BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
It’s April, the time of year when the Armenian mind turns, even in these COVID-19 pandemic times, ineluctably, inescapably, irrepressibly, irresistibly, unavoidably, etc. to the Genocide; to loss, incalculable, incomprehensible, inestimable, irretrievable, unfathomable, loss; but also to action, to hope for becoming whole again, justice, rebuilding, restoration, struggle, and of course, Turkey.
But aside from recognition of the Genocide and the return of our lands which are pretty straightforward to conceive and achieve, there are reparations. How do we figure out how much Turkey must cough up, to whom, and over what period of time? I want to address that last item with a concept introduced to me a little over a year ago that just won’t leave my head.
Permanent, perpetual reparations.
Ridiculous, you might think, maybe unfair even to a state as vile as Turkey, not to mention impractical. But is it, really?
Consider – how do we appraise, put an ariary, or birr, or cedi, or dinar, or dollar, or t/dram, or euro, or franc, or gourde, or hryvnia, or krone, or kuna, or leu, or manat, or nakfa, or shekel, or ngultrum, or ouguiya, or peso, or pound, or quetzal, or rial, or ruble, or rupee, or shilling, or tala, or vatu, or won, or yen, or yuan, or zloty, or any other once, current, or future currency value on the loss: lives terminated, culture destroyed, stories and lore forgotten, traditions erased, homes razed, orchards stolen, pain endured, psyches shattered, epigenetic effects inflicted across generations, monuments destroyed, livestock taken, bank accounts embezzled, ornaments-jewelry-heirlooms filched (much of it likely melted simply for bullion), medical knowledge erased, foods forgotten, history interrupted, and so much more.
Let’s not forget how all of the above meshed and created what Armenians and Armenia gave to the world. How that all, interacting with immediate neighbors and the world at large (at least through our noted merchant class), produced more, synergistic, unknown and perhaps unknowable, benefits to humanity.
I’m beginning to think there is no way to even come remotely close to EVER properly, thoroughly, equitably accounting for and repaying the losses caused by the murderous Young Turk regime, its predecessors, and its successors.
So what’s the opposite of “ever” in this case? FOREVER!
That’s how long the Turkish government and it’s successors MUST repay the Armenian nation for the losses borne by us because of the Genocide.
No doubt some, even Armenians, might argue that this is “unworkable” or “unrealistic” or “delusional” and… But at this moment, how we achieve this is not important. It’s not important to whom and through what channels and in what form this will come.
Rather, we must agree that permanent, perpetual reparations are what we seek from Ankara. Once we have that national, internal, Armenian consensus: then we can set out in pursuit of permanent, perpetual reparations; then we can figure out our negotiating positions with Turkey to attain permanent, perpetual reparations; then we can embark on the long and undoubtedly complex process of implementing permanent, perpetual reparations.
What do you think?
No such thing will ever happen until we become more powerful militarily than Turkey…
Diplomatic power in the 20th and 21st century is infinitely more important than an army, car the US, the EU, Russia can, without a shot, bring Turkey to ground, because this new calif or sultan has fragile feet with enormous financial and technological shoulders. I have the clear impression, due to the hard work and intelligent work of our Party at the odds of the diaspora since 1915 see crucial 1890, Turkey, in its interest, will have to admit its imprescriptible fault and honor itself.
With all due respect, politics without might is useless…
Dear and respectable friend, Garen, thanks to your intellectual abilities, your ability to offer us your political analyses, to the ratings of all your comrades, women and men of conviction, I think that thanks to our great friend, the sultan, future calif of the Islamic world, who is chasing the great intellectuals of his country, more and more numerous, with the citizens trapped in this situation of isolation and international dependance I think that soon I would return once again to the village of my parents, to the Vaspouragan, and then, at the age of 80, I would roll up my sleeves to rebuild without waiting for anything other than to be buried there in my land and I am certain that it is the same for a very large number of our compatriots. For more than 100 years you have been the worthy harrower of our people who have been tribulationized in the world by the decision and betrayal of the great states which today, recognizing our values of toil and loyalty, would like to re-establish us in our rights. Our Party is still there, strong, determined in law, with personalities like yours. I think I have to pay tribute to you and I must work in the service of our country still under the influence of old neo-Soviet habits and resist as a member of the diaspora, for 29 years. A feeling of happiness mixed with sadness, even revolt in the face of the immobility of neo-communist society and its successive rulers who want to be self-sufficient. Today, perhaps a hope if the diaspora wants to understand “that there is no greater beauty than his country, his land” which you have instilled in us by your sacrifices. I think so, I’m sorry.
Dear and respectable friend, Garen, thanks to your intellectual abilities, your ability to offer us your political analyses, to the ratings of all your comrades, women and men of conviction, I think that thanks to our great friend, the sultan, future calif of the Islamic world, who is chasing the great intellectuals of his country, more and more numerous, with the citizens trapped in this situation of isolation and international dependance I think that soon I would return once again to the village of my parents, to the Vaspouragan, and then, at the age of 80, I would roll up my sleeves to rebuild without waiting for anything other than to be buried there in my land and I am certain that it is the same for a very large number of our compatriots
What can I say Garen! You surely speak from the bottom of my heart and undoubtedly from the hearts of countless Compatriots who are engulfed and constantly troubled by the ongoing deep sense of loss and sadness. Our only hope is to keep going strong and believing we can fight and overcome the constant threat of assimilation. Many will undoubtedly succumb and perish, but I believe many will also survive to continue the sacred duty for as long as it takes.
Dear Friend, be assured that the new generations are increasingly imbued with our political history, by their intellectual training. I am 80 years old, from the diaspora I have lived in Armenie for 29 years, I have small children, and I saw during the events of April 24 a more numerous and intellectually determined lift, then finally we have gained since our parents the respect of the host countries by our work and loyalty and thanks to the growing number of intellectuals and specialists , political scientists, geostrateges publish analyses in order to strengthen our rights to recognition and reparation, not to mention the profusion of the Armenian press that informs not only the people but foreign institutions. Conferences transcribed in the media, cultural organizations, more educated and determined policies. Political organizations federate on the essential national issues, finally the state, the government are finally co-operation our churches look less the sky than the politicized people. Dear Friend, I had the same fear 50 years ago today I am in a certainty based on the many political, diplomatic and also military victories as in Artsakh because our Citizens and Heroes had a conviction of law, history and politics that convinced the powerful states.
First and foremost it starts with Armenian unity: ONE ARMENIA ARTSAKH AND DIASPORA.. Anything else is a repeat of the genocide.