Astarjian: A Geopolitical Trisomy

http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/10/30/astarjian-a-geopolitical-trisomy/?ec3_listing=posts
Sat, Oct 30 2010

By: Dr. Henry Astarjian


A tripartite genetic chromosomal derangement otherwise known as Down
Syndrome accurately describes the geopolitical entities at play in the
Armenian reality today. Armenia, Turkey, and the Armenian Diaspora,
separately and in combination, have occupied the political position of
Chromosome 21 in the geopolitical cell forming the Trisomy. Their
policies are characterized by ineptitude, incompetence, political
impotence, and behavior-character disorder.

This being the reality, neither party is capable of taking a decisive
step to establish and propel relationships forward.

Armenia is infested with oligarchs and a corrupt government. Thugs and
thieves run the country sucking the blood of hapless people. So far,
20 years since independence, successive governments have not been able
to create a middle class that construes the backbone of a viable
society, therefore country. The poor have been so paralyzed by the
lack of opportunities that they have relinquished hope of destroying
the chains that bind them and of freeing themselves from the tyrants.
Some 100,000 of them have migrated to their beloved Turkey to change
Turkish babies' diapers in exchange for a piece of bread. Busloads of
girls go to Kars to brighten the nightlife of the cabarets in order to
support their families. I saw the migrant workers praise Erdogan in a
YouTube entry: `Arach Asdvadz, verche Erdogan' (First God, then
Erdogan). Erdogan used them for propaganda.

Unlike Israel, where emigration is a trickle despite their war, some
40 percent of Armenians have expressed the wish to emigrate; more than
a million already have. This is dangerous and damaging.

The Armenian villager, the foundation of the nation, constituting
close to 40 percent of the population, is subjected to benign neglect.
Land and means of modern agriculture have been denied them through
indifference. They lack irrigation systems, machinery, and scientific
horticultural guidance. They are denied healthcare and opportunities
for higher education. Their crop is allowed to come to the market only
after paying extortion money. They are weak, they are angry, they are
helpless, and their patience is running thin.

On the other hand, Yerevan and the other big cities flaunt their
wealth. There are the filthy rich who have reached that status through
deception, extortion, manipulation, corruption, camaraderie, and
working with the international regional mafia. They have exploited the
average citizen who does not have equal opportunity to participate in
the newly presumed capitalism.

The government is impotent against the vagaries of the international
power centers. They are incapable of telling those who dictate their
will on Armenia, `Go to Hell!'

It still functions with a serf mentality, not being able to exploit
its extensive and powerful diaspora, millions of Kurdish allies, and
close to a million Armenians who live in Turkey. They have not been
able to exploit the international opposition to the Turkish occupation
of Cyprus. They have not been able to nullify the illegally coined
1921 Treaty of Kars. They have not been able to revive the very viable
Treaty of Sevres. And they have not been able to isolate the Karabagh
issue from the issues of Armeno-Turkish rapprochement. Additionally,
they have a true psychological conflict regarding their alliance with
Russia, and cooperation with the United States.

For Armenia, the diaspora has limited importance. Native Armenians
have welcomed only our NGOs and charity organizations which bring
money into the country.

***

The second chromosome occupying the Trisomy position is Turkey. This
country, with all its successive governments, has been and still is
obsessed with hegemony. Turanism is not dead, Kemalism is; his veering
the ship of the nation towards secularism has failed. Underneath
European clothing mandated by his `Sapka Kanunu' (the Hat Law) lay a
fiercely fanatic political Muslim; a leopard never changes its spots.
And now there is the rise of Islam reminiscent of the Caliphate era of
the Ottoman Empire.

The ruling AK Party through its representatives, headed by Abdullah
Gul, the president of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime
minister, and Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister, have
unequivocally claimed inheritance of their Ottoman ancestry - except for
a huge criminal baggage that they carry in relation to the Armenian
Genocide of 1915, the major pogroms of Armenians in Adana, the
massacres of Assyrians, Nestorians, and the Greeks, the burning of the
Christian population of Smyrna by Ataturk forces, the pogroms of
Greeks of Istanbul in 1956, the hanging of Arab nationalists of Aleppo
by the hands of Jemal Pasha (nicknamed Al-Saffahh, `the executioner'
in Arabic), the atrocities against the Arabs of Iraq, Hijaz the
Levant, Egypt, and Algeria, to name a few. They deny all that, or at
best rationalize their criminal conduct.

Erdogan and his government are frank in their convictions. Now they
are the champions of the Arab world because they oppose Israel.
Neither Israel, nor its powerful Washington surrogates can tolerate
the new situation. Veering Turkey away from the Islamic world is a
delusion.

Internally, the Kurds of Turkish Kurdistan are up in arms, despite
occasional maneuverings to the contrary. Successive Turkish
governments have not been able to solve the `Kurdish issue,' which
could be brought to a conclusion by acknowledging their ethnicity.
Instead, they have now adopted a new policy inherent in the rules of
colonialism: divide and conquer. They are trying to coalesce with
three million strong Zaza Kurds to fight their kin, ignoring the fact
that in the early 1930's, Ataturk waged genocide against them in
Dersim. That memory is fresh in the minds of all Kurds.

