It’s been a while since someone earned a Spit-Rain Award, but this one’s a real lulu! As a reminder, this is something I award, irregularly and infrequently, to someone or an organization whose depravity is such as to defy easy description. It is inspired by the Armenian saying, “He’s so shameless, if you spit in his face, he’d think it’s rain”.
This time it’s the pathetic excuse for a president of the Republic of Armenia (RoA), Serzh Sarkissian, who has earned this dishonor. In case the reasons aren’t obvious, let me explain.
This guy goes around claiming that black is white, up is down, and right is left. How? While stating that he doesn’t know English (not a crime or even remotely a problem in itself), he insists that the Protocols he’s about to sign don’t say what they say. They don’t contain preconditions; they don’t create a forum (the historical commission) wherein Turkey will endlessly delay Genocide recognition; they don’t de facto give precedence to the principle of territorial integrity over that of self-determination (read- giving Artzakh away); they don’t firm up a border, RoA-RoT (Republic of Turkey, don’t you like the way the acronym works out?), that doesn’t legally exist and give credence to the Soviet imposed Treaty of Kars that no independent Armenian government has ever signed. And in all this, why does the “English” aspect matter? Because that’s the language of the governing version. Armenian, Turkish or any other versions are secondary.
So in all this, either Serzhig is incompetent, his subordinates are incompetent, or he’s a liar. As it stands, by all accounts he’s quite shameless and arrogant. That probably explains his hastily announced “listening” tour in the Diaspora. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he probably thought he could “woo” the descendants of the Genocide whose families’ martyrs’ memory is being mocked by the protocols, whose legal rights and claims to ancestral property in Western Armenia the Turks hope will be signed away by these protocols.
The greeting he got in France when hundreds of our compatriots denied him access to the statue of Gomidas should have come as no surprise. Well, he did eventually pay his respects at that monument… but only hours later, after French police had physically removed the protestors (watch the youtube video). We owe these protestors a debt of gratitude. They paved the way and set the tone for the reception Serzhig got in NY, LA, and Beirut. (As of this writing, I have no news from his Russian visit).
Sarkissian, during the Sunday October 4th meeting with community representatives in LA outside of which an over 5000 strong demonstration was shouting “voch”, plaintively asked “Have you ever seen another president being called a traitor?” Besides the obvious answer of “yes”, it demonstrates the pathetic level of his discourse. He displayed “no political thinking, not even bad political thinking” I was informed. Another example is his comment to the effect of “Tell me who, and I’ll take care of them…” when this president was told that some of his own officials have reservations about these protocols. I spoke to some of those invited to that meeting. One insisted my article be titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes Tour”. Fortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of us pointing out how unclad this “emperor” is, but he just smirks and goes on. This wasn’t a listening tour of the Diaspora but an “I can placate them” tour. The entirety of his commentary has been “trust me” and “we must stand unified”, empty platitudes to go with the empty suit he has turned out to be.
Sarkissian claims “there’s no pressure from anywhere” on him to sign these protocols. Oh yeah? Then what’s the rush? Why the “we can’t change anything in the protocols” approach? Why not make modifications? (Erdogan just stated that Turkey would only sign the protocols if Armenia didn’t want them changed) Why not sign them on November 10 instead of October 10? Or October 10, 2010, after they’ve been properly, honestly, patriotically, self-interestedly vetted and modified? Who opposes establishing regular diplomatic relations with Turkey? But these must be without preconditions, as even Obama just gave lip service to.
Of course some dark humor has emerged over all this. Two jokes are:
what’s the difference between Serzhig and Talaat? One’s still around.
Why didn’t Serzhig show up at the Montebello martyrs monument? He was too busy applying for refugee status at the Turkish Consulate.
Regarding the last joke, on the mornings of both Sunday— dozens of people, and Monday— over 400 people, assembled to deny Serzhig access should he actually show up to defile the monument with his faux-respect. Word was he wanted to visit, and this was later confirmed by the H1 TV channel’s reporting. So this guy, who’s so confident he’s chosen the right path can’t even face his own people, unless the odds are stacked in his favor. This is proven by the array of non-political and relatively minor (though productive in their own specialized fields) organizations invited to the LA meeting mentioned above.
Now do you see why Serzh Sarkissian has earned Spit-Rain III?
A number of interesting points worth mentioning remain, though the information is somewhat incomplete. During the October 4th demonstration, at one point, some 300 people dashed across Wilshire Blvd. from the main demonstration to the entry of the Beverly Hilton Hotel (Serzhig was inside). Something was going on, as shouts could be heard while the demonstrators were receiving a report about the meeting with Sarkissian, before something triggered the crossing. I haven’t yet been able to establish the cause of this incident, though things ended quietly without a major police confrontation. Also, I was told that at an earlier demonstration in Hollywood, clashes among demonstrators and Serzhig supporters led to injuries. Again, I lack solid information. Most heartening though is the attendance at the Hilton demonstration. Not only did it look impressive (more so than the previous week’s numerically larger rally in Glendale), but the solidly more than 5000 people is significant. Why? This action was held well outside our ghettos, our typical gathering places, outside our community’s geographic “comfort zone”. This is an important step in political maturation, akin to what has been going on with the April 24 marches held in Hollywood the last several years.
We must keep up the pressure, even if/when Serzh Sarkissian signs the protocols. Just keep turning out and also, telling Obama, (Hillary) Clinton, and all our federal elected representatives how much we disapprove of this course of events and the role the U.S. has played in disenfranchising Armenians worldwide. Turn up the heat!