Theriault: The Final Stage of Genocide: Consolidation

This essay is an analysis of the Turkish-Armenian protocol process in relation to the Armenian Genocide. I say “protocol process” because mere analysis of the protocols themselves cannot be meaningful. The protocols exist within a complex historical, cultural, political, and geopolitical context dominated by genocide and its aftermath. It is impossible to interpret accurately the meaning of particular elements of the protocols without reference to that context.

Der Zor (photo by Khatchig Mouradian)
Der Zor (photo by Khatchig Mouradian)

Before I offer my analysis, I must point out that there has emerged a certain conceptual muddle in recent self-declared “objective” or “rational” evaluations of the protocols. I am especially concerned by Asbed Kotchikian’s neutralist analysis and David Davidian’s claimed “rational” analysis, both of which dismiss much of the recent diasporan discourse on the protocols that challenges their value and legitimacy (Kotchikian, “The Armenian-Turkish Protocols and Public (Dis)Content,” Armenian Weekly On-line, October 4, 2009, and Davidian, “Turkish-Armenian Protocols: Reality and Irrationality,” Armenian Weekly On-line, October 1, 2009).

The conceptual muddle is this: Neutrality is not inherently objectivity and dispassion is not inherently rationality. In fact, neutrality itself is a position that can be biased or irrational, if the facts and logic call for taking a position one way or another on an issue. Furthermore, a person who chooses to advocate a position in strong terms is not by that fact automatically biased or irrational. Rationality—logic—is a form of thought in which reasons are given in support of a claim. Far from it being illogical to take a position on an issue, reasonable people have a moral responsibility to take positions if the facts and reason warrant doing so. The question of rationality is simply the question of whether one provides reasoning (facts and logical connection of the facts to the position advocated) to support one’s position. Unequivocal advocacy of a position, no matter how “all or nothing” (to quote Davidian), is not inherently irrational. A viewpoint is non-rational if it is not supported by logically connected reasons in support of the position or supported by facts that are not convincingly connected to the position advocated. A position is irrational if it contradicts or culpably ignores known evidence and the logical connections of that evidence to the question at hand. While of course there are irrational and biased individuals in any large group, overall, the numerous dissenting Armenian voices rejecting the protocols present rational arguments based on factual evidence for rejection. While one might challenge the logic and dispute the claimed facts, the fact that some rational people disagree with rejection of the protocols does not mean that those who reject them are irrational.

Perhaps with some dramatic irony, in his own thinking Davidian himself presents us with a very good example of irrationality. In the opening sections of his piece, he states that if Armenia chooses to reject international pressure to “discuss historical issues” (read: discuss whether a genocide happened) with Turkey, then the situation will be analogous to Slobodan Milosevic’s refusal to stop “ethnic cleansing” (does Davidian mean in 1995 in Bosnia or in 1999 in Kosovo?) because he believed (most genocide perpetrators, as contemporaneous genocide deniers, do) that the Serbs “didn’t start it.” Davidian points out that Serbs were bombed and were foolish not to yield to the pressure as Armenia appears poised to. Thus, Armenians today would be irrational not to cave to the international pressure being applied to them. But, an analogy is the presentation of a situation, argument, or event (1) that is emotionally, politically, culturally, etc., neutral for the author/speaker and/or his/her audience and (2) that has strong relevant structural similarities to a situation, argument, or event to which the author/speaker and/or audience have emotional, political, cultural, etc., connections to. The goal is to allow dispassionate analysis of the latter situation, in order to see things that proximity and emotion obscure. An analogy depends on the structural similarity between the things analogized. But Davidian is comparing (1) a post-genocidal victim state and society that have attempted to engage the international community, including Turkey, on the past genocide (though of course not in the way the perpetrator, committed to denial, would like) with (2) a perpetrator state actively engaged in an act of genocide and organized around pathological rationalization of that genocide despite legitimate international objection to and pressure against it. That Davidian finds it logically valid to liken the situation of the Armenian state and society today to Serbia at the time it was committing genocide does not call into question the rationality of Armenian resistance to pressure for the protocols but to Davidian’s own pretentions to logical analysis. When the issue is negotiation over the truth about a genocide, by definition the logical positioning of a state that is heir to a victim society cannot be analogous to the positioning of a perpetrator state. To suggest that Armenia would face military force for not signing the protocols in the way that Serbia faced bombing because it was participating in genocide makes no sense. Indeed, the real lesson regarding Serbia is that a state can do much more against international pressure than Armenia is doing—indeed, participate in a genocide for three years—without being subjected to any meaningful outside intervention for quite awhile, which is the opposite message from what Davidian suggests.

Let me qualify this somewhat. A victim state cannot be analogized to a perpetrator state in so far as the former is a victim state. If Armenia were to commit a genocide itself, then this would be the basis of an analogy between it and Serbia. In addition, if a particular individual or group within Armenia adopted a denialist position and agenda similar to that in Turkey, there could be some kind of analogy based on this as well. But this is not what Davidian is claiming.

Now to the analysis. It has become a truism that “denial is the final stage of genocide.” Greg Stanton, the former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, for instance, asserts this in his stage theory of genocide. But, as with many truisms, this one is false. That denial is present long after a genocide does not mean that denial is the final stage of a genocide. Denial is present at many stages of a genocide. With very few exceptions, denials are issued by perpetrators while they are committing genocide. Denials are typically offered immediately after a genocide to prevent accountability of individual perpetrators as well as the perpetrator society. One need only look at the court transcripts of trials of Rwanda or Bosnia Genocide perpetrators to confirm this. And, denials are offered in the long-term aftermath of a genocide to cover up the historical facts. The motives for this include such things as the desperate desire to preserve the legitimacy of an ideology and linked sense of group identity in the face of exposure of the genocidal nature of that ideology, the desire to prevent reparations in terms of land and/or wealth, and a sense of shame among members of the perpetrator society that is not coupled with a moral commitment to rectify the impact of the past. Given this, denial is dominant in the long-term aftermath of genocide, but it is an instrument for deeper goals.

The last stage of genocide is consolidation of the gains of the genocide. In this stage, the perpetrator group tries to establish the results of the genocide as the status quo, rather than a persisting violation requiring rectification. It uses denial as a tool, because if deniers convince enough people that a genocide did not happen or is doubtful, then these people will see the existing post-genocidal state of affairs as legitimate. They will see the small population of the victims, their political weakness, their cultural tenuousness, their relative poverty, and so forth as the natural result of an uneventful history. If a perpetrator society can effectively deny the past genocide, it will succeed in keeping what the direct perpetrators gained for it.

To the credit of Stanton and others who view denial as the last stage of genocide, it is typically the dominant activity of the perpetrators in the long-term aftermath of genocide. What is more, even when the possibility of material rectification is lessened, the perpetrators or their progeny typically aggressive seek to cover up even the knowledge of the genocide, to achieve full erasure of its victims and full validation of the perpetrators such that they do not even pay a moral price for the past. Such figures as Elie Wiesel and Israel Charny have commented on this attempted final conceptual erasure.

But, sometimes denial fails to change perceptions of history or at least to produce a stalemate in which the issue is viewed as a perpetual and irresolvable conflict between two parties over history, which is a victory for perpetrators in so far as they are allowed to keep the material, political, ideological, and cultural gains of the genocide for the foreseeable future. In such a case, denial has become ineffective, but consolidation is still the goal. The perpetrator state will seek to consolidate the gains of the genocide in question by some other means.

This is precisely what we are seeing with the new protocols. Denial has failed the Turkish state, and until April 2009 the pressure was mounting to deal with the legacy of the Armenian Genocide in a meaningful manner. That pressure had intensified especially over the past two years through the challenges posed by activists, journalists, and intellectuals inside Turkey after the Hrant Dink assassination shocked morally-grounded members of Turkish society with the genocidal anti-Armenianism that had previously been rationalized by their government or hidden from their view. The stage was set for the kind of real transformation in Turkey that can be the only path toward a genuine improvement in Armenian-Turkish relations.

