Soccer Sellout

Sorry FDR, but I’ve got to steal your line, because truly, Black Saturday, October 10, is a day that will live in infamy.  I write this article in a mood of utter disgust and deeply suppressed rage.  How else would you have me, or the world have us, Armenians, feel, when, as a friend wrote to me, “They just sold out the whole country, and we couldn’t do a thing about it”.

Sure, there was some last minute brinkmanship.  The speeches by Armenia’s and Turkey’s representatives were cancelled to avoid stepping on one another’s toes over the Genocide and linkage of the infamous protocols’ implementation to Turkish-defined “progress” on Artzakh negotiations.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned her keep by arm-twisting the two parties to sign the documents that potentially spell the end of Armenia as an independent state worthy of that name and status.

When I saw the 2-0 loss of the much touted Turkey-Armenia soccer match, it occurred to me that Armenians fared much better with a ball than with the BS of diplomacy.  In the latter, the score was four to negative one!  Turkey got virtual absolution for the Genocide; arguable legalization of the current illegitimate frontier; tacit acceptance of the supremacy of principle of the inviolability of borders over self-determination (a boost on the Artzakh front for the Turkic side and more support for the current, Western-Armenia-excluding border); and opening of the border, Turkey’s illegal blockade/closure of which is an obstacle to progress in its efforts to fully join “Europe”.  What did Armenia get?  The impending demolition of what little bit of an economy it has— what will happen is what happened to Mexico with the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, enrichment of a few, probably, and further impoverishment for the overwhelming majority.

In the process, the wishes, position, sensibilities, honor, and good sense of the overwhelming majority of Armenians worldwide was disregarded.  From the multiple demonstrations that dogged Serzh Sarkissian’s tour of the Diaspora and his return to Armenia to the four-day, 34-person fast organized by the AYF across the street from Armenia’s Consulate General in LA (ironically, located in Glendale now), all were arrogantly ignored.  Sarkissian as much as said so in his comment quoted by the Anadolu news agency during his visit to Bursa, Turkey to watch the Armenian team lose (poetic justice?): “I have not tried to inform people in order to receive permission from the Armenian Diaspora. I wanted to convey a decision of the Armenian Government to the Diaspora and held meetings to update them”.

What’s worse is that there are plenty of Armenians who are also blissfully unaware, or barely cognizant, of the Sword of Damocles that Sarkissian has strung up above our nation by a Turkish horse-hair.  Including me, why did no one, or all of us, not mob every diplomatic installation the Republic of Armenia has worldwide, and in Armenia the presidential and foreign ministry buildings.  What’s wrong with us?  People are seething, but confused.  This is the stuff of which radicalization comes.  We’ve essentially got the world against us, again, since the Turks’ Swiss-brokered efforts were supported by the Americans, French, and Russians, as witnessed by the hours-long presence of the foreign ministers of these countries in Zurich on Black Saturday.  Didn’t they have anything better to do?

It’s going to be a long, hard struggle to undo this damage, but ironically, our strongest supporters for the moment may be the Azeris and Turks themselves, who, for their own reasons (incomprehensible to me) are opposed to these protocols.  Let’s hope that Turkey’s parliament rejects these documents from hell, ‘cause it sure doesn’t seem likely that Armenia’s parliament will have the good sense and backbone to reject them!

Maybe the time to wreak some havoc is nigh.

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