Astarjian: The Armenian Phoenix

Seldom in history have so many conglomerated opportunities mandated action in such a short time, on such a wide span of geography, to revive such a major cause related to nationhood, statehood, independence, and sovereignty.

The major question is whether we have leaders who have guts, vision, lucidity, and dedication, and are capable of handling the issues correctly, deliberately, and with unyielding conviction, for the road is long, tough, and studded with unexpected surprises.

In a geopolitical storm such as the one the region is going through right now, the dust that it generates makes it hard to recognize a matter objectively, let alone predict the future and plan for it. Hard, it could be, but impossible it could not; events, discoveries of facts, and history facilitate separation of fact from fiction.

Such is the case with the Armenian reality today, and through it all one can see the Phoenix rising against the rising sun. We are at the dawn of a major advancement thrown at us by destiny, yet we are oblivious to the facts and continue to pursue a two-step faulty national policy that involves:

a)   internationally incriminating Turkey for committing the Armenian Genocide, and then, after finishing the task,

b)   asking for reparations, which in some minds are monetary. Imagine, if you will, selling your millennia-old national property, Western Armenia, for $3 billion, as some reparations-pursuing people advocate.

This approach was wrong, is wrong, and shall continue to be wrong. It is based on the mercy and the goodwill of major countries that dominate the international arena, and whose interests are not served by alienating Turkey. Much to the delight of Turkey, the plan continues to suffer from inertia.

Other approaches are essential and deserve full consideration. It is imperative to shift from a defensive position to offensive action in the enemy territory. No, I don’t mean waging war against Turkey, but exploiting the internal vulnerabilities from which Turkey continues to suffer today. There are some 20 million Kurds, the disenchanted and disenfranchised in Turkey, and now some 100,000 Muslim Armenians in the body of the Hamshen, and close to a million Armenians who were forcibly converted to Islam to save their necks, and who are yearning to openly claim their ethnic identity and be recognized as such. There are many among these people look up to us, admire our victory in Karabagh, and look for our guidance.

The major question is whether we have leaders who have guts, vision, lucidity, and dedication, and are capable of handling the issues correctly, deliberately, and with unyielding conviction, for the road is long, tough, and studded with unexpected surprises.

Times have changed. So have people and their approach to solving their problems: There has been an awakening and increased political awareness among people who for so long suffered in the hands of corrupt governments and tyrant rulers. Ideologies and political orientations have metamorphosed to shed the mental serfdom that had controlled their thoughts, and therefore behavior, for more than a century.

The Arab Spring is a phenomenon worthy of serious consideration. It is just coming out of the Arab Winter, which was imposed upon them by the Ottoman Turks some 400 years ago. Their awakening started some 100 years ago through the Hashemite Revolution; their goal was to rid the Arab nation from the tyranny of the sultans and the hegemony of the Ottoman Turk. In this, they were revolutionary partners of the Armenians, who were also waging armed struggle against the Ottoman Caliphate. The ARF’s action to assassinate the Red Sultan Abdul Hamid was hailed by the Arabs and gave them a psychological boost. King Hussain Bin Ali of Hijaz acknowledged that and released a fatwa asking the Arabs to help the Armenian refugees who had escaped the genocide.

This revolution, which resulted in establishing today’s Arab states, lasted for only so long. It did not work for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was corruption and political oppression by their rulers. To bring about change, people had to evolve their thoughts and struggle to a point of maturation, which gave birth to the Arab Spring. True, the aftermath of the winter is still lingering and their road is still long, but reaching their destination is sure. Look at Egypt today, some six months after their revolution: People are back in Tahrir Square challenging their government to complete their goals!

It is the evolved psychology of the ordinary person that is motivating them; they had changed from Pharaonic serfdom to peasants of the monarchy era, to British and Ottoman colonies, to freedom-seeking masses demanding democracy.

The lessons of Arab Spring should not be overlooked!

Armenians must have a change of mind and change of heart to free ourselves from the passivity that has been injected into our veins by age-old antiquated and corrupt organizations. It is a scientific fact that prolonged grief leads to serious mental depression. They put us there, we stayed there, and we are still there! The nation is depressed and cannot see the rising Phoenix. We must discard, with our whole being, the conviction that we are victims. We were, but not anymore! Not after our glorious victory in Karabagh, not with our Hamshen in the Trabizon area, not with our Javakhk, not with our two million-strong community in Moscow, not with our Armenian-American and French-Armenian communities, not with our Javakhk brothers in Georgia, and not with the rest of the Diasporan Empire.

No, we cannot afford to continue the mentality of self-pity; we must recognize the Phoenix and be on the offensive.

Armenia must be the nidus of all things Armenian, which it is not now. If we do not change, we will continue the pathetic status quo, which exists now in Armenia.

We would continue the status quo if we continue neglecting the villager in Armenia, and leave him wanting for a piece of bread, and treating him at best with benign neglect.

We would continue the status quo if we hold rigged elections, continuing corruption at the highest levels.

We would continue the status quo if, through economic inaction, emigration to the tune of 65,000 Armenian citizens a year continue.

