EDITORIAL: Only Recognition Restitution and Reparations Can Shift the Regional Paradigm

Efforts to garner international recognition for the Armenian Genocide have become the focal point on the eve of this–the 87th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide–during which more than 1.5 million Armenia’s were massacred at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in premeditated campaign of extermination that became an unfortunate precedent in the 20th century by regimes lacking tolerance and respect for human life.

Similarly–the campaign to deny the Genocide also gained momentum–as the Turkish government–with the assistance of its trusted allies–mainly the United States–stepped up the denial rhetoric and began bankrolling efforts that could severely compromise the grassroots activism of Armenia’s throughout the world.

If anything–2001 can be deemed as a year of lessons for the Armenian nation–who for 87 years has borne the cross of Genocide in the face of extreme adversity and challenge. We–as Armenia’s–are adept at meeting challenges and combating obstacles that hinder or pose a threat to our national well-being and aspirations.

As if the war against Turkish denial campaign and efforts by the US and other countries to thwart historical justice weren’t enough–a group of Armenia’s began bearing the torch of a so-called reconciliation effort–which did nothing but dishonor the memory of the 1.5 million victims who perished with the hope that those who stay alive will avenge their deaths.

This group of "concerned" Armenia’s teamed up with a pack of extremist Turkish political players to form a US State Department funded collective that aimed to begin a dialogue between the Armenia’s and the Turks in hopes of finding a so-called reconciliation. What these self-proclaimed negotiators left off the table was the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact and as a precondition to any good-neighborly relations.

This group–known as the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission–or TARC–claimed that it would disband when a proposed study to verify the validity of the Genocide was reportedly sabotaged by the Turkish members of the group. The Armenian members pulled out of the group in a "valiant" gesture of protecting national ideals–but later pledged that what they started should continue "for the sake of a brighter future for Armenia."

US foreign policy conduits have made it no secret that the United States has prioritized an accelerated reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey as a result of a policy which calls for the establishment of artificial peace in places where it wants to regain–maintain or strongarm influence around the world. This blunt foreign policy approach–coupled with a damning denial of the Genocide by the Israeli government has set the acrimonious course of the struggle for justice and human rights as we move into the 21st century.

These short-sighted approaches to the Genocide issue should sound the alarm for the Armenian nation. Now–more than ever–the push to garner recognition for the Genocide is an imperative–making every day of the year a day of remembrance of the victims. The fact that a handful of Armenia’s have opted to divorce themselves from their national identity and have sold out to US State Department wishes and decrees should not deter the rest of the Armenian world from raising its fists and voices to demand justice and restitution for a crime that robbed an entire nation of its natural course.

In viewing the matter from a more universal perspective–one can surely notice that the injustice of Genocide did not end in Armenia–and has continued throughout the decades via the systematic denial of this crime.

After the tragedy of Sept. 11–when President George W. Bush warned those nations which support the Taliban or Al Qeada–that they would be as guilty as those who carried out the attack on the US–perhaps he did not realize that his words–if used in a different historical context–could make him an accessory to the crime of Genocide. The adamant push by the US government to deny the Genocide and perpetuate a lie is tantamount to supporting Osama Bin Ladin and his efforts to cause havoc around the world.

However–when has the world been fair? One merely needs to open the morning paper to see that international hypocrisy has escalated to a point of no return–and defenseless people around the world are still falling victim to a world order that only guarantees injustice and inhumanity.

Since last April 24–the world has had so many poignant lessons–that not learning from them would be a crime.

Yet the political climate dictates the emergence of a more resolute Armenian nation–one that cherishes it freedoms–its historical claims and its inalienable right to justice.

Thus–despite efforts by Turkey–the US and individuals who have chosen to sell out to the highest bidder–the Armenian nation must more vocally stand up and demand recognition–restitution and reparations for the Armenian Genocide–the first genocide of the 20th century.

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