By Ara Nazarian
The statement provided by the Coakley campaign pledging her advocacy for issues of specific importance to the Armenian American community of the Commonwealth, such as affirmation of the Armenian Genocide by the United States Congress, maintenance of aid to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, and further strengthening of the relations between United States and Armenia is welcome despite its rather late arrival in the campaign season. The impact of the letter could have been much more palpable, given the absence of any input from the Scott Brown campaign regarding his stance on the issues mentioned above.
The Armenian American community is understandably hesitant about supporting a candidate after the inexcusable manner in which President Obama and his administration broke his long-standing campaign promise to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. A more forthright approach from early on in the campaign, as demonstrated by Representative Mike Capuano, would have gone a long way to show legitimate attention in part of Coakley’s campaign towards a large and influential potential constituency of hers.
Coakley should be given the proper credit for successfully defending the Commonwealth in the Griswold v. Driscoll case (the defense was initiated by Tom Reilly and continued on by Coakley), ensuring that the Armenian Genocide continues to be a part of the history curriculum in public schools throughout the Commonwealth.
One issue that has become front and center recently is Coakley’s acceptance of the Anti Defamation League’s (ADL) Woman of Valor Award in the fall of 2007 amidst the scandal surrounding the ADL’s policy not to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide and to campaign against its affirmation in the U.S. Congress on behalf of the Turkish government. This was a hot topic in town with multiple front-page articles in the Globe, the Herald, and countless local newspapers. It is unfathomable that Coakley and her team would be unaware of the scandal and would accept an award from an institution engaged in blatant genocide denial. Would she have accepted an award from an organization with a shaky stance on the realities of the Holocaust?
Coakley’s promise of advocacy on behalf of Armenian Americans will be significantly enhanced by an unequivocal and forthright statement addressing this unfortunate incident.
Ara Nazarian is co-chair of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Massachusetts.