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Boyajian: Countdown to the Next War over Artsakh

Meeting at the White House with a group of Armenian Americans, the chief U.S. negotiator for the OSCE peace talks on Artsakh (Karabagh) announced that the United States would be satisfied if a peace agreement were to last for only 10 years.

The official was Joseph A. Presel. It was 1996, and Bill Clinton was president.  I happened to be at that meeting.

With Presel were Richard Morningstar, U.S. special envoy to the newly independent states of the Caucasus, Caspian, and Central Asia, Nancy Soderberg of the National Security Council, and others. A key U.S. objective, Soderberg declared, was to pump the region’s oil and gas resources west through U.S.-sponsored pipelines.

While commenting on the OSCE negotiations, Presel made an astonishing remark, which I paraphrase: Even if a peace agreement between Armenians and Azerbaijan over Karabagh were to last just 10 years, that would be sufficient.

Did Presel mean that Washington would risk a quick fix for Artsakh even if it were likely to result in a medium-term renewal of violence? I believe so, and the reasons are clear.

The Armenian corridor

Like Georgia, Armenia sits in a strategic position between energy-rich Azerbaijan (and the Caspian Sea) and NATO member Turkey.

An Artsakh peace accord would lead Azerbaijan, and probably Turkey, to reopen their borders with Armenia. That, the U.S. State Department hopes, would eventually result in Armenia’s serving American interests as a land, air, and gas and oil pipeline corridor between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

None of that will happen without an Artsakh peace accord. But it need last just long enough for the U.S. to gain an economic and political foothold in Armenia. Such a foothold would take several years, which explains Presel’s 10-year timeframe.

Why did Presel, an experienced diplomat who had served in Turkey and Russia and was soon to be the ambassador to Uzbekistan, make such a damning disclosure about State Department strategy?

I don’t know. It was early in the morning, and Presel looked very tired. Perhaps fatigue caused him to let his guard down.

With Presel’s 10-year timeframe in mind, consider the OSCE peace plan for Artsakh that Washington, Paris, and Moscow have proposed.

Recipe for disaster

The plan would, for instance, allow thousands of Azeris to resettle in Artsakh. Even Armenia has apparently fallen for this pseudo-humanitarian proposal.

Azerbaijan will ensure that the resettlers include plenty of spies, saboteurs, and provocateurs. Their job? To sow discord over property rights, school curricula, military service, alleged discrimination, and any other pretext they can dream up. The resulting disorder or civil war would give the OSCE and Azerbaijan an excuse to cancel the referendum that would supposedly decide Artsakh’s final legal status.

Claiming that Armenians were brutalizing its kin, Azerbaijan–armed with advanced weapons bought with billions in oil and gas revenue–could well launch a massive assault. Azerbaijan has always preferred reconquest over peace.

Even if the resettled Azeris lived peacefully, their higher birth rate would ensure their eventually outnumbering Armenians. 

Under either scenario, Armenians could lose Artsakh permanently. 

Major power plays

Would the United States (and Europe) really be unconcerned if an Artsakh peace fell apart after 10 years or so? It depends.

If western-bound pipelines passed through Armenia, or if a new war jeopardized the existing Azeri pipelines that lie just north of Artsakh, Washington and Europe would oppose a new war by Azerbaijan. It’s unclear, however, that they would have sufficient leverage over Baku to enforce their will.

Conversely, if their interests were not threatened, the U.S. and Europe might not particularly care if Azerbaijan reconquered Artsakh. Russia might actually welcome a new war by Azerbaijan if it concluded that an Armenian counterattack would damage western-bound pipelines.

The major powers could prove to be greater enemies of Artsakh than is Azerbaijan.

Treachery and betrayal

Would Armenia ever agree to a deeply flawed peace plan for Artsakh designed by the U.S., France, Europe, and Russia, all of whom have historically lied to and betrayed Armenians? Probably.

Inexplicably, Armenian governments have rarely, if ever, publicly reminded these countries of their treachery. Brought up in the denationalized Soviet educational system, Armenian leaders may be largely unaware of the details of that treachery.

Moreover, Armenia’s recent accord with Turkey–the so-called “protocols” which tend to cast aside Armenian historical rights and may make the factuality of the genocide debatable–demonstrates that its leaders are poor negotiators and more concerned with lining their pockets than heeding the views of their people.

State Department doubletalk

Despite Presel’s eye-opening revelation, unintentional or otherwise, about a short-term fix for Artsakh, Armenians should know that he also reflects the State Department’s doubletalk about the Armenian Genocide.

At the White House, Presel referred directly to the Armenian Genocide, saying, “I don’t know why Turkey doesn’t just acknowledge it.”  The statement was strangely disingenuous. Presel had, after all, served in Turkey and certainly knew of Ankara’s fear that a genocide acknowledgment could advance long-standing Armenian claims to territory and reparations.

Fast forward to several years ago.  Presel was on a panel that discussed Armenian-Turkish relations. He reportedly endorsed Turkey’s denialist stance that the 1915 killings were not genocide but rather were caused by Armenian rebellions.

Regardless, Armenians must take Presel’s “10-year” warning seriously. There is no reason to believe that the State Department’s policy is any different now than when he said it.

When a “peace” agreement on Artsakh is signed, start counting.

David Boyajian is a freelance writer. Many of his articles and interviews are archived on Armeniapedia.org.

55 Comments on Boyajian: Countdown to the Next War over Artsakh

  1. Mr. Boyajian presents good reasons why Armenians need to be weary of trusting official Washington.  Except for a brief time under Wilson, the Washington establishment has never had Armenian interests at heart.  To make things as simple as possible, a bit too simple, everything in the Caucasus especially in regards to natural resources would be a lot easier if Armenia were removed from the picture, which is what will happen if Artsakh is lost.

    Yet, Mr. Boyajians treatment of the Russian’s is very simplistic, they fear pan-islamism and pan-turkism just as much if not more than we do.  It seems someone in the Kremlin read the late Andranik Chalabian’s  article, “Emperors, Czars and Commissars”.  It is quite possible that if official baku goes against Russian wishes, and resumes the war against Armenia, that azerbaijan could find itself in the same situation as georgia did in August of 2008.

    Furthermore, one can start counting to a new war now since azerbaijan is in panic mode right now and has been since late 2008.  With the recent statements coming out of Moscow and Washington, both turkey and azerbaijan know their place, which is far below either Russia or the U.S.  Yet, the aliyev clan has never been known for believeing in the rational actor theory, as their hold on that banana republic depends on garnering public attention away from their crimes to the ‘bogeyman’ aka Armenia.

    And let us remember the cardinal rule in international affairs, we have no friends nor enemies, only interests.  Thank the Lord that our existence as a nation serves the interests of Russia.

  2. avatar Rubina Peroomian // January 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm // Reply

     
    David Boyajian’s article is a genuine picture of the U.S. doubletalk and her self-serving role in the Armenian-Turkish relationship. I was not quite clear if Presel’s comment on a quick-fix for the Artsakh problem belonged to that 1996 meeting or it is a recent statement. Even if it is an old one, it still holds true. We in the Diaspora (at least in the U.S.) witness the step by step enactment of U.S. policies in the Middle East and are fearful of the future and the survival of Armenian independence. We have experts like Mr. Boyajian, the people at the ANC, and others to disclose, explain, and analyze these steps and sound the alarm. Doesn’t our government in Armenia see what is happening and what a dangerous trap it has been dragged in? 
     

  3. avatar Vache Mikaelian // January 28, 2010 at 8:10 pm // Reply

    I simply want to say that I’m happy to have read David’s take on this potential recipe for disaster.  A “defend Artsakh fund” will continue accumulating in our household.

  4. avatar Andranik Michaelian // January 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm // Reply

    “Brought up in the denationalized Soviet educational system, Armenian leaders may be largely unaware of the details of that treachery.”
    They are full aware. No need to give excuses, Soviet or otherwise.

  5. It just scares me to death to think that after so many years we’re still in such a precarious situation, and that at any point in time, our national security can be jeopordized by any or all of the players listed in this article. We can’t be seen as a bullying Israel of our region, but we have to to be armed to the teeth and prepared for the worst at anytime. We have to be the best fighters. We have to have the advantage.
    I just hope that the right people in the right places are ready and prepared.

  6. Boyajian superbly describes the recalcitrant policies of the US government towards the Artsakh conflict and the conflicting geopolitical alignments in the South Caucasus.
     
    Armenia’s corrupt authorities may soon be pressured to sign a “peace” agreement in order to prolong their illegitimate rule.  Belligerent Azerbaijan is then likely to unilaterally launch a war against NKR and Armenia, and Armenian troops (with some Russian support) will react by flattening Ganje (Kirovabad) and marching towards Baku.
     
