A Geopolitical Trisome 21

By Henry D. Astarjian M.D., USA, 17 October 2010

A tripartite genetic-chromosomal derangement otherwise known as Down syndrome accurately describes the geopolitical entities at play in Armenian reality today. Armenia, Turkey, and Armenian Diaspora, separately, and in combination have occupied the political position of chromosome 21 in the geopolitical cell forming the trisome characterized by mental retardation, ineptitude, incompetence, political impotence, and behavior-character disorder.

This being the reality, neither party is capable of taking a decisive step to establish and propel relationships forward.

By Henry D. Astarjian M.D., USA, 17 October 2010

A tripartite genetic-chromosomal derangement otherwise known as Down syndrome accurately describes the geopolitical entities at play in Armenian reality today. Armenia, Turkey, and Armenian Diaspora, separately, and in combination have occupied the political position of chromosome 21 in the geopolitical cell forming the trisome characterized by mental retardation, ineptitude, incompetence, political impotence, and behavior-character disorder.

This being the reality, neither party is capable of taking a decisive step to establish and propel relationships forward.

Armenia is infested with oligarchs and a corrupt government. Thugs and thieves run the country sucking the blood of hapless people. So far, twenty years since Independence, the successive governments have not been able to create a middle class which construes the backbone of a viable society, therefore country. The poor have been so paralyzed by lack of opportunities that they have relinquished hope of destroying the chains that bind them and free themselves from the tyrants of their color. Some 100,000 of them have migrated to their beloved Turkey to wipe Turkish babies’ asses in exchange for a piece of bread. Busloads of girls go to Kars to brighten the nightlife of the cabarets in order to support their families. I saw the migrant workers praise Erdogan in a U-tube entry: “Arach Asdvadz verche Erdogan” (First God then Erdogan). Erdogan used them for propaganda.

Unlike Israel where the emigration is a trickle despite their war, some 40% of Armenians have expressed the wish to emigrate; more than a million already have. This is dangerous and damaging.

The Armenian villager, the foundation of the nation, which constitutes close to 40% of the population, is subjected to benign neglect. Land and means of modern agriculture have been denied them through indifference. They lack irrigation systems, machinery and scientific horticultural guidance. They are denied health care and opportunities for higher education. Their crop is allowed to come to the market only after paying extortion money. They are weak, they are angry, they are helpless, and their patience is running thin.

On the other hand, Yerevan and the other big cities flaunt wealth. There are the filthy rich who have reached there through deception, extortion, manipulation, corruption, camaraderie, and working with the international regional Mafia. They have exploited the average citizen who does not have equal opportunity to participate in the newly presumed Capitalism.

The government is impotent against the vagaries of the international power centers. They are incapable of telling those who dictate their will on Armenia, “Go to Hell!”.

They still function with serf mentality, not being able to exploit its extensive powerful Diaspora, millions of Kurdish allies, and close to a million Armenians who live in Turkey. They have not been able to exploit the international opposition to Turkish occupation of Cyprus. They have not been able to nullify the illegally coined 1921 treaty of Kars, they have not been able to revive the very viable Treaty of Sevres, and they have not been able to isolate Karabagh issue from the issues of Armeno-Turkish rapprochement. Additionally they have true psychological conflict regarding alliance with Russia, and cooperation with the United States.

For Armenia Diaspora has limited importance. There yet has to be a single Diasporan minister in Armenia’s cabinet. Native Armenians have welcomed only our NGOs and charity organization which bring money into the country.


The second chromosome occupying Trisome 21 position is Turkey. This country, with all its successive governments, has been, and still is obsessed with Hegemony. Turanism is not dead Kemalism is; his veering the ship of the nation towards secularism has failed. Underneath European clothing mandated by his “Shapqa Qanunu” (The Hat Law) lay a fiercely fanatic political Muslim; a leopard never changes spots. And now there is rise of Islam reminiscent of the Caliphate era of the Ottoman Empire.

The ruling AK party through its representatives, headed by Abdullah Gul, the President of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister, and Ahmet Davoutoglu the Foreign Minister have unequivocally claimed inheritance of their Ottoman ancestry, except for a huge criminal baggage that they carry in relation to the Armenian Genocide of 1915, the major pogroms of Armenians in Adana, the massacres of Assyrians, Nestorians, and the Greeks, burning the Christian population of Smyrna in the hands of Ataturk forces, the pogroms of Greeks of Istanbul in 1956, the hanging of Arab Nationalists of Aleppo in the hands of Jemal Pasha, nicknamed Al-Saffahh (The Executioner- Arabic), the atrocities against the Arabs of Iraq, Hijaz the Levant, Egypt, and Algeria, to name a few. They deny all that or at best rationalize their criminal conduct.

