A Frank Discussion About Clinton’s Armenia Visit

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Dzidzernagapert during her Armenia trip on 4th of July weekend has sparked a discourse among our readers and community members, which warrants a closer look.

There is a school of thought that contends Clinton’s visit to the Armenian Genocide monument should be applauded as it signals a shift in US policy or is an expression of her own personal beliefs and feelings toward the issue of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. There is also the assumption that this visit can serve as an encouraging step—a stepping stone—toward a push for the recognition of the Genocide by the US.

The aforementioned views, while understandable, are in stark contrast to the real objective of pursuing the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

No one is questioning the fact that Clinton’s visit to the Genocide monument was, in fact, a milestone for Armenians and Americans alike. She became the first senior US Administration official to bow her head in memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Genocide at the very monument that our entire nation views as the central memorial of this tragedy. Does Clinton’s visit demonstrate the courage of her personal convictions? Perhaps. Was Clinton in Armenia on a personal trip? No.

The mixed signals sent by the Clinton visit to Dzidzernagapert have allowed this discussion. In more rogue terms, she probably achieved what she set out to do, which was to create a diversion whereby Armenians, who are as a nation passionate about this issue, will discuss the pros and cons of this act and, ultimately, be forced to take sides.

One reader urged that we cut her some slack and be content with her visit, because if she had not visited there would be a chorus of criticism for her ignoring the monument—thus the Genocide—all together. This sentiment can be viewed as a call for Armenians to accept and be content with a crumb that was thrown to us, which diminishes the entire scope of the Armenian Cause.

And what of the folks in Armenia? There should be disappointment and anger with the Armenian government, the civic and political organizations in Armenia and the people in general for not utilizing the opportunity of Clinton’s visit to advance this issue. Furthermore, this silence allowed Clinton to drive the discussion rather than be challenged by it.

At her press briefing Sunday, following meetings with the president, Clinton brought up the issue of the Armenia-Turkey protocols and suggested that the ball was in Turkey’s court to make a move. If this was not a missed opportunity, I don’t know what was. None of the reporters assembled there asked about the Genocide and the failed US policy. She got a pass and she determined the tenor of the discourse. This was her shrewd attempt to control the message and bask in a silence that could signal to the State Department that the Genocide issue is not a priority concern in Armenia.

The pursuit for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a cause for justice, historical truth and acknowledgement of man’s inhumanity to man. Any attempt to placate the Armenian nation, be that by the Obama Administration or others, is nothing but a show of disdain for our aspiration and, to a larger degree, human rights.

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22 Comments

  1. Mark said:

    I hope that we have not sunk so far as to actually care whether Clinton visited the genocide memorial. The woman has no principle and is an ogre.

  2. Aram said:

    Do you think the Armenian press, at Secretary Clinton’s prres briefing, was handpicked by the Armenian
    government?

    • john papazian said:

      No,they were handpicked by the American gov. Besides the American press never said a word about it anyway.

  3. Papken Hartunian said:

    Clinton dictated her own protocols to Armenia. What could have happened if there was an incident against her? No one in the world can come and visit one of the United States’ governmental territories without protection and company of state officials.

  4. Charles Masraff said:

    Maybe you should take greater note of the feelings and aspirations of those whom you somewhat scornfully term “the folks in Armenia”.
    If you live in Armenia in my humble opinion your views are much more important than the views of those who pontificate from the other side of the world!!!!! The majority feeling here seems to be that the Clinton visit a step in the right direction and that the woman acquitted herself with a degree of personal dignity and humanity that I fear sometimes your publication seems incapable of understanding.
    She also took the trouble to learn a little more about Armenia and Armenians which can only be helpful.
    I am not a great personal fan of Hilary Clinton but if someone does something positive you should say so!!

    • Baghdig S. said:

      Get real Charles! She visits Dzidzernagapert but continues to allow a foreign governments gag rules to determine policy in America. Obama’s administration is playing both sides for political gain. This stunt was devised by the SD to fool people like you into thinking exactly what you are. People like you were the easy targets (low lying fruit) of this ploy. Pat yourself on the back…

      Your allowing yourself to be duped by BS diplomacy and political posturing Charles. Don’t fall victim to your heart. Use your head and grow a pair!

  5. Vacheh said:

    Dear Ara,

    Very nice commentary. As long as our government remains not as strong as it could be, as long as the oligarchs have a significant control over the economy and destiny of our nation, and as long as the Armenians in Diaspora are marginalized by our government, we are going to see similar episodes and our nation will continue walking over a very tight rope. This applies to both the recognition of Genocide as well as on the resolution of Karabagh issue.

  6. a said:

    “Her shrewd attempt…” says it all. HC’s visit means nothing. It is part of a well orchestrated production in which the US and Turkey are the performers. She makes a meaningless gesture, the Ts feign anger, and we talk about it. It’s the same old song.

  7. Ed said:

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s was in official visit and she had to visit Dzidzernagapert like other foreign officials use(d) to do . The way she has acted is simply an insult!

  8. Realist said:

    Shame, shame, SHAME!

    Allowing a double talking genocide denier to visit our sacred monument to stage her own private show of hollow contrition without candidly repenting for her active role over decades and yes even to this day, of muzzling truth on behalf of genocide deniers makes me sick to my stomach.

    Who the hell does she think she’s fooling? Her insincere performance in Yerevan wont change the perception amongst the majority of Armenian-Americans about what her “privately” orchestrated PR stunt truly was: a cheap shill.

    Get real Hilary.

    BTW – light blue isn’t respectful attire while mourning martyrs of genocide especially when your acting as a shill…

    • sebouh from australia said:

      agreed …but most US Armenians will fall for the stage show

      • john papazian said:

        Not this one,I’ve seen this political nonsence way to many times before. What really pisses me off to no end is the fact that the Tea Party,Republican,Christian Right,and most American Christians either don’t have a clue or believe Turkish denials to keep an airforce base. HiC is no exception,Americas “enlightend self intrest” comes first.

        • sebouh from australia said:

          God Bless you and may you educate other fellow US Armenians on the stupidity and evil pragmatism of US political parties…ub-riss

  9. Arn. SWEDEN. said:

    STATES DONT HAVE MORAL ONLY INTERESTS – THE UNITED STATES IS NO EXCEPTION.

    THE US INTEREST IS OIL FROM THE KASPIAN REGION AND TURKISH STATES.

    BE SURE THE US WILL SIDE WITH THE TURKS AGAINST ARMENIA.

    BEVERE OF THE US.

    ARN. SWEDEN.

  10. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Compering her activities on Oct.10, 2009 during signing
    the Protocols with Turkish activities against her on her visit Tsitzarnagapert,
    have her to get lesson on Turks ! ! !

  11. Cristina said:

    Remember, the protocols would not have been signed if she would not have pestered Nalbandian about it OVER THE PHONE, FOR 3 HOURS, FROM INSIDE HER CAR BEHIND THE HOTEL WHERE THE WHOLE CHARADE HAPPENED!!!

    So,excuse me, but i fail to fall for her double faced behaviour…
    And btw,i also agree that light blue is not a proper attire for such a place. Everyone around her, on the picture, is dressed so much darker… When i go there, i always wear black, head to toe…

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