    The US government is rapidly losing whatever influence it has in Armenia and the region, because it sees things only through the energy-security-trade prism and disrespects the self-determination and independence of Artsakh and its strong people.  It also engages in genocide denial and permits hostile Turkic activity and behavior to continue unabated.
     
    It’s no wonder that the US is an empire in decline!

  7. avatar Vee Basmajyan // January 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm // Reply

    If history teaches us anything, it’s that Europe will want to betray us and that the Turks will want to destroy us. The TRUTH is that Armenia has NO friends, Armenia has NO allies, and we need to remind ourselves of that FACT to remain ALERT, DEFENDED and UNCOMPROMISING.

  8. avatar katia karaageuzian // January 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    Throughout our history, we have been outrageously gullible and undignified!   They all shaped us like clay to suit their national interests/needs.    The Ottoman Empire oppressed us and massacred us on our own lands, yet we still fell for the Young Turks promise for Democracy, our leaders let their guards down and an entire helpless and defenseless population was dragged to its demise.  We believed in the promise of the Europeans to come to our defense.  During WWI, the English and Russians positioned their Armenian battalions in the forefront of their armies, taking advantage of our crazed yearning to save our people.  Once they won the war, they discarded us like used shoes.  Yet we have never raised the issue of this treachery with them.  The Turks massacred us under the pretext that we were embedding the Russians, and then the Russians asked the Turks to deliver them Armenia without the Armenians.  To show its gratitude for the role the Armenians played in its armies, Russia signed the Kars agreement and gave away more of our lands to Turkey!   Yet some of us are banking in the idea that Russia will come to our defense!  The US, whose missionaries and ambassador were eyewitnesses to the Genocide, has been duping and playing us for the past 94 years.  The hard truth that is staring us in the face is that the US State Department has helped Turkey cover up the Armenian Genocide for the past 94 years.  Yet there are Armenian organizations with romantic ideals who refuse to see this and have fooled themselves into thinking that the “US knows what it’s doing”.  They are aligning themselves with the US policies and endorsing the protocols whose main objective is for the US to secure oil pipelines.  Can they be this naive to think that the Turkish government will assist in Armenia’s trade and economic advancement?  That the US will even care?  The Turks abused us, converted some of us to Islam, changed our last names and terrorized the wits out of anyone who searched the Armenian truth.  Most Armenians in Turkey do not know what befell their people and have been made intentionally clueless about their past, and yet we are ready to kiss and make up?  The Russians forbade nationalism, and the pursuit of our religion, set examples by exiling individuals who tried to uphold our nationality to Siberia, therefore programming the rest into thinking that putting your nationality first was “a very bad thing to do”.   Yes, it was “bad” for Russia’s interests.  I have a friend originally from Armenia who told me the other day that her grandmother used to tell her that everything bad in Armenia was caused by the Tashnaks.  She said growing up she was thought that the Tashnaks were bad and to stay away from them.  The Armenian people has been blindfolded and morphed into unrecognizable groups of individuals, with erased memories and identities.  We have been abused and put down for so long, and by so many nations that we are psychologically distraught, confused and innately programmed into thinking that “others know better”.  Politics is really not as complicated as some of us chose to think.  Politics is the grown up and more dangerous version of kindergarten territorial games.  Like David Boyajian, we should all contribute in sounding the alarm about the treacherous path we are again being duped to pursue; especially in Armenia, where individuals have been for so long programmed to not be nationalistic and to only mind the securing of personal needs.  This is a very critical turning point for our people.  Concessions in any of our interests and rights can very well mean the loss of Artsakh and Armenia.
     

  9. Boyajian, don’t worry, there will not be another war in Artsakh… But do you know why? Because Mosacow won’t allow it, and believe it or not Baku isn’t foolish enough to attampt what Saakashvili attempted last year.  Although I don’t wish for bloodshed, I strongly believe that if Baku, for some unforeseen reason, went to war against Artsakh not only will Armenia recognize Artsakh, Moscow will as well. And, most probably, Artsakh’s borders will extend further east into Azerbaijan. To tell you the truth, I read a lot of what you write. In my humble opinion, I think you should pick another occupation…
     

  10. David Boyajian’s commentary should sober up those Armenians who despite every historic betrayal, think that the U.S. and Russia are benevolent saviors who will protect us.

  11. Who is going to protect us? You, Koko? Or your “Aga-ner”  from “Burjhamood”? Where were you when our beloved Armenia needed your “Agan-er”  in the early 1990s? Where were your brave Dashnak “engerner” at the time? How many of you “nationalists” went to Armenia to fight the much hated and despicable Turk? Out of well over a hundred thousand “nationalistic” and “brave” “Libananahais” only a dozen or two went? Out of about several million big talking diasporans only a dozen or two went? When you wake up one day you will realize that “Rusatsats” Armenians of Armenia, Artsakh and Russia were the ones that defeated the Turks – with the support of the Kremlin. You are partially right, forget about America they are fully in bed with our enemies, but without Kremlin officials behind our back not even a million “Koko”s like you can stop the Caucasus from turning into a Turkic Islamic cesspool.
    When you are a tiny, resource-less, landlocked and impoverished nation surrounded by enemies in the most volatile place on earth you will need the help of others to survive. Thank God we have Russians, even with all their faults, to help us weather the harsh Caucasus climate.

  12. Avetis is the same defeatist brainwashed Armenian who fell for the “Russians are on our side” slogan a hundred years ago. We don’t have allies just common interests with not only Russia but Iran. Iran in fact has been a more trustworthy partner than Russia or any other country. Who helped us herd the mongols out of our lands. Not Russia. russia was sending pilots to bomb Armenian towns to keep the war going and make it more brutal to prevent a sooner resolution. We have two options join Russia in a loose confed or have more balls and not be greedy and self govern. We in the diaspora only blame the soviet style leaders of Armenia who are worried about wealth rather than Armenian success as a united people. But are our Armenian leaders here in America any different? Are they not the same greedy corrupt type of leader bought out not by Russia but by jew banking interests? We need to clean house then we’ll be able to defend ourselves and our lands without asking for help from allies. Allies will come to you if you are powerful but when you’re corrupt and weak you will need to seek allies.

  13. Avetis, with all due respect, do you realize what you are saying?  You said “there will not be another war in Artsakh… But do you know why? Because Mosacow won’t allow it, and believe it or not Baku isn’t foolish enough to attampt what Saakashvili attempted last year. ”

    If that is so, then Karabagh does not need an army.    Neither does Armenia if you truly believe that Russia will always defend Armenia.   No danger means no army is needed.   That’s is what you imply when you go overboard in your support of Russia.  No one is saying that Russia is not important to Armenia.  But you put all of Armenia’s eggs in one basket – Russia.  

    I remember that Moscow was the one who gave Karabagh and the  region of Nakhichevan to Azerbaijan and Russia sided with Azerbaijan at first in the Karabagh war.  I don’t trust Russians 100% at all but you seem to, in spite of all the bad history.  It’s one thing to see another country as an ally but it’s another thing to put all your faith in them.  I know that some of these things took place under communism but many of the same leaders  are still in place in Russia, like Putin.

    Anyway, why did you want the Diasporan Hyes to go to Karabagh to fight?  In your opinion, Armenians and Russians (or Russians alone) were able to defend Karabagh and did not need outside help.   Even if Diaspora hyes had gone in large numbers, I think you’d maybe be claiming that not enough went, or that Diasporans weren’t needed.   You seem to be out to damage diasporans.

    Armenia has never invited Diasporans to help out on anything.  Armenia’s leaders  just want the Diaspora to send over cash and supplies.   That sort of give me cash or shut up attitude is something like what you are expressing.   All this bitterness and seething anger by you against the Diaspora.  You would think that the Diaspora is Armenia’s enemy.  

  14. I will consider trusting Russia only when its leaders will come clean about the fact that Stalin had awarded the Armenian enclave of Karabagh to Azerbaijan and that it should therefore be rewarded back to Armenia now that the Soviet Union has fallen. The Russians have on the contrary contributed to the Azerbaijani prpaganda of Kaeabagh being an occupied territory within the Azerbaijani borders. Can we just give up on others to do us right and just rely on ourselves?

  15. avatar Dn. Richard Charshafian // February 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm // Reply

    I am so worried about over there , [Armenia, Artsakh, our Land our People].  Who can we trust who can we rely upon? There are a persons who do see and care, aside from our own,  like the Baroness Carolyn Cox, there are others. But what nation? I see none.
    You mentioned Artsakh and Nakhichevan being given away to the wild people, leaving that canyon road to connect separated Armenian cities, so it could be snapped off at any time. Now we have in office someone who, it seems, has muslem sympathy and allegiance. I worry every day.