Erdogan and his government are frank in their convictions. Now they are the champions of the Arab world because they oppose Israel. Neither Israel, nor its powerful Washington surrogates can tolerate the new situation. Veering Turkey away from the Islamic world is a delusion.

Internally: Kurds of Turkish Kurdistan are up in arms, despite occasional maneuvering to the contrary. Successive Turkish governments have not been able to solve The Kurdish Issue, which could be brought to conclusion by acknowledging their ethnicity, treating them as such. Instead, now they have adopted a new policy inherent in the rules of colonialism; divide and conquer. They are trying to coalesce with 3 million strong Zaza Kurds, to fight their kin, ignoring the fact that in early 1930s Ataturk waged genocide against them in Dersim. That memory is fresh in the minds of all Kurds.

Turkey is divided into more than two factions. The Grey Wolves, wearing Ataturk shirt, claim to be secular and propel Turanism which stretches to the Steps of Central Asia. They are on Erdogan’s column. Then there is Milli Halk Partisi (MHP). These are Muslims except when it comes to drinking and participating in European style nightlife in the Hilton, and Swissotel of Istanbul, then, they are secularists and inheritors of Ataturk legacy.
They hate the AK party and its leaders. They have the Generals on their side. The Party’s perennial leader Deniz Baikal was recently put to shame in public for engaging in inappropriate liaison with his secretary. He saved his neck by resigning.

Baykal-like conduct is not new in Turkish political stage; in 1961 the military coup sent the then prime Minister of Turkey Adnaan Menderes to the gallows. For good measure the Generals defamed him by rumoring that they found a woman’s panties in his office safe. Now Izmir airport is named after him.

Only some two weeks ago MHP organized a Muslim Namaz (Prayers) in the abandoned Armenian Sourp Asdvadzadzin (Virgin Mary) desecrated church in Ani, just to claim deed for the stolen 10th century Armenian property. Cynics say, now that they prayed to God in a Christian church, they are now considered to be de facto converts to Christianity. MHP people would rather die.

Relationships between the deposed, retired, and still active Generals continue.

Kangaroo courts and restrictive laws still prevail in the country, which in and by itself is a huge subject to write about.

Turkey, in its dishonesty, is selling snake oil to our State Department. They had led our people into believing that they would facilitate flow of Azeri oil to the Mediterranean, convince Iran to halt its nuclear program, influence the Islamic world to be friendly with the U.S. and would bring the ex-Soviet republics, the Central Asian Islamic nations into the fold of Pax Americana.
All this, and its inability to implement the ill fated Armeno-Turkish Protocol prevent Turkey to take the first step forward.

The third chromosome of the Trisome is the Armenian Diaspora. This is a real anomaly with amazing paradoxical features which initiates and contributes to its survival and endurance, also to its demise as a nation. It spans the globe like an empire without an army and without strategy. At best it functions within the political and legal restrictions allocated to it by different governments in different countries. Exceptions are the United States, France and Britain, which treat us like their own, but put other obstacles in front of us, which block progress. To these countries oil is more valuable than blood.

There was no Diaspora before 1915. There were Armenians who had come to America pursuing a better life. They changed from Garabed to Garry, at Ellis Island, in order to be accepted by the WASP society. Almost a century later that identity conflict, and sometimes identity crisis, still persists all over the Arab countries, Africa, or America where they live. There is dual set of norms, and dual set of allegiances.

The Genocide of 1915 claiming the lives of 1.5 million Armenians, has done something else, it has transformed a nation of artisans, farmers, villagers into the most educated, sophisticated, and prosperous giant. It took Genocide to advance a nation from point A to point B. It is a shame, but it is true. One can only imagine what our people would have been like if we continued to live under the Ottoman Rule.

The Genocide recognition issue, and Turkey’s adamant denial of its criminal past has done something else, it has united Diaspora. I dare say that it is the only issue that unites us as a nation, which is a sad commentary on our national affairs.

In a brain storm and under the prevailing circumstances one wishes that the Genocide recognition remains on the front burner as a lumper, until we put our political house in order. As it stands now the Armenian political parties are inept in doing the nation’s work. Whatever they do would have to be within the framework drawn for us by the others. There is tremendous shortage of leadership.

Those who are on stage are busy doing municipal work, rather than political work in earnest. Those who point out the work we do in Congress as political, forget to realize that our work is delineated for us by the others.
As if a State, Diaspora is engaged in building schools, churches, clubs, old peoples’ homes and the rest, affirming that we are here to stay forever, and rendering the goal of return to our homeland a delusion. In this arena they are doing a very good job and contribute largely to affirm the Armenian identity and culture; however they would not be able to stop the White Genocide, or the Grey Genocide to which we are subjected every moment.

