Self-Criticism, A

(ISBN: 978-1-903656-26-6)
2010 London
48 pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Language(s): English

Additional Artists

Gregory Topalian (Author, Editor)

Monte Melkonian became a famous military commander in the Nagorno-Karabagh war in the 1990’s, where he was killed in action in 1993. However, in the 1970’s and 1980’s he was involved in Armenian issues in a different way, defending Armenian civilians in the Lebanese civil war and later as a member of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA). As a member of the latter, Melkonian was involved in the assassination of several Turkish diplomats. He was arrested and imprisoned in France for possession of falsified papers and carrying an illegal handgun. On his release from prison in 1989, he traveled to Armenia and participated in the defense of Armenians against Azerbaijanis over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabagh. In A Self-Criticism, Melkonian reflects on his earlier years in the 1970’s and 1980s, starting from the defense of Armenian lines during the Lebanese civil war. Sometimes falling into ideological jargon, his comments are forthright and he gives invaluable insights into one of the most secretive terrorist organizations of the 1970’s. Melkonian’s own integrity comes to the fore in these accounts and he allows us to unravel some of the myths and realities of the so-called Armenian armed struggles of the 1970’s, especially ASALA. One can see that the number of participants in the latter organization was smaller than one might have expected, and the rank-and-file much more ideologically driven and dedicated to broader struggles against western imperialism. Melkonian’s work suggests that ASALA was a rigid organization, even a dysfunctional one. One does not have to endorse or oppose Melkonian’s words, but there is value in reading his views.

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