Astarjian: Plastic Dog Races: Who gives a damn about Davutoglu being honored by the WWC?

Whether due to inexperience, naiveté, ineptitude, ignorance, or lack of intestinal fortitude, the leadership of the diaspora’s so-called political establishment has once again been sucked into a new quagmire. Whether they wanted it or not, they have been dragged into another dog race, chasing a plastic rabbit round and round, and expending people’s donated money, energy, and emotional capital.

The attention of those who claim to be the guardians of Armenian national interests and rights have once again been lured to fight battles of their choosing—battles that are trivial at best and designed to advance the agenda of the enemy rather than fortify our national agenda.

This time it’s the actions of Princeton University, where our hero President Woodrow Wilson once served as president.

The university upon which he presided has advanced to excellence, but for the scholars of the Middle East who deal with the ills and crimes of the Ottoman Empire, and their protégé the Ittihad ve Terraqi, it has changed in a negative way. Since providing a prestigious position to a Turkish agent, the dishonest professor of history Bernard Lewis, the university’s moral standing has depreciated in the eyes of serious scholars around the world and the Armenian Diaspora. The Woodrow Wilson Center (WWC) recently plunged to new lows by honoring Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with its public service award.

According to Donald Wilson Bush, the great grandson of President Wilson, it is Lee H. Hamilton, the executive director of the WWC, who has made this decision. It is inconceivable that Hamilton took this decision upon the urging of the White House without consulting Bernard Lewis.

Davutoglu is being honored!

So what?

Who gives a damn about Davutoglu being honored by the WWC?

Is this a situation that warrants mobilizing the diasporan political forces to wage a battle? How much does this weigh in the grand scheme of things that matter to the Armenian nation? How much can our leaders divide our forces to battle an insignificant side war? Isn’t that what Turkey wants? Aren’t we chasing a plastic rabbit? Isn’t this a dog race?

For decades our leadership pursued a simplistic policy of first forcing Turkey to accept its guilt in committing the genocide, followed by the pursuit of reparations. This approach has failed miserably and left us searching for a new strategy and tactics to reach our goals. All that we have achieved so far, after lobbying Congress and the White house, is tarnishing Turkey’s image. And what has that done? For the world, it is business as usual; countries, such as France, that have passed laws in our favor have continued to do business with Turkey. The latter is still a full member of NATO, and is now groomed by the U.S. to lead the Islamic world, with the hopes of controlling Iran. The Arab world, as reflected by the electronic and print media, has gone gaga about the resurrection of this Islamic phoenix. If Turkey is blackballed from entering the European Union, it would not be because of our blocking efforts, or that of Cyprus.

Now, our failed leadership has found another plastic rabbit to chase; they have discovered Woodrow Wilson, whose political solutions they had ignored for close to a century, and now they are revisiting his name to settle insignificant scores, like honoring a Turk with impeccable radical Islamist credentials. All of a sudden they have claimed Wilson as an exemplar of our honor. It is their new modus vivendi, and it is doomed to fail. Acting like Dalai Lama (no pun intended) will get us what Dalai Lama has achieved in pursuit of the Tibetan Tahd: nothing! Our leaders must leave behaving like municipal managers behind, and start flexing some real political muscle.

Now that the first strategy proved to be a flop, the correct strategy is to revive what Wilson stood for in the context of the Sevres Treaty and in the context of the map which he so laboriously produced, delineating our rights to Western Armenia. His map also delineated our borders vis-à-vis Turkey and Northern Kurdistan.

The Sevres Treaty was the fruit of the League of Nations’ efforts for a just, fair, and equitable solution to the inherently entitled demands of the Armenians, Kurds, and other minorities.

That treaty, which was ratified by Greece only, is very much alive and has withstood the test of time. It was not created and signed fraudulently under duress like the Treaty of Kars, in 1921, which Turkey still claims to be valid.

The Kurds are our natural allies in this, since their rights were also delineated by Sevres and by Woodrow Wilson. Cooperation and the forging of new political allies are imperative to implement the project. The time is now, since Turkey is in turmoil, and since the Middle East is in turmoil, and because redrawing national borders have happened during political earthquakes; we are going through one right now!

In his recent visit to Washington, Serge Sarkisian paid tribute to Wilson and his legacy by visiting his tomb. Was he giving us a new direction? Certainly it did not look like another sport of chasing a plastic rabbit.

Recommended reading by the author:
Where does the ARF go from here? By Michael Mensoian
Gaza, Israel, and We By Garen Yegparian

Dr. Henry Astarjian

Dr. Henry Astarjian

Dr. Henry Astarjian was born in Kirkuk, Iraq. In 1958, he graduated from the Royal College of Medicine and went on to serve as an army medical officer in Iraqi Kurdistan. He continued his medical education in Scotland and England. In 1966, he emigrated to the U.S. In 1992, he served as a New Hampshire delegate to the Republication National Convention in Houston, Texas. For three years Astarjian addressed the Kurdish Parliament in Exile in Brussels, defending Armenian rights to Western Armenia. For three consecutive years, he addressed the American Kurds in California and Maryland. He is the author of The Struggle for Kirkuk, published by Preager and Preager International Securities.
Dr. Henry Astarjian

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  1. Although it does not in any way detract from Dr. Astarjian’s argument, as a point of fact, Princeton University has no legal connection with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, which was founded by the Congress as a memorial to President Wilson and is located in Washington, D.C..

