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Private Eye

Chelada Time!

I support the Chelada Party, but not necessarily the Obama Party.

By John Saltas
Posted // April 28,2010 - If spring is here, can Chelada season be far behind? I sure hope not! Two years ago, City Weekly held its first Chelada party at Port O’ Call. The Chelada was discovered by yours truly during a trip to Cancun 10 years ago, a secret date marked on our stationery and logged into our corporate minutes. In City Weekly time, there are two eras: B.C., the dark ages—life before the Chelada; and TGFC, life in the light—Thank God For Cheladas.?

Starting in the year TGFC-01 and each spring thereafter, once the weather warmed, we’d mosey into the Port and drive the bartenders crazy with order after order of Cheladas. The bartenders went crazy because a Chelada requires lots of freshly squeezed lime juice—bartenders hate squeezing limes. In TGFC-09, Port O’ Call was torn down to make room for the Chaffetz-Granato Federal Courthouse, named in honor of the two Utah senators who will be in office when the courthouse is finally built. Sadly, we didn’t have a Chelada party last year.?

But, we will this year—Wednesday, May 5, TGFC-10 at Gracie’s. Mark your calendars and join your City Weekly friends for great fun, great food, great libation and great music—said music being provided by DJ Latin Grooves. Like everything else about Cinco de Mayo, having a Latin band for a primarily North American Mexican holiday seems to fit (outside of the Puebla, Mexico region, even most Mexicans don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo; sort of like how fortune cookies aren’t Chinese in origin).

And you won’t go wrong at the Build Your Own Chelada Bar. Besides having plenty of the aforementioned fresh lime juice at your disposal (a Chelada has only lime, beer and ice for ingredients in a salted rimmed glass), you’ll find all the ingredients to make your own Michelada—just add hot sauce. Or, you can wrangle with others about what constitutes a real Chelada or Michelada by adding some clam juice or tomato juice and mysterious herbs. We purists stick to lime and beer, though, and this year we’re going with Corona. Hope to see you there. We wanted to bring along Gustavo Arellano of “Ask A Mexican” fame, who has said he’d love to visit. Maybe next year.

A couple of years ago, when people became bored or mayors became angry, the streets were filled every now and then with anti-Bush protests. One of the memorable lines from those marches was “Bush Lied. People Died.” That minor poem was in reference to the accusations that the Bush presidency lied this country into the Iraq war and people died unnecessarily as a result.?

I guess people don’t hate President Obama as much for needless deaths as they did President Bush. Or, maybe they think the wars in Iraq and Afganistan are good and proper wars now. Maybe folks are too busy talking about birth certificates, tea parties and Sarah Palin to even notice that our war budget is as large as ever and the world is, at best, marginally safer. It could be all of that. It could also be that when Obama lies, the people who accused Bush of lying don’t want to admit it.

I’d say you could count me in that group, but I figure nearly all politicians—except Jim Bradley, Peter Corroon, Jon Huntsman Jr. and a handful of others—tell lies all the time. A politician lying to me is as natural an experience as learning to write with my right hand. They are in politics, therefore they lie. I don’t get angry when politicians lie, I get angry when the people they lie to don’t or won’t see the truth. For instance, I’m less bothered by Sarah Palin than by the clods who follow her. I look at them and think, Thank God For Cheladas!

I supported Obama, and still do. But I can’t turn my back when he lies. And he has. Here’s one example that will only mean something to a dwindling number of Greeks and Assyrians with long memories, a smattering of historians, a dash of hard-core pacifists, and every Armenian whose family survived the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian people that began in 1915. Of the 2.5 million Armenians living in the former Ottoman empire, 1.5 million were killed—and not in pretty ways, either. When bullets, knives and blunt weapons could not be used, the Turkish gendarmes resorted to drowning, fires, death marches, suffocation and poison to exterminate the Armenian population. Their crime? Being Christian.?

What took place in Turkey against the Armenians was genocide—the controlled and calculated attempt to exterminate an entire group of people based on their religion or ethnicity. In fact, the very definition of the word genocide is derived from what happened to the Armenians and predates another example of genocide, the Jewish Holocaust of World War II. Funny, then, that depending on how the wind blows, Israel either supports Turkey or the Armenians on this matter.?

When Obama ran for office, he pledged to the Armenians that he would officially recognize the Armenian Genocide. April 24 was the 95th anniversary of when Armenian intellectuals were rounded up in Istanbul (then Constantinople) by the Turks and 5,000 of their countrymen were murdered in the streets. That began the genocide.?

What did Obama do on April 24? For the second year in a row, Obama ignored his pledge and called the genocide an atrocity, thus telling Armenian Americans that, regarding international affairs, Turkey matters more than Armenia. Greece learned that the hard way, too, despite the fact that in World War I, the Greeks fought with the Allies against the Ottomans. In death, everything becomes negotiable. People died. Obama lied.?

John Saltas:

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Posted // May 3,2010 at 16:52

Well, I was going to comment on Cheladas, but your friend "zubeyde" chewed up so much wild-eyed real estate wanting to make damn sure that we understand the gravity of the Armeian situation that I'll pass.

John, maybe you should have included a blurb about how the Turkish Ottoman Empire invaded Greece and sat on it for 400 years. We have grievances! There's a reason many Greeks look more like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, complete with "furry" wife-beater, than like the Brad-Pitt looking dudes from way back in Greece. It's called 400 years of inter-breeding with Turkish occupiers.