  16. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm // Reply

    Arsen, I think you oversimplified Avetis’s analysis.
     
    But on the bit about Diaspora Hyes: I’m pretty sure he (and I) would welcome Diaspora Armenians fighting in Artsakh and Kharabagh (in fact, when they do so — we embrace them enthusiastically).  The problem is, you don’t…but yet somehow talk up a big game about war and closed borders and tough measures — all of which might be (emphasis on might be) good politics…it’s just weird coming from people who live comfortable lives in Boston and New Jersey…
     
    Most of the Diaspora thinks Armenians from Armenia are an unpatriotic bunch, and it is up to them to save it — often by doing things and embracing policies that the majority of the population is against.  And also…many Diaspora Armenians (too many) actually hold on to the insane idea that Diasporan Armenians won the war in Artsakh, and that they supported it more than Armenians in Armenia.
     
    The narrative Diaspora Armenians have painted themselves is that in 1991…when we gained independence…the Diaspora “re-educated” Hayastantsis in patriotism.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.

  17. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm // Reply

    Heres the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UFxNc4RiQw <–listen to the first part “The Hayastantsis had no patriotism, etc.”
     
    It’s so unfortunate that a Fidayi’s wife is saying those things, especially to that crowd, who is equally mislead.  I know some Fidayi wives in Armenia that could refute everything she said in that first part.  In fact, I know about 500,000 people on the streets of Yerevan in 1988 that could refute that nonsense that she was spewing.

  18. Except for a few hardcore Dashnaks and other nationalists, the war was fought and won by young men from Armenia and Artsakh.

  19. avatar Osman Turkoglu // February 2, 2010 at 9:33 am // Reply

    I feel sorry about the fact that armenians are poised by occuption feelings. you are thinking of occupying other’s soil only. In Caucasus, the ruling nation is TURKS. You should not forget it. Besides,we are  not Georgia that Russia attacked us. Russia cannot do that because we are TURKS. Tatars mainly and other Turkish-speaking nations will support Azerbaijan in that case. At the same time, Russia and Azerbaijan are great friends and energy partners. Azerbaijan is a strong energy nation. Russia would not damage ties with Azerbaijan becasue of armenians.  But time will come and we will restore our power on Karabag land. Tanri Turku korusun!

  20. Hy, turkoglu, you only know violence, lies, bullying and stealing the lands of others.  Sadly, your bravery (and manhhood)  is still well expressed when you commit your Genocides – against unarmed, against Christians – still.
    Manooshag
    P.S. Turkish judges, obscenely, have now jailed a young girl child, 15years old Kurdish girl to years in the vilest of all jails known to mankind which are in Turkey (shades of  movie MIDNIGHT EXPRESS).  These judges, exemplify still the Ottoman Turk and all your subsequent Turkish leader’ mentality, in their inhumanity to humans – today a Kurdish girl child… because she is a Kurd.

  21. I really don’t think that the Diaspora Armenians believe they were responsible for winning the war. I don’t. In fact I and all the Diaspora Armenians I talk to are humbled and very proud of the Armenians who fought and lost lives in defending Karabagh. Having said that, I have always proposed the ability of the Diaspora youth to serve several years in the Armenian Army. This would greatly benefit everyone. The Diaspora however, besides sending money/supplies etc, is responsible for advancing Armenian interest by educating others of the Genocide and promoting pro-Armenian political agendas in the rest of the world. Our U.S lobby has become quite formidable and can’t be ignored politically. The whole reason for this effort is for the benefit of Armenia and it’s citizens with very little in return personally. It should also be noted that a part of the hardships in Armenian are self induced as a result of the self serving ruling oligarchs who’s real interests are lining their own pockets. The point in all this is: For far too long Armenians have been divided. I am convinced that had we been more together it would have been more difficult to perpetrate that Genocide. That divide must end. Instead of blaming each other or relying upon other, such as Russia, we must rely upon ourselves and come to an understanding of one goal, the prosperity and well being of all Armenians and the final and just resolution for the Armenian Genocide.
     
    To Osman, I feel sorry for your state that has done nothing but occupy, rape, murder and steal all others through out your history and then deliberately create  fantasy fairytale stories to keep your people stupid on top of it…………..

  22. Let me get this straight, Henry: If an Artsakhtsi, a fedayi’s wife or a villager on the borderlands say what this commentary says (and we’ve read plenty of articles in which they have), then it’s valid. But, somehow, such commentary becomes invalid if its said by anyone else, much less a Diasporan Armenian?
    Henry, what majority of Hayastansis are you referring to who embrace the Protocols? Oligarchs? Armenians employed by Soros? Media outlets who receive grants from Western organizations and quote interviewees who agree with the views they want to propagate? You are insulting the intelligence of the Armenian Weekly reader.

  23. AR said:

    “Except for a few hardcore Dashnaks and other nationalists, the war was fought and won by young men from Armenia and Artsakh.”

    What an absurd tatement!  As if any truly serious person has claimed otherwise. I myself have never run across such a person and even if you can point to a few, so what?  Everyone knows who fought in Karabagh.  Let us not let this discusssion verge into the absurd, AR.

    By the way, some of you guys work at Harvard University (that was in the hated Diaspora the last time I looked) doing “reconciliation” work for NATO.    How are things going there?

  24. Interesting Osman. The Abkhaz and Armenians are friends and remain pro-Russian. The Chechen terrorists have almost been completely eradicated though there is a really large Chechen contingent that is now part of the Russian army and even fought against Georgia in the August 2008 war. Russia has good relations with both Armenian and Azerbaijan. Your comments are way off the mark.

  25. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm // Reply

    “Let me get this straight, Henry: If an Artsakhtsi, a fedayi’s wife or a villager on the borderlands say what this commentary says (and we’ve read plenty of articles in which they have), then it’s valid. But, somehow, such commentary becomes invalid if its said by anyone else, much less a Diasporan Armenian?
    Henry, what majority of Hayastansis are you referring to who embrace the Protocols? Oligarchs? Armenians employed by Soros? Media outlets who receive grants from Western organizations and quote interviewees who agree with the views they want to propagate? You are insulting the intelligence of the Armenian Weekly reader.”

     
    Ghazaros,
     
    I suggested none of those things…so no.  I think you misunderstood what I was saying (I wasn’t even talking about the Protocols, which I oppose).
     
    John,
     
    “the people of Armenia are lazy, that is why there is so much unemployment”
    “The Diaspora won the Artsakh war, single handedly.”
    “why do we send aid to Armenia, why dont we send aid to Armenians in Lebanon?”
    “you’re a hayastantsi?  I’m sorry to hear that.”
    “if it wasn’t for Diaspora Armenians keeping the idea of independence alive, the people of Armenia would have never gotten it.”
     
    These are just four statements I thought of off the top of my head that kids in AYF, all Dashnaks, have said to me, to my face.  The absurdity of these sentiments is only exacerbated by the fact that they are 1) not true, and in fact reflect quite the opposite, 2) anti-Diaspora sentiment in Armenia never reaches such absurd levels, so it’s not a “blame” game.
     
    I could go on, but I agree with you, so I’ll end here.

  26. Arsen:

    Calm down, I was just adding to what Henry had said.  The Diaspora played an important part in the defense of Artsakh, nobody is doubting that.

  27. AR, can you please outline what the diaspora did, as a collective body, to help Armenians defeat the Turks. In your opinion what was it that they did that was very “important,” as you called it? Was it economical? Was it military? Was it political? Please formulate your thoughts regarding this matter in a proper perspective. Take into consideration our big talking diaspora’s wealth in numbers and money and compare it to want was actually done at the time, or is being done today. Consider all the factors that led to our victory. And please don’t bring up Monte in your reply.  Yes, he was a war hero. He was a unique person, one in a million. But Armenians would have still won the war had he not been in the picture at the time. I’m just trying to set the record straight here.

  28. avatar Ed from Oklahoma // February 3, 2010 at 6:48 am // Reply

    I recommend all of you who are bickering amongst each other  about who won the war and such, to stop. Proclaiming who “won” the war is disrespecting our martyrs, both Diasporan’s and Hayastansi’s, men women and children, who died during that awful time. Mourn and pay respect to those who have perished…all were Armenian.
    Rifts Emerging in Armenian Community
    As a diasporan currently living and working in Armenia. I myself have noticed the divide. It must end. I for one agree with the author of the article “Rifts Emerging in Armenian Community”. Diasporan’s must focus on other problems in Armenia. Those being politics, corruption, not recognizing the legitimacy of the election, etc. It can no longer only be the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

  29. A question for Ed:  what can you and other expatriates and of course the citizens of Armenia do to improve what you call “politics, corruption, not recognizing the legitimacy of the election, etc.” ?
    I mean practical steps that can work.  I think it is unfair to ask diasporans to make much of an impact on those issues given how entrenched the government and oligarchs are. 

