Intimidation Tactics Used to Suppress Opposition to Reconciliation

GLENDALE–To counter mounting opposition–leaders of the so-called Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission have begun to use intimidation tactics to suppress any disagreement voiced by members of the community toward the veiled effort to establish "dialogue" between Armenia’s and Turks–without discussion of the Armenian Genocide.

This latest ploy comes following an interview published in the Glendale News Press on July 25–in which Prof. Levon Marashlian–a history instructor at Glendale Community College voiced his opposition to the commission.

Following the publication of the interview–Armenian Assembly of American chairman and one of the four Armenian members of the self-proclaimed reconciliation commission dispatched a letter to Marashlian–on Armenian Assembly letterhead–and referred to a particular sentence in the article–which disagreed with the commission’s activities and wondered whether Marashlian was "misquoted" by the News Press.

Furthermore–Krikorian forwarded a copy of his inquiry to the presidents of the Glendale Community College and California State University in Northridge–the two academic institutions where Marashlian is a tenured professor and a part-time teacher–respectively. With this effort–Krikorian attempted to alert Marashlian’s employers of wrongdoing by the professor–because he had publicly expressed his opposition to the commission.

In response to this latest effort by the commission to quell opposition against its misguided mission–Marashlian wrote a letter to Krikorian and a commentary–which has been circulated to the Armenian press in the United States. [See below]

"The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Armenian Assembly–Van Krikorian–has resorted to a tactic that oversteps the boundaries of decent debate. Mr. Krikorian cc’d to my employers a letter addressed to me–an act whose intent appears to be intimidation," said Marashlian in his article.

"Although Mr. Krikorian has the right to express disagreement with my views–it seems to me that his decision to cc his letter to the Office of the President of California State University Northridge and the Office of the President of Glendale Community College–in that order–was a thinly veiled attempt to use intimidation to restrict my own right to express my views," explained Marashlian

"Quite revealing is his decision to go beyond GCC–my primary place of employment–where I have tenure–by sending his letter to CSUN–where I teach only one evening class once a year–without tenure. Going out of the way to contact a person’s employers–full-time and part-time–for no apparent reason other than to create the illusion that there is some kind of problem with the employee–in an apparent effort to stifle the employee’s opposing political opinion–is an ugly tactic reminiscent of McCarthyism," added the professor.

As criticism of the "Reconciliation Commission" mounts and as it prepares to enter a new phase with a meeting in Istanbul–scheduled for Sept. 23–it would be interesting to see to what other tactics its members resort–in an effort to quash their opposition.

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