The Foundation

What’s the nexus between our "Free, Independent, and United Armenia" and "Recognition, Reparations, Return of Lands"? What ultimately is the guarantor of the perpetuation of Armenian nationhood and statehood? What is our biggest, most complicated issue with Turkey and our other neighbors, the Kurds? Land, of course. Land is the foundation of all we seek and struggle for. So it stands to reason that as we struggle to secure Artsakh, address problems in Javakhk, contend with cultural-genocidal vandalism in Nakhichevan, we would hang on to that which is already ours, right? Well here’s the rub. Some guy is openly buying land in Kessab and reselling it to anyone, Armenian or not. Can’t blame him right? We live in capitalist/market/free enterprise dominated world. He’s just making a living. Let’s assume this to be true and acceptable for the moment. Our collective, national, interest need not be made subservient to such selfish, commercial considerations. On the other side of the coin, the Kessabtzi selling his land can’t be blamed either. Many have emigrated. But this process de-Armenianizes the land. It results in what the Ottoman government was trying to achieve a century ago, Armenia without the Armenia’s. So what’s the solution? Retaining Armenian territory, adjacent to the current border of Turkey, is certainly something of national value to us. We should establish a foundation, with an initial endowment fund, to buy any lands that might come up for sale in Kessab. This could be done through the Armenian Apostolic Church that already has legal standing in Syria. The mission of the foundation, beyond the initial purchase, would be to resell the property only to Armenia’s, with a covenant put on each such parcel, that the right of first refusal, when it is next to be sold, belongs to this foundation. In the interim, it could be leased to others who would use it for orchards, hunting, grazing, or whatever other use is in harmony with the area. These funds would then be rolled over into the next purchase. Tourism could also be a use, one that would bring money to the country, thus pleasing the Syrian government as well, enamoring it of this project. Similar endeavors in Northwester Iran, Ghamishli (Syria), and Ainjar (Lebanon) have merit too. These could be handled as one major national foundation or several, again through the church or otherwise. Each of these locales has its peculiarities and requiremen’s. One could argue that Ainjar, though populated by our compatriots from Musa Dagh, is not really Armenian land. But the same cannot be said of Iran’s panhandle which is replete with Armenian historic monumen’s and until quite recently even sported Armenian populations. Regardless, each of these areas, and perhaps others (in Georgia), could bring us benefits when saved. If nothing else, this could serve as a grand experiment in preparation for a time when simply buying all our Turkish occupied lands might become an interim step to the restoration of our total homeland. Anybody interested in a vacation home in Kessab?

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