     The diaspora can provide material aid to people and has done so.   Billions in aid so far and it continues to arrive.    If the diaspora threatens to cut off aid if the government does not stop being corrupt, the people will suffer and the government does not care anyway.  It’s a Catch 22.  By the way, recognition of the genocide and land and reparations – and fighting corruption – are not mutually exclusive.

  30. If Armenians want to lose their country altogether, then, they should allow the turks to return and live on Armenian lands of Artsakh.
    If that scenario happens, the Armenian army must and should overthrow this government and send them packing.
    turks once returned, will cause havoc in Armenia and will eventually destroy your country.
    As a Kurd, I would suggest Armenia return a few inches square of Armenian lands, that’s all. The turks  have millions and millions square miles of empty lands in Central Asia, maybe these turks should be resettled back in their countries of origin, the central Asian steppes.
    And always, you must be united. Otherwise the turks will just walk into Armenia without a fight.
    Ferhat

  31. Let me see if I can encapsulate what some of the bloggers here feel:

    (1) They hate the diaspora, except for themselves of course
    (2) They think they are the only Armenians with any brains
    (3) They think everyone who expresses a nationalistic idea is a Dashnak
    (4) Any statement or suggestion by a diasporan is met with “You are ordering Armenia around and you have to move there to express an opinion and, of course – you must be a Dashnak”
    (5) My daddy was mistreated by a Dashnak in the 1920′s and my mama was anti-Dashnak, and so the entire Diaspora, which is all Dashnak, is a bunch of rotten Dashnaks. Not  only that, but they’re all Dashnaks.
    (6) Dashnaks are Dashnaks.
    (7) Anyone who talks about Dashnaks must be a Dashnak.
    (8) Russia is wonderful, and if you disagree you must move to Armenia before you have a right to express any opinion about Russia.  I will not tolerate any critcism of Russian from a bunch of Dashnaks.
    (9)  Don’t criticize Russia or you will earn my wrath, you Dashnak you.
    (10) Armenia hates Dashnaks too.
    (11) I hate Dashnaks.
    (12) Everyone hates Dashnaks.
    (13) Anyone who does not think that I am the smartest and most politically astute Armenian in the world is stupid and must be a Dashnak.
    (14) The Diaspora is composed of people living comfortable lives in palatial palaces with 50 rooms and 600 bathrooms who will never move to Armenia. These people are all Dashnaks.   Even if they do move to Armenia, they are still stupider than I am and are a bunch of Dashnaks.

  32. To Manooshag,

    I think your main problem is that you actually believe all the propaganda that you’ve been spoon fed since probably childhood! You equate the Turkish judicial system and prisons to a movie (Midnight Express) which even Billy Hayes himself denounced as being competely different than what really happened (The Mike Douglass Show-1976; various journal articles). Tell me, have you been to Turkey so as to make the ludicrous statements you just made in your post above? Obviously, you’ve visited the prison system there to make your statements! Would you care to share your “report” of your travels there with everyone on this site?

    You accuse us of “bullying” and “stealing other people’s lands”. Hmm, when was the last time you reviewed history? FYI, Aremnia attacked Azerbaijan twice and Georgia once during 1919, to gain more land for themselves. The results however, were most unfavorable to Armenia all three times. In 1992, Armenia attacked Azerbaijan once again. In 1993, the Armenian military battalion “Bagramian”, helped the Russians as they attacked Georgia. Shall I continue?

    You mentioned the arrest of a 15 year old Kurdish girl in Turkey. Let me ask you a question Manooshag…how old does a terrorist have to be (in other words, is there an age limit?)? Over 30,000 died in Turkey in a ten-year period due to terrorist actions by the PKK! In the early 1990′s, there was widely spread anti-Turkish press releases of a Kurdish woman who was “beaten” and “tortured”. The press and the Armenian & Greek diaspora had a field day with this story and milked it to no end…until the rest of the story was finally allowed to be revealed a few months later (which the press had some how managed to forget to include!). Turns out that this Kurdish woman who had been “beaten and tortured” by the Turkish security forces, was a terrorist who ultimately revealed the locations of bombs planted by the PKK in stores and a major shopping mall in Istanbul! This action saved hundreds, if not more, lives! So, unlike what YOU would like to believe, that all we do is round up anyone we feel like and “torture” them just so we can get our jollies, the reality is very different.
        

  33. Dear AR, Avetis, Henry and others,
    When a new war breaks out in Artsakh and Diasporans come forward to do their part, who will (legally or illegally) train us militarily? Who will house us and feed us? Who will offer to grant us visas? Please lay out the plans and the logistics. Otherwise, if we take some form of initiative and organize on our own in the absence of guidance from the Yergir, I can already hear you saying “Who gave you the right to act on Hayastan’s or Artsakh’s behalf? Don’t tell Hayastan or Artsakh what to do or how to do it.”
     

  34. Arsen, your irrational ranting is as sad as it is absurd…  and you’re not alone here in this…

    Anyway, reread what you wrote. If you see nothing wrong in what you wrote then it appears to me that you have absolutely no understanding of logic, reality, objectivity, regional history, Armenia, the war in Artsakh, nature of international politics, complexities of the Caucasus, dynamics of Armenian-Russian relations, the Turkic/Islamic threat the Caucasus faces…and last but not least – you have no understanding of what the Armenian diaspora is and what it should be.

    Had you been a little more intelligent you would have realized that it was the Western funded Bolshevik government that mutilated Armenia – like it had mutilated the Russian Empire. Do you realize that calling the Bolsheviks “Russian” is morally/intellectually the same as calling the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire “Armenian”?  Do you realize that Christian Slavs in general were murdered in the tens of millions by the Bolsheviks? Do you realize that it was the communists in the late 1980s that were trying to keep their union together when they supported the Azeris before the Soviet collapse? Do you realize that if Armenia did not have the Kremlin’s backing in the early 1990s and thereafter there would be no Artsakh or Armenia today? Do you really think the that diaspora was, as a collective body, instrumental in wining the war in Artsakh or keeping Armenia afloat?

    Arsen jan, guess what?  The diaspora is a dead end, and that is a best case scenario. Some of you make it seem as if the Armenian diaspora has been around for centuries. The fact is, the Armenian diaspora is not even a hundred years old and it is already dying. I don’t consider the vibrant Armenian community of Iran a real diaspora because it is close to Armenia both physically and spiritually, but even they are gradually diminishing.  Had it not been for the influx of Middle Eastern and former Soviet Armenians the diaspora in the West would have been dead a long time ago.  While it exists the diaspora’s one and only task is to – unconditionally – support the homeland. None of your complaints about Armenia or excuses about why the diaspora does not do this or that are acceptable in this discussion. The fact of the matter is Armenia today is surviving, as it has for the past two hundreds years, as a result of its native population’s strength and perseverance as well as its close ties with Russia. In the big global picture, compared to what the diaspora could have done for Armenia it has done next to nothing. If you see yourself as an Armenian living in the diaspora you have one priority – to have a spiritual/physical connection to the Armenian homeland, regardless of how much the homeland may disgust you. If you live in the diaspora and do not have and, more importantly, do not seek a physical connection to the homeland you would be better of assimilating as soon as possible.

  35. Lest robert mislead you good Armenians…
    The 30,000 killed WERE all Kurdish civilians. About 2,000 turkish occupiers died too, but the 30,000 robert is talking about WERE all Kurds.
    Stop making false statements..
    And before I forget, we lost our love for turks…sorry, you currently are living with 20 million strong Kurds who have no love for you turks, we are done with you all.
    Ferhat

  36. robert..don’t you have any shame my friend?
    Are you honestly telling me that that small child was a terrorist? The turkish occupying forces searched her home and found absolutely nothing there. How dare you call a small child a terrorist?
    The terrorists are your government, yourself  and people who support that government.
    Ferhat

  37. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 4, 2010 at 2:20 am // Reply

    Pat,
     
    The answers to most of the questions can be easily answered with one word: the state.  Or, the same thing that fed Monte when he was fighting.  The issue is not, however, logistics — it is perception and reality.  The Diaspora THINKS it played this huuge gigantic role (as noted above, many even think it played THE role), when in reality its role was miniscule.  This is quite in contrast to the “Hayastantsis aren’t patriotic” narrative many in the Spyurk feed into.  Did you watch the video I posted?
     