We would continue the status quo if we don’t take care of our valiant warriors who realized the Artsakh victory, some of whom have become food scavengers, while 10 percent of the population in Armenia lives in European-style luxury.

No, we cannot survive if the status quo persists.

It is irrelevant who is in government as long as these shamefully raging problems are rectified.

Present-day Armenia cannot live with handouts. Even with that, they are doing a poor job. The diaspora has lost its confidence in the government of Armenia. There is also a psychological disconnect between Armenia and the diaspora; we are disappointed and heartbroken, our relationship with Armenia has become disjointed. The honorable minister charged with diasporan affairs, Hranoush Hagopian, has failed to mobilize us in support of pan-Armenianness.

All this lies in one thing: leadership. The leaders of Armenia, the diaspora, and the political parties who are at the helm, must realize that these problems beg a solution. They must also realize that the sun is rising on the Armenian nation, albeit on a foggy day, showing the Armenian Phoenix on the horizon. The Phoenix must be recognized!


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.

Latest posts by Dr. Henry Astarjian (see all)


  1. The Armenian Vision and Mission is crystal clear!
    …United we will Conquer our Paradise by all means…
    And recreate The Garden of True God Aya/Haya.

  2. Henry: I am glad to see a Armenian with vision,not beating the old drum i.e.  GENOCIDE,GENOCIDE.     101.turks arent going to give a sou,they are takers not givers.The bakscheesh,a turkey m.o (modus operandi)heads are turned from the truth.Imagine the money could be used in their country; illiteracy raten 70%.Whats past is past,nobody cares.The future is what matters, get in politics,where you can develop a lot of clout.

  3. Turkey should think about contributing through reparations and through cultural, scientific and artistic achievements. There is no price tag on Western Armenia. I don’t care what you call the region. Whether you call Western Armenia, Occupied Armenia….etc.etc…Its all the same. Its merely a matter of equity and a fair balanced approach to solve this so-called “Ottoman” problem. I say what’s fair and what is naiveté. There are a lot of stupid and naive Armenians in Armenia. I know this because I met them here in America.

    • Wait are you calling Armenian’s stupid? If you are you have issues matter of fact I know many Armenian’s and they are really intelligent people, if I was you I would look into what kind of contributions they have done through out the world….I’m not saying this because I like Armenian’s but when they tell me I usually search about things and learn about really interesting people who have been plastic surgery pioneers to many science related creations.

  4. I am with you Dr. Astarjian. But leadership needs nurturing and the right environment. Neither diaspora and for sure not Armenia had that luxury…. but it will come. We need men and women like you. annie

  5. Well, Dr. Astarjian…  I remember your Armenian Weekly headline in the copy was handed me at the annual Labor Day Olympics… I believe it was in Washington DC – or maybe Philadelphia, PA – the headline was something about a bowel movement… 
    I enjoyed reading today your article of the Phoenix….
    For, over the years I have wondered at the ability of the Armenian survivors and too, their children and grandchildren (now great grand children) who have remained steadfast in their dedication to Hai Tahd.  I have not seen many other peoples who have suffered Genocide as committed and dedicated to seeking their justice from their Genocide perpetrators.  Armenians, now four generations, are more than ever committed to our issue of Hai Tahd. This, today, has been accomplished by the efforts over the years by the dedication of the Tashnagtztiun – ARFers, ANCAers. This dedication ongoing unending through these years of efforts have assured  our peoples today to recognize and to maintain our goals… There have been advances, there have been errors… but all these dedicated Armenians – upon whose backs we have arrived, together, who gave us the impetus to pursue our efforts into today. Our survivors, who in the diasporas had to start their lives anew despite memories of Turkish Genocide of our Christian Armenians – never forgotten, who made certain we too, remember…
    Too,  I remember at their meetings, many years ago,  one man owned a hardware store, another was a college graduate, and so on… all intelligent, brilliant and dedicated… even then, reaching for our goal – Hai Tahd.

  6. Dr. S… There are a lot of stupid peoples everywhere… What the Haiastansis have to accomplish first of all is to elect ONLY PATRIOTS to lead their nation.
    Too, Haiastansis, living in our the homeland of our people but they are only now joining with world affairs – so many different facets of the nations of the world… 
    Too, Haiastan, obviously, a fledgling nation and they shall have to recognize that as a ‘new’ nation Haiastansis are  VERY fortunate to have their bretheren –  diaporans – most of whom from the enlightened democracies of the world and have much to offer to our bretheren in our homeland.  
    There seems to be no difficulty with the homeland accepting any and all that we have offered to our compatriots… BUT, it seems to me that there is an animosity that is encouraged via the leaderships of Haiastan against the diasporan Armenians.  
    This is very sad. I liken this misdirection by all the leaderships of Haiastan as if they truly resent the diasporans.  Remember, diasporans are the children, grand children and the great grand children of the Suviviors who fled for their lives – never, ever, have they forgotten their brethern in their homeland, in Haiastan.
    Too, when these leaderships have encouraged the ‘distancing” of Haiastansis from all the diasporans Armenians – it is so foolish.  We diasporans are not the enemy of our Haiastan!!  Is it not enough that Haiastan has muslim neighbors who still abuse and
    continue distressing our Christian Armenian homeland?  
    Our Haiastan, is now 20 years, can truly learn from the diaporans who – away from our homeland – but with the greatest love and admiration for our tiny nation of today – willing to offer what we can.   We diasporans are not the enemy… as some of your leaders think.

