National Schizophrenia; the Grey Genocide

BY HENRY D. ASTARJIAN, M.D.

A vicious virus, covertly infesting the Armenian nation, has created a full blown entity, which could be defined as the Grey Genocide.

Unlike the Red Genocide where blood is spilled, and the White Genocide where the individual is alienated from his ethnicity, the Grey Genocide is a complication of the two and assumes the characteristics of Schizophrenia. This term is used two ways: in literature and in common parlance, it is used to describe a state of “Split personality”, and in medicine it means a mental condition characterized by “Thought Disorder”. As a nation we suffer from both; and this is the hidden price we have been paying, and still do, for the Genocide inflicted upon us by the Turks; it is Schizophrenia, the Grey Genocide.

A certain feeling of dual loyalty prevails in the Diaspora’s psyche and thinking. Granting variables from country to country, the Armenian Diaspora is torn between its civic loyalty to its adopted countries, and emotional, spiritual loyalty to Hayastan. Security, prosperity, and the privileges of citizenship, provided us by some countries, like the United States, enhance that split. This reality is a recipe for disaster, it befits the colloquial term schizophrenia; split personality. We are not unique in this dilemma, there are the Irish, the Jews, the Indians, and the others who share the dilemma; I leave their situation to the reader’s interpretations.

In Diaspora, we have managed to defray the cost of personal sacrifice needed to make Armenia viable and sturdy, by paying guilt money, and sometimes humanitarian services, in lieu of populating the homeland with our presence.

Two major factors have led us to this schizophrenic state: For three generations the post-Genocide community, hemorrhaging with poverty and disease, could barely find itself; land had shifted from under their feet moving them from Der-Zor to Aleppo to Beirut to Marseille to New York. Their primary task, like today’s Haitian earthquake victims, was to find their children and relatives, to settle in the host countries, and to earn a living.

After nearly a century of setting roots in Diaspora, transplanting the communities to settle in Armenia is a difficult, if not an impossible task. We know it from experience: right after WWII Soviet Armenia, with Soviet Union’s blessings of course, arranged for the famous Nerkakht (Immigration) to the motherland, which had lost a half a million or so of its population to the war. Tens of thousands of families, mostly from the Middle East, answered the call. They uprooted their families yet again, to migrate to the promise land pursuing preservation of ethnic identity, language and culture for the budding generation. Economy was not a motivating factor, for they had done well in the Arab land, victimization to the White Genocide was.

In their own motherland the immigrants thought that they had escaped the Grey Genocide, until Schizophrenia set in. They faced discrimination, alienation, alienation of affection, and a big cultural chasm with the natives whose thinking and the way of life juxtaposed theirs. In essence there was a clash of Russian and Ottoman civilizations on the land of Armenia. The newcomers felt they had followed the pied piper to the abyss, and the natives “welcomed” the newcomers calling them Akhper (meaning: Brothers, also meaning Trash).

Those who were skeptical about the move and stayed behind asked their relatives to send them photos; standing up if they were happy, sitting down if they were not. The pictures came with the immigrants lying down.

Diaspora is not ready yet for another move, even to its motherland. It is not ready to sacrifice and build their motherland the way the Jews did. It would be like a self inflicting wound to leave the comforts and freedoms behind and move to a country where they would be second class citizens.

This constitutes the first set of factors leading to Schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia, indeed!

A second major factor is the behavior of official Armenia. The short of it is that they want our money, but not us. They consider us a pollutant to their society, culture, and way of life. They consider our input in issues concerning the Armenian Nation as interference in their affairs, they consider pursuit of Diaspora Armenian issues a burden on their shoulders, and they consider issues related to Western Armenia a threat to their existence. Their indifference to issues concerning Diaspora, whose land has been confiscated by ethnic cleansing, is evident from their sneaky way of formulating the Armeno-Turkish protocol, then sending their President to B.S. us and insult the intelligence of the community by holding meetings in NYC, LA, Beirut and Paris, to convince us that the snake oil is good for your arthritis. Diaspora rejected them and their ideas after verbal and sometimes physical confrontations. In Paris, demonstrations limited Sarkissian’s visit to Gomidas’s monument to a couple of minutes, after which he left in disgrace; they called him, and justifiably so, “Tavajahn” (Traitor). The flame extended to LA and other cities.

The president’s support in Diaspora came from his shananigans the Armenian Assembly and AGBU; Turkophiles who continue to bow to the new Sultans of Turkey. “Padishahim chock yasha” (“Me lord live long”).

By their cockeyed reasoning, the Government of Armenia and the Protocol supporters suffer from thought disorder, “Schizophrenia”. Their irrational approach to Armeno-Turkish relations is a paramount example of that. Their stance is not new. The disassembled Armenian Assembly and the AGBU (Dubbed KGBU for their support of Soviet Armenia in the Cold War) have a track record of mental serfdom; they were the proponents of TARC (Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee) about which I wrote extensively, condemning it. These two organizations have become the tools of the reactionary minds, which control Turkey’s desk in the State Department, implementing, directly or indirectly, their dirty work. Their thinking is schizophrenic; they work for the recognition of the Genocide, yet they support the Protocol which denies the Genocide.

