The imperative to demonstrate collective strength as a nation to attain international recognition for the Armenian Genocide and advance our demands for reparations was highlighted last year in the editorial published in our annual Genocide Commemorative Issue.
Yet due to political expediency or individual interests, the voices hoping to advance the Armenian Cause were fragmented both within and outside of the community, posing an obstacle to decades-long efforts and achievement in the pursuit of Hai-Tahd.
There was that now infamous statement by President Serzh Sarkisian, during his re-election campaign, that equated the words Genocide and “Medz Yeghern” and went on to announce that President Obama has effectively recognized the Genocide. There were also those who declared that the Diaspora was so infatuated with this “semantics game” that it failed to recognize the decline in democratic norms in Armenia ahead of the presidential elections–a naive comparison of apples to oranges.
On the other hand, the shameful infighting between attorneys representing survivor families in Genocide-era insurance claims reached a crescendo that included courtroom finger pointing and accusations, none of which served the ultimate interest of pursuing the Armenian Cause.
Then there are the community-wide committees formed to plan centennial commemorations that have not gotten off the ground because the organizations represented in the effort are unable to cede their petty issues and come together for the common cause.
Meanwhile, Turkey has advanced in Genocide denial machine and is actively preparing to confront 2015. It’s foreign minister unveiled an policy that dangerously redefines its Diaspora–if it can be called that–to include all races that were once living in Turkey. The Turkish state is using all efforts, including the enlistment of attention-hungry spineless Armenians to advance their policy of establishing “friendly dialogue between Turks and Armenians.”
The missteps of authorities or selfish actions of individuals should not deter us, the Armenian nation, to fully engage in the pursuit of our national aspirations and to press for justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
It is time to recalibrate our efforts and come together as a nation to pursue the international recognition of the Genocide on all fronts, including a persistent approach to the issue of reparations and restitution for the victims through a national agenda that is formulated through sincere dialogue and with the aim of advancing and winning the Armenian Cause.
While proposals to stage concerts, organize exhibits, publish books and other such benign endeavors can fulfill a certain aspect of the centennial challenge, the time to accelerate our effort as a nation is NOW. It begins with Armenia’s authorities, who have embraced an illogical trajectory and ends with the individual Armenian who has, in one way or another, been impacted by the Armenian Genocide even 100 years later.