BY HENRY D. ASTARJIAN, M.D.
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.
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!