    Also, on this faux issue of “who has the right to act on Hayastan’s behalf” you raised, let me say one thing.  The ONLY people that have the right to act on BEHALF of the people of the homeland are THE PEOPLE OF THE HOMELAND THEMSELVES.  That being said, this doesn’t mean you can’t do ANYTHING.  This just means you can’t oppose anything they do, and if you must do anything, you must support them.  If (using your example) they decided they are going to defend the homeland in war — by all means JOIN.  If they decide to open the borders with no preconditions — you support them!
     
    IF THEY DECIDE THEY WANT TO BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY — guess what, you support them.  This is in fact how many Armenian admistrations behave and think — this is what lead Hayastantsis to war in the first place.  Kharabaghtsis said “we want to fight to keep Artsakh an Armenian land” — and Hayastantsis said “we’re with you!”    (Also, if a Diasporan Armenian chose to go fight or go live in Armenia, he would no longer be a…umm…Diaspora Armenian — in fact I encourage Diaspora Armenians to move to Armenia and voice their opinions.  All this chest thumping about “getting our homeland back” during the Soviet years apparently turned out to be empty nonsense.  Does the Diaspora think it’s a permanent feature of the Armenian people, or is it waiting to liberate Western Armenia so they can all go back and live there [yeah right!]) The most extreme and unfortunate case of the Diaspora going against the will of the people is, of course, when the ARF was initially opposed to independence movement in Yerevan.   I could list countless others but I think you get it.
     
    (P.S. — It was easier to just pick a gun and go to war in the early days of independence because we had no laws or regulations.  We had Fidayis.  Today, it might be difficult (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the RA government is hesitant) to Diaspora Fidayis because some might be…SPIES!  It’s sad but that is a very serious national security issue.  Look at the Armenian Asssembly!)
     
    (P.S. 2 — There are other ways you can/could have helped during and after the war directly related but nonetheless not “fidayutsyun”…for example — a charity to support the widows and kids of formers soldiers would have been nice.  They wouldn’t need much, but many are poor.  Anything?  Anywhere?)
     
    Nice try though ;).
     

  38. Hy robert, the turk, your response says it all about you and your misdirected turkish education.  Sadly, you cannot see the 15year old in jail as other than an ‘enemy’…  Lying, you fool even yourself.
    End of discussions!  Manooshag

  39. Henry, you have singlehandedly shown how much contempt you have for some imaginary monolithic Diaspora and that you know very little about the people you are insulting under the mask of criticism.
    Nevertheless I will address your (condescending) points: The state cannot even house and feed its own people. Even earthquake survivors still don’t have adequate housing. Do I need to remind anyone that the state even imprisons Karabakh war criminals? I guess these issues should not concern anyone thinking of going to a battle front. Despite it, we are to rely on this existing state to legitimize our fighting presence. We are to expect the state to want something from us other than money; money which if we send, will certainly not go to war widows or ophanages. Monte found food and shelter within hamov-hodov-Haygagan, self-sacrificing Armenian households and with his fighting brothers. If hundreds sign up to fight, will those same households be able to accommodate those numbers? For all those who do leave their families, jobs and homes to come fight, will the state set up and support underground efforts, since dual-citizenship and fighting for two homelands is not permitted for any American except American Jews with regard to Israel?
    Through your remarks that criticism is not permitted from any Armenian whose ancestors were forcibly driven from the homeland, you are showing that the “who has the right to act on Hayastan’s behalf” issue is certainly not a “faux issue.” The day will come when one Armenian will have one vote, where ever he lives. Last time I looked at the writings of the American founding fathers, opposition and dissent was considered the healthiest way of holding governments and people accountable for what they do. Read Thomas Paine.
    Lastly, the views expressed in the video do not represent what the majority of Diasporans feel and know. I do not know one person, Dashnak, Ramgavar, Hunchag or otherwise, who believes it was the Dashnaksoutiun who liberated Artsakh. However, it is clear that this is not something you are willing to believe. It is also clear that no matter how much non-military self-sacrificing and charitable work any of us have done and still do for Armenia (since being genocided and dispossessed from a country that is as much ours as it is yours) will satisfy you. By the way, weren’t you the one who introduced the idea of “how many of you are willing to go to fight for your beliefs?” Now that someone has come forward to say that he will, you are instead high-handedly instructing me to give charitably and forget about fighting because I may be a spy?
    Henry, I have lived and worked in Armenia for more than 10 years. But that shouldn’t concern you. You go right on thinking that people like me have never set foot there other than as an ugly American tourist at best.
    Henry, now that your family has emigrated to America, you too are a Diasporan. But since all Diasporans are alike, think for a minute about the fact that this lumps you in with a cookie cutter image of Armenians that you despise.
    Do us all a favor, Henry. Don’t enter law school. Your arguments have far from won you your case.
     

  40. Pat, I am confident that this time around, if God forbid there is war, Armenia won’t need the diaspora. So, don’t start packing just yet… During the past twenty years Armenia has developed in ways that it no longer looks to the diaspora for sustenance – for good reason. Armenians in Armenia made that mistake in the early stages of the independence movement (late 1980s early 1990s), when they were expecting full diasporan participation in terms of manpower, funding and business. What they essentially got from the large and wealthy diaspora were a handful of hardcore Dashnaks from abroad and bundles of used clothing… The finest thing the diaspora managed to do after the war was over was to build a road between Armenia and Artsakh. Needless to say, compared to what the diaspora was capable of doing and what it did was an embarrassment, and as a diasporan I’m ashamed of this to this day. And one would think that diasporans today seeing their limitations would be a bit more sensitive, more understanding and more nuanced to Armenia’s socioeconomic and geopolitical plight… No, on the contrary, diasporans like to think that they saved Armenia from the clutches of imminent death. So, don’t worry, they things are going Armenia no longer needs us to fight its wars. During the last ten years, after Levonik was ousted, the armed  forces of Armenia made huge progress. Today it is the finest military in the Caucasus, next to Russia, with whom it is closely allied. I don’t think there will be a war with Azerbaijan again.  Aliyev knows that the war is over, his aggressive talk regarding Artsakh serves two purposes – put pressure on Armenia during negotiations and placate his bloodthirsty citizens. Aliyev  realizes that Armenia can’t be defeated on the battlefield. He also realizes that none of the superpowers, especially Russia, will allow him to get adventurous. However, there may be a phony war arranged between regional powers (including Baku), where in a limited combat engagement Azeris are defeated again and this defeat is used to dampen the Azeri lust for Artsakh. This is contingent upon Baku running out of options such as normalization of relations between Armenia  and Turkey and a more dominant Russian role in the Caucasus.
     
     

  41. I am reminded of a scene from a Stanley Kubrick film titled Paths of Glory. It starred Kirk Douglas.
    http://www.criticalconcern.com/movies-conscience/paths-of-glory.htm
    But it’s really not the film itself or its content that I find apt. 

    No, it’s 6 little words that Douglas tells his general (played by the nasty, unprincipled, lying Adolphe Menjou:):  “You’re a sick, degenerate old man.”

    Ever seen the movie, Avetis?

  42. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm // Reply

    Pat,
    Re: a ‘monolithic’ Diaspora — point taken.  You’re right, the Diaspora is not a monolithic group.  It does, however, pretend to be.  Look at the ANCA’s first response to the protocols: “THE DIASPORA WASN’T CONSULTED.”  First, how can “the diaspora” be consulted if there is no one institution to go to, and what does it mean if there is disagreements between the numerous Diaspora organizations?  I actually wrote an article about this for the weekly called “Reflections on Our Unity: On the Tips of Our Tongues.”  You should give it a read.
     
    But most importantly, the ANCA’s response proves my point.  The REAL question should have been and should be “were the PEOPLE of ARMENIA consulted?”  Organizations like the ANCA and the AAA supported Sarkisian’s fraudulent election.  They diametrically opposed the will of the people of Armenia — and now one of them is talking about “the Diaspora being consulted.”  Why should the people of Armenia care about your opinion if you clearly don’t care about their’s?  Obviously, you can stand here and tell me (and many have) “I personally never supported the fraudulent elections” — but that no significant opposition to these organizations amassed (with the exception of portions of the Hayatantsi community) further proves my point.


