BY HENRY D. ASTARJIAN M.D.
Whether due to inexperience, naïveté, ineptitude, ignorance, or lack of intestinal fortitude, the leadership of the Diasporan, so called political establishment has, once again been sucked into a new quagmire. Whether they want it or not they have been dragged into another dog race; chasing a plastic rabbit round and round, expending people’s donated money, energy and emotional capital.
The attention of those who claim to be the guardians of Armenian national interests, and rights, have once again been lured to fighting side battles of their choosing, that are trivial at best designed to advance the agenda of the enemy rather than fortify our national agenda.
This time it’s the actions of Princeton U. where our hero President Woodrow Wilson once served as its president.
The university upon which he presided has advanced to excellence but, for the scholars of the Middle East who deal with the ills and crimes of the Ottoman Empire, and their protégé the Ittihad ve Terraqi, it has changed in a negative way. Since providing a prestigious position to a Turkish agent, a dishonest professor of history, Bernard Lewis, the University’s moral standing has depreciated in the eyes of serious scholars around the world and the Armenian Diaspora. The WWC has plunged into new lows by honoring Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davudoglu with this year’s WWC public service award.
According to Donald Wilson Bush, the great grandson of President Wilson, it is Lee H. Hamilton, the Executive Director of Woodrow Wilson Center who has made this decision. It is inconceivable that Lee Hamilton took this decision upon the urging of the White House, without consulting Bernard Lewis.
Ahmet Davutoglu is being honored! so what? Who gives a damn about Davudoglu being honored by WWC?
Is this a situation which warrants mobilizing the Diasporan political forces to wage a battle? How much does this weigh in the grand schema of things that matter to the Armenian nation? How much can our leaders divide our forces to battle an insignificant side war? Isn’t that what Turkey wants? Aren’t we chasing a plastic rabbit? Isn’t this a dog race?
For decades our leadership pursued a simplistic policy of first forcing Turkey to accept its guilt in committing the Genocide, followed by pursuit of reparations. This approach has failed miserably and left us searching for a new strategy and tactic to reach our goals. All that we have achieved so far, after lobbying Congress and the White house, is tarnishing Turkey’s image. And what has that done? For the world, it is business as usual; countries, such as France, who have passed laws in our favor, continued to do business with Turkey. Turkey is still a full member of NATO, and now is groomed by the U.S. to lead the Islamic world, with the hopes of controlling Iran. The Arab world, as reflected by electronic and print media, has gone gaga about the resurrection of this Islamic phoenix. If Turkey is blackballed from entering the European Union, it would not be because of our blocking efforts, or that of Cyprus.
Now, our failed leadership has found another plastic rabbit to chase; thanks to Princeton; they have discovered Woodrow Wilson, whose political solutions they had ignored for close to a century, and now they are revisiting his name to settle insignificant scores, like honoring a Turk with impeccable radical Islamist credentials. All of a sudden they have claimed Wilson as an exemplar of our honor. It is their new modus Vivendi, and it is doomed to fail. Acting like Dalai Lama (No pun intended) will get us what Dali Lama has achieved in pursuit of the Tibetan Tahd; nothing! Our leaders must leave behaving like municipal managers behind, and start flexing real political muscle.
Now that the first strategy proved to be a flop, the correct strategy is to revive what Wilson stood for in the context of the Sevres Treaty and in the context of the map which he so laboriously produced delineating our rights to Western Armenia. His map also delineated our borders vis-à-vis Turkey and Northern Kurdistan.
Sevres treaty was the fruit of the League of Nation’s efforts for just, fair, and equitable solution of the inherently entitled demands of the Armenians, Kurds and the minorities.
That treaty, which was ratified by Greece only, is very much alive, and has withstood the test of time. It was not created and signed fraudulently under duress like the Treaty of Kars, 1921, which Turkey still claims to be valid.
Kurds are our natural allies in this, since their rights were also delineated by Sevres, and Woodrow Wilson. Cooperation and forging new political allies are imperative to implement the project. The time is now, since Turkey is in turmoil, and since the Middle East is in turmoil, and because redrawing national borders have happened during political earthquakes; we are going through one right now!
In his recent visit to Washington, Serz Sarkissian paid tribute to Present Wilson and his legacy by visiting his grave. Was he giving us a new direction? Certainly it did not look like another sport of chasing a plastic rabbit.