By Avedis Kevorkian, Philadelphia, PA
Those of us of a certain age were introduced, when young, to Mr. Æsop and his animal friends and are grateful not only for the enjoyment that the tales gave us and our childish imaginations but also for the aptness of some of the adventures and their applicability to events that continue to plague us.
No doubt you are mindful of the Armenians who were dancing in the streets when, a year ago, the Democratic Party won control of the U.S. Congress and the dancers were anticipating the passage of an Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution "at last."
We all know that the dancing has stopped, the Champagne bottles have not been opened, and the hope is--like that of the baseball fan whose team has lost in the World Series who announces, with tears in his eyes--"Wait'l nex' year."
However, what prompts this essay is something totally unexpected--to me, at least.
It would appear that HR106 wasn't all that important, and that, in reality, it wasn't necessary, "and who cares anyway?" because the "the world now knows about the Armenian Genocide as a result of all the publicity"--negative as was most of it. The fact that the world also knows how effective are the Turks in dictating to the American administration and Congress, seems to have escaped some people.
This change of attitude was when my introduction--all those years ago--to Mr. Æsop and his friends came to mind. More specifically, the Fox. You will recall that he tried to reach a bunch of grapes that were high enough on the vine to be just beyond his leaps. After tiring himself, the defeated and frustrated Fox left the vineyard, and he was heard to mutter, "I see that they are sour." Hence, the expression. . . but, never mind.
If I were the nasty type--which I am not; I am a lovable old codger--I would ask the question, "If the/a 'Genocide-Recognition Resolution' was not really needed, why did some Armenians prevail upon a Congressman to introduce such a measure and why was there a concerted drive among Armenians to get the measure passed, during which effort the Armenians, using megaphones, were point-scoring off each other to be the ones responsible for the perceived passage of the measure?" But, I won't ask that question, especially since it is a mouthful and people would nod off before I reached the end of the question.
If I received one message, I received a score asking me to contact my Congressman (I did, as asked, adding my two Senators as well, just for good measure, since there was also a companion, so to speak, S106) and ask him to be a co-sponsor as well as to vote for the measure. Should I, I now wonder, send a message to my three representatives in Congress to apologize for having bothered them about an "unnecessary" measure? That would be a three-pipe puzzle, were I Sherlock Holmes.
True, to give them credit, those who were proclaiming at the top of their lungs the need for the passage of HR106, have now fallen back on the next step in what they term the campaign to right the wrong of the Armenian Genocide. They now are campaigning for restitution to the Armenians of what was taken from their grandparents and the return of the land as well. More power to them in their efforts. I seem to recall another of Mr. Æsop's tales about the Mice who were plagued by a Cat and the brilliant decision to put a Bell around the Neck of the Cat to alert the Mice of his approach. Until, that is, one very old Mouse asked, "Who will put the Bell around the Neck of the Cat?"
But, we shouldn't mock the efforts of those who have appointed themselves as our advocates and spokesmen. It's a nasty job, but someone has to do it, I suppose.
But, here, let us take our leave of Mr. Æsop and commune with King James's committee, and note the wise words of the Psalmist: "Put not your trust in Princes, nor any child of man, for there is no help in them." For, just as the inept leadership of the Democratic Party doomed HR106 to probable death by delaying for nine months the vote in the House Committee--thus giving the Turks time to mount a magnificent campaign to virtually kill the measure--so, too, we can be sure, will be the fate of the new campaign if it relies on politicians.
Those who expect millions (billions?) of dollars in compensation for the death of loved ones, and the return of one-third (or even one-fourth) of present-day eastern Turkey ("because it is ours") are to be commended for dreaming the impossible dream or, to put it more poetically, as Browning did: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"
And, speaking of "heaven," perhaps we should let Shakespeare have the final word, and be as realistic as Cassius when he declared: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."