  2. The Wilson Center activism issue involves more than just awarding Davutoglu:  It involves launching a congressional investigation (misuse of taxpayer funding/ improper  or Turkish-affiliated corporate connections); pressing the Center to adhere to Wilson’s vision as specified in the Center’s mandate; applying Wilson’s ideals with regard to the Armenians; and the urgent need to establish a principled genocide program.

  3. Our efforts need to be exerted on all fronts. Process of recognition is not like chasing a plastic rabbit, it’s a necessary measure for the future. We can’t jump to the next step over the one that’s right in front of us. Diasporan leadership has done its utmost, but they’re not to blame. The issue of recognition has become a bargain in the hands of indecent politicians. Unfortunately, Armenian Genocide is still being used as a tool of influence and political control over Turkey. Circumstances need to arise that’d allow the U.S. government to unequivocally recognize what it knows had happened in 1915-1923. Until then, as I said, our efforts need to be made in all directions. A demand for a congressional investigation against Woodrow Wilson Center’s awarding Davutoglu is just one of many of them.

  4. With enough commitment by Armenians, Congress will look into the dirt going on at the Wilson Center,  Congress controls the pursestrings of the Wilson Center and the committees which do that have our friends on them – people like Cong. Pallone.

  5. ANCA has done the right thing by asking congress to look into this scandal. Well done.
    As for you please don’t loose your marbles as its not the right time.

  6. It is very naive to assume that this very innocent and irrelevant.  This is how bits and pieces at the time the truth gets discredited and lies become perceived as the facts.  Do you think Jews would give it a blind eye if they decided to honor Ahmadinejad?  I don’t, I think the fund’s president would resign immediately, sponsors would withdraw their support and Congress would cut their financing.

  7. I give a damn! about the Woodrow Wilson Award to a turk, of the same mentality as of the Ottomans, still to this day, proud of their Ottoman heritage… but best remembered for the slaughters, rapes, kidnapping, setting churches afire filled with women, children, elderly – asking – where is your Jesus now?  Tortured, killed, in the most heinous methods and too, our  survivors whose unforgettable memories we share… wanting us  to tell the world of the turkish mentality, the turkey’s need to ‘eliminate’ peoples, to gain these lands, these cultures and all else – to claim as though a turks. turks have no history;turks exist today only.
    I give a damn. 
    I’m an American, a citizen of the United States of America and to see our President Woodrow Wilson’s Award demeaned – actually an “in your face”
    insult not only to our president, but to every American who recognizes his
    aspirations for establishing the Armenian nation for a worthy people.
    It is for his aspirations for the Armenian nation that a “turkey lover group”  has decided to make this most obscene misuse of the Herbert Hoover Award – using President Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and his unblemished service to our nation – for a turkey?  Anything, anyone Armenian connected – turks destroy!
    President Hoover, I do give a damn, in your memory. 
    P.S. Come to think of it –  try and insult  turkish leaders, engineers of Genocides, who are honored heroes of turks – turkey will be shouting – as is their style…
    Their heroes – perpetuators of all the Genocides…. 19th,20th, 21st centuries… Greek, Syrians, Assyrians, Armenians-still 1890’s – 2010 AND now turkish fighter planes have attacked humans – the Kurds.  Brave turks.
    turks behave as if the turks are  due and owing – for what?  Genocides of nations!
    at which they excell!  Committing the crimes and ‘getting away with murder’…


  8. By the way, I heard that there are two Woodrow Wilson ‘programs’ – whatever else it may be named… is this true? 
    One  in Washington DC, and the other  is in Virginia… anyone know?  AND why??

  9. I agree with Astarjian and THANK the Weekly for providing these fora.
    Astarjian is thought-provoking..
    I also agree we need to be highly active on ALL fronts, as a reader commented.
    Nevertheless, I do NOT give a damn about some award.
    We need such passion for IMPLEMENTING the Treaty of Sevres– not for STOPPING plastic rabbits.

  10. I would like to only disagree with one detail, about Hamilton consulting with Dr. Lewis on this. I don’t think it is very likely, as Hamilton is clearly enemy of Israel, and Dr. Lewis its friend.

    All this is a part of new anti-Israel course of Washington, since 2007 Hamilton/Baker led Iraq Study Group report and the infamous forged NIE that let the mullahcracy off the hook with the nukes. Which was the real revolution in Washington, much preceding the Obama’s election.

    It is of course a disgrace on part of Israel to have supported Turkey’s genocide denial for so long; only one thing can be said in this regard is that they thought they had no choice but to do it, having their backs to the sea and all that. Still, it was a disgrace.

    Now the situation clears, and Israel is in a position to become Armenia’s friend. The only problem is, this new Israel is weak and isolated, and its prospects unclear.

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