New Diaspora Organization Deserves Your Support

Artist: Karekin Dikran


Team Keghart Editorial, 2 January 2010

The announcement of the Protocols and their repercussions in the Armenian Diaspora triggered the impetus among Armenians living outside the motherland to re-evaluate their role and Armenia’s position regarding Hay Tad. It is now widely believed that the leadership in Armenia has abandoned Hay Tad and the struggle to pursue a just resolution of Armenian land claims and the recovery of personal and national property. In the ensuing national discourse it has become almost irrelevant whether the negative perception is accurate.               

Denigrating remarks towards the leadership of Armenia, and sometimes outlandish accusations, fill the more “radical”, ultra-nationalist, or maximalist websites. More sober individuals—those who disapprove of certain portions of the Protocols, such as the sections dealing with the infamous sub-commission and “International Treaties”, are trying to gauge who is capable of accomplishing what. The latter is engaged in defining the potential and limitations of the players on both sides of the divide– Armenia and its Diaspora.

There is renewed interest to revive past efforts to crystallize Diaspora as an international political factor, since Armenia– as a sovereign state within definite geographic confines– is bound by certain limitations and obligations. A multitude of NGOs, advocacy groups and the three traditional political parties have been engaged, for years, in activities to create such an impetus, but their efforts have had relative success– Genocide recognition in more than 20 countries, but without assertions of claims.

After decades of tribulations, one would have expected that the traditional Diaspora players would have come to a consensus with a concrete plan of action that had a common denominator. Unfortunately, that has not materialized for a variety of reasons which are beyond the scope of this editorial. A self-created vacuum has led some to consider a renewed, but not necessarily novel, effort to address the crucial issue.

As in many other instances in our history, intellectuals have taken the lead. In 2006 twenty-nine prominent scholars, historians, businessmen and political figures made a public appeal for the formation of an organization that would represent the descendents of the Genocide. Anoushavan Danielyan (former Prime Minister of Nagorno Karabagh, in personal capacity), Vahakn Dadrian, Hayk Demoyan, Jean Varoujan Gureghian, Silva Kaputikyan, Colonel Hayk Kotanjiyan (in personal capacity) , Karen Mikaelyan, Sos Sargsyan and Pertch Zeytuntsyan were amongst the signatories. All are descendents of Genocide survivors.

Although the case they presented to arrive at certain conclusions are sometimes questionable, by and large they depict an irrefutable reality. The document states that Armenia “is not authorized by the Western Armenian representative agencies to represent their rights and is not able to take over the mission of the solution of specific problems (bolded by Keghart) considering the destiny and future of Western Armenia and the descendants of the Western Armenians.” The signing of the Protocols made it abundantly clear that this is the case.

It is immaterial whether things could have been done differently, or that they may change in a distant future. Similarly, opposing or favoring certain positions will not make a dent to the overall picture. At present, it’s clear that there are serious limitations to what Armenia can and would do. Three successive administrations have grappled unsuccessfully with the challenge—a challenge that has become a national crisis.

Heeding the call of 2006, a temporary self-appointed “International Organizing Committee” has pursued the matter for the past three years. It has attracted young professionals, legal and financial experts to lay the ground for a representative organization in the Diaspora in the form of an elected National Assembly with its National Council and relevant committees. This new entity is proposed to be named Western Armenian National Congress (WAN-Congress). The Congress plans to hold a conference of representatives sometime before the end of the year. To’s knowledge, all the traditional parties have been informed, and representatives of the organizing committee have travelled to various communities to recruit adherents and delegates to the conference.

We are not so naïve as to think traditional organizations will welcome this process with open arms, despite of what they may proclaim in public. After all, the new kid on the block can be a potential competitor. Perhaps we are living in an age of different enlightenment: Individuals who sometimes espouse opposing views have become participants in the same forums, discussing common concerns, and even acting in concert on limited projects. We hope that enlightened trend is contagious and may even engulf our political parties. Is there a better common denominator—for all parties– than Hay Tad?

Skeptics will question not only the manner that the proposed Congress is shaping up but also the concept of establishing yet another organization. For the time being, the skeptics may be the majority because what they have seen so far is akin to poverty in the midst of abundance. Figuratively speaking, it’s the equivalent of social diabetes in Armenian reality.

Notwithstanding failed similar attempts, and considering the dismal alternatives, welcomes this initiative but with some reservations. These include interpretative and procedural matters that we will discuss in an upcoming editorial. Meanwhile, readers are invited to think seriously about this initiative and how they can contribute by constructive criticism, by participating in the project or by simply complimenting our intellectuals and experts who have devoted—over the past three years– their time, energy and money to this vital national cause.

  1. WAN-Congress

    Now that we are on the right track, we have to have a membership drive. All Armenians will become part of this. I am sure we will be able to register many from all around the world.

    As long as there are no political and relegious divisive agendas many will sign up,  I for one will join.

    Shayen Tuntoglu
    Toronto, Canada

  2. The ball is in the court of the traditional organizations


    It seems that a lot of groundwork has already been laid by the IOC of the WAN Congress.