  7. I am not  here  either to criticize  or praise fellow forum members.In spanish  it  is said “todos tenemos razon” ,means we all have  some reeasoning,which may be correct.
    Firstly, the notion  that  great Turkey will pay compensation -hard cas-  is tpotally wrong,like someone abovee  mentioned.We know  that   they RECEIVE.Some  taught  them to be so and even encouraged  them to be so..
    Thence  when culprit  has been internationally been condemed,say at  Int’l Cpourt  of Justic e  and other such and two main Anglo countries  also found officially guilty ,then we go FWD  Thus>/Thje Oil pipeline  that was unjustly overpassed Armenia  by the  Oil companmies  should admit  to that mistake and ask their respective countries, say  U.K. and U.S to PAY PART  OF THE TRANSIT DUTIES  -speculated at  1.6 billion dollars a year< TO agbu AND yEREVAN gOVT> to be paid to victims heirs…
    As to territorial claims, this also can be held  up  untill like the good doctor  writes the KURDISH  issue becomes  real ripe>>>WHEN tURKEY  CAN NO LONGER DENY THEIR EXISTANCE> then it  is time to put our differences aside  with the kurds and find out what  portion of  the 6 Vilayet  belongs  or will belong  to them what to us.
    Meanwhile  we  need to organize  our Diasporas around  a supreme Council.that  is  where my schme  may be  of interest to thosse  who believe  we should strive  for more.Rather  than stay in the petrified manner and adhere  to over 160 year old  Sahmanatrutyun drawn up in Constantinople-now  Istanbulla, by mainly our clergy and some Amiras under the YATAGHAN Threats.We have a Dynamic diaspora  now  that needs to be led by ELECTED  LEADERS  ,no not  only by political parties and the Bishops or Benefactors   the BBB’s  like ARA Baliozian describes  them  Bishops  , Benefactors  and Bosses  but  through  PCA’s.i.e.  Professional Colleagues  Association  members. These HUGE Collectivities  should be organzized we  have  5  of them on the scene  we  need  the other ten more  also to be organzied.For  both Human resources  and Economioc  POWER  resides within these good [people. 

  8. Dear Dr Astrajian: I REALLY ENJOYED READING YOUR ARTICLE- you literally could translate all the feelings and thoughts I have been having these years. Yes, we will streatch and fly as a Phoenix: Armenian Phoenix Phenomenon…

  9. If Turkey wants to join the EU,it should now own up to its past attrocities,pay tribute to those who have suffered as a result,and revise its current Humanitarian policies,no it insists that the whip is the answer,wake up the world is changing.The world or individuals will no longer be oppressed,just look at the new Arab Spring.

  10. Great inspirational article, Dr Astrajian.
    Are you planning an action plan to?
    As you listed there are many obstacles to surpass, some immediate and possible, others merely possible if the initial actions were successful. Let’s be frank and take on those which are possible now!

  11. Congratulations Henry on your well written article. We hope the Armenian diaspora will wake up and get involved with our long delayed reparations & land returns in Historic Armenia as well as the Javakh Region in Georgia & Nakhichevan under Azeri rule. Stalin did an injustice to our people under Soviet rule that also has to be discussed by the world powers as well as brought up in the United Nations. Keep up the good writups Henry.

  12. Compliments to you for such an astute article.

    Leadership starts with a diabolical objective that would inspire all.

    Perhaps it is time to craft such a National Vision.

    • Not diabolical, Godly. It was God’s grace that carried us through millenia not the devil.

  13. Rephrase – “Leadership starts with a reach objective that would inspire all”.

    The question is, is it time to craft such an Inter-National Vision for Armenia and Armenians all over the world, or just stay the course with hollow debates.

  14. Dear Dr. Astarjian,

    I read your inspirational essay and message with great interest. There was so much truth and vision. I am all for rising above victimhood, which characterizes the majority of us, and strive for positive, pro-active solutions. Bravo for opening the dialogue with great ideas!

  15. I am glad Henry Astarjian brought up whether our Armenians have the guts to bring up today’s important Armenian issues. The one that bothers me the most is why the Armenian Government & Diasporan Armenian’s have not pushed to recognize & incorporate the Independent Republic of Artsakh. These are part of our Historic Lands & 20 years have passed & our Armenian Government has been laxed in this long delayed delema. Our Diaspora Organizations should be working on this issue.

  16. Armenians, Christian Armenians, were warned in a dream, to flee the massacre to come. Many obeyed in the great diaspora and settled all over the world bringing their culture, food, music with them. Others stayed and were crucified, shot, raped, atrocities too many to mention. In the final analysis, it is a spiritual issue. Turkey and Azerbaijan will never relent. Thankfully, here in America, Armenians have flourished, keeping all they are in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, etc. and we are so glad they have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.