The protocols are the last-ditch response by the Turkish government to protect and solidify the gains of the genocide. Through them, Turkey has gone from the brink of required justice to a potential victory deniers could only dream of three decades ago. What the protocols do is achieve agreement from the putative representative of the victim community that the perpetrator’s successor state and society will never have to give up the land gained through the genocide nor make any material restitution for the horrific suffering imposed on the victim community, which still reverberates today. What the protocols ensure is that the weak and poor Armenia produced by the genocide will become the permanent state of Armenians, while the increased power, prestige, land, wealth, and ideological security the Turkish state and society gained through genocide will remain its. In other words, the protocols finish the Armenian Genocide as successfully as the pro-genocidal segment of today’s Turkey ever could have hoped. The protocols are the last stage of the Armenian Genocide, the successful completion of the Armenian Genocide.

It is telling that an important element of the protocols is the reinsertion of denial of the Armenian Genocide as a credible position by agreement of the Armenian government itself. This is the meaning of the provision for a historical commission to study the mutual history of the two protocol partners. Denial is the official position of the Turkish government and clearly the starting position for their participation in such a commission. The fact that the protocols do not specify that the commission will consider the issue of “the Armenian Genocide” shows that Turkey wants to maintain this position. Given that its government and academic leaders know full well a genocide occurred, there is no reason Turkey would not just admit the genocide if it were not intent on maintaining denial. As Roger Smith, the former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and current chair of the Academic Board of Directors of the Zoryan Institute, states in his Sept. 30 letter to Armenian President Sarkisian, Turkey would even be bound by its own laws to reject a finding of genocide by this historical commission. Of course, it is unlikely that the commission’s membership will be constituted in such a way as to allow that result to emerge–we are sure to see Turkey insist on deniers as members of the commission. In this way, the denial campaign that has faltered and been widely discredited will be relegitimized within the process that has resulted from the denial’s failure in the first place. The irony is thick here.

For Armenians to acquiesce in this is not merely to betray the memories of those who died and those who survived. It is not merely to accept one of the great grand larcenies of history and the debilitating poverty that has resulted. It is to accept the permanence of the destruction of Armenian political, social, cultural, and economic life, rather than receive the rehabilitative rectification that world ethical and legal principles unequivocally recognize as the victims’ desperate need and right.

Davidian and others argue that Armenia and Armenians have no choice and should try to get what they can in the face of this inevitable destruction. But, if, as many in Armenia and outside have argued, Armenia’s survival depends on some rectification of the genocide that continues to impact it materially, geopolitically, etc., then acquiescing is dangerous self-delusion. It is yet another instance of Armenians in a desperate situation giving up and embracing a thoughtless, irrational faith that those who have done them great harm in the past and present will somehow suddenly change utterly and things will work out. It is the mentality of the beaten, the destroyed, the resigned. It is the mentality that Armenian Genocide survivors rejected despite the horrific suffering they experienced. Can we do less now?

Davidian claims that the geopolitical realities of Armenia’s existence preclude it “from engaging in zero sum inanity, such as demanding an all-or-nothing state of affairs.” The idea is that realism should replace ethical principle as the basis of Armenian decision-making. But, given the history with Turkey, given its clear intentions and absolute lack of repentance for the Armenian Genocide to the point where it cannot even recognize the genocide in the interest of negotiating better relations with Armenia, it would be truly “inane” to enter into an agreement that depends on Turkey working with Armenia in good faith. It is not just that it is wrong to trade recognition of the Armenian Genocide for some short-term economic benefit (which might prove illusory anyway); the trade cannot work by its very nature. The fact that the perpetrator successor state remains committed to denial of the genocide and thus to the acceptability of genocide as a tool against Armenians makes it impossible for it to enter a productive relationship with Armenia and Armenians. So long as the Turkish state and society remain unrepentant for the genocide, Armenians have no choice but to require an all-or-nothing state of affairs regarding the Armenian Genocide. It is Turkish denial and approval of genocide that forces Armenians into this position.

Contrary to Davidian’s assertion, such an all-or-nothing ethics-based approach that rejects coercion by the pressure of “interests” and power is anything but irrational. We need look no further than Plato’s Republic and Gorgias to see advocacy of ethical principle over realpolitik by a thinker universally recognized as one of the most rational in human history. Of course, those who understand how social movements really work, how they succeed, will recognize this all-or-nothing strategy as quite practical, and not only because the squeaky wheel gets the oil or because pressing such demands pushes the compromise point of the negotiation further toward the goals of that squeaky wheel. It wasn’t those who accepted segregation because it was backed by tremendous political, cultural, social, and military power whose view of race relations changed the United States; it was Malcolm X’s and Martin Luther King’s all-or-nothing challenges. India was not freed from the British because Gandhi compromised with the British, but because he asserted an all-or-nothing requirement for independence and dignity. What is striking about these examples—and many others from history–is that these all-or-nothing demands came from positions of great material, political, and military weakness and yet still succeeded because of the moral strength of the position of the “weak” vis-a-vis the “strong.” Moral legitimacy is a great force in geopolitics and is the reliable ally of the weak, oppressed, and marginalized. It is the force that those committed to power politics, realpolitik, fear so desperately that they incessantly mock it as if whistling in the dark, ridiculing those who believe in it in the hope that they will stop believing and thus be tricked into giving up the most powerful tool of change. It is Armenia’s one advantage today, and the present leadership, through unhistorical, naive “realpolitical” calculations of the web of power and interests around them, are about to squander it.

Henry Theriault is a Professor of Philosophy at Worcester State College.

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Henry Theriault

Henry C. Theriault earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1999 from the University of Massachusetts, with a specialization in social and political philosophy. He is currently a professor in and chair of the Philosophy Department at Worcester State College, where he has taught since 1998. Since 2007, he has served as coeditor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Genocide Studies and Prevention. His research focuses on philosophical approaches to genocide issues, especially genocide denial, long-term justice, and the role of violence against women in genocide. He has lectured widely in the United States and internationally.

45 Comments

  1. Mr. Theriault, I cannot thank you enough, particularly for the last paragraph.  Indeed, as some of the attack dogs for the current administration and proponents of the protocols have demonstrated, ridicule is the number one tool used to discredit and inditimate the ironically more rational objectors to the adoption of such a position of capitulation.   I have failed, due to my temperament, lack of dedicated time, and my lack of expertise, to counteract this trend.   You are truly someone of immense value, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this analysis.   You have summed it up so well, sir.

  2. To Hagop:  I SECOND YOUR POST 100%…

    I myself want to thank you misterTheriault for your indepth, clear and most detailed analysis I have read so far.  For the average Joe, your article is easy enough to read and truly understand what goes on behind these so called protocols.. I read it and i got chills 1,000 times over because I see it in a better light.. even though I knew what was going on.. I needed someone with your expertise and writing capability to break it down for us..

    I hope that people such as yourself will stand next to Armenians to fight and bring light to what is the truth and what is just..

    Thank you again for taking the time and explaining your thoughts on this matter..

    Well written article.. Excellent analysis..

  3. Dr. Theriault,
    I commend you for your eloquence.  I hope that your words will enable those in positions of influence to act appropriately, as we have yet to see them do.
    Very Respectfully,
    Toros Asadourian

  4. To Professor Theriault:

    my hat goes off to you for showing that what’s taking place on the Turkish front makes neither practical nor theoretical sense.

    To those who don’t think “all-or-nothing” ever works:

    remember: (1) the battle for Zangezur 1919-1921, (2) demonstrations of 1965 in Yerevan, and (3) the war for Artsakh’s independence .  I am sure your type would have found something irrational/impossible in all three of these events. Who are you–or who is SS for that matter–to tell my grand grandfather (who fought alongside Garegin Njdeh in 1919 to see Zangezur reunited with Armenia), my father (who as a young demonstrator had to taste the power of soviet water cannons to see the Tsitsernakaberd memorial built), and me/my generation (who made the sacrifices necessary to see Artakh be independent) that this is where it’s going to stop? …that bending is the only way forward, and that we are all stupid enough to think that trade is a necessary condition for development in the 21st century? Guess what—what you are saying doesn’t make sense. It never did. So be prepared to retreat and re-write your story accordingly. Actions of a small number of desperate political opportunists in Yerevan have served us all a major wake up call. While we missed the call that sounded on March 1-2, 2008, this one would be very difficult to miss.  We shall see.

    To the rest of the readership of the AW:

    the damage is done for now . Let’s focus on the ways to clean up the mess.

