BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
… Turks, Georgians and Azeris? Apparently, they’re vanishingly small and irrelevant, at least among the ruling classes of these three peoples.
Of course one of these groups lives to the west of our people, another to the north and the last to the east. One’s largely Christian the other two largely Moslem. But these are all insignificant relative to what they all seem to like doing against Armenians.
OK, so the Georgians have never subjected us to Genocide or major massacres as the Turks and Azeris have done with ferocious frequency. But on the other hand, the Turks and Azeris never stole relief supplies sent to Genocide survivors, or later Sbeedag earthquake survivors, as those materials transited their countries. Obviously this is because they would never have allowed such, but it does demonstrate the Georgians’ hardheartedness towards us.
I never used to understand why our compatriots in Armenia didn’t like the Georgians much. There’s even that Soviet-era joke about not meeting quotas. Armenia comes up short on wool, so all the men are shorn of their chest hair. But they’re smiling even as this humiliation is happening. Asked why, they reply, “the Georgians are short on their egg quota…” Think in Armenian to get this joke.
But now I get it. The Georgian government is buddy-buddy with Azerbaijan, all in the interest of getting transit fees from the oil and gas pipelines running from the latter through the former to the Black Sea and Turkey. The Georgians are buddy-buddy with Turkey in their quixotic tilting at the Russian windmill.
On a different pipeline front, Tiflis periodically “threatens” to sell ownership to Azerbaijan of the pipeline that carries natural gas from Russia to Armenia. Imagine what a chokehold that would give to Baku on Yerevan!
All these speak of an broad antipathy towards Armenians.
But the worst of it is the Georgian government’s persecution of Armenians living in Georgia on their ancestral lands. They might not do much to Armenians living in Tiflis, the capital, where foreign, diplomatic, eyes are everywhere. But get out to the countryside and…
This is of course most true in Javakhk. There’s been no end of the reporting on the lack of under-development, lack of infrastructure, paucity of Armenian language education (and education in general) in the area. Does this sound like what Azerbaijan did to Artzakh and Nakhichevan throughout the Soviet era? What about the Ottoman Empire’s “Armenia without Armenians” policy?
Then we have the takeover of Armenian church buildings by the Georgian Orthodox Church. Maybe they’re envious of the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church was able to avoid absorption into the Russian church during the tzarist era because we stood up for our institution better than they did for theirs.
All this reflects a clear policy aimed at driving out Armenians from Javakhk to complete the process initiated when Stalin, himself a Georgian, severed the province from Armenia and attached it to Georgia.
We must support our compatriots in Javakhk to maintain our presence on the land. Simultaneously we must play the heavy to the Republic of Armenia’s wimp when it comes to exposing Georgia’s duplicity— playing the part of a “democratic” society in the eyes of the West while persecuting Armenians by depriving them of civil rights and jailing those who dare oppose these obscene policies. Yerevan has to pussy-foot around Tiflis because they are concerned about transit routes from the north. We must speak out, loudly. Please let your elected representatives know how you feel about this.