Unlike Jews who created Israel to escape global persecution, we do not have to do that, we are comfortable where we are, except in Turkey. There is a negligible number of Diasporans who would rather live in Armenia, but this does not happen because Armenia does not facilitate implementation of the idea, and Diasporans are resistant to renewed uprooting for en-mass immigration.

With this Trisome in operation we have to start repairing the deficits. We have to move away from chromosome 21 position, and we have to repair our teeth, in the first instance in conjunction with other needed repairs.

One thing however is crystal clear and does not need repair, and that is the conviction that when the chips are down, and Karabagh or Yerevan is in danger Diaspora with all its might, and with all its ARF Fedayees, and Monte Melkonians will be there to teach the enemy a lesson..


  1. Armenians and their Pain
    I totally agree with Dr. Henry D. Astarjian’s diagnosis of the present situation of Armenians in Armenia and in the Diaspora. The question is "Why our leaders in Armenia still retain the mentality of the defunct Soviet Union?" Any nation on Earth would have achieved some kind of progress in 20 years. What’s wrong? Why a corrupt government? Where is our Armenian PRIDE which helped us endure as a nation for millennia? Remember at the beginning of the 20th century when our writers, poets, commentators and national parties awoke us to relish our national freedom. It is about time!

  2. Brilliant Analysis

    This is a brilliant analysis of the situation of today! For the reasons, go back to October 27,1999 — Kocharyan-Aliyev Tandem. The bonds are still robust because of Mr. Ilham Aliyev and Mr. Sarksyan egoistically (read criminally) wise politics." They behave the way, that each of them kept unlimited political power in their countries. They are the plot for Azeri and Armenian peoples. Get rid of these two plus Mr. Kocharyan and Armenia, Karabakh, and Azerbaijan will flourish!
  3. Dr. Astarjian’s article

    The reality of a strong and vibrant armenian diaspora (schools , churches, community centres) is both a support mechanism for armenia , as Dr. Astarjian concludes his comments, however it is a primary factor for the large number of people (40%) who want to emigrate from armenia as they feel they can maintain their "armenianness" anywhere they go. 

    the current situation in most former soviet republics if not worse is similar to the situation in Armenia to day . Ukraine with its vast resources is a basket case. I do not want to mention the case of the central asian republics. Emigration  from these countries is lower for reasons I outlined earlier.

    I believe that our biggest challenge at this stage is the level of diasporan support to Armenia which is much lower than its potential, specially when we compare to the jews and Israel.

  4. I also agree with all these, but

    I also agree with all these, but why are we still in Diaspora? Why are we not in Armenia doing the things we put in writing? If ordinary Armenians in Armenia have started to protest, why can’t we join them and become a stronger group to protest – may be then we will be heard and action will be taken by Armenian Government. We keep saying they are corrupt (we know that) but surely there is a way to join our borthers & sisters to fight for real free Armenia.

    May be we are too comfortable as Diasporans and only financial aid & contributions have been our weapons and I doubt if any of us would leave the comfort zone of their home (no matter which country) and migrate to Armenia for good – just the way Jews have been pouring in to Jerusalem for so many years. I say, if Armenian Governemnt won’t have us we have to conquer our Homeland by force and struggle to reach our Ararat & hearts of our ordinary people – help them to create a middle class living and stand up together against oligarchs.

    God help us as we have become helpless.

  5. I congratulate Dr. Astarjian

    I congratulate Dr. Astarjian for this very interesting and unique analysis where he displays all the cards on the table ….   I second his last paragraph "One thing however  is crystal clear and does not need repair…" 

    No doubt diaspora with all its manpower will be there to teach the enemy a lesson.

  6. Revitalizing Armenia’s economy
    Although what I’ll write has no direct bearing on Astarjian’s article it touches upon a point raised, i.e.the economy of Armenia and how it can be revitalized.

    During a recent trip to Europe a compatriot from Moscow reminded me about Mergelian Institue in Soviet Armenia and its significance at the time. The institute handled cybernetics and its applications. A comparable entity would be Microsoft and its stature in the west. It employed hundreds of scientists, not including personnel of allied fields running a corporation as we understand it today. The services were geared towards Moscow and through it to all of the union.

    There were many factories which manufactured goods that again were exported to the other countries of the Union. Even a factory assembling parts for small trucks was in operation under the trade name YERAZ (Yerevanski avto zavod).