    David Grigorian, Ph.D.
    http://www.pf-armenia.org

  5. What is striking about these examples—and many others from history–is that these all-or-nothing demands came from positions of great material, political, and military weakness and yet still succeeded because of the moral strength of the position of the “weak” vis-a-vis the “strong.” Moral legitimacy is a great force in geopolitics and is the reliable ally of the weak, oppressed, and marginalized.
     
    As the first Christian nation, we should at least uphold what it means to be Christian — the first priority is truth.  And we are talking about people who are victims of genocide because of their religion.  Included with the Armenian martyrs is also the cleansing and extermination of other Christian minorities of Greek and Assyrian ethnic extraction.  I know this insistence that truth matters must set certain people’s teeth on edge, those who have no tolerance for such talk.   But we’d do well to pay attention to it.  The examples of Gandhi and King are important; but even moreso, the success of the diaspora in creating such conditions for recognition is something one cannot throw away and be considered intelligent or perceptive.  I do not understand why the government of Armenia fails to recognize the importance of the diaspora’s gains and activism, except perhaps via corruption, arrogance or a combination of both.  I think it’s insane to trust wolves to behave as anything but wolves, even when they put on sheep’s clothing.  In the end I just wonder if this is only about pipelines and cash – at the expense of the memory of the millions killed.  But somewhere between realpolitic and moral truth there is a way to be “as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.”  And I do believe that would be the most powerful course.
     
    Hagop, don’t worry, your comments are important.  I hope we can all learn to speak to one another – honest opinions are important
     

  6. PS Perhaps I am being too harsh a critic of the Armenian government – I do think there must be tremendous outside pressure to make this deal.  But diasporan organization can help with that too

  7. Dear Professor Theriault,
    “Moral legitimacy is a great force in geopolitics and is the reliable ally of the weak, oppressed, and marginalized.”
    What a strong, eloquent, and convincing article! Being a non-Armenian, as far as I can judge from your surname, you spoke, I’m certain, from the hearts of the prevailing majority of Armenians world-wide. On the personal level, I’ve experienced it so often that bullying people ultimately come to respect your convictions if you know that truth is on your side. Armenia did not close the border with Turkey. Armenians did not refuse to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey without preconditions. Armenia did not impose an illegal blockade of Turkey. Finally, and most importantly, Armenians were victims not perpetrators of the genocide. Unfortunately, for moral legitimacy to be acknowledged as a great force in geopolitics, a ruler himself needs to be moral…
    I cannot thank you enough, Sir, for your most valuable contribution.
    Most earnestly,
    Paul Kadian
    London, UK

  8. It’s ludicrous for the professor to make an analogy with what happened in early 20th century Armenia with that of 1990s Yugoslavia, esp. the accusation that the Serbs committed genocide and ethnic cleansing.  If the professor knows his statistics he should have realized that it’s the Serb populations that have been ethnically cleansed from both Croatia and Kosovo.  And, if he needs a real comparison, what about the very real genocide against Serbs in WWII Yugoslavia?

    And, why didn’t he mention that there were almost as many Greeks victims as Armenians who perished?   How could he forget that  very important fact?

  9. 1) Protocols are not a product of negotiation between Armenia and Turkey alone, the three other parties catering to their own interests are US, Russia and EU. All-or-nothing approach in this context would have detrimental consequences for Armenia and Artsakh.  Each of these players separately and collectively could make the no very costly for Armenia.  This is not a place to discuss sensitivities and vulnerabilities of Armenia and Artsakh.
    2) Comparing the context of international negotiations with civil rights movements or battles — strangely nobody mentioned Avarair and Sardarapat to add pathos to the discussion — is both out of place and irresponsible.  Nor am I surprised to see the old aphorism in action – Armenians can win battles but lose everything in diplomacy.  Armenia’s enemies (Turkey and Azerbaijan) could be more than content, had Armenia chosen a no in this case, thus  inviting diplomatic, political, economic and even military pressure on Armenia and Artsakh from the troika.
    3) Finally, by way of advice why do not you preach these ethical principles to the American policy-makers.  Let United States set examples of ethics and moral legitimacy (whatever is meant by the term here) influencing geopolitics.  Armenia is much better off calculating risks and acting prudently out of self-interest as is the case with most, if not all, nation-states.  For me the sermon of all-or-nothing in international politics is amoral, especially when those advancing these approaches are not going to face the music of consequences.  You clearly would not be at the receiving end of “the nothing” if Armenia were to exercise their all or nothing approach in the international regional politics.

  10. And, of course, Davidian never suggested …
    “that Armenia would face military force for not signing the protocols in the way that Serbia faced bombing because it was participating in genocide makes no sense.”
    This is a figment of professor’s wild imagination. I already commented on this in the other forum – I read  Miloshevich in Davidian’s text as the epitome of the all-or-nothing approach in international politics in the recent years.  He took that stance on Bosnia and later signed a much worse deal in Dayton for Bosnian Serbs. Serbs of Kraina paid a dear price for that same all-or-nothing posturing of Slobo – sloboda ili smrt.  One must have a really brainwashed mind to believe that Yugoslavia was bombed by NATO because Serbs were “participating in genocide”.  As they unveiled a monument of president Clinton in Prishtina the other day, I could not but think that to be more accurate about their own reality the grateful Albanians needed at least the bust of Monica next to the bronze statue of the US President.  On a more serious note, follow US interests.  The second largest US airbase in Europe soon will be Bondsteel in Kosovo.  Of course, most Americans (not Albanians, btw) may still believe that US led NATO crucified Yugoslavia out of ethical principles to prevent “humanitarian catastrophe”.


  11. Davidian’s Response to Henry Theriault
     
    Professor Theriault’s response to my analytic piece advocates surrender to the illusion the Turks have won based on the his assumption that Armenians are incapable of defending themselves as the world changes. I reject claims that Armenians are losers. Many of us on the tenacious side of humanity remain undaunted and will continue to defend the Armenian nation, its interests, work for genocide recognition and will never end the fight for genocide reparations.
     
    In Theriault’s introductory paragraph, rather than refuting the 15 pages of hard analysis I offered explaining why the Protocols exist and moreover what they say, don’t say, and why, Theriault tells his readers that the Protocol text cannot stand on its own, because it cannot be properly analyzed as written and must be “interpreted” within a larger context. Who is going to be the interpreter? Since no time and space limits have been stated by Theriault, such contextual setting can include the entire history of mankind or even as early the origin of the universe, say 14 billion years ago. If this sounds hysterical, it is in a long line of hysterics starting with the illusion the articles of the Treaty of Kars are clearly spelled out in the Protocol and Armenia gave into a plethora of illusionary Turkish preconditions.
     
    Rather than encouraging Armenians to fight for recognition and genocide reparations, Theriault provides Armenians with the rational under which his readership can conclude that Armenians are in the “Final Stage of Genocide”. Such defeatism is totally uncalled for!
     
    Theriault provides a definition of rationality, “The question of rationality is simply the question of whether one provides reasoning (facts and logical connection of the facts to the position advocated) to support one’s position. Theriault clearly rejects the Protocols, yet provides no facts or logical connection to any consequences in such rejection and moreover his hope throughout his paper is that Armenians simply say “no, no, no” as an ethical alternative.
     
    The “crude analogy” (see my paper, paragraph 4) I made to primitive statesmanship exhibited by Serbia’s Milosevic by rejecting any form of reasonable dialog was turned into an unnecessary comparison of Armenian and Serbian societies, roles of victim and perpetrator, etc. My statement is quite clear and simple. Why Theriault needs to divert his audience down such a path is unclear.
     
    Theriault assumes Armenians have lost the ability to make their case against Turkey. In doing so he perpetuates the myth that Armenians will always lose when engaging Turks. There is no evidence for this and one might ask Professor Theriault, why he dares to squander our political capital.
     
    The Professor appears to be a proponent of the school of zero-sum negotiation, by making the case that Turks are non-repentant genocide deniers. This is non-sequitur. Many Turks are non-repentant genocide deniers. Many Turks are also Muslim. Many Turks also wear clothes. None of these reasons justify demanding all-or-nothing as an alternate policy to what exists.
     