    “Lastly, the views expressed in the video do not represent what the majority of Diasporans feel and know.”  It represents a huuuuuuge portion of the traditional Diaspora.  A portion TOO big if you ask me.  Those are the extreme cases I mentioned (although some of the people who said those things were high ranking AAA and ARF members).  But the broader narrative from which these fables and these sentiments rise from (“We saved Hayastan…Hayastantsis are lazy/unpatriotic…we know what’s best for Armenia, etc”) come from the highest echelons of Diaspora organizations.  Most Diasporans think they have done a wonderful job supporting Armenia in fundamental ways, and the people of Armenia remain ungrateful.  You can lie to yourself but I’ve heard these EXACT sentiments from ANCA interns, AYFers, AGBU employees, AAA interns, and ARF bureau members.  Most people who do not have an opinion on the matter generally don’t have any opinions on national issues anyway.  The only exceptions to these rules are, of course, the Hayastantsi Diasporans, who are not part of the wider Diaspora network because they have yet to incorporate themselves into these organizations.  Read the comments for the “A Tale of Two Charts” article on the weekly for more on this.
     
    Monte found food and shelter within hamov-hodov-Haygagan, self-sacrificing Armenian households and with his fighting brothers.”  That’s exactly what I meant — either the state OR…that.  But the bit on the state not being able to support “hundreds” of Diaspora Armenians in fighting is quite funny actually.  It most definitely can support even thousands.  Armenia will eat itself inside out to support the war effort (as it did in the early 90s).

    “since dual-citizenship and fighting for two homelands is not permitted for any American except American Jews with regard to Israel?”  Hmm…you know there was a big fight about Dual Citizenship for Diaspora Armenians (which I opposed) awhile back.  But it was eventually approved.  The Diaspora made a biiiiiig fuss about not being “left out” — and now that dual citizenship has been granted…how many Diaspora Armenians have actually payed the fees or joined the Armenian military and become dual citizens?  The numbers barely register on the map.  This is actually part of a disturbing pattern of behavior for the Diaspora.  A long and passionate battle for independence/united Armenia/dual citizenship — and then when the time comes for it…it acts hesitant/opposes it/doesn’t do anything.
     
    What happened to “Tebi Yergir” — it was a fun slogan for 50 years, wasn’t it?

    “I do not know one person, Dashnak, Ramgavar, Hunchag or otherwise, who believes it was the Dashnaksoutiun who liberated Artsakh. ”  You need to get out more =).
     
    However, it is clear that this is not something you are willing to believe. It is also clear that no matter how much non-military self-sacrificing and charitable work any of us have done and still do for Armenia (since being genocided and dispossessed from a country that is as much ours as it is yours) will satisfy you.” It is not YOUR country, nor is it MINE.  It belongs to the people of Armenia.  If I were to ever move there and live there and have my kids go to school there and pay their taxes and live with an authoritarian government and live under the threat of constant war — than I would be one of them.  Until then, I support them in WHATEVER THEY DECIDE TO DO WITH THEIR COUNTRY.  Not only because it is the fair thing to do but because they are the only ones who can make a sobering decision on the future of their country (and thus the grand Armenian nation) — after all, you can imagine how easy it would be for me to make a hasty/unthoughtful decision regarding your future considering i am not going to suffer the consequences.
     
    The Diaspora should be an extension of Armenia — not an independent force or the other way around.
     
    But since all Diasporans are alike, think for a minute about the fact that this lumps you in with a cookie cutter image of Armenians that you despise.”  Armenians like me are not a political force in the Diaspora (at least not organized, and at least not yet, but hopefully that will change soon).  There have been great efforts within the media and political organizations (across the partisan lines) to block out the voices, opinions, and ideas of people like me.  This will change, however.
     
    We are to expect the state to want something from us other than money; money which if we send, will certainly not go to war widows or ophanages.”  I don’t understand what point you were making with this?…that is EXACTLY what the Diaspora has been doing.
     
    Anyway, this is going a little off topic and many of you are misreading what I am saying.  The point is NOT that the Diaspora has NEVER helped.  It has, I personally know many ways it has helped.  The problem is that it has too often stood in the way of fundamental changes in Armenian society, and has re branded itself to be this great patriotic big brother.  Most people reading this probably don’t even know the ARF initially opposed independence in 1991…and most people reading this can’t even see how ridiculous it is for the ANCA to say Armenia is ignoring it/trampling on its rights when it has done THE SAME THING multiple times to the people of Armenia.  Think about why that is and you’ll understand why the Diaspora orgs need to change/be replaced.

  43. Yep, a lot of what you are writing/saying/misquoting  is being misread – by everyone else but you.  Pavets!  Manooshag

  44. Henry, you are obviously bothered by how some Diasporans you’ve met have, in your words, accused all Hayastansis of being lazy. Do you not see how you are doing the same thing that riles you up by stereotyping Diasporan Armenians? By lumping all Diasporans into one category as you have been doing, please also explain how you are so very different from the ANC — who quite obviously does not have the right to claim to represent “all Armenians” either. There is not one person or organization that can, should, or has the right to. What you seem to have a beef with are certain Diasporan organizations. Kindly articulate that. Otherwise, if you look in the mirror you will see that you run the risk of becoming that which you abhor.
     
     
     

  45. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm // Reply

    No, I wish it were only my personal experience.  “Some” Diaspora organizations?  Was that a joke?  The ANCA, ARF, and the AAA collectively represent the vast majority of the traditional Armenian Diaspora, not only in America but across the world.
     
    I addressed specific policies, events, and organizations.  I even specifically addressed the issue about this being my only experience.  You attacked…what exactly?  No one organization can claim to represent “all” — but all of them put together certainly represent what we refer to as the “Diaspora.”  If you’re going to go on a lecture about how there are “other” Diasporans who don’t agree with any of these organizations, it is irrelevant because those “others” (like myself) aren’t organized and thus don’t matter.  But if no significant opposition has risen against these orgs it is clear none exists.
     
    The only Diaspora group that seems to be doing and saying what I’m talking about are the Hnchaks, and they’re a small group.
     
    It’s also funny how you said there are orgs different than the ANC…like what?  The AAA?  As far as I’m concerned, the AAA is a branch of the CIA.

  46. Henry, you’re misinformed if you think Diasporan organizations don’t have opposition … organized or disorganized.  You sound ready to lead a brigade, though. How many dissenters do you expect to gather if you keep up your condescending attitude? Some advice: Stick to your topic when arguing rather than raise a whole new issue as a form of rebuttal. To think all of this started because the author of the article we are commenting underneath is a Diasporan who is being told by expat Armenians to relinquish his right to dissent and to exercise free speech. Don’t we have enough censorship in America, in our Diasporan circles (and, heaven forbid, in Hayastan) as it is?

  47. You know, it’s interesting that some Hayastantsis believe that Diasporans have no right to comment on events in Armenia, or to make suggestions or critiques.  These people (and some in the Diaspora) say “You can’t ‘tell us what to do’ unless you move here.”  That’s their only answer.   We Americans have a name for this: piggheadedness.  I have never seen a Diasporan Armenian spurn a suggestion or critque from a Hayastantsi on the grounds that “You must move to America to be able to ‘tell us what do do.’”   If a diasporan said that, he would be castigated by other Diasporans.
    The fact is that for all our faults, Armenian Americans have done a magnificent job not just creating a vibrant community that newcomers can fit into but which has done a lot in  virtually all realms to help Armenia – going all the way back to even before the First Republic.  We could do better but we have done well.
    How often, however, do we see Armenian officials coming to speak before Armenian American audiences and encouraging them to work in some fashion to help Armenia?  Where is the Armenian ambassador? I think we all know.  In others words, Armenian officials make little effort to rally the Diaspora.  They simply don’t care.    Armenian Americans have often volunteered to work here in some capacity, unpaid, to help Armenia.  Many of these proposals have been turned down with a sneer.    Let us work together and not try to keep the other out of the debate.