Turkey is divided into more than two factions. The Grey Wolves,
wearing Ataturk shirts, claim to be secular and propel Turanism, which
stretches to the steppes of Central Asia. They are on Erdogan's
column. Then there's the Milli Halk Partisi (MHP), who are Muslims
except when it comes to drinking and participating in European style
nightlife in the Hilton and Swissotel of Istanbul; then, they are
secularists and inheritors of Ataturk's legacy.

They hate the AK Party and its leaders. They have the generals on
their side. The party's perennial leader Deniz Baykal was recently put
to shame in public for engaging in an inappropriate liaison with his
secretary. He saved his neck by resigning. Baykal-like conduct is not
new on the Turkish political stage; in 1961 the military coup sent
then-prime minister of Turkey Adnan Menderes to the gallows. For good
measure, the generals defamed him by rumoring that they had found a
woman's panties in his office safe. Now Izmir Airport is named after
him.

Some two weeks ago, the MHP organized a Muslim Namaz (Prayers) in the
abandoned Armenian Sourp Asdvadzadzin (Virgin Mary) Church in Ani,
just to claim deed over stolen 10th-century Armenian property. Cynics
say, now that they have prayed to God in a Christian church, they are
considered to be de facto converts to Christianity. MHP people would
rather die.

Relationships between the deposed, retired, and still active generals
continue.Kangaroo courts and restrictive laws still prevail in the
country, which in and by itself is a huge subject to write about.

Turkey, in its dishonesty, is selling snake oil to our State
Department. They have led our people into believing that they would
facilitate the flow of Azeri oil to the Mediterranean, convince Iran
to halt its nuclear program, influence the Islamic world to be
friendly with the U.S., and bring the former Soviet republics and the
Central Asian Islamic nations into the fold of Pax Americana.

All this, and its inability to implement the ill-fated
Armenian-Turkish protocols prevented Turkey from taking the first step
forward.

***

The third chromosome of the Trisomy is the Armenian Diaspora. This is
a real anomaly with its paradoxical features that initiate and
contribute to its survival and endurance - yet also to its demise as a
nation. It spans the globe like an empire without an army and without
strategy. At best, it functions within the political and legal
restrictions allocated to it by different governments in different
countries. Exceptions are the United States, France, and Britain,
which treat us like their own, but put other obstacles in front of us,
blocking progress. To these countries, oil is more valuable than
blood.

There was no diaspora before 1915. There were Armenians who had come
to America to pursue a better life. They changed from Garabed to
Garry, at Ellis Island, in order to be accepted by the WASP society.
Almost a century later, that identity conflict, and sometimes identity
crisis, still persists in the Arab countries, Africa, or America where
they live. There is a dual set of norms, and a dual set of
allegiances.

The genocide of 1915, claiming the lives of 1.5 million Armenians, has
done something else; it has transformed a nation of artisans, farmers,
and villagers into a most educated, sophisticated, and prosperous
giant. It took a genocide to advance a nation from Point A to Point B.
It is a shame, but it is true. One can only imagine what our people
would have been like if we continued to live under Ottoman rule.

The genocide recognition issue, and Turkey's adamant denial of its
criminal past, has done something else: It has united the Armenian
Diaspora. I dare say that it is the only issue that unites us as a
nation, which is a sad commentary on our national affairs.

Under prevailing circumstances, one wishes that genocide recognition
remains on the front burner as a lumper, until we put our political
house in order. As it stands now, Armenian political parties are inept
in doing the nation's work. Whatever they do has to be within the
framework drawn for us by others. There is a tremendous shortage of
leadership.

Those who are on stage are busy doing municipal work, rather than
political work in earnest. Those who point out the work we do in
Congress as political, forget to realize that our work is delineated
for us by others.

As if a state, the diaspora is engaged in building schools, churches,
clubs, old peoples' homes, and the rest, affirming that we are here to
stay forever, and rendering the goal of return to our homeland a
delusion. In this arena, they are doing a very good job and
contributing largely to reaffirm their Armenian identity and culture;
however they would not be able to stop the White Genocide, or the Grey
Genocide, to which we are subjected every moment.

Unlike Jews, who created the state of Israel to escape global
persecution, we do not have to do that; we are comfortable where we
are, except in Turkey. There is a negligible number of diasporans who
would rather live in Armenia, but this does not happen because Armenia
does not facilitate implementation of the idea, and diasporans are
resistant to renewed uprooting for en-masse immigration.

With this Trisomy in operation, we have to start repairing the
deficits. We have to move away from the Chromosome 21 position, and we
have to repair our teeth, in the first instance in conjunction with
other needed repairs.

One thing, however, is crystal clear and does not need repair - the
conviction that when the chips are down, and Karabagh or Yerevan is in
danger, the diaspora with all its might, and with all its ARF fedayees
and Monte Melkonians, will be there to teach the enemy a lesson.




From: A. Papazian