    The point that the above compatriot, a businessman and a leading MBA professor in Moscow, was making is that in the old days Armenia was acting as what Singapore is now to the west. Morevover, he was stressing that Armenia can regain its former position vis a vis Moscow provided relevant economic policy changes are introduced.

  7. Astarjian Should Stick to…

    Astarjian should stick to medical work and leave politics and geopolitics to others.

    The modern republic of Armenia is 19 years old. In about 20 somewhat years our little homeland in the Caucasus has come a long way. Long gone are the days when Armenia suffered severe energy shortages. Long gone are the days when Armenia suffered from food shortages. Long gone are the days when Armenia’s borders and Artsakh were under constant danger. Long gone are the days when Armenia’s factories were being torn down and sold to Iranians as scrap metal. Long gone are the days when Armenian politicians flirted with suicidal political policies. Long gone are the days when world powers neglected to pay Armenia any attention.
    Although the devastation brought upon by the sociopolitical chaos of the 1990s and its "oligarchic" legacy endures today, Armenia is nonetheless progressing. Although poverty and unemployment are still at unacceptable levels, Armenia continues to develop. Despite immense odds and difficulties both foreign and domestic, Armenia has managed not only to survive in the Caucasus but to become a major political player in that theater as well. For the first time in almost a thousand years major powers around the world are being forced to consider the Armenian factor in their political calculations.

    Rome was not built in a single day. All fledgling nations go through growing pain. Small nations, poor nations, nations landlocked in hostile geographic locations will naturally have longer and more problematic growing pains. Despite our best efforts to make politics/society in Armenia ideal, we have to also realize that Armenia will have to travel the same painful and difficult path every other developed nation has traveled throughout history. Therefore, our fledgling homeland in the Caucasus still has a long-long way to go.

    What Armenia desperately needs today is political evolution and not a Western- funded revolution. We have a beautiful republic today that is secure. We have a republic today that is stable. We have a republic today that is moving forward with the help of its sons and daughters and sometimes – despite its sons and daughters. Armenia is a nation with great potential. Armenians are a people endowed with great potential. Under the right leadership Armenia will be able to reach its potential. And it will happen. It’s only a matter of time.

    Today is a day when all Armenians should put aside their petty differences and rejoice in knowing that we have a free and independent homeland, an Armenian republic that continues to grow stronger year-after-year. We Armenians need to stop becoming unwitting tools for those who are seeking to undermine our fledgling republic by participating in the constant dissemination of poisonous propaganda. Instead, Armenians need to be responsible enough to figure out how to engage in healthy and constructive forms of political/social activism.
    Sadly but unsurprisingly, not all Armenians are rejoicing about Armenia today. For those who cannot read between the lines or comprehend the background panorama to these types of vile anti-Armenian propaganda, I’ll try to explain: Had Armenia’s corrupt businessmen and politicians been in bed with Washington (like the criminals that run Colombia, Mexico, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kosovo, Bosnia, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, to name only a few), they would have been treated with white gloves by Washingtonians. Had Armenia been forced to bend-over to Washington, Armenia’s oligarchs would have been portrayed as noble defenders of freedom and democracy. Had Armenia been forced to submit itself to Turkish and Western oil/gas interests in the region, Armenia’s oligarchs would have been the pretty darlings of Washington.

    Since Armenia is holding its head high in the Caucasus independent of Washington, since Armenia is gradually becoming a major regional player due to its strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, everything Armenia will do today will be frowned upon by Washington and its immoral followers. In final count, these are the shameless traitors that help keep Armenia politically stagnant and ever dependent. Ever since Dimitry Medvedev’s historic visit to Armenia and Armenia’s growing political, economic and military ties to Russian Federation, these vermin have been coming out of their holes and exposing themselves for who they really are. Who will decide Armenia’s destiny? Well, it is no longer a question. Thank God Armenia’s destiny has already been decided by Sargsyan/Kocharyan and Medvedev/Putin – and not by blood-thirsty tyrants from Washington.

    1. Complimentarity

      I was taken back by the unusually harsh sentiments you display towards Washington, in an otherwise uplifting commentary. State relations are not sentimentalized of course, non-the-less and for lack of a better word at the moment, I am not sure if the policy makers of ROA harbor such sentiments.

      It is common knowledge that the longstanding foreign policy of Armenia is complimentarity between East and West. It is very apparent, at least to me, that the policy makers of the ROA, both during the Kocharyan – (I do not like the –yan spelling) – and the current Sargsyan administrations, have amply succeeded in preserving Armenia’s alliance with Russia on multiple fronts while maintaining friendly relations with Washington and with the other capitals of Europe.

