BY FRANK NAHIGIAN
Considered as individuals, we Armenians are quite wonderful people, I would say, but considered as a Nation of people, it seems to me that we should be judged insane or at least, dysfunctional. I say that after observing and participating on the fringes of our nationalistic community for more than three quarters of a century. Of course, I could be prejudiced but I don’t think I am. I accuse us after experiencing frustration after the “Unity” effort collapsed ten or fifteen years ago and, more recently, seeing the hysteria concerning the Protocols and, just a couple days ago, reading Partisan Politics Chapter 9 of Richard Hovannisian’s “Republic of Armenia”.
Reading Chapter 9 was an overwhelming, awesome catastrophe for me personally, because it informed me that insofar as getting anything worthwhile done concerning the growth and prosperity of the home of our Ancestors, we should abandon hope due to our mental condition. Oh, we’re good at things like cooking, celebrating, thinking, bickering, making money and building churches; our track record proves that, but it also proves that we’re terrible at agreeing on rules and regulations or nation-building. I’d guess that if bickering among ourselves on how to “fix” the old country were an Olympic event, we’d own such a mountain of gold medals that all the Armenian libraries in the U.S. wouldn’t suffice to store them. Maybe that’s why most of the businesses at which we excel are sole proprietorships.
After observing the opposition to the Protocols, I read them to see what the commotion was all about. I thought they were benign but who am I to judge? In the first place I’m more sensible than I am intellectual and in the second, I don’t go looking to stir the pot. They commit us to nothing except agreeing to sit at the bargaining table with our mortal enemy in order to barter; it’s as simple as that. Not that we’d have the capability of self-determination; we don’t bring enough to the table to expect that, and Turkey doesn’t either. The industrio-military dynamics of the developed countries vis-a-vis the emerging nations will determine what transpires at the bargaining table at which Turkey and Armenia sit, make no mistake about that. Our issues will never take center stage in the world’s play, not because they aren’t deserving of it but because it requires the attention of politicians. Our lobbies pour a substantial amount of money down the drain in the nation’s Capitol in order to become a vested interest, but not nearly enough to sit near center stage.
Chapter 9 is a mental and emotional nightmare. Try wading your way through the muck and reaching the end with a clear head, I dare you. It taught me nothing except that Armenia will never be a functional democracy. Each of the established political, religious and philanthropic institutions which dispense the capital that supports the Old Country each has its own vested interest in perpetuating the current havoc and chaos, a continuation of our traditional, destructive political morass. Well intentioned as they are, as useful as their humanitarian and cultural sponsorships are, their political effort is a monument to pedagogic sermonizing and posturing at the feet of hollow politicians. Otherwise, they’d focus on a comprehensive, focused strategy to achieve the objective, just as the U.S. army, navy and marines used to do, and there’s another story.
If Armenia is to achieve prestige and prosperity, it will have to be as a Kingdom except that, despite the plethora of noble blood amongst our kind, we’d be hard pressed to find any of the royal variety. Perhaps it should be divided into 7,000,000 kingdoms. Then each of us could be a King or Queen and the bickering may end?