Dear Riyadi, The Turkish Flag Raised To Tease Homentmen Wasn’t Photoshopped, And Yes It’s Despicable

It says a lot when the knee-jerk reaction to something as disgusting as this is to cry foul and call photoshop instead of calling out those who did that.

It says even more that the men who were holding the Turkish flags weren’t even holding them right: they were just there to tease the Armenian team the team they’re supporting was playing.

I posted the above pictures on my blog’s Facebook page and was immediately inundated by replies that it was photoshopped. No, it wasn’t. Not only was it shared by one of Al Riyadi’s top Facebook fan pages, but a little zooming in and you can see the person holding the flag. Some even tried to defend it. Anything to save face? No, just no.

Perhaps it’s a good thing to have a “it’s photoshopped” reflex in order not to raise tensions, but when faced with evidence that it’s not, the right route is to own up to it and apologize to the team you were playing whose entire history you insulted, to those who support that team whose ancestral struggles you’ve insulted and to your fellow citizens whose fight is a daily, yearly thing to have their genocide recognized. And all for what? Teasing?

There’s a whole other level of disgraceful when you have to sink to such low levels and then try to justify it. Turkey is a good friend to Lebanon? Yes, but that’s not the place to celebrate that. People wanted to commemorate the memory of our victims at Istanbul’s Reina attacks? Really now, against an Armenian team, during a basketball game that followed a period during which organizers for both teams wanted to deviate tensions?

The fact of the matter is that Turkish flag was intentional, and that picture was authentic and the act was despicable. It was even preceded by fans making that “joke” on social media over and over again:

But it’s not a joke. It’s not funny. What it is is disgusting, disgraceful, hurtful and despicable.

To set an example, Al-Riyadi should identify whoever those fans were and ban them from attending future games of the team in order to set an example. It’s easy to dismiss such acts as goofy play, but we’ve experienced them way too often and fans of multiple teams have been banned from courts so repeatedly for things to remain as is. Sometimes, such as this time, you have to call out things as they are so people know that doing them isn’t worth the laughs they got with the bros or that surge of pride they felt when they pulled that flag out of their pocket mid-game.

This is about the mentality that would push a supporter of a particular team, in this case Al Riyadi Beirut, to figure it’s a good idea to insult Armenians in the worst way possible by bringing a Turkish flag to a game and not even hold it properly, or the mentality of a Sagesse supporter chanting Islamophobic slogans just because they can. The examples are endless, and they’ve been thoroughly documented.

I’m 100% certain that this is not what all Al-Riyadi supporters are like as many of my friends are supporters of that particular team and they would never be in such poor taste as to pull a similar stunt. I’m also positive that such stunts do not paint the picture of the entirety of Lebanon’s basketball fans. However, with sectarian and political slogans becoming as part of the game as the ball, isn’t it high time for the entirety of the game to be re-assessed?


15 thoughts on “Dear Riyadi, The Turkish Flag Raised To Tease Homentmen Wasn’t Photoshopped, And Yes It’s Despicable

  1. I guess that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Sunnis in Lebanon are pro Daesh which is basically like saying pro-Turkish. Getting the terrorist turkish flag to a basketball game screwed properly riyadi sunni fans, now we know that they are not ashamed of advertising terrorism, because they are terrorism.

    • Reading the article gives me hope of a better Lebanon and better mentalities but when i got to your comment it hit me all over again knowing that we will never be able to be human beings living in a respected country.
      Thank you sir for bringing us back to reality.

  2. for sure its a wrong act, and not to forget that ottoman empire also killed Sunni figures but also you should mention that Homentemen fans cursed Islam and the prophet on social media since last week.

  3. It’s a major assumption that the people who raised those flags even thought about the genocide. It’s more likely aimed at the racist hatred of everything Turkish (a nation of tens of millions) more than a hundred years after a tragedy as though most of the turks then or those today had anything to do with it. Get over it. The flags were poking at Armenian racism. They did a similar thing in the game against Byblos.

