Over the past seven decades, Armenian Americans learned to exercise tolerance and cooperation. Thanks to these efforts, communal tranquility and spirit of unity permeated into all levels of our national affairs throughout the United States. We should proudly hail and cherish this achievement. At the same time, we should nurture it further.
More importantly, we should protect it from falling into harm’s way. Unfortunately, that harm is what will exactly take place if we allow ourselves to provide encouragement and forum to individuals who–wittingly or unwittingly–sow the seeds of discord among us. One such individual is Mr. Terry Phillips.
Mr. Phillips, a reporter and an author, is forcing Armenian Americans to revisit tragic and intolerable events that have occurred more than four generations ago. Armenian Americans tried very hard to forget such events; and they did. They chose the path of tolerance and unity; and they succeeded. As a nation, we triumphed over the dark pages of our history.
Now, Mr. Phillips has embarked upon a task to undo our triumph. Why is he doing it? What is he after? Is he doing it for a bidder? These are legitimate questions, because a potential threat to our communal unity is at issue. Having worked in and with our community for so many years, Mr. Phillips should well know that Armenian Americans aspire and toil to go forward. Yet he wants to sow discord among us.
We cannot and should not let that happen. We cannot and should not let a messenger of discord roam among us. Mr. Phillips is free to carry on any investigative work that he pleases. But when such works threaten our unit, we can neither encourage him nor permit him to share our national forums. Otherwise, we would legitimize his work and supply fertile ground for his seeds of discord.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Terry Phillips recently authored a book which addresses the 1933 Archbishop Tourian incident.