    Theriault ends his response to my analysis not by having refuted the historical basis for my explanation of the Protocol, but by having us believe that “all-or-nothing- ethics-based approach that rejects coersion by the pressure of “interests” is anything but irrational.” I would ask him and his readers what happened to “Miayn zenkov ga Hayots prgutiun”?
     
    I demand that the Professor and all of his followers provide us a foreign policy alternative to what exists today based on an “all-or-nothing- ethics-based approach that rejects coersion by the pressure of “interests”. And then when you are done tell us how you are going to defend such moral legitimacy. If this cannot be done, then Theriault’s entire argument is irrational.
     
    David Davidian
    http://www.regionalkinetics.com

  12. To those that have some critism about this article:  I understand that no one is perfect and no one can truly understand and put themselves in the shoes of those  who is Armenian living in Armenia.  HOWEVER, because the overal consenses is that no matter what side of the spectrum you stand on, or what you believe is happening or can happen, the bottom line is we have individuals like Professor who agrees to voice their opinion and show that there are people who are willing to at least speak up…. (regardless if their theories, analysis or recommendations are a bit out of context or do not include every single detail that everyone would like to see)… Unfortunately, one voice can’t make a difference; however one voice plus another plus another and another… will create a roar… and I think having non-Armenians to join the fight and  start educating them  more about our politics, culture and nation will to some extent help us.

    Millions of non-Armenian living in the United States don’t even know what Armenian means let alone Genocide, Turkey and Armenia Protocols, ect.. So when I see a non-Armenian at least putting an effort and time to provide what he thinks is a great step toward the right direction.  That is why we commend the professor for it.. 

    I do agree that all for nothing for Armenia could lead to a more disasterous events than not and many will perish because of it as it  will mean a war… I agree that US need to set example of what is ethics and moral which it has not done so far and I am very upset about it; but the professor is stating his analysis and we need to respect that..

    G

  13. Thank you for perhaps the best article I’ve read on this issue.

    A few supporting thoughts (and response to Mr. Arthur Martirosyan.)

    First, a note about realpolitik: No social movement, as far as I know, has endured without having to resist serious pressure, either in the form of  physical violence,  economic strangling, or political threats. What we’re involved in is a social movement – or, it should be – and we should expect this kind of pressure from the U.S., Russia, Turkey, the OSCE, as well as, the government of Armenia.  Realpolitik respects neither truth nor justice, and therefore, perpetuates the very injustices it seeks to eliminate through “realistic and rational” measures.

    The comparisons to the civil rights movement and India’s resistance against British colonialism are not only appropriate, but crucial in our understanding of the Armenian-Turkish relationship and any prospect for change. In most successful nonviolent social movements, victory was achieved because of this “all or nothing” and relentless approach. Were there vicious consequences before eventual victory? Absolutely — one can recall the burning down of houses, killings, water hoses, dogs, and batons that became the very symbols of white racism and brutality in America. Despite these mammoth challenges, the movement succeeded party because of : (1) an absolutism on the part of the leadership in their demands, even at the cost of their lives; and (2) a serious ground swell and concerted mobilization, including nonviolent direct action, i.e. civil disobedience. Unfortunately, in the Armenian community, we lack both. I need not dwell on the Armenian government’s “leadership.” Suffice it to say that Sargisyan said something in Turkey to the effect of “I didn’t go the Diaspora to get their permission, but to tell them of my government’s decision.” The leaders that I’m referring to sit not in Parliament but operate in our civil society.

    The second point is a serious issue and deserves attention by our intellectuals, leaders, and concerned Armenians. In short, we lack discipline and theoretical grounding in our movement. Although there were multiple protests against the protocols, there is a gaping void in our communities about what it is that we want beyond the obvious recognition of the genocide. We’re united in what we’re against (genocide denial), but recognition by the American government as our only form of real, unified struggle is simply not enough. What’s more, the way we go about this “struggle” – which is hardly that in my opinion, as sending a webfax is the extent of most Armenians’ efforts  – is inadequately thought out, and has proven to be ineffective for long term healing. For years, we’ve been demanding that Turkey recognize the genocide by vilifying the very notion of “the Turk.” Although in private conversations, many of us distinguish between the Turkish people and their government, we rarely attempt to make that distinction public, thereby pushing away the invaluable support our cause may have received from segments of Turkish society (which personally, I know exist). Rather than create deeper and more painful rifts between Armenians and Turks, our approach needs to shift towards love and healing relationships. And this shift is not cosmetic, not merely about our tactics, but a deep transformation in our perceptions and attitudes. This means that we strengthen our cause and we struggle for recognition, while understanding that the enemy is not Turkish society, but denial itself. What’s more, we attract Turks to our collective struggle by reaching out to them. This is not as easy as it may read: 95 years of trauma have challenged our ability to accept deep transformation.

    Additionally, we must be prepared for the time that we do succeed. I’ll paraphrase one of Martin Luther King’s most relevant lessons to our case: When racism is defeated, we must not humiliate the white man, but extend our arms to embrace him when he falls. This is the only way a constructive relationship, free of resentment or vengeance, can be built. Similarly, denial will be defeated through our concerted effort (an effort, that as I’ve said needs a stronger theoretical foundation), and when we win, the Turk should not be humiliated or feel victimized. We bear a responsibility to embrace him/her. There is much that our communities can learn from the experience of so many oppressed groups around the world, and we also have the potential to become a shining light for many others. As Henry Theriault wrote, truth is our tool and MLK would add that “the arch of the universe is on the side of justice.” But let me quote a Jesuit priest who said, “you cannot beat someone over the head with the truth.” Rather, with the truth as our guiding light, intellectual openness in our minds, love in our hearts, serious societal dialogue, and grounded discipline we can overcome this injustice. For the skeptics who may put this or that descriptive label on this discussion, in an attempt to reject its validity, I should mention that a small group of us has experimented in Armenian nonviolent action, and our experiences have strongly buttressed the above written.

    A final note: the protocols are purported to begin the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. By opposing the former, however, we don’t necessarily have to oppose the latter. To the contrary, our work must be centered on building healthy relationships between Armenians and Turks – relationships based on love, truth, humility, and the pursuit of the good of both peoples. This bottom-up approach is capable of creating real change for the majority. Protocols, on the other hand, like so many other top-down policies, will create change for those already in positions of power and at the detriment of most of society.

    Thanks, again, for a great article.

    Peace and Love,
    Hasmig

  14. Mr. Theriault writes: “Denial has failed the Turkish state, and until April 2009 the pressure was mounting to deal with the legacy of the Armenian Genocide in a meaningful manner……..The protocols are the last-ditch response by the Turkish government to protect and solidify the gains of the genocide.”
    If Mr. Theriault means that Turkish state was on track to acknowledge the genocide at some point in time and the protocols will now negate the acknowledgment then I think he has know way of knowing that outcome. My own view is the protocols may impact timing but not the ultimate acceptance of reality-it will happen. But similar to Mr. Theriault my view is a plausible outcome  but not a certainty.
    If Mr. Theriault means that beyond acknowledging the genocide Turkey would cede Western Armenia or some portion of Western Armenia then he has moved from a plausible outcome to a low probability outcome. If the measure is the regaining of the lost territory then the protocols can’t make that outcome any less likely. Unless Turkey suffers dissolution from internal strife there is nothing that Armenia can do to compel the return of lost territory–there is no world forum that will compel Turkey to cede territory. Turkey’s role and importance as a bridge to the Muslim world and a regional power is only growing.
    An argument could be made that the smartest step Turkey could take is cede back to Armenia a large tract of land occupied by millions of Turks. This would then turn Armenia into a majority Turkish state thus making the pan-turkish desires a reality. One could chose to believe in the foreseeable future that Turkey would cede back the land and relocate millions of people and the diaspora will stream back to populate the territory. But, that really is a bridge too far.
    Armenia needs to first concentrate on making the current state a viable entity that can attract and retain population. It needs to grow beyond being a client state with extreme dependency on Russia, US-Europe, and the Diaspora. Fundamentally, Armenia realizes they need an outlet to the world through Turkey to move towards increased viability and less dependency.