    Is what is being presented the ideal? Of course not. 

    But any naysayers should have valid alternatives to propose.  Knowing the people invloved in this initiative, one cannot see but a sincere effort to do the right things, with a lot of room for improvement.

    The ball is in the court of the traditional organizations.  They have been kept abreast of what was going on. They need to select among their own ranks those forward thinkers who are change agents.

    They would be doing themselves a service by doing so.  After all, they need those change agents to give themselves a new and a real raison d’etre, which is nothing short of relevance in the every day lives of Armenians in the Diaspora.

    The future has never been more pregnant with so many opportunities.


    Viken L. Attarian
    Mount Royal, Quebec


    Ao participar de um "Fórum de Debates sobre os Protocolos ", realizado em São Paulo – Oportunidade, Brasil tive de expor meu pensamento a respeito do tema em foco. Vejo, agora,Graças ao seu excelente editorial, tese minha que coincidem precisamente com um ex neleposta! Empolgado, sem entusiasmo meu Conter, peço licenca para Reproduzir o texto então que elaborei:

    Por ELIAS Katudjian – Advogado em São Paulo

    No preâmbulo dos Protocolos, lemos que "consultas políticas internas dos dois Países Deverão ser concluídas dentro de seis semanas, após o que os dois Protocolos Deverão ser ASSINADOS e Submetidos aos respectivos Parlamentos um Fim de Serem ratificados pelas duas partes. "Tudo bem, essa é uma via regular do processo.
    No entanto, ocorre neste caso uma circunstância extraordinária, que não pode ser ignorada pelo Governo e pelo Parlamento da Arménia. Consiste na alta relevância da POSIÇÃO Que venha a assumir uma Diáspora Armênia em face dos protocoloOOL. Como parte integrante da Nação Arménia, ela também DEVE ser consultada para a aprovação, ou não, dos Protocolos, cujos objetivos dizem respeito a toda nacionalidade armênia. Impõe-se uma consulta à Diáspora, para declarar sua posição, em caráter político, de modo a produzir efeitos na decisão final que Irá ratificar, ou não, os Protocolos. Sob pena de carecer de legitimidade de fato uma decisão que venha a ser tomada pelo Parlamento Armênio que, indiscutivelmente, representa apenas parte de nossa Nação. No caso específico da Nação Armênia, uma representação de seus direitos e Interesses não pode se Restringir ao Parlamento e ao Estado Armênio, numa perspectiva estrita do conceito de Nação, compreensiva, apenas, de Territ E POVOOrio. A Nação Armênia não é só isso: é isso e mais um Diáspora.
    As políticas decisões, enquanto um Reduzidas consultas internas – deixando de atentar para uma Suma Importância da POSIÇÃO QUE A Diáspora venha a assumir, face aos termos dos Protocolos, que concernem à Nação Armênia, enTendida como uTodo m – Irão fulminar de nulidade insanável, se não de Direito, certamento No plano da Ética, sua pretendida e evntual Aprovação pelo Parlamento Armênio, seguida de Ratificação.
    Resta saber como proceder Para alcançar esse desiderato, a quem o Governo da Armênia Deverià endereçaruma consulta Política Externa, dezdo em vista que um Diáspora é uma Entidade abstrata. Para tal, defendemos a ideia de ser formado um Parlamento da Diáspora, algo como um "Congresso Armênio da Diáspora", integrado por membros das entidades importantes e partidos políticos existentes em vários Países, realmente representativos das Comunidades Armenias, para o fim exclusivo de apreciar Decidir e uma questão dos Procolos. E que seja dotado do Poder de vale para Emitir uma delaração,R Oficialmente, caracterizando resposta A UMA inescusável "consulta Política Externa", e não só interna, como previsto em seu preâmbulo.
    Reconhecemos uma ousadia de nossa tese, como uma miniatura ea grandes dificuldadeslexidade para sua implementação. Cremos, porém, que Valerá a pena Desenvolver incomum Esforço um, buscando apoio junto a todas entidades Armenias pelo mundo para, SE ACeita um ideia, passarImediatamente-se à formação e organização do "Congresso Armênio da Diáspora "e sua convovação para deliberar sobre os Protocolos, disto dando-se ciência ao Poder Executivo e ao Parlamento da Armenia, visando à Obtenção de Reconhecimento e Ratificação dos poderes outorgados aos representantres da Diáspora.
    É preciso considerar que estamos diante de uma situaçãoção crucial – que em como jamais ocorreu – correm perigo grave os Supremos, valores principalmente EspiriUAIS, da Causa Armênia. O momnto é de decisão, um to claim de todos nós não participação efetiva dos Protocolos processamento. "

    Desculpando-me por abusar de sua pela atenção, agradeço Oportunidade de congratular-me com os Irmãos Armenios que compartilham da mesma ideia.


  4.  To Keghart Editorial
    To Keghart Editorial Team

    Your assertion that " it is now widely believed that the leadership in