S. Piligian: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

My son and I attended the event at ALMA on May 12 on your trips to Turkey (“Sanamyan and Mouradian Talk about Trips to Turkey,” Armenian Weekly, May 22, 2010). I wanted to applaud your efforts and thank you for the courage and conviction to participate in the events on April 24. I am fascinated by the recent changes within Turkish society and believe that it is in our interests to enable, encourage and, where appropriate, partner with their efforts.

As a journalist and scholar in the diaspora, you articulated some of the changing dynamics within our own community: the ability to get beyond our traditional stereotypes and participate in processes that will serve to benefit our people. This is less about reconciliation and more about being focused on the long term objective. I thought your response to the gentleman who felt the efforts were naive was quite appropriate: honest, truthful, and with conviction.

In my view, there have been two major game changers for the Armenian community in the last 20 years vis a vis our political issues. One is the emergence of republics of Armenia and Artsakh and the resulting geo-political impact. The other is the evolutionary change occurring within Turkish society. It has become a natural experience for us to support and attempt to influence the former. We are beginning to embrace the latter as we learn that what happens in Turkey will have a major impact on not only the genocide issue, but our other open items. It is only by staying focused and not being distracted by shallow stereotypes that we will reach our full political potential.

Your talk was very helpful to those dealing with this incredible transformation going on within the Armenian community. As Armenians in America, we were raised with this doubt of Turks, but as a result eliminated a working knowledge of this nation and people that have such a huge impact on the goals we cherish. How can we possibly expect to prevail without knowledge and experiences?

You raised some exciting questions that will assist in the development of our community. Listening to you was refreshing, enlightening, and should give us all hope. Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

Stepan Piligian

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