  15. Dear Gayane,
    The Armenian nation cannot afford a blunder based on the all-or-nothing approach advanced by the philosophy professor of Worcester College. For me all comparisons to the civil rights movement are absolutely irrelevant in this context. we are talking here about international relations and politics, not social movements. The only relevance I can see is to the process of recognition in the US, but not in the relations between Armenia and Turkey, Armenia and US, EU, Russia. An Armenian soldier on the front line in Karabakh facing the far better equipped enemy cannot put in his sniper rifle the abstract preachings about “ethics driving geopolitics” or bemoaning the evil nature of Realpolitik (a term that I did not use, anyway).  And yes, Armenia does need loans and credits to sustain some of the vital areas of state functioning. I could go on and on but that is not really necessary – everybody should understand at least that level of arguments about Armenia’s vulnerabilities vis-a-vis the troika of Russia, US and EU, had we chosen the course recommended by the proponents of all-or-nothing. This is not to say that Armenia has chosen material gains over the truth. Nothing can be further from the truth.
    Neither Sargsyan nor the protocols are precluding you or anyone else to continue to stand up for the truth. The critics of the protocols are often saying that the very existence of a historical commission will allow opportunists in media and governments to use that as a pretext not to use the term genocide and even question it. However, those who need pretexts will always find those and most importantly what they choose to do cannot have bearing on where we stand. Unfortunately, for most American Armenians a formal recognition by the US is an end in itself as if things will change once the American president uses the g word.  We still will need to work hard every day to uphold the truth of the genocide whether it is recognized by ten more countries or fifty, until Turkey recognizes it.  If Obama tomorrow states that he cannot use genocide because there is a commission, it will be a lie.  The existence of a commission whose agenda or modalities have not yet been defined cannot change what he and others already know about the subject matter. Adding more details to the picture will not change its essence – it was a genocide.
     

  16. Why are people assuming that Prof. Theriault is not Armenian? We’re so fixated on the last name that we forget that Armenians sometimes — only sometimes — have non-Ian/yan names.

  17. Thank you all for great and in depth posts.. I truly appreciate and am very proud to know that we have intelligent Armenians who know how to have intelligent conversation and respect one another when doing so…

    I just wish I had the answer for this.. it seems like every corner we turn, we run into a dead end..  To me all for nothing approach seemed more feasbile (event though as I mentioned in my previous posts, I am very afraid of the outcome and have no idea how it will end up) than  the things we have done for years… morally, policitically, financially , which brought nothing but more frustrated and dissapointed Armenians.  I know I won’t forgive myself if I see another one of my countryman/countrywoman shed blood but what does it take to get our govt make things right and do things right…and US govt to do what they preach..

    I believe in people power.. however for some reason that does not work with our own govt…

    I suggest Katia, Hasmig, Arthur and everyone who believes in well being of our Country and People to go to Armenia, overtake the govt and start running the country the way it should be..  Seriously, we have more brain cells and intelligent approach and desire and dedication than half the govt bodies in Armenia..

    G

  18. I don’t understand why objection to the particular historical commission part of this protocol is always characterized as “all or nothing.”  Some of us are saying that this particular part should have been negotiated upon or objected to – especially given the potent protests of the diaspora and their continual lobbying of their elected officials.  I am not at all against open borders and diplomatic relations with Turkey.
     

  19. To David Grigorian, The Zangezur example is by far the most poignant.  We seem to think that we as a people no longer have the potential to be truly autonomous.  We are perhaps systematically denied the opportunity to have able leadership by the forces at work in order to deny accesso to our own self-confidence as a nation, which can eventually result in a more mutual respectful national psyche.  Nzhdeh was an extraordinary man who performed something remarkable in 1919-1921.   We have arrived to this destination of ovvereliance on a foreing power, in this case Russia, mostly as a self-fulfilling prophesy due to our own psychological precognitions of who we are as a nation.   The evocation of Garegin Nzhdeh is crucial, and I thank you for that.

  20. David Davidian,
    You are misrepresenting your critics and their objections. 
    Particularly offensive is the misreprepresentation of what exactly was said about the Kars Treaty by vomn Shant Hariyunian, who, by and by, was a commander from the Artsakh war.  Hariyunian’s thesis is that the conditions which can enable the two local powers, Russia and Turkey, to re-affirm the Kars Treaty is a strong possibility as he believes that the conditions will come about once the protocols are in effect.   Not once was it mentioned in the commentary that the text from either the Moscow or Kars treaties were in the protocols.  I happened to agree that Turkish hegemony is a definite probability, and the Moscow Treaty in particular declares Armenia as a shared protectorate of Russia and Turkey.   If Russia does come to an agreement of sharing power in the region, as it in fact did in 1920-1922, then the possibility that these agreements from 1920 and 1921 will be re-affirmed by these parties.  There is nothing “hysterical” or “irrational” about this.


  21. Hagop Nalbandyan wrote:
     
    “David Davidian,
    You are misrepresenting your critics and their objections.”

     
    No sir, I have not. Contrary to popular convenience, I have read Henry Theriault’s text as written. I am not the enemy — Artur Martirosyan is not the enemy – the Turkish socialization process is the enemy. I know Henry Theriault, and I am appalled that I have reduced to the being the enemy and made a public scapegoat. This is exactly what happened in 1996 when Hagop Nalbandian forced me to end my dismantling of Turkish revisionism on the internet.
     
    It is more important and apparently satisfying, to jump on my head than to discern and take on our real enemies. Below is the extent to which those who refuse to recognize the real enemy will go.
     
    Paul Henzi [1] wrote [2]: “Armenian history is not easy to study. It is long, complex, sometimes obscure and often controversial. There are rich records to draw upon, but texts and traditions have not been as meticulously and critically examined by independent scholars as those of many other old nations.”
     
    Henry Theriault [3] wrote: “The protocols exist within a complex historical, cultural, political, and geopolitical context dominated by genocide and its aftermath. It is impossible to interpret accurately the meaning of particular elements of the protocols without reference to that context.”
     
    How serendipitous for the Professor (and supporting readership) to use the same argument against me, as do supporters of Turkey against Armenians.
     
    Feel free to respond, Hagop Nalbandian, however I am ending my participation in these two commentary threads. Anyone needing to contact me can ask the editor of the Armenian Weekly for my personal email address.
     
    References:
     
    [1] Former CIA station chief in Turkey who became a National Security advisor to President Carter. After his retirement he became a terrorism expert and was one of a group of “experts” associated with Center for Strategic and International Studies, during the 1980s
     
    [2] International Terrorism and the Drug Connection, Ankara (Ankara – University Press), 1984. pp. 179-202.
     
    [3] https://armenianweekly.com/2009/10/11/theriault-the-final-stage-of-genocide-consolidation/
     
    David Davidian
    http://www.regionalkinetics.com

  22. Dear Janine,
    I understand that there are differences of opinion despite some efforts to show unanimity. Some are saying NO to the process because we are the weaker side and you do not bargain when you are weak. The fallacy of this approach is that negotiation is not always and only about the distributive give and take. But more importantly, over time we are not going to get stronger. In fact, isolating and blockading Armenia has been the major element of our enemies’ strategy to bring Armenia to its knees.  Those who agree that Armenia is weak (Nalbandyan and Dr. Grigoryan in this forum) have also been arguing after their teacher Friedman that Turkey is getting stronger. When asked what they are proposing to do, they produce deafening silence. On top of that in this context our NO, despite some sofa warriors, would leave Armenia and Artsakh in much worse conditions. The slogan of this camp is out there – Justice, not protocols. And that is all-or-nothing and that is what the author of this article from Worcester College is called to advance.
    The other group, like yourself, has been arguing for normalization but against this version of the protocols. If this is a genuine position, the proponents of this position should be able to spell out what kind of protocol would be better and even optimal. This kind of discussion would have some value for policy option generation. However, those who make this argument, in addition to spelling out the best option on the table, would need to make sure that it is indeed an option but not wishful thinking. The difference is very simple – the best option on the table has to better satisfy our interests than our alternatives (walkaway options) and the current deal, should meet the interests of other players and be acceptable for Turks. This requires hard work to put us ahead of the enemy in the thinking game.
    Could the government of Armenia negotiate a better deal at the table? What would it look like? Is it possible to improve the current deal and if yes how? This would have been much healthier discourse than what we have had so far and that is one of despair, emotional agitation and a blame game with zero sum “all-or-nothing” used internally to further divide the Armenian world and drive this process to a real disaster.
     