And, yes, according to, Obama failed to acknowledge the Armenian genocide and has, in their estimation broken a campaign promise. Probably has somehting to do with our military bases needing a home in Turkey. We use Turkish soil to conduct the war in Iraq and taunt the Iranians with a whip. I can just see an anxiety-ridden, 4-star general begging a freshly-minted Pres. Obama to re-think pissing off the Turks.


Posted // April 29,2010 at 14:45


‘…..However the senior military officials gave immediate and hard punishments as soon as they were informed about these outlaw behaviors. Let me tell that Vehip Pa%u015Fa, the Commander of the East Army judged his two military officials in the court and had them executed by shooting, because of this reason.

‘Enver Pa%u015Fa punished a Turkish general who was the governor of Halep, by expelling him and sentencing him to a long prison punishment’.

‘I think these examples will prove that the anti-Armenian incidents were not approved by the administrators. Talat can not be kept responsible for these events; these developments occurred 2000 kilometers away from him and as it was told before the jandarme was educated only by the French until the war burst. Additionally, it was war time and the customs had become wild. I want to remind you the wildness that the French committed against our prisoners and wounded soldiers’.

[Bronsart von Schellendorff, Talat Pa%u015Fa için %u015Eahitlik, Ermeni Ara%u015Ft%u0131rmalar%u0131 Dergisi, 4 (Aral%u0131k 2001-Ocak-%u015Eubat 2002), p.81].


Posted // April 29,2010 at 14:40


‘To transfer thousands of Armenians and additional thousands of Muslim immigrants to the settlement places, to nourish them, to find home for them were unusual and difficult tasks and exceeded the capacity of the few and unqualified officials. Just here Talat interfered with the situation using every kind of facility, in a devoted manner. The orders which were sent by him to the jandarme and the governors should still be present. Emergent help of the Army was being asked by telegrams sent to Ministry of War from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which I was informed, due to my charge. These calls were taken seriously and this duty was being implemented as much as the army could. The Army presented its own food, vehicles, homes, doctors and medical equipments which it itself was deficient in, just for the aim of help. Unfortunately, thousands of Muslim immigrant and immigrated Armenians died not being able to stand the difficulties of this walk.

‘Here, one asks if it was not possible not to give the decision of immigration, predicting such situations. It was already a well known fact that it was not possible to stop the Turkish immigrants because of their rightful fears of Armenian wildness and savageness. Additionally, it should be approved that the Armenians should have been sent from the areas where they had uprised! Additionally the results of this should have been standed.


Posted // April 29,2010 at 14:38


The German General Bronsart von Schellendorff’s second observation:

‘ Talat was not an unbalanced man, a revengeful murderer but a statesman who was far-sighted. According to him, the Armenians were very useful (efficient) citizens during peace time, although they were agitated and raged being provoked by the Russian and the Russian Armenians. He hoped that they would be able to give life to fertile and profitable soil in Syria and Mezopotamia being away from the effect of Russians and Kurdish dispute.

‘He also foresaw the ‘so-called Christian hunt’ propaganda of the foreign press while defining the relocation of the Armenians. So he wanted to be far away from every kind of violence. He was right; what he got afraid occurred! Propaganda worked and foreign people were made believe in this stupudity! It should be thought that the so-called events took place within an army which was an ally of Christian states and employed many Christian soldiers and officers in it’.

‘Now I want to talk about the immigration issue: In the Turkish Empire, the vilayets are nearly free from the center due to the empire’s large area and its inefficient substructure. For example: The Ottoman governors have more authority than our presidents. Depending on this, they advocate that they can evaluate the developments in their area better than the government. So, the orders of the Internal Affairs Ministry were not fullfilled as it should have been.


Posted // April 29,2010 at 14:35

The German General Bronsart von Schellendorff worked in Ottoman General Staff as Senior Chief Staff until 1917 . Here are a few excerpts from his declarations about immigration and resettlement of the Armenians after the murder of Talat Pa%u015Fa in Germany:

‘The published advertisements, provacative brochures, weapons, ammo and explosives etc in total were proof of the fact that the uprising was being prepared by a third side. It was so overt that Russia provoked, supported and finansed this uprising. The entrique against the high rank soldiers and officials in %u0130stanbul was displayed just at that time. The Muslims who could be summoned to military service were already in the Turkish Army. So the Armenians did not face any difficulty to attempt a horrible massacre in a society which was not capable of defending himself. Because, they attacked not only from the Russian side, from the back of the Turkish Army in the East but they also exterminated the Muslim folk who lived in the region. As a wittness, I want to note that the dimensions of the wildness displayed by the Armenians, was far worse than the so-called Armenian wildness for which the Turks were accused later. First, the Turkish Army interfered with the situation, in order to keep its relations beyond the front safe. But the Army had to admit to the Jandarme since it had to use its all power to overcome the Russian superiority and the uprising was spreading all over the empire.

(Bronsart von Schellendorff, Talat Pa%u015Fa için %u015Eahitlik, Ermeni Ara%u015Ft%u0131rmalar%u0131 Dergisi, 4 (Aral%u0131k 2001-Ocak-%u015Eubat 2002), p.78,79).