I haven’t had the heart to write anything on this blog for a while. Before summer vacation even started, I stumbled on a website with information about the Urartu castle in Yayladere/Xolxol that I blogged about last year. The website was www.definelerim.com, “My treasures”, although the word defineler has a lot more nuance than the English treasure. It would more accurately translate in this case as plunder. Basically, someone who hunts define goes to historic sites, digs up everything looking for gold, and then sells whatever they find to enrich themselves. The asshole who does this is called a defineci.
The website above is one of many in Turkey that serve as a central sharing of information for plunderers. What bothers me is that the person writing was directing everyone to go plunder whatever was left of the castle, but because he was on a cell phone, he couldn’t send any photos or information. So instead he directed his fellow tomb raiders to my blog for guidance. My blog, written in hopes of some sort of amateurish widening of knowledge about a little known piece of the world, would be what helped them further plunder and rape what was left of that very place.
Well fuck you, define hunters.
And what’s worse, this guy claims to be a local.
A slightly bigger internet investigation revealed a whole slew of these tomb raider websites. There’s www.defineciler.com, www.definesohbeti.com, and www.defineharitasi.com for instance. While they don’t seem all that picky about which places they rob, there is a clear focus, of course, on old Armenian sites due to the widely held belief that the people marching to their deaths were all obscenely rich and ran around burying boxes of gold before being shot and bayoneted by the gendarme.
For example, on this page http://www.definesohbeti.com/archive/index.php/t-128.html, we get a partial list of all the Armenian villages and churches in Eastern Turkey as targets for plunder.
To make matters worse, we went to visit Conag for about a week and a half this summer and in that time, took a trip to the waterfalls and ruins of Pargasor, which I also wrote about last year. Lo and behold the entire site had been dug up. They had clearly brought in big machinery to do it, too. One of the chambers was completely ruined. Whoever was responsible wrote on all the rock walls “Attention! Mines have been laid!” Given the current atmosphere, it’s certainly possible, but more likely a ruse to dissuade other defineciler. Had they found this place because of my blog too? And of course, this site is located between two freshly built military bases. Did the soldiers do it? The locals? A group made up of both, finding common cause at last in blind greed?
Here is the webpage with the link to my blog. If you’d like, spam this creep. Or hunt him down and rob his house.
In any case, I don't feel all that confident in the morality of writing these days. You do something for what you think is a noble reason and it's turned to rotten and foul purposes. Maybe the best solution is just to shut up.