“Know Thyself”. “Ծանիր Ըզքէզ”*

The Centennial year of the Armenian Genocide is over. It has been a very busy year. Armenia and Diaspora, have done their best to pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and remind the world of the cruelty of the unpunished crime, and its effect on the surviving generations. THANK YOU to all those thousands and thousands of volunteers who gave their precious time to make it the success that it was.

What is next?. There seems to be a consensus that, the recognition phase of the Armenian Genocide by the foreign countries, that started to accelerate after the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, is over, and it is time to move on, and hold Turkey accountable for the crime committed by their ancestors, and claim compensation, both, monetary and territorial.

So the question, WHO? (what authority to demand it?), HOW?, (the strategy?). HOW MUCH?, (monetary compensation?), and WHAT? (what land demand?) etc. But first, maybe, it’s time for a quick check at our current strengths and weaknesses both in Armenia and in the Diaspora. Maybe a “Know Thyself”, “Ծանիր Ըզքէզ”*.

The WHO?, in the Republic of Armenia/Artsakh seems to be clear. It is the government authorities. Their legitimacy comes from the Constitution of the country, and their credibility is earned at the ballot box. (Provided not falsified!). Currently, Armenia is governed by Soviet educated generation of oligarchs, who seem to have gained their wealth by plundering the country’s resources, during, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Although the Republic of Armenia/Artsakh by the law and the Constitution is a democratic country, and the use, or rather the misuse of the word democracy abound, but  Soviet-style non-democratic authoritarian mentality seems to be dominating Armenia’s governing administration, especially, at the upper echelons of the administration. And without a credible opposition in sight, it seems that this generation of oligarchs will be around for a while.

The WHO?, in Armenian Diaspora(s) seems a bit complicated to say the least. The “old Diaspora(s)”, in the Middle East, Western Europe, North and South Americas, do not have a Pan-Armenian central leadership, or representation, that could claim any legitimacy, (granted by the law of the country they live in), or any credibility (earned at the ballot box by the public at large). Instead, we have communities with age-old tribal history, mentality, and organizations, that seem to be preoccupied with the over glorification of that tribal past. Judging from the current activities and intellectual discourses, and especially despite all the sloganeering of – UNITY – ONE NATION – ONE PEOPLE, here too, there seem to be no meaningful changes in the near future.

The WHO?, for the Armenian Diaspora in Russia, seems to be the Union of Armenians in Russia (UAR), headed by Ara Abrahamian. (A wealthy Armenian from Armenia, who, like many other Armenians in Russia, seems to have made his fortune in Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union). But it seems that UAR dos not have the organizational structures to connect the widespread Armenian communities in Russia, and thus, become a truly credible and representative body. (The Armenian Communities in old communist countries are not yet well organized).

The WHO? for the Armenian Community in Turkey (Mainly in Istanbul) is a bit clearer. Although technically a Diaspora, but, as citizens of Turkey, and by the law of the country, they have a special status as a religious community headed by the Patriarchate, The election of the Patriarch is subject to the approval of the Turkish Government. Recently some civic organizations like “Hrant Dink Foundation”,  “Nor Zartonk” civic organization, etc, seem to be emerging which is an encouraging sign.

But before commenting on this issue, next, I will comment on Dec. 6. 2015  Controversial Referendum on the New Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.  (If you wish, you can circulate these monologues. Thank you again).

Զօհրապ Պէպօ Սարգիսեան


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