The Need for a Diasporan Agenda

Like Armenia and Artsakh, the Diaspora today bears the repercussions of the heavy losses and capitulation as a result of the policies pursued by the Armenian government. The ruling elite’s assertion that there is no public demand for their resignation is an obvious lie, because all the major forces on the Armenian political and national stage, including the Diaspora, have publicly and loudly expressed their views on the need for resignation of the ruling party, demonstrating that there exists not only a public but also a national demand for the current government’s resignation.

During the past three years, the Armenian government’s destructive policies have been discussed plenty and the negative consequences of such policies are more than obvious. Let us focus specifically on the policies pertaining to the Diaspora and the need for adjustments to the Diaspora agenda arising from it.

AUTHORITY AND STATEHOOD

In the period since Armenia’s declaration of re-independence, almost all Diaspora organizations have unanimously decided that regardless of their attitude toward Armenian authorities, they will always be ready to contribute to the strengthening of the Armenian statehood and, as such, have supported the authorities on issues of national importance. However, in light of recent events, it is more than apparent that the Diaspora’s attitude of “it doesn’t matter who is in power in Armenia, for the sake of the statehood we will cooperate with the government on issues of national importance” is no longer a fruitful path, since today’s government is considered a factor in destroying the foundations of the statehood. Therefore, even the slightest cooperation with such a government would not contribute to the strengthening of the statehood, but more importantly it would be interpreted as direct participation, along with the government, in destabilizing the foundations of the statehood.

No Diasporan organization can logically substantiate that any cooperation with a government that has left its homeland’s borders unprotected against Turkey and Azerbaijan, preaching empathy towards these hostile states and causing the annihilation of a whole generation, can contribute to strengthening the national state to any extent. On the contrary, not cooperating with such a government and opposing their destructive policy would be a direct contribution that the Diaspora can make to the salvation of the homeland.

ACCOUNTABILITY

In light of this logic, for years the Diaspora has obediently followed the whims of successive governments of Armenia and has willfully contributed to the betterment of the statehood in Armenia and Artsakh. Despite well-documented instances of various types of abuses (including political, financial, etc.), the Diaspora has always tolerated the Armenian government and its course of non-accountability.

There is no doubt that deprived of statehood for so long, Diasporan Armenians, driven by a strong sense of patriotism, have poured their financial, political, physical and professional abilities into the establishment and prosperity of the motherland.

The latest example has been the Diaspora’s unconditional support during the recent war, which was expressed largely with demonstrations, political work and monetary donations. In the most recent 30 year history of Armenia, no other government had enjoyed unanimous and unconditional support from the Diaspora like the current government in times of aggression against the homeland. However, time has proven more emphatically the complete absence of accountability of the current government pertaining to the Diaspora’s financial contribution when a large sum of the contributed monies was transferred to the government’s budget with no clear and transparent accountability, and when the results of years of enormous political work was reduced to zero.

It should be clear to the current and all future governments that even if the Diaspora has no direct influence in their formation, the Diaspora demands clear and honest transparency and accountability from them.

AND ALSO A SEAT AT THE TABLE

The prime minister who professed, “I have no right to speak on behalf of the people of Artsakh,” today has given himself the right to not only speak, but also to make decisions on behalf of the entire nation, and by doing so conceded all their historical and national rights. From its first day since coming to power, the ruling political force of the Republic of Armenia, without the slightest convincing justification, dissolved an entire Ministry of Diaspora and turned it into a one-man office as the only way to communicate with Armenians around the world. The intent here is not to idealize the work of the previous years’ Diaspora Ministry, nor to point out the shortcomings or inadequacies of the appointed commissioner, but to show the irresponsible steps that were taken with such an institutional change, which was clearly a step backwards, closing the door completely in the face of available opportunities for the Diaspora to be heard in matters relating to the homeland.

Instead of paving a path forward to garner the input, participation and ideas of the Diaspora, the government completely eliminated existing opportunities.

The past 30 years and especially recent events have no doubt proven, even for those who have difficulty understanding, that the consequences and impact of the policies and steps taken by the current authorities of the Republic of Armenia are not limited to the borders of Armenia.

Therefore, the importance of input from the Diaspora, like in the past, is even more evident today. The input of the Diaspora should never be conditioned on whether the Diaspora is unified or not or whether new organizational structures need to represent the will of the Diaspora. The importance of what the Diaspora has to say and its participation in the decision-making process must be emphasized first and foremost. The intent to control, divide and manage the Diaspora has to disappear from the political agenda of the governments in Armenia. That’s the only way to harness the capabilities of Diasporan Armenians for the betterment of the homeland and its institutions.

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Khajag Mgrdichian

Khajag Mgrdichian is a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Eastern Region Central Committee.
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