called Turkish consortium and signed Senator Chuck Poochigian’s bill that permanently designates April 24th in California as a day of Remembrance for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
The question that someone should ask (but nobody will have the guts to) is: "Why did it take so long?" What the heck were Governors Deukmejian–Wilson–and Davis doing the whole time? It’s disturbing that it took so long–and an Austrian weightlifter–turned actor–turned politician–turned governor to finally get something meaningful passed in California. Thank God for Arnold. The man will stand up to anything from assassin robots sent back in time to alien mercenaries and Muslim terrorists. This guy will go toe-to-toe with anyone!
But I’ll tell you who really suffers amidst this whole ordeal that the Turks have unleashed on Arnold–the children. Yes–the poor children of Turkey who because of the actions and miscalculations of their parents–will now never know the joy of such Arnold classics as "Hercules in New York" or "Total Recall." Little Ergun–Jr. and his sister will never be able to appreciate the Oscar worthy performance of Arnold as Conan the Barbarian in the movie by the same title. But who needs Arnold running around with a giant sword covered only in animal furs on his buttocks when you have a government full of barbarians right there in Ankara.
The lesson to be learned here is one that Arnold taught me at a young age after watching dozens upon dozens of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. No matter what you do–where you run–how hard you try–you can run–but you cannot hide. Your past will always find you. And when it does–you better hope you are either ready to face it–or you have a) a massive futuristic laser gun–b) a large sword–c) lots of grenades or d) a funny midget sidekick.
Remember to write or call the Governor’s office and thank him for his gesture. You can be so selfish and thankless sometimes. Here’s the number you lazy bum. Write this down? 916-445-2841. Until next week–"Hasta la vista–baby!"
Skeptik Sinikian’s learned everything he needed to know about life from Hollywood movies and cartoons. His top three favorite Arnold movies–in no particular order–are "Red Sonia,"End of Days," and "Predator." Share your favorite Arnold movie moment with him at [email protected] or visit his blog at www.Sinikian.blogspot.com.