  48. I have been reading all the back and forth on this “forum”.  In response to some of the points brought up here, I would like to ask the following questions from all of you:
    1. How many Jews are there outside of Israel?  Have the Israelis ever told the American Jews that they don’t need them and to mind their own business?  Have the Israelis told the American Jews that they cannot interfere with their international affairs unless they are living in Israel?  And let’s say Germany had denied the Holocaust like Turkey, would have Israel asked that the Diasporan Jews forget about the Holocaust, all the loss in lives and properties in exchange to an economic alliance with Germany?  This is not even a fair comparison because unlike the Jews, we also lost our historical lands. 
    2. How many Turks live outside of Israel?  Will Turkey ever tell these Turks not to influence the governments of the lands they are living in to advance proTurkic interests?  Why is Turkey paying American congressmen to actively sabotage the Armenian Genocide Resolution?  Because the ANC is a powerless, disorganized and unmeaningful lobby?  Why is Turkey spending millions of dollars in every forum imaginable to quiet the Armenian Diaspora, and to convince Armenia that the Armenian Diaspora is standing in its way?  Why is Turkey actively creating a rift between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora?  Because the Armenian Diaspora is an economically and politically powerless entity?
    3. What has Armenia done to the Armenian Diaspora?
    4. What is Armenia getting from the Armenian Diaspora? 
    We should never forget that the Armenian Diaspora came into existence because of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turkey.  Being a Diasporan was decided for us by our grandparents who had escaped sure death, who had lost their parents, who had no direction, advice or guidance from any organized Armenian government.  These survivors however, have achieved a monumental triumph by upholding their Armenian identity, traditions and culture to spite those who wanted to eliminate our race.  The Diaspora now is helping Armenia in all its capacities.  Where Turkey is paying to have representation in the US Congress; Armenia has domestic “free” representation by Diasporan Armenians.  When is Armenia going to take full advantage of its Diasporan resources?  And yet not a single official “thank you” or any direct communication comes from Armenia.  The Armenian Diaspora is Armenia’s greatest asset in a world growing closer by technology and the Internet.  Most of the Armenians in the Diaspora contribute within their own means to the betterment of Armenia.  All we are waiting for is guidance and leadership from a strong, Democratic and just homeland.  A homeland which continues to ignore us.  A homeland that we will love no matter what.

  49. Correction to my earlier post. I meant to ask how many Turks lived outside of Turkey.

  50. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm // Reply

    It took me a long time to write this so I would kindly ask people reading it to give it some thought because I am essentially repeating myself.  The major points are often missed and or never even addressed.  But here we go again.
     
    Pat,


    “Henry, you’re misinformed if you think Diasporan organizations don’t have opposition … organized or disorganized.  You sound ready to lead a brigade, though. How many dissenters do you expect to gather if you keep up your condescending attitude? Some advice: Stick to your topic when arguing rather than raise a whole new issue as a form of rebuttal.
    Please point to the organization, NGO, newspaper, or popular website that is “in opposition.”   That is, an Armenian organization that supports the pro-democracy movement in Armenia.  (Aside from the Hnchaks, which I already noted).  My condescending attitude has often been validated by the rebuttals of people who clearly don’t even understand basic facts, faces, and features of Armenian politics and recent history, and yet hold such passionate and radical views.  Consider your question about “who will feed Diaspora soldiers if they go to fight?”  After what me and Avetis said, do you realize how absurd it was?  Or, consider your condescending tone towards me when I raised the issue of spies in the Armenian American community and how it could be a potential national security threat if those people were allowed to go to combat areas.  You said I accused you of being a spy…is that what you heard?  You fought my serious objection with an emotional appeal.  If people were as offended by the actions of Armenian Diaspora organizations as they are about my condescending attitude, there would be no need for everything I am saying right now.
     
    To think all of this started because the author of the article we are commenting underneath is a Diasporan who is being told by expat Armenians to relinquish his right to dissent and to exercise free speech. Don’t we have enough censorship in America, in our Diasporan circles (and, heaven forbid, in Hayastan) as it is?
     
    At no point in my lifetime have I ever said we shouldn’t dissent or exercise our free speech and discuss Armenia, give our opinions, or the like.  In fact, in many respects I have been arguing the exact opposite.  Am I not the one calling on you and these organizations to support the pro-democracy movement in Armenia?  Am I not the one saying we should have been more critical of this regime earlier?  Am I not the one saying I encourage all Diaspora Armenians to go back to Armenia because that is the greatest contribution you can make: living there, bringing your wealth and you ideas with you — this  could potentially lead to an Armenian Renaissance.  If this is not what you heard through my comments and my other writings for this paper –  you have missed the core of my argument completely.  In fact, no where in this forum did I say Boyajian shouldn’t comment or analyze the Artsakh conflict.  On the contrary, I enjoy his writings.  What I am saying instead is this: The Diaspora ignoring the democracy movement in Armenia, the Diaspora over emphasizing genocide recognition, the Diaspora talking a big game about “Tebi Yergir” and “Independence” are not my opinions, they are facts.  Consider this, if a Yerevantsi talked a big game about ‘destroying the Azeri scum’ in 1965, 1988, etc — and then when war came he acted hesitant, never brought the firepower he pretended he would: how would a guy in Stepanakert feel?  How would somebody who had to live with constant shelling for 3 years feel about the Yerevantsi?  Just please think about that for a second.  I myself am a Diaspora Armenian — despite the fact that my family has personally contributed to the war effort in 1994 (driving supplies back and forth) — I would never pretend to say I know what is good for the people of Armenia, or Artsakh.  What I do instead is support WHATEVER they want for themselves.  And ironically enough, they have always wanted more and better things for the Armenian people, and they have consistently made the better decisions.  Look at the formation of the ARF in and the wide support it enjoyed in 1919.  Look at the massive rally to protect Armenian civilization as we know it in Sardarapad.  The building of the Tzitzernakabert memorial in 1965 is the first time Armenians consciously rallied around the concept of genocide recognition (and against a dictatorship no less).  The Artsakh war is the first time the people of the homeland waged a SUCCESSFUL war in regaining our lost lands.  They have pretty much accomplished much of what they sought out to do in terms of “nationalist goals.”  Their next move is democracy — and instead of supporting them like we should — we have stood in their way.  We haven’t even been “silent” (which is what many pretend we’ve done).  We have DIRECTLY stood in there way.  Instead of wasting your time calling me condescending,  you should be calling up Aram Hamparian and Bryan Ardouny and telling them to WAKE UP.
     
    To PaulTor,
     
    going all the way back to even before the First Republic.
    Actually, although the Diaspora of 1915 is different than the one today — ironically enough it acted much in the same way.  You should read about how Vahan Cardashian faced an uphill battle (in fact, arguably, it was just him) against the Armenian community in rallying them around the cause of liberation and independence.  Or, read about Boghos Nubar Pasha and how he rejected the authority of the democratically elected ARF (and bipartisan) delegation to the Paris Peace Conference because he thought they didn’t represent “all Armenians.”  Had Boghos Nubar had the foresight to realize that his money and bogus connections to the world powers weren’t going to get him the grand Armenia that he was envisioning, things might have turned out a little differently.

    “How often, however, do we see Armenian officials coming to speak before Armenian American audiences and encouraging them to work in some fashion to help Armenia?  Where is the Armenian ambassador? I think we all know.  In others words, Armenian officials make little effort to rally the Diaspora.  They simply don’t care.
    This is perhaps the most arrogant and contradictory statement I have heard on this forum yet.  Do you not realize how EVERYTHING that I have been saying is that THE ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT DOES NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF ARMENIA AND THAT WE SHOULD JOIN THE PEOPLE OF THE HOMELAND TO GET RID OF THEM?  We seem to have the same enemy but I am the only one who is doing anything about it, and I am the only one who realizes it.
     
    Armenian Americans have often volunteered to work here in some capacity, unpaid, to help Armenia.  Many of these proposals have been turned down with a sneer.    Let us work together and not try to keep the other out of the debate.
    This is true.  For the past…let’s say 11 years…most Hayastantsis in Armenia looked at the Spyurk has a benevolent force for Armenia.  Doing the most it can and helping in important ways.  Sure, it never really brought in fundamental change or change in grand proportions, but I guess how could it with the corrupt government it had to deal with.  Since 2008, however, when the people stood up for themselves, the Diaspora sided with the authorities.  There can be excuses about never supporting it with the amount of wealth we supposedly have, but there can be no excuses for standing in the way of democracy — especially considering our rhetoric about a “free, united Armenia.”  Or even look at the response to the Protocols.  Instead of Ken Hachikian telling Serge Sarkisian he is not the elected leader of Armenia and thus cannot make such a historic decision, he instead chose to nag about how Serge is ignoring the Diaspora.  I believe you’re trying to help Armenia — you really are.  Take my advice, stop confronting me, and confront your own leaders.
     
    To Katia,

    “1. How many Jews are there outside of Israel?  Have the Israelis ever told the American Jews that they don’t need them and to mind their own business?  Have the Israelis told the American Jews that they cannot interfere with their international affairs unless they are living in Israel?  And let’s say Germany had denied the Holocaust like Turkey, would have Israel asked that the Diasporan Jews forget about the Holocaust, all the loss in lives and properties in exchange to an economic alliance with Germany?  This is not even a fair comparison because unlike the Jews, we also lost our historical lands.
    This is an incorrect comparison in its entirety.  First, the State of Israel is arguably a Diaspora-built state.  Armenia is not.  Second, the Jewish Diaspora has NEVER stood in the way of the Israelis picking their own president or what have you.  Israeli administrations have swung from the far left to the far right — and never has the Jewish Diaspora sided with the authorities over the people.  Even when the last Israeli administration was less Hawkish as some in AIPAC would like it to be, nothing serious happened.  I can’t say that for our own highly emotional and ignorant Diaspora.  You don’t hear Jews in America saying things like that Fidayi’s wife did in that video I posted, do you?  Or the number of comments I posted above.