They indeed suffer from Thought Disorder.

The latest of their dirty work is their efforts to exclude a 100 year old humanitarian organization like the ARS from participating in official Washington meetings.

This kind of behavior is not new. Remember AGBU’s conduct in Paris in 1919 where Armenia’s fate was being discussed by the League of Nations. There were two competing Armenian delegations, AGBU’s founder Boghos Nubar Pasha, opposed Armenia’s representative, Aharonian’s participation in the League’s proceedings. The League denied participation to both parties.

So here we are! Ethnically one, yet physically and mentally shattered like broken crystal, suffering from Social Schizophrenia, and medical Schizophrenia. It is the Grey Genocide!

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18 Comments

  1. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    Armenians — inside Armenia and outside Armenia — are not suffering schizophrenia. Only those Armenians who rig political elections suffer schizophrenia. Armenia’s society is not suffering any mental disorder. Armenia’s illegal President, Parliament and the so-called “srtong structures” are disordered. Armenia’s society is just dysfunctioning.
    Once again Thank You Dr. Astarjian for Your keen analysis of the psycho-social matrix of the Armenian nation.

    • Papken Hartunian said:

      I agree with Dr. Astarjian. Moreover, most Armenians in Diaspora have no idea about their history and culture. To prove my theory, last Sunday I took some literature from Armenian Genocide Museum to the church.
      After the Padarak, I asked the chairman of the Perish Council whether she can recognize the picture of the Tigran the Great? The answer was no. Then I showed her the map of our historical Armenia. She couldn’t believe what she was looking at. I can claim with whole hearty that 90% Armenian in Diaspora are not qualified to be called Armenians.

      • Araxi said:

        It is time for self-education then. But 90% is a bit too far fetched., don’t you think? After all you have only spoken to one Armenian, which evidently does not encompass 90% of the Diasporan Armenians.
        Please practice more caution.

        • Dino Ajemian said:

          Araxi,
          It does seem far fetch but unfortunately from my experience most Armenians can only vaguely explain the significance of the years 301, 451 and 1915 let alone the back story that explains our national ethos. Only a small part of the nation understands the tenets of the Armenian Ethos and our collective history. As the saying goes, if you dont know your past, you dont know your future. My ancestors before 1915 lived in a healthy education loving village. Living as true Armenians, living the Armenian Ethos amongst the barbarians. We have been flung to the four corners of the planet thinking like the people of the countries we now reside in. I have been working on a handbook on the Armenian Ethos. By and large, Armenians in America think like Americans, Armenians in turkey think like turks, Armenian from Iran think like Iranians. There is only a small minority that think like an Armenian should. This issue is like intermarriage in our community but it is far worse, Armenian minds clouded by the ideas of the foreign lands we live in. When you see Armenian youth with their shaved heads dark baggy clothes (filled naturally with thoughts of the next financial scam), knowing full well that the ethos they possess is something other then what our ancestors had envisioned for our nation.

          • Araxi said:

            Papken, why blame our people who as you describe as ‘being scattered all over the world and who have forgotten the Armenian Ethos.’ Please first and foremost explain what you mean by that, so young people reading your comments would perhaps understand what you mean. Secondly, it is only natural that the youth of today will follow trends in the countries they live in. How would they otherwise survive in their surroundings? The great Armenian thinker, lecturer and writer (the late) Achemyan used to say,
            «Մարդը նախ իր շրջապատի արդյունքն է, կամ էլ շրջապատն է կերտում մարդուն»: After all the preplanned and engineered Genocide committed towards the Armenians in Western Armenia by the turks was to wipe out a whole nation, their culture, their language and everything else they stood for.
            Let us not criticise our youth, but try to educate them, no matter how they wear their hair or their clothes. If they speak Armenian, we must thank the Lord that our language has survived and therefore we will continue to survive.

          • Papken Hartunian said:

            Dear Araxi:
            I believe you were trying to reply Dino rather than me. I would like to let you know that our problem has been and is exactly that “to survive.” We must become a greater nation not only to survive. We must find our place on this earth. Every one of us has potential of being the Tigran then Great.

        • Papken Hartunian said:

          Dear Araxi:
          I have been living several decades in Diaspora. I have been involved in many community projects. The issue of white genocide is in my mind 24/7. Unfortunately, sometimes the truth is sour. In fact, while we were discussing about the Digran the Great, another member of the Perish Council heard our discussion and she stated ” I should have known.” As a result of my effort, most members of the church are attending Armenian school once a week. We are learning Western Armenian. The class is more crowded than the church.
          I will ask the same question from other members of the church this Sunday. I will report you the result.

      • daron said:

        Papken I’m impressed. You seem to be one of those who think they have the right to jugde who deserves to be considered Armenian. Maybe you should write an autobiography and post it on this website and let the people judge you and see if you really fall into “10%” bracket.

