National Mission Continues: Retribution

By Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, 18 April 2015

On Sunday April 12, Pope Francis made an unequivocal declaration naming what he wanted to refer to, by its real name. Armenians suffered the first genocide of the 20th century he said, followed by similar crimes committed by the Nazis and Stalin.

The entire world media received an incredibly powerful wake-up shock by this most simple and sincere declaration of the Catholic Church Pontiff who, by now, has established an unprecedented record of being always at the side of the weak, the poor and anyone who is subject to injustice. He has shown that as a true leader of the followers of Christ’s teachings, for him, compromising truth and justice is not an option differently from many world leaders who so far still hesitate to call a spade a spade.

By Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, The Armenian Mirror-Spectator, 18 April 2015

On Sunday April 12, Pope Francis made an unequivocal declaration naming what he wanted to refer to, by its real name. Armenians suffered the first genocide of the 20th century he said, followed by similar crimes committed by the Nazis and Stalin.

The entire world media received an incredibly powerful wake-up shock by this most simple and sincere declaration of the Catholic Church Pontiff who, by now, has established an unprecedented record of being always at the side of the weak, the poor and anyone who is subject to injustice. He has shown that as a true leader of the followers of Christ’s teachings, for him, compromising truth and justice is not an option differently from many world leaders who so far still hesitate to call a spade a spade.

Most importantly for Armenians, at the very start of the numerous manifestations and events that will mark the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in the coming weeks and months, Pope Francis has broken the taboo and paved the way for all world leaders, such as President Obama and others, to join his lead and thus propel the movement for the universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide and help bury Turkish denials and historic distortions deeper and deeper.

However, most important for Armenians at this point, is to be one step ahead of these events, whatever specific shape the latter may take, in order to plan and organize themselves to take the next and more important step of standing up and putting their demands from Turkey on a legally valid and solid platform.

Indeed the Centennial celebrations will provide, to the enormous material and moral losses suffered by the Armenian Nation during the genocide of 1915, an unprecedented international exposure. We will have missed, however, the main issue that must be the ultimate objective that Armenians must seek at this point, which are our demands from Turkey for retributions.

No doubt, celebrations and markings will warm our hearts and will impress the world. However they will gradually fade away and we will be back at the same point next April 24th…

We need to get the Armenian world organized in the most agile and effective way in order to start talking business with Turkey on legal and financial grounds.

The Diaspora and the government of Armenia must work hand in hand, intelligently and efficiently in order to put all human resources together and get this action off the ground. Besides recovering innumerable properties that have immense moral and financial values, other retributions will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. This is an extremely serious challenge for us all.

I am not talking yet about demands for our lands. Frankly, the latter can only be taken — they are never given…Karabagh is the obvious example of that reality. Inevitably, I believe the time will come for that, too. However, we need to be realistic enough to take one big step of demanding all other retributions before issues related to lands are referred to.

In order to conclude, I like to make reference to one particular valuable activity that has taken shape in the last few years, aiming at establishing the foundations of an organization in the Diaspora to help materialize this vital next duty of Armenians for the pursuit of retributions from Turkey. I refer to the Congress of Western Armenians which has had its last general meeting in Paris few weeks back on March 28-29, 2015.

Unfortunately, not enough attention and collaboration has been given to this movement which is aiming exactly to do what I refer to in this article.  Rather than finding arguments to criticize the shortcomings of what is being done by this organization, the challenge is to find ways to build on it, join it or expand it and if need be, give it a totally new format in the Diaspora and in Armenia, in order to bring this action for demands of retributions from Turkey to a level such that resistance to it becomes eventually insurmountable for Turkey, the same way, we hope, its recognition of the Armenian Genocide will become inevitable very soon!

(Dr. Arshavir Gundjian is a resident of Montreal, Canada. He is active in the AGBU, Tekeyan and ADL.)

3 comments
  1. Dr. Gundjian is absolutely right

    I could not agree more.

    The real difficult task lies ahead, and how we as a nation will choose to behave.

    There is a huge amount of work that has been done already and Keghart.com has graciously thanked all who have worked so hard in the past century.  Every single person's contribution to the cause deserves recognition.  They are all heroes who have paved the way.

    But we need more action, we need serious organized and united work. NCWA has already started that journey for the benefit of our people.  Let us not behave like we have done countless times before as our own worst enemy by creating parallel bodies to do the same work, by diluting the efforts of others with a "not-made-here" reaction, by criticizing with the agenda of rejecting instead of an agenda of rolling up our sleeves and chipping in.  Instead, let us behave like we did at Sartarabad, like we did in Artsakh, like we did with the All Armenia Fund, like we are doing with the Centennial.

    The next step is  to stand up and be counted.  All the time, every day!

    If we do so, many will stand with us.  If we choose any other road, it will lead us to the dead ends of history.  Quite literally.

    Paregamoren
    Viken L. Attarian

     

  2. National mission for retribution continues

    I quite agree that a central united organisation should pursue the legal claims for both personal and national properties. However, it is regrettable that Dr. Gundjian is raising the white flag on our land claims.  It resembles to the same position that some Armenians believed regarding the independence of Armenia  quite a few years ago,

    A no less authority than Mr. Geoffrey Robertson, the eminent  British human rights lawyer in his book "An inconvenient genocide" mentions several times that Turkey should, as a first step return the Mount Ararat region to Armenia. No one can predict the future but as our generation carried the fight for recognition to this level, the following generations of Armenians should and will continue our quest for justice.

  3. Beware of demagogues

    The Armenian  cause is too serious to be left to the demagogues in the marketplace.

    Leave politics to Armenia and occupy yourselves with tasks you can carry on.
     

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