     

  23. Dear Gayane,
    Thank you for your kind words. I am a strong believer in everyone in his\her place. I would never join a corrupt government even if the offer were much better than my current job, a difficult proposition for the Armenian government in any event. But I’d contemplate working for a not corrupt Armenian government if my skills were warranted. I’d do that even if the offer were much worse than what I am doing now.
    This said, I still think that each and every one can make his contribution to the process, if what we have to offer is based on expertise, knowledge and track record of credentials. The problem is that almost every Armenian today claims expertise in international politics, negotiations, security, Russia, intelligence and so on.
    Far from being a proponent of the deal, I have my own reservations about the commission and concerns about gains and losses from liberalized trade. However, I cannot accept that anyone who is trying to make sense of the deal, explain it, analyze POLICY, can be shut down by the agitated majority, branded a traitor or worse. Those were the reactions to Davidian’s article. Moreover, I also believe that even in the worst crisis we should be led by thought rather than emotion, by our frontal cortex rather than limbic reptilian reactions.

  24. I request all to (re)read Arthur’s call-to-thought for all interested in a prosperous Armenia, posted on October 16th, 2009 at 12:32 pm.

  25. If Russia does come to an agreement of sharing power in the region, as it in fact did in 1920-1922, then the possibility that these agreements from 1920 and 1921 will be re-affirmed by these parties.  There is nothing “hysterical” or “irrational” about this.
    This is indeed hysterical and irrational.
    1) Bolshevist Russia did not share power with Turkey in the region in 1920s.  The short-lived honeymoon of the proponents of the permanent revolution with Kemalists (Trotsky) was over when the leader of Turkish Communists and other “comrades” were massacred on orders from Ataturk in 1921 and Stalinist version of socialist development won over Trotskyites (XII Congress of RKP (b) in April 1923).
    2)  The scenario of the Turkish-Russian power-sharing in the region cannot be ruled out. But if Russia were to go as far as power-sharing with Turkey, they would not need to revive any past treaties and agreements. However, this is a very low probability scenario since Russians are not likely to release their only security grip in the region. If anything, they are working toward expanding it, not sharing with a NATO member Turkey.  If Hariyunian is a historian, he should stick to history, if he is an expert on Russian security, we can talk with facts and data on hands. Nalbandyan, this is not an invitation to you or Boyadjian. You are not experts on Russia, you are second or third source users.
    Why “hysterical” is appropriate? Because real hysteria starts with discovery of  undesirable symptoms and stops there. It never goes to policy level, only heightens agitation and sets in gloom and doom.

  26. David Davidian,

    Please, I ask the moderators to let me set the record straight on Davidian’s commentary above.  

    In 1996 (apparently the fellow keeps a meticulous record and quasi-official grievances) I merely ended the self-declared dicatatorship assumed by David Davidian over Armenian Internet discourse.   David Davidian had a set of guidelines as to what can and what cannot be discussed, and he would attempt to enforce them with irrational outbursts and attacks.  He considered his position quite fragile, apparently, which is by the way quite the opposite of the confident statements in condemnation of Theriaults’ alleged defeatism above.  I never considered Davidian to be the enemy at any point in time.   Davidian chose to leave the scene – due to the lack of worship for this heroism on my behalf.  He was accustomed to that sort of heroic treatment, and was not accustomed to criticism.   He didn’t appreciate my thesis, that internal dialog, internal solutions must be the priority, and no one, including Davidian, has the right to curb dicussions on domestica affairs of Armenians.   “The garden at home must be tended to first” was not appreciate.  Davidian considered that to be “undue exposure of our own dirty laundry which the Turks will use against me (i.e. Davidian).”   My counter argument was that Turkish intelligence already knows enough about our internal divisions and irrationally beset party lines.  

    In addition, I do not ever see Martirosyan as the enemy, despite my comments out of frustration on occasion.   Martirosyan’s immeasurably valuable participation in the debates against Azeri propagandists in those hot years at the aftermath of the war are always in my memory, and I still use his arguments when the need arises to counteract Azeri propaganda. 

    My objection above is in reference specificially to the comment where Davidian falsely characterizes my cititation (under his article) on Shant Hariyunyan’s cautionary article concerning the protocols, the entire counterfiet “normalizataion” process – which is still easily seen as a colonization process.  Hariyunyan clearly states that the protocols can bring  about similar conditions where the relations in the caucasus are paralleled with the 1920-1922 period, and therefore can be used to re-affirm the Kars Treaty and the Moscow Treaty.   Shant Hariyunyan is not the enemy either.   He is a former distinguished commander during the 1992-1994 war.  

  27. I am fascinated that some Armenians in Armenia post quite a bit on American Armenian websites telling Armenian Americans to, in effect, stay out of Armenia’s affairs. 
    If we Armenian Americans are so irrelevant, just ignore us as ineffectual, distant, and irrelevant.  Or might  some Armenian Americans have something important to say and do?  Perhaps some in Armenia do not like that because they don’t like America? 
    Funny how Armenian Americans are depicted by some Hayastanstis as rich and comfortable.  They don’t know how Armenians struggled after the genocide and came here poverty stricken and worked their way up over many decades, preserving the culture (such as this paper). and trying to help Armenia in whatever way we could.  Remember the earthquake of 1988?
    No, I think that the grassroots in Armenian truly recognize the worth of working with the Diaspora instead of calling us nasty names.  It is a select few on websites  lately who express what can only be called resentment and jealousy.
    No other country of such small size, except Israel, has such a committed diaspora.  The diaspora is God’s way of telling Turkey that it won’t get away with what it did.

  28. Hi Arthur.  You wrote:
     
    The other group, like yourself, has been arguing for normalization but against this version of the protocols. If this is a genuine position, the proponents of this position should be able to spell out what kind of protocol would be better and even optimal. This kind of discussion would have some value for policy option generation. However, those who make this argument, in addition to spelling out the best option on the table, would need to make sure that it is indeed an option but not wishful thinking. The difference is very simple – the best option on the table has to better satisfy our interests than our alternatives (walkaway options) and the current deal, should meet the interests of other players and be acceptable for Turks. This requires hard work to put us ahead of the enemy in the thinking game.
     
    In all honesty, I think we can start from step number one in an answer to this question.  That is, very simply, to ask why the government of Armenia does not work hand in hand with the diaspora in its lobbying efforts.  It is perhaps a result of lack of democratic experience, I don’t know …  but it is easy to say that one has a constituency that will not allow it to agree to some things.  This is exactly what Turkey does ALL the time:  they threaten the US that their country will be destabilized if the US government recognizes the genocide.  So what is to stop the Armenian government from pointing to the very organized and strong lobbying of the diaspora and say that it cannot afford to “beat down” those who are so committed among its population and its supporters?  Armenia’s government is acting as if it gets absolutely nothing from the diaspora either politically or economically.  This is a foolish thing to do, to throw away that political organization.  It is easy to say no to a historical commission from that perspective.  And if “no” is not possible, how about a guarantee that its make-up will be of international scholars of a certain status or those who are recognized by the International Association of Genocide Scholars?   That’s just an example off the top of my head.  But most importantly, any politician can point to an active and potent and vocal and organized constituency and say that he or she cannot afford to alienate them or go too strongly against their wishes.  Again, Turkey does this all the time.
     
