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19 06 2008 - Ter-Petrossyan Supporters Sabotage Armenia's Progress; 2) What's Next for the Armenian Cause?

The Armenian Diaspora has always existed. But it never existed in such high numbers as it does today.
Around 70% of the world's 10 million Armenians are scattered around the world but not out of choice. Mostly survivors and descendants, they were uprooted from their ancestral homeland in Western Armenia during and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.

They settled in the hospitable countries of the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania. They successfully integrated themselves with their adopted countries.

Armenian-Americans adjusted quite well to their host country. They became proud and accomplished Americans. Yet they remained aware that they have unfinished "ancestral business" -- the resolution of the Armenian Case.

Succeeding generations of Amerkahayer from Boston to Los Angeles, mistakenly thought that their struggle would entail securing recognition of the Genocide by Turkey first, then move on to secure the return of the occupied territories.

Over the course of time, several Armenians, including this writer, got stuck in the mind-set that recognition by Turkey must come first in order for the Armenian Case to move forward.
Little did many of us know, that Turkey – for a long time to come – would refuse to transform itself into a civilized state like Germany. That unlike Germany, Turkey would never volunteer to make public its secretly-held recognition of its crime against the indigenous Armenians.

Now many realize that Turkey, in stark contrast to Germany that made amends to the Jews who suffered the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazi regime, will never volunteer to make amends to the Armenians.

So now Armenian-Americans are confronted with the task ahead that requires a higher level of strategic thinking and political will that is subsidized by a higher dosage of Herculean muscle power and resources and marathon spirit.

It is true that they have successfully struggled to avert the second and final phase of the Genocide: Losing the memory of the perished.

Over the course of several past decades, Armenian-American activists along with others worldwide accomplished a respectable level of international recognition of the Genocide. More than 20 nations have officially recognized it.

It's heartwarming that the newly re-established independent Armenian Republic under President Serge Sarkisian has not inched away from the policy of pursuing further international recognition. That's why Armenia expresses willingness to conduct dialogue with Turkey "without any conditions."

Diaspora Armenians, feeling blessed with the re-emergence of the independent Armenian state, albeit on a fraction of historic Armenian lands, continue to intensify their efforts in assisting Armenia. Although they have done much and continue to do so in record numbers to help Armenia consolidate her existence, much more needs to be done for the full blossoming of the current Armenian State.

Despite all these positive developments, most Armenian-Americans acknowledge that they still have "miles to go, promises to keep" to their martyred ancestors. Even though some of their promises are fulfilled, they feel that a lot more should be done.

They ask several poignant questions:

- How close are we to the just settlement of the Armenian Cause?

- Shall we stay the course for a recognition that has already been established?

- What's next?

- Shall we move on to the core issue of seeking justice without abandoning the policy of countering the denialists in Washington and elsewhere?

In my opinion, our collective answer to the last key question should be a resounding YES!
"The names of these infamous denialists should be etched in perpetuity on a special 'Wall of Shame,' so future generations will not forget their reprehensible behavior," recently wrote the Publisher of The California Courier Harut Sassounian.

Is the United States a potential candidate to that "Wall of Shame?"

Definitely not!

In a June 12 column (See page E7) Sassounian reported: "While President Bush and several of his predecessors have avoided characterizing the organized mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide, it has recently come to light that 57 years ago the United States government officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in a document submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court. This half a century old reference to the Armenian Genocide was discovered by Prof. William A. Schabas who posted it on the website, 'PhD Studies in Human Rights,' on June 4, 2008."

This document, filed by the Government of the United States with ICJ, is included in the May 28, 1951 ICJ Report titled "Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," added Sassounian.

He concluded: "On the basis of the official statement submitted by the Government of the United States to the World Court in 1951, combined with the two House resolutions adopted in 1975 and 1984, Pres. Reagan's 1981 Proclamation, and resolutions adopted by more than forty U.S. states and hundreds of U.S. cities, Armenians should now classify the United States among the more than 20 countries that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide."

As Sassounian noted in his book titled, "The Armenian Genocide: The World Speaks Out," and his subsequent articles, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, The United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, and Venezuela officially recognized the genocide.

While constantly countering the denial of the Armenian Genocide and making it prohibitive for those denialist politicians, Armenian-Americans should seriously consider using the International Court of Justice to achieve justice for their long-cherished cause.


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