Separatism No Longer a Dirty Word?

By Garen Yegparian

The December 13–2004 Fall Books issue of The Nation seems to have been designed with Armenia’s in mind. It contains Peter Balakian’s letter to the editor replying to a September 20 review of his The Burning Tigris by Meline Toumani. The latter seems to be one of those Armenia’s who is so conflicted about her identity–yet also motivated by the most noble of urges to stand on principle–that she ends up sounding practically anti-Armenian.

The issue also contains analyses of modern Islam and the post-WWII red scare era–both arenas of great impact and importance for Armenia’s.

But most interesting is a signed editorial by Kirkpatrick Sale titled "Blue State Secession" that describes a November 5-7 conference held in Vermont. It seems the US Civil war has not put the issue of secession to rest since 28 separatist organizations already exist in the country.

In light of the US election results–much petty chatter has been heard about seceding–most of it a means of venting extreme exasperation. But this conference seems to have been much more earnest and serious. Organized by the Second Vermont Republic– a grassroots movement working to make the state a republic as it was from 1777 to 1791–and Fourth World– an England based organization supporting separatist movemen’s for independence in the other three "worlds," this conference was three days of speeches–presentations–and debate demonstrating the depth of feelings about this issue in light of the remarkable passions ignited by November 2’s lead-up and fallout.

This reminded me of an article in the Fall 1999 issue of Foreign Policy–"Too Many Flags?" wherein Juan Enriquez documen’s the accelerating pace of new state formation over the course of the 20th century. He then proceeds to argue that globalization is simultaneously bringing the world closer while allowing it to break up into its component parts. In addition–he contends that while the Western hemisphere has not experienced this proliferation of states–it is not immune to it.

Numerous other essays addressing issues of self determination and the redrawing of international boundaries all point to the cutting-edge nature of our struggle for Artsakh and other occupied Armenian lands. Our efforts can no longer be dismissed as nationalist irredenta. Here–we must remember that nationalism is a dirty word for both the left and right ends of the political spectrum–albeit for different reasons.

It seems to me that our political organizations and structures should be developing contacts with groups such as Fourth World. If we are concerned about the ramifications of such activities on existing relationships–then a new entity could easily be established to handle these matters discretely. To pass up an opportunity to become engaged in what is a worldwide process is a crime against our nation. Observe the Caucasus–former Soviet Union–Europe–China–the Arab Middle East–India-Pakistan–Indonesia–the indigenous peoples’ movemen’s in the Americas–and even the above US based examples for inspiration–bases of support–and channels of cooperation.

Let’s make this the millennium of Armenian restoration.

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