        • Papken Hartunian said:

          Dear Daron:
          I hope you are not being sarcastic! Otherwise, I thank you for your admiration about me. As to my autobiography, it is to early to publish. However, if you are really interested in about my resume and my past and current activities in our community, I will be glad to forward you a copy.
          papkenhartunian@gmail.com
          P.S. All of those Armenians that care about Armenian Issues deserve my highest respect.

  2. Araxi said:

    I love the new achronym – KGBU (AGBU). It’s so true. I have lost all respect for the AGBU.

  3. rz said:

    I’d add “blue genocide” too, b/c I think a lot of our people struggles with some sort of depression & anxiety – whether conscious or unconscious.

  4. Haro Mherian, Ph.D. Mathematics, UCLA said:

    Unfortunately, this schizophrenia does not inherently possess a beautiful mind of a mathematician, in order to get the mind out of this Grey Genocide and White Genocide trap. I agree with Dr. Astarjian, but I believe that the symptoms reveal more the situation that Diaspora is under drug addiction syndrome rather than schizophrenia. We do know what we are, but we have an addiction problem now. As a result of this, we are in a deep sleep culturally. And we need a shocking “Khaydarak” Turkish-Armenian Protocols to wake up and understand what lack of culture implies.

  5. manooshag said:

    Hye Papken Harutunian, You judge too harshly… for circumstances alter cases. I know Armenians, children of the Survivors, who were raised without the benefit of the Armenians Apostolice Church. This was due to the separation of our churches – and a church was not available to them. I know of Armenians who, in their efforts to gain an education in the weekday classes offered to teach the Armenian alphabet, to read it, to
    learn from it, which was still limited. Limited because of their ability to attend these classes, and even, in
    attending the class the dialect which they spoke at home was vastly different from the dialect the Armenian teacher was offering.

    To offset lacks such as these, we were forturnate to have as our Archbishop, Mesrob Ashjian, of blessed memory, at the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church for many years who not only lead our churches in all our religious needs, but, even further, he was the leader who sought to educate those who had grown up
    without the knowledge of our Armenian history our literature, and more. Aside from the April 24th oberservances he headed an April 24th observance in the Washington DC – a greatly formatted series of days… for the Survivors who attended,with their children and grandchildren to share together. This was outstanding! He had prepared a program such as why our Giligian Armenian church – after leaving leaving Armenia – one segment broke away to return to Armenia (then in USSR) and why the Giligian church, remained… to be free of the communists’ influence – a voice in the free world. And so much more.

    So, what I’m trying to say is that it takes and extra effort, in a foreign culture, to maintain our culture – language, history and more. And yet, I knew of an American-born who forced himself to learn his Armenian – because he wanted to read the works of our famous Armenian writers.
    So, give credit to all the organizations who keep these efforts alive, the AYF, ARS, ANCA, Prelacy of the Armenian Chuch, Hamaskayn, and so many more… And credit to the parents whose efforts to bring their young to join, to participate, to belong…
    Manooshag

  6. manooshag said:

    Hye, Papken, P.S.
    I forgot to mention the AYF Camp Haiastan – which brings our youth together, great friendships, and teaches them much of the Armenian culture, too. Manooshag

  7. Nairian said:

    I knew of the blessed Serpazan Mesrob Ashjian who was a very hard working man, he was also a very patriotic Armenian man besides being a great man of the cloth. Apart from the AYF, ARS, ANCA, Camp Hayastan and Hamazkain, let’s not forget that with the sponsorship of the Armenian Prelacy who had a part time Armenian school director equivalent to a high school, there are a number of Saturday and Friday schools to teach children Armenian. Teachers who would gladly give their time sometimes without any pay or little pay for the love of teaching the Armenian children our culture, our language and our history. Apart from Hovnanian School in N.J. and many more in California. We can sit down and judge our youth harshly or we can sympathize the fact that the perils of the Diaspora is just that. Our organizations and Churches throughout the United States and throughout the world try very hard to preserve our language, our culture and our identity. But that’s why it’s extremely important for us to see that we don’t lose Armenia’s sovereignty and that Artsakh will be soon recognized by the world powers. Unfortunately we cannot escape assymilation in the Diaspora; because not every Armenian is brought up very patriotic and can withstand outside pressures against assymilation. My dear compatriots; why do you think we were and still are afraid of the destructive protocols and we continue to fight for Artsakh’s self determination? Because in the long haul there is nothing like having your own land, that is if you want to survive more than 300 years. I wish 60% of Armenians were extremely patriotic, but….. nothing like having your own country under the sun. However for 95 years now our blessed organizations have been fighting against assymilation through Armenian schools, Churches, gathering the masses around the Armenian clubs, the AYF, Badanegan and various other youth memberships to gather our children, our youth and even the grownups. Yes we all came a long way and we all have a great many work to do and we shall continue our plight until the end!!!!

  8. S. Manougian, M.d. said:

    This article is very depressing. I have another suggestion to the gentleman authering this article.Why don’t you call the armenians “multiple personality disorder people”? I am sorry to say, you may have one yourself to depreciate our people so much.

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