  4. Dan, its not about Turkish flag or Turks (which many Armenians have friends from),it is about Turkish official denial of the Armenian Genocide, even Turkey is going too far by saying “Armenians did a genocide against Turks”. Many young , educated and open minded Turks admitting the Armenian Genocide and saying sorry lets get over it, so you can communicate with them and reach out to conclusion.
    Armenia and Turkey are neighbours and Armenia is not asking Turkey officially to recognize the Genocide in order to normalize relations with it, contrary Turkey is asking Armenia to forget about Genocide and even declare that it is historical forgery, created by Armenians ,at the other hand Turkey is putting conditions to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. Imagine a criminal who killed your grand father and he is asking you to get over it and he is not talking about forgiveness but by looking into your eyes he’s letting you to understand in silence that the crime was justified (it come like : I killed your grand father and I’m ready to do it again, you should admit it and even say loudly: I’m a liar and you did not kill my grand father, maybe I -an Armenian- did …).
    Armenian so called racism is rooted deep in Turkey’s denial and it it’s much more settled over human rights and dignity cases rather than any other offensive and cooked up racism (particularly Turkish one),and by raising Turkish flag, specially in matches, which mostly national and racial aspects could come to light by public, and which could considered natural, you are touching out the most essential and crucial and sensitive point in Armenian people common consciousness and identity, it is the topic of Genocide (like saying :I’m not recognizing it and I’m ready to do it again /denial is the continuation of a crime itself by criminal code as you know).And by this case you are evoking a violent reaction from Armenians in this case and sometimes yes I can admit extreme acts from Armenians expected.
    P.S: Azerbeijan (who considers itself as Turkey’s little brother committed 5 Genocides in Baku,Sumkayt,Kiravopat,Artsakh in late 80’s and early 90’s against Armenian civilians just because the people of Karabagh, which is historical Armenian land, wanted their independence in the time of Soviet union collapse and Azeirs led a big war campaign against Karabakh (Artsakh by Armenian name)but this time their plans of Genocide did not succeeded and Artsakh won the war.Till now Turkey and Azerbeijan directly from fist mouth are saying that they are ready to repeat the Genocides.
    Lastly I want to remind that nobody could think that he or she or his or her society is safe, in order to live in civilized world (as like European countries did)we should admit our past and look into the future, otherwise the same Genocide perpetrators could be victims next time by “fault”.
    Last but not least I must address by this content to the most fundamental and even Wahabbist-salafist..etc or even Daaeshist Arabs; There is no bright future with such Turkey and if you think that you can gain her or assimilate her by Islam to your side ,you are totally wrong. Look at the history from the times of Turkish tribes came to middle east, go study their relations with the Arabs and the Muslims and you can find out by yourself what is what and you will not be surprised by being schooled by who’s flag is revealing what, and what was the stories from Mamalik to Sharif Makke.

  5. I don’t think Lebanese people understand why we Armenians have such attitudes towards Turkey. It’s not just the genocide, the genocide is the least of our worries. It might get the most media coverage but it’s actually the least. The fact of the matter is that the Genocide never ended. Many Turks (among them officials) still want to eliminate Armenians. They have stolen our historic land and want to deal with us like the Americans with the native tribes, in fact even worse, at least the native Americans have reservations. Turkey a country of over 80 million people still has an economic blockade on Armenia a country of barely 3 million, closed all borders, supports our adversaries in the territorial disputes, their president made many racist remarks against us and threatened with destruction. Has anyone ever heard the Armenian president speaking derogatory about Turks or threatening them? I haven’t! When the Soviet Union first broke apart and Armenia declared independence and wars broke out in the region, Turkey send tanks to the border and was ready to invade Armenia, it was only Russia that held them back, and the Russian general famously said; “if you [Turkey] set one foot over Armenian borders World War 3 will start.” That is why still Russian troops are patrolling Armenian-Turkish borders. Why you think we need such support? This shit is still happening, Turkey is still trying to kill us. It’s not just a matter of a genocide 100 years ago, it’s happening as we speak. But we will not give up as we lived long before them, outlived all the empires, and will live long after them! So go ahead hold your little Turkish flag, but know that if they ever crush us, they will come after you Lebanon as well! Have a nice day!

  6. At the next game simply bring flags of states that Riyadi fans find hurtful and offensive. I do not think that reason, discussion and dialogue are the way to go with them. Also, Mr. Hariri should receive word from his two Armenian ministers that this is behavior that NOT acceptable.

    • No. That would be the wrong thing to do and would not be reflective of the Armenian culture and behaviour. Armenians were never involved in activities that could cause divide among the citizens of this country and they will certainly not start now, nor ever. You don’t have to stoop to the level of ignorant individuals to get them to understand why their behaviour is wrong. Be the better citizen and the better neighbour to your fellow citizen. The only flag that should be raised in Lebanon is the Lebanese flag.

  7. I would like to see Riyadi daa3ouch faces when we raise the hezbollah flag at the next game, which is basically 1000 times more respectful than their rotten ideology.

  8. For Armenians it is a big laugh every time a so-called “Real Lebanese” claims nationhood and considers Armenians “foreigners”. What is “Lebanon”? Never existed in history. So you think Lebanon is “Arab land”? The fact is, today’s Lebanon was part of Armenia two thousand years ago, and no record exists of any “Arabs” at that time in the region. Thus, there has been a continuous presence of Armenians in Lebanon for at least two thousand years. Can any other people make the same claim? Even though the majority of Armenians arrived in Lebanon as a result of the Armenian Genocide, it was not Lebanon at that time, and when Lebanon was created, Armenians were already settled. Lebanon belong every bit to its Armenians as anyone else.

  9. Pingback: When A 63 Year Old Militia Member & Minister of Sports & “Youth” Bans MMA in Lebanon For Being “Too Violent” | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

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