BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Well, it looks like the Georgian government has finally done something (almost) right. The legislature and president have enacted a law that creates a path to establishing legal status for the Armenian Church in that country. To date, the institution has existed in a legal limbo since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This statuslessness has allowed the Georgian church to much more easily pilfer properties from the Armenian Apostolic Church. While good news, the legislation is no guarantee of progress. It could just be a sop to Western public opinion, to relieve ongoing pressure on Georgia’s megalomaniacal president.
There’s even good news emanating from Turkey. Our compatriots, the Hamshentzees, are considering starting their own political party, since the establishment parties have excluded them from their candidate lists for parliament. This is a good start. You probably remember that the Hamshentzees are Islamicized Armenians who still speak their own language, Armenian (Western) with heavy Turkish borrowings, much like the dialects many of our ancestors spoke pre-Genocide. If they’re able to pull off this act of organization, with one estimate putting their numbers at about ¾ of a million people, they could have electoral impacts in their home areas—roughly, northeastern-most Turkey, along the Black Sea. If they were to draw the votes of open- and crypto-Armenians in Turkey, their impact would be that much more. Then they could cooperate with the Kurdish-based electoral parties in Turkey.
A friend of mine has initiated a campaign and encourages everyone to join. His advertising will always contain “HAYEM” in it. Take it as a matter of pride. Take it as a sign of quality. Take it as a means of communication among compatriots. Take it, even cynically, as a ploy to drum up business. But, regardless use it. It’s a great idea.
On a more egotistical front, I’m pleased that more people seem to be commenting on my pieces, whether posted on Asbarez’s or The Armenian Weekly’s sites. The postings sometimes lead to heated exchanges among the commenters. I think this is important, and the more the merrier. Engagement with our issues is very important to progress on our cause. It’s even interesting having Turks participate in the discussion, though often their comments are the usual Ankara-sanctioned drivel. Unfortunately, sometimes our own folks also odd comments. Even so, it’s better than non-participation. What’s frustrating is best summed up in a situation surrounding a recent piece. It was inspired by a very good question a commenter had posted. After writing the article, that same person posted a comment which demonstrated I’d been utterly unsuccessful in conveying my point!
It’s encouraging to see that Senators are raising the Genocide issue with the nominee to Armenia’s U.S. Ambassadorship. Let’s see what comes of it. It’s also encouraging to see other, more mundane Armenia-U.S.A. issues being addressed.
Finally, it’s good to NOT hear of any nastiness happening to our communities in those countries of the Middle East where civil strife has become a seeming staple of daily life.
Let’s work towards generating more good news. Liberation of Nakhichevan, anyone?