      1. Just Study
        Don’t be. Just study what Washington has done in places like Iran, most of Latin America, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgzstan, etc.

  8. LG, Dr. Astarjian, Vahe & Herosouhi from Aussiland

    We met Dr.Astarjian more than a dozen yrs ago at St.Vartan Church in N.J. He writes mainly based on what he reads. Thence dear Henry slow down a bit, please. LG is right in that respect.

    As to corruption I cannot contradict you, but then again just look around…please. As to Herosouhi, she is right, but should bear in mind that our own Diasporan house is in shambles. It can best be described as Arshagavan..

    We may wish to first attend to the latter, getting well re-organized and then not just criticize but prepare a plan, put in action a mechanism that would involve all of our human and material resources in action. For this we need COOPERATION, not unity. We need Miapanutyun, not Miutyun. We are, matter of fact as Dr. Astarjian concludes his article…ready to come to aid RA/Artsakh unanimously – though in a non-organized fashion. Hence the question is to form rank & file in Diaspora, get a well organized pool.

    Dear Vahe,

    Please explain then why William Saroyan wrote  his surname as this "y" letter that  is not palpable to you.

    1. ian and yan

      Sireli Gaytzag,

      Aha, the 64,000 dollar question, why do I prefer -ian to -yan? Good question, I do not think I have a definite answer. I have thoughts, assumptions and the like I will share. I am also curious to hear comments from the readers of Keghart. I am an avid reader, but I am not a linguist.

      First and foremost, it is just a preference, much like my preference of Western to Eastern Armenian.

      However, -ian is supposed to mean of or from. Najarian is a Persian last name too. According to my Farsi friend, it means someone dealing in carpentry, much like it would mean in Armenian. It seems –ian has Indo-European root. There are Farsi names that end in –ian. I have come across such names numerous times. However, I have yet to come across a Farsi name ending in –yan.

      I find –yan a Johnny come-lately to our language. It reminds of the intrusion of foreign words in our vocabulary after the Bolshevik take over. It, -yan, continues to remind of the Soviet era and the Soviet era books, in the not so quality paper, I used to devour in my early teens, one after the other. I do not see any compelling reason, grammatically and otherwise, that -yan should continue to hang much like a sword of Damocles over our language.

      As to Saroyan vs. Saroian, here again, I had not given much thought about it as it sounded and looked ok. That may be because three vowels, one right after the other, in this case o, i, a in the same word are an eyesore to me. Y is both a vowel and a consonant. Phonetically they sound the same, but visually, -yan is more pleasant, in this case.

      Gaytzag, are you related to the Nshan Palandjian after whom Djemaran in named? Vahe

      1. “Ian” and “yan” are the same.

        "Ian" and "yan" are the same. It’s the sound that matters. However, since the overwhelming majority of Armenians spell it "ian", it makes sense to adopt that spelling, unless–as you correctly said–it’s preceded by an vowel. A vowel before the "ian” makes it confusing, difficult to read. Thus we have Saroyan, Atom Egoyan.

        You are also correct to identify it as an Indo-European suffix, meaning coming from, famous for… just like CanadIAN, ItalIAN, ArabIAN, IranIAN, CalifornIAN, BostonIAN.

        By the way, Najarian is not an Iranian name. Najar is an Arabic word, meaning carpenter. It’s one of the countless Arabic words which Iranians had to adopt following the Arab conquest of Iran. And as mentioned above, IAN is Indo-European.

      2. To Vahe, re ian , yan

        Dear Vahe,

        Your very extensive explanation is herewith appreciated. Of course your Iranian  friend is correct. I also  know most  of us employ the ian ending. Though whether we like it or not in Armenia majority or near all surnames are written in yan mode and believe me it will take another century to change  that to ian. So unnecessary effort  that  would be. We have much more important issues as relates to the classic Armenian having been replaced by the soviet introduced one. That  my friend is much more important to be taken up by pertinent authorities the Academy of sciences of RA I dare say.

        Thanks for your attention and no, I am not related to Nishan palandjian of the Beirut Jemaran. But interestingly my uncle was also called Nishan Palandjian (Sebouh zoravar´s pharmacist soldier) who settled  in  Budapest.

        Best regards,


      3. Spelling of my family name
        Dear Vahe,

        My family name as you can see is spelled with "yan" for obvious reason that thre vowels don’t agree with each other.  But I spell my name in Armenian like everyone else (Western Armenian) with a "yetch" and not with a "he".  Like Mr. Palandjian said, we have more important issues to worry about than the spelling of our names.

Comments are closed.

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