    “2. How many Turks live outside of Israel?  Will Turkey ever tell these Turks not to influence the governments of the lands they are living in to advance proTurkic interests?  Why is Turkey paying American congressmen to actively sabotage the Armenian Genocide Resolution?  Because the ANC is a powerless, disorganized and unmeaningful lobby?  Why is Turkey spending millions of dollars in every forum imaginable to quiet the Armenian Diaspora, and to convince Armenia that the Armenian Diaspora is standing in its way?  Why is Turkey actively creating a rift between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora?  Because the Armenian Diaspora is an economically and politically powerless entity?
    What?

    “3. What has Armenia done to the Armenian Diaspora?
    Since when is it obligated to do anything.  Thanks for proving my point though =).
     
    4. What is Armenia getting from the Armenian Diaspora? 
    We should never forget that the Armenian Diaspora came into existence because of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turkey.  Being a Diasporan was decided for us by our grandparents who had escaped sure death, who had lost their parents, who had no direction, advice or guidance from any organized Armenian government.  These survivors however, have achieved a monumental triumph by upholding their Armenian identity, traditions and culture to spite those who wanted to eliminate our race.  The Diaspora now is helping Armenia in all its capacities.  Where Turkey is paying to have representation in the US Congress; Armenia has domestic “free” representation by Diasporan Armenians.  When is Armenia going to take full advantage of its Diasporan resources?  And yet not a single official “thank you” or any direct communication comes from Armenia.  The Armenian Diaspora is Armenia’s greatest asset in a world growing closer by technology and the Internet.  Most of the Armenians in the Diaspora contribute within their own means to the betterment of Armenia.  All we are waiting for is guidance and leadership from a strong, Democratic and just homeland.  A homeland which continues to ignore us.  A homeland that we will love no matter what.

    What?

  51. Katia:

    Once an Armenian is in Armenia, he/she is no longer a Diasporan.  It should be the goal of every Armenian outside of the Homeland to have a physical and/or spiratual connection with Armenia.  Even if one can’t move there or never will, they should make an effort to better Armenia, otherwise what good is it for them to call him/herself  ‘Armenian’?

  52. Henry,
    I am very much aware that the Israeli government was imported by their Diaspora. Fact of the matter is however, that the Israeli Diaspora would have never been able to install a government there if that move was not supported by major players such as Europe, England in particular and the US.   The Armenian Diaspora has no friends, even Armenia itself has not shown interest in it.  Just like you said “it is not obligated to do so”.  The point that I was trying to make is  that it is politically unwise for Armenia to dismiss and ignore the representation that it has for “free” by devoted American Armenians in the US, let’s face it, still the most powerful and viable country in the world.  Representation that is coveted by most everyone.  Representation that Turkey is spending a lot of money to have.  I beg to differ about the Israeli Diaspora not interfering with the government of Israel.  Any time there is talk of giving land back to the Palestinians, major Jewish organizations in the US become very loud, and so far have been very influential in those decisions.  You think we are emotional!… You should see how emotional Diasporan Jews get… I know, I work with them.  Also, don’t forget that most of them have dual citizenship.
    I agree with you on the following:  The Diaspora should not interfere with domestic affairs having to do with government funded services or rights citizens in Armenia possess.  I don’t think the Armenian Diaspora is doing that.  I don’t even think that there is much disagreement that open borders and oil pipelines going through our homeland will be beneficial to its economy.  Most Diaporans agree that for a country to advance on all grounds it should have open borders and friendly relations with its neighbors.  The Protocols however were not a “Good Deal”, because they were crafted to have long term HUGE benefits for Turkey and Azerbaijan, and they did not mention ANYTHING about “fair trade” policies by Turkey.  Why let go of our right for major reperations for the Armenian Genocide that can make up a little of the devastating hand it dealt our people.  Why go into a deal, unless it is very well studied, and benefits the country and does not negatively effect any of its people.  That’s where the Diaspora interfered.  I also agree that the people in Armenia should have more democratic and decent representation.  But again, the Diaspora has really not interfered in that, opting more with the option of the people of Armenia realizing that themselves.  You said “the Jewish Diaspora has NEVER stood in the way of the Israelis picking their own president”, am I wrong in saying that the Armenian Diaspora has also never interfered with presidential elections in Armenia?  Remember, just like AR said, once in Armenia you are no longer a Diasporan, and you should have the right to voice your opinion about presidential candidates.  Any opposition by formally Diasporan Armenians living in Armenia should in fact not qualify as Diasporan interference right?
    Bottom line is, Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora are facing unprecedented dynamics in their mutual existence, and a new way of existing on the same page should take shape soon, for the good of our homeland and our people in general.  If Armenia wants more of the Diasporans to move in, it should start by respecting them and building a warm relationship with them.  We should all strive to make Armenia more Democratic, safer, and economically sounder so that ideally we can all move our families there knowing we are making the right choice for them as people and as Armenians.

  53. avatar Henry Dumanian // February 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm // Reply

    If you’re going to oppose independence as you did in 1988 and 1990, if you’re going to unwisely lobby against the Armenian adminstration in the halls of Congress as the ARF did between 1994-1998, if you’re going to side with the authorities as they brutally order the Armenian army to attack its own people, suppress democracy, and jail Fidayis, and if you’re going to reinvent Armenian history to paint yourselves as great liberators when in fact you have done none of that — you can keep your money and your ‘help.’

  54. If it’s wrong for Armenian Americans to criticize Armenia (some misguided people, you know, say Armenia’s affairs are “none of your business” and “you must move there first”), is it also wrong for Armenian Americans to criticize Turkey? 

    Is it wrong for Armenians in Armenia to criticize Turkey or must they move to Turkey to be able to criticize Turkey?  Could Hrant Dink expresss an opinion about Armenia or did he have to move there? 

    Was it wrong for Americans to have criticized the Soviet Union or did, let us say, President Eisenhower, have to move there to criticize the USSR in 1956?

    Is it wrong for Armenians around the world to criticize, let us say, Israel, or must these Armenians first move to Israel?  Does an Armenian have to move to Sudan to have the right to criticize the genocide there?

    Must Armenians in Armenia refrain from criticizing Russia, the US, and Georgia unless they first move there?  Can a Turk criticize Armenia or does he have to move there and gain citizenship from the Armenian authorities?  Should a Turk or Azeri who lives in Armenia (now or in the future) have more rights in Armenia than an Armenian diasporan?

    If Armenians in Yerevan wish to criticize Azerbaijan, must they first move to Baku, Sumgait, Gandj etc.?
    Must Serge move to Baku?  Must Serge move to Stepanakert? 

    Tell me: do Armenians who have not served in the Armenian army in Karabagh have the right to criticize Karabagh?    Does an Armenian in Armenia have the right to criticize corruption in Karabagh, or even to support Karabagh’s independence, if he or she is not willing to move to Karabagh or the “occupied territories”?

    Tell me: Does an Armenian have the right to claim territories in eastern Turkey or must he/she move there first (say, to Kars)?

    When a country does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, does an Armenian who is not a citizen of that country  have the right to criticize it or must he shut his mouth?

    If I don’t like the fact that, say, Iraq has not yet acknowledged the Armenian genocide, must I move to, say, Baghdad?

    Can I be concerned about global warming and polar bears or must I first move to the North Pole?  Must a Hayastansti first move beneath the Atlantic ocean to be able to criticize the depletion of fishing stocks there?

  55. STOP this! We’re ONE nation, made of, figuratively speaking, one flesh and blood. Of one faith to Christ. Proud of the same history. Ancient people. Filled with the same sorrow, pain, and retaliation desire for what befell us in the late 19th early 20th century in the Ottoman Turkey. Filled with pride for winning the war for Artsakh. Re-concentrate your attention at modern challenges. How to get rid of unelected, inherently corrupt crooks in the Motherland, how to bring open-minded, patriotic, public-spirited people to the highest echelons of power? How to develop Armenia economically. How to preserve the country’s human resources and our unique genetic fund? Our adversaries, whoever they may be, are using this artifical split in ONE nation to advance their anti-Armenian interests in the broader region. Do NOT paly into the hands of these evil forces. Be clever! Be Armenian!

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