     

  29. PS  In Turkey, Sarkisian (sp) made the statement more or less that he only traveled to the Diaspora in order to dictate to it.  I mean, seriously.  Is that really necessary?  It just sounds like chest beating to a foreign potentate one has to please with one’s strongman ability.  I have no doubt that “strongmen” are the types certain governments (and I’m not excluding the more deluded among my own) feel comfortable dealing with.  Still, to stand up for some form of democracy is *possible.*

  30. Martirosyan, your exclusive invitation is inconsequential and meaningless.  Your decisions are nullified by the most natural right for free speech and free will, and I would advise you stop making a further mockery of yourself in that regard.   First, second, third, fourth, fifth, whatever (so far false) categorization of sources is irrelevant and equally meaningless.   All sources and available information bring to the fore questions and concerns that neither you or David have ably answered, David and his INCOMPLETE geopolitical analysis are about as useful as E. Nalbandyan is the “co-drafter of the protocols”.
    Apparently your so-called “privileged” sources also cannot rule out the possibility, which is more so probability, that there will be power sharing in the region.  It is in fact irrelevant if the honeymoon was shortlived or long-lived between Trotsky and Kemal.   The fact is that it was used by Kemal to secure red support when needed, and the Moscow Treaty was formed.  There is no guarantee, especially by an overdependent Armenian “nation-state” which is more so an oligarch business project than a state, that a “longer honeymoon” might not happen since indeed Russian power overall is waning in comparison to the rapid economic developments globally including within Turkey and fellow Turkic economies.   I don’t need goddamn “privileged sources” of whatever categorization to see what’s plainly evident.   The “oligarch corporation” which we pretend to be a nation-state at this juncture is a incompetent club of “beezneessmen” who merely now how to sell, and they have not a clue on how to mobilize Armenian power worldwide, nor do are they aware or care.  They are primitive apparatchiks whose concessions of late are condemned by every thinking Armenian.   The obvious component of a better solution would have been the proper mobilization of Armenians all over, but this is automatically dismissed by the traditional (usually Russophile) naysayers to potential Armenian strength.   Also, do not even make your usual primitive attempts to place the ball of prejudice in my court.   There is clear understanding of the distinction between Russophiles and Russhophones who are Armenian nationalists.
    Also, no one branded David a “traitor.”   I personally branded him as a “superb technician,” which is precisely what he is, a technician with the ability to put a puzzle together with mathematical formulas and grids, always assuming he has all the pieces in hand, which is as preposterous a position as can get.   For every line published in your “privileged sources,” and for every “official leak,” there is a million not disclosed.   Therefore, intuition of illiterates is more valuable, always, than the doltishness of the men of letter, of “technicians” who take things at face value and do not account for the actual interests and intentions thereof.
    I fully realize for my own reasons the opportunism behind the rabble-rousing by ARF, but at the same time I don’t blame the masses for joining this rally.  They look at things from the realistic viewpoint where the Turkish character has not changed, not one bit.   The constantly touted tolerant portion of Turkish society has always existed at the same level, and perhaps even at higher levels, in the past, and their input has been nullified by various forces who push to the front and give power to the fascists.   The usage of “Doom and gloom”  as a discrediting method is a standard propaganda instrument used by aggressors against sentinels.   I suggest you stop participating in that game.   There is no irrational doom and gloom.  There is realistic concern, and you systematically avoid all questions and concerns regarding this.   It took in fact many postings to finally draw from you the acknowledgment that Turkey is a hostile state.  Until then you were blaring the official Yerevan line, with of course one exception, probably becuase it would have made you look really bad: The inclusion of the historic commission.
    Go ahead, Martirosyan, keep on trying to silence me.
     
     
     

  31. Dear Paul,
    Are you referring to a specific comment in this forum or is that a preventive salvo, just in case? I made this clear in the other thread and I will repeat here – the Armenian nation includes two states and diaspora. For me anyone who claims Armenian identity through one or more attributes – language, culture, shared history is Armenian. Anyone who is trying to use these attributes or residence as dividing lines is unwillingly and\or unconsciously working to advance the agenda of our enemies. This said, I recognize that we are all different and the key national challenge is to manage these difference to produce unity especially in time of crisis. The protocols have resulted in a crisis. If we allow it to widen the gap, divided we will fall. In fact, our enemies keep a keen eye on this process. As a leading Azeri propagandist, Vugar Seidov, commented recently, there are no obvious gains for Turkey and Azerbaijan from these protocols, except one – “the Armenian world is divided beyond repair.”  I am sure we will prove him and other “well wishers” wrong. If they manage to divide us, rest assured our weaknesses will be immediately exploited in this process which is in its early stages, and not only in this one.  I know it is going to be hard but as the Chinese hieroglyph for the word crisis suggests it comes with loss and opportunity.  Given we are not Chinese, and yet we have no choice but to minimize losses if any and maximize opportunities to come out stronger than ever. Please do not take this as a message to gloss over the mistakes but rather to learn and move on. We can do it, as your president says.

  32. The Armenian world is not divided.  Ironically, even formerly anti-diasporan elements in Armenia are now on the same wavelength.   The three diasporan parties are on better terms than ever.  There is only one division that is apparent: That which is between the people and Sargsyan’s sorry administration as well as the oligarchs. 

  33. By the way — perhaps I should read David Davidian’s analysis better, but I hope someone can answer this question — just what *is* the language on this historical commission part of the protocol?
     
    Will it allow Armenia to object to non-biased historians?  Does it provide for some sort of academic status (such as membership in IAGS) qualifications for a participant?  Etc.  Is their room for negotiation on what it discusses?  For example, could the TARC conclusions from the study of the International Center for Transitional Justice  (such as I have read described here) be admissible?
     

  34. Janine,
    The protocols are available on the internet (and a very quick read). My first search produced them on the “stop the protocols” site. Their version has some highlighted words, but you can read it nonetheless. (In case the link doesn’t work, just go to their website and click on “The Protocols” tab at the very top of the page.
    http://stoptheprotocols.com/category/the-facts/
    To answer your questions: it does not indicate who will be invited to the commission, nor provides a list of qualifications. In its words: “implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations.”
    Hasmig

  35. Hagop jan,
    I am not going to ask you what data you have used for your conclusion. But even if the division bells are tolling the way you’ve described, that is significant in my book.  Unfortunately, that framing also includes diasporans who have supported Sargsyan. The only way to minimize the gap and leave only opposition to the regime on other grounds is to engage in  a rational discourse and prove to ourselves, to our enemies and to the entire world that the thinking game is a vantage Armenian quality. By this I only mean that first and foremost the language of “traitors”, “paid agents” from one side and “takanks” from the other has to be removed once and for all. Next on the agenda should be structured analysis and debate at the policy level. This requires leadership on both sides, patience and active listening to understand which does not mean agreement. I am less confident in the policy analysis and quality debate  – I have not seen any serious policy analysis attempts coming from Armenia and in diaspora I saw very few, including Davidian’s article and Sasounian’s recommendations.

  36. Indeed, this is the weakest component of the protocols  – vague and allowing ambivalent readings. The Armenian leadership tried to qualify the reading of this provision in the aftermath. Still, protocols would have been much less open to divisive interpretations had the language on terms of reference, timeline, modalities were included. There are still a number of ways to address this deficiency. For me the litmus test for the Armenian diplomacy will be in its ability to negotiate these points with Swiss and others’ mediation. A recourse policy needs to be designed now to deal with failure to reach an agreement on these issues and\or Turkish procrastination tactics. I have already mentioned that US, EU and Russia are likely to channel this component of the process to the TARC-like format. There are some early signs and evidence for that and that’s exactly what scares the Turkish opponents of the protocols.  To avoid future crisis we need a sufficient national consensus on that kind of outcome, the red lines, non-negotiables and above all the structure of a broad consultative process prior to decision-making.  Without these elements of internal track negotiations we are destined to repeat the same mistake of dealing with a fait accompli. My two cents.

  37. “Diasporans who have supported Sargsyan, diasporans who have supported Sargsyan…” Do you mean that “Beezneesman Club” we call the TARC and some sprinklings of “famous people” who had no **** idea what is happening except what the publicists and financial advisors say?  Oh, don’t let me forget what is spoken of in the Lodge, ah, my favorite place of all where “relativists” are bred like colonies of shapeless ameoba (Oh, “old Jove, there is no such things a nationalism, Jove”).  Does it not surprise me that the “Knights of Vartan” joined in the brainwash chorus (what an insult to Vartan’s name by a bunch of “secret club scouts” with their ridiculous “secret” ritualism and so on)?  What idea does Aznavour have on what the “normalization process” entails?   I don’t know, but his publicist probably has a great idea on how he can get more album sales, royalties, and production credits while tramping around in London and New York: “Hey, maybe even a “Nobel Peace Prize” nomination, Charles, cherie!  Think of the possibilities, cherie!”   

    I don’t quite know what sort of truncations of my comments will occurr, but I will refer (hopefully intact) posting about the massive brainwashing campaign of Armenians especially inside Armenia by the government controlled media and the academia.  I ask that question here as well: If the “road map to normalization” is such a well-thought and benevolent gesture by the host, Switzerland, and the “‘Trioka of brokers,” then why indeed is it part of the requirement to brainwash the Armenian populations with an Ashot Bleyan (a.k.a. Vermin-in-Chief) stamped “history” lesson where, and I quote, “We have no real grievances with Turks to speak of”?   This sentiment is systematically pushed, wave after wave, and got particularly revolting during Gul’s “football diplomacy” visit.  I wonder what hula girls and dancing chickens are being aired in Yerevan and aylur while Sargsyan was in Bursa in his latest brownnosing session?  

    Now god damned protocols, what do they say indeed: “Reconfirming their commitment, in their bilateral and international relations, to respect and ensure respect for the principles equality, sovereignty, non intervention in internal affairs of other states, territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers,”

    Considering the present revoluting state of affairs where our own government is busy brainwashing Armenians into letting their guard down against a known hostile, to me this above reads as such, “Don’t mind our business while we continue to brainwash our own Turkish populations to accept the fascistic axiom that it is fine to murder Armenians, but we will mind yours and keep on insisting that you are an aggressor unless you brainwash your own population that Turks and Armenians are equals in the blame of what occurred in 1915, that is was just war, and everything is now fine since we are now playing football and eating bakhlava together.”  

    “Internal state of affairs” means what?  The Turkish Republic has a well-developed nation-state “consolidation” mechaniam woerking fulltime, while the ARmenian Republic has a “nation-dissolving” mechanism, happily celebrating things such as “Azerbaijan day” in the Mkhitar Sepastatsi School durn by the aformentioned Vermin-in-Chief Bleyan, while the media shows “how wonderful Antalya is, how hospitable Turkish bartenders and massage parlors are, how Turks saved so many Armenian lives.”   “Turks save Armenians lives” reminds me of the merchant who marks up his inventory 5000% and then announces a “50% sale, Hurrah!”   This is essentially the “normalization deal” we are getting.

    With all due respect to the apparent (but not entirely believable) intention of “smoking peace pipes to avoid divisions,”  it is not enough to merely say that “Indeed, this [the “historic commision” clause – H] is the weakest component of the protocols  – vague and allowing ambivalent readings.”  What should be said is this: Our own government is acting treasonously by brainwashing its own populations into believing that the genocide was a deed of the Ottomans – a regime that is now gine, that Turks of today have nothing to do with it, that there is no animosity among Turks toward Armenians, that all is modern and goody good, that tolerance is on the rise because Pamuk can still write, that we have no real grievances anyhow since it was wartime, that there is no danger form the Turkish border, and so on, while agreeing to “historic commissions” which are specifically designed to exploit this imbalance where the Armenian government is dissolving nationalist resolve while the Turkish government is renewing the lease on fascism on many grounds.

     We do not read such things, however.   We don’t even want to touch on the part where our ignorant KGB apparatchiks pretending to be sovereigns are in fact acting like slaves to the “borkers” by committing sacrilege on every possible sacred ground. 

    Let’s deal with the “protocols” by themselves as well, from now on, after we have understood the sorry and revolting context within which they are being extorted onto Armenians.

  38. While we are on “borders and relations,” let’s talk about what the condition of Armenians is in Iran, a so-called “friendly” in which the incompetents in Yerevan have not been able to protect the rights of Armenians either.   It is fascinating to witness the equally revolting brainwash campaign directed at Armenians from Iran where Shah Abbas, for example, is almost, almost equated with this “wonderfully hospitable fellow who took us all down to Marriott Isfahan for a cup of morning tea, to whit.”   “Oh, Iran treats Armenians in an excellent manner,” but I was recently talking with recent immigrants from Iran.  Apparently the rights of Armenians is by code down to nearly Ottoman levels (or Safavid levels, same thing).   Are our “governors” able to “participate in the instititution of policy favorable to Armenians” inside what is a non-protocolized “friendly Iran?”  Please, gents, let’s look at this realistically. 

  39. What idea does Aznavour have on what the “normalization process” entails?
    Clearly, Hagop jan, Armenia’s Ambassador to Switzerland, the mediating country, knows much more about it than me and even you, the true, the real and the only Armenian patriot. The floor is all yours, continue ranting and venting. I know in your circles people like words like “geopolitical… strategic … multi-dimensional … ”  These words act like triggers – this is a very smart guy. But David did NOT write a “geopolitical analysis” so it could not be incomplete, it is analysis of policy, something that you are not capable of. Even if it were incomplete, he tried and what came out is far better intellectually than your endless venomous words.

  40. Bleyan does not work for the Armenian government. He did together with Aivazian for LTP’s government. Bleyan was turned into an “untouchable”, made one of the indicators of Armenia’s success in transitioning to democracy by US and EU. There are no easy solutions here for the government – any action they talk invites harsh criticism in Bolshevist methods, repressing freedom of speech, persecuting dissent…  Before anyone jumps into solutions, causes need to be analyzed (why is there a competition to get kids in that school?), but Nalbandyans are not about problem solving, since that may require action.  They are about talking and blaming left and right, without thinking.

  41. Let’s think, then.   Let’s assume that we, as Armenian collective, cannot also apply similar pressures and make, for example, the “untouchables,” quite touchable.   So tell me, how is Bleryan an “untouchable” when he is clearly a mongrel working for external interests?

  42. Thanks, Hasmig
     
    (note to monitors:  I seem to recall posting a reply to “Gagik” on another forum, but I can’t find it.  Was this deleted or is it just my memory that can’t recall where this was?)

  43. Aivazian was  an advisor who worked for a brief period and left the government, as did many.   There are those here in Los Angeles who were in the government and left on principle.   You keep on repeating this primitive association game with Aivazian, when he is the only one systematically countering the brainwashing campaign.  If you bother to check their publications on the website, you’ll see proposed solutions, long term solutions, not band-aid solutions when it’s already 100 feet from impact.
    The details of who finances these media outlets, “NGOs” and so on who work for public brainwashing campaign are partly available, and I only see them to be “untouchable” due to the government’s incompetence and its lack of competent personnel.   They have managed to chase away most competent specialists who, as I mentioned before, are either grinding away here or have passed away.
    The “policy” genius you are, let’s have you apply the same optimism on “influencing Turkish policy in the future because of normalization” to Iran, an already “normalized” and “non-protocolized” neighbor supposedly on good terms.    The only good outcome from the Iranian relationship I can think of is that at least the Iranian government wasn’t barbaric enough to destroy Armenian history and does work to preserve historical remnants.   Considering the fact that Turks have managed to destroy the lion’s share of everything Armenian already and are still in the process of maiming what’s left, (consult http://www.raa.am and Samvel Karapetyan personally on this, since you are “everywhere”), it is a bit late to hope for “archeological leniency” as policy.   We are talking now about human rights, and  Iran has managed to reduce rights of non-Muslims to nearly nothing.   Turkey does not officially recognize that it has minorities,  and let’s see if you and other “policy makers” can influence the repeal of article 301.   Of course, we know the answer to that.
    You also must have a background in law.   Lawyers use this petty tactic.   David’s “policy analysis” consisted of backing by an incomplete geopolitical analysis, and therefore his “policy analysis” was doomed to be incomplete and incorrect.
    “The Swiss ambassador knows best.”   Of course they know.  Who said we know better?   They know what they want, and that is why they are pushing for “normalization” in such an imbalanced manner against Armenians.  Are you to tell me that Switzerland and all its banker controllers are suddenly “human rights and Armenian friendly” because their parliament recognized the genocide?   Did their recognition reduce their trade and banking relations with Turks?   Is Switzerland an “autonomous country with no strings attached to NATO and the rest of the controllers.?”   Your not making good arguments, but you are insisting on the “benefits.”  I suspect you know something from the Russian end your not mentioning, as always, and that arrogance comes from Russophiles.   The little “hints” form Russian officials, who knows what they mean, but clearly no one is working on consolidating Armenian power.   No one see the possibility or need among the “policy makers.”

  44. Also, Bleyan might not work for the government, but his stamped version of history is what has made it to the government controlled media which we also watch here in Los Angeles as daily dose of cyanide.

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