BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
For those of you who have been living in a cultural vacuum–I wanted to point out that the above headline was stripped from the title of one of the few decent things to come out of Britain–the groundbreaking punk band–the Sex Pistols. The other notable contribution from the British Isles is the comedy troupe Monty Python. Save for punk music and the creators of the "Life of Brian," all else that has come from England has been an albatross around the world’s neck.
For starters–take all of the problems in the Middle East or Africa. It was Britain’s policies of imperialistic expansion starting in the early 18th century that have resulted in nation states in these regions with borders that look more like an 8th grader’s geometry homework than actual countries. We’re still feeling the repercussions of the political meddling of Britain in these regions to this day. For those of you who are "literacy challenged"–just watch "Lawrence of Arabia" to get a layman’s perspective of the mess Britain left behind in Iraq–Jordan–Syria–and environs. And that hot bed of activity called Israel? Guess who the geniuses were who drew up that map. I’ll give you a hint. It was the same group of folks that thought Gandhi and his countrymen in India were too primitive to govern themselves. One more hint? Fine. But it’s your last one. They went to war with Argentina over disputed claims to the Falkland Islands–a group of islands off the coast of ARGENTINA whose main export is sheep and wool. God knows those Brits need their wool! But I guess if you’re going to play the role of a wolf in sheep’s clothing–then you need all the wool you can get. Oops–I gave away the answer. For those of you still scratching your heads…the answer was Britain.
What inspired this particular rant against the British wasn’t their past policies. After all–no nation is a saint and in the world of politics it’s a "shoon" eat "shoon" world out there. After all–it was Lord Palmerston–19th century British Foreign Secretary–who said "There are no permanent alliances–only permanent interests." It was a more recent quote by another British dignitary with a far more callous tone which drove me to embark on this diatribe. It was with outrage that I read article after article and email after email about the denialist commen’s the British Ambassador to Armenia Thorda Abbott-Watt made in reference to the Armenian Genocide. She ascertained that the events of 1915 did not constitute a Genocide. Her statemen’s are a blatant disregard of the historical facts of the Armenian Genocide–not to mention an affront to survivors and Armenia’s throughout the world.
I wrote a letter of complaint to the British foreign ministry but I don’t expect any results. As an Armenian American who has studied the history of Armenia–Britain and its relationship with the Ottoman Empire–I’m not surprised that Britain would hang the Armenia’s out to dry on this issue. Why should they act differently than in previous times? The only times when Britain spoke out against the ill-treatment of Armenia’s in the Ottoman Empire were when it was in their own self-interest to do so – to either leverage themselves against Russia or to ensure control over the crumbling Ottoman’state. What will it take to convince Britain to adopt an honorable position on the Armenian Genocide? Maybe increasing Armenia’s wool production. More sheep may be the answer but I have a feeling that even this will not change the British foreign ministry’s sheepish attitude. After all–as long as they control that o’ so strategically significant piece of real estate known as the Falkland Islands–they have all the wool they will ever need.
I have no respect for Ambassador Abbot-Watt after her uneducated and politically motivated statemen’s. But I also understand that she is the mouthpiece of her government. As such–she is the monkey who dances to the organ music when told to do so. And to end this column with a quote from Sir Winston Churchill–you should "Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room." Having made the obligatory monkey reference–I say give the Ambassador a ticket to ride all the way back to Britain–because it’s obvious that she don’t care. Cheerio!
Skeptik Sinikian is a resident of that rebellious former-British colony recognized by the National Geographic Society as the United States of America. Despite his disdain for British Ambassadors to Armenia–he still enjoys English muffins and English Breakfast tea–the Beatles–Rolling Stones–Benny Hill Specials–"Faulty Towers" and Shakespeare. He can be reached at SkeptikSinikian@aol.com