BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Shakespeare, in Macbeth, writes “(Life) is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” All parts of this quote are keenly applicable to Azerbaijan and its blood-oil money fueled propaganda offensive we’ve been witnessing of late.
It’s our fault that their vile activities are getting any traction whatsoever. We have not been telling the truth forcefully and promptly enough. If we gave proper recognition to the Azeri perpetrated, officially/governmentally sanctioned (remember, the murderers had address lists), massacres of Armenians as the Soviet Union was breaking up, they would never have succeeded in passing their silly resolution in New Mexico a month ago.
But New Mexico is not alone. Based on the tally I requested and received from the ANCA, thirteen pro-Azerbaijan resolutions have been introduced in the legislatures of nine different states. Eight of these speak to addressing the Karabakh conflict. The other five address the Khojaly tragedy. Seven of these resolutions have succeeded in gaining various stages of passage in the legislative house in which they were introduced. In New Mexico, one was even signed into law! That was just so far this year. Last year, there were 21 such resolutions introduced in various state legislatures.
The states where these have been introduced (at least this year) are ones where we have very small or virtually non-existent communities. In only two of them are there ANCAs (one of these also has other community organizations). Some have a core of ANCA-connected Armenian activists, but no formal structures. Others have just a few Armenians who have been stirred to action by the toxic legislation the Azeris’ public relations firms have fed to state legislators. The choice of states is clearly no accident.
The Azeris play on the horror of mutilated bodies, some seven miles outside of Khjaly. They forget to mention that no less than an Azeri journalist in Azeri controlled territory had documented the same corpses twice. Only upon his second viewing were they mutilated. So… who would you think had committed the heinous acts? There is even reason to believe the poor victims were killed by their own, Azeri, forces. It was all part of a power play by one political faction in Azerbaijan to topple its then president, Mutalibov. Sacrificing their own people was just part of their cynical calculus.
You can see the sound and fury spewed by the Azeris, in this case, the idiots in Shakespeare’s words, truly signifies nothing. Yet, for a legislator who knows next to nothing and couldn’t distinguish an Azeri from an Armenian (or Afar or Afghan or Albanian or Algerian or Andorran or Angolan or Antiguan or Arab or Arapahoe or Aymara) and wants to do something seemingly legitimate, it’s an easy trap to fall into. It is our job to inform people holding office of what’s going in our part of the world so they can avoid embarrassing themselves and their states. The proof lies in our success in preventing some of these measures from passing, once we know about them and explain the truth to legislators. But that’s a lot harder than doing the right thing ahead of time.
We must organize our communities on the political front. It is essential to our dignity and honoring the sacrifices made by our martyrs and fighters. No matter how few, we have to activate those of our compatriots who live in far flung places such as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Tennessee—all the places where the Azeri lobby has gotten some traction. It’s easy for those of us living in places like Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., etc. to forget what Armenian life is like in the tiny communities.
We must extend an organizing hand to our compatriots and keep ourselves connected to one another and committed to our cause. That’s how we will pre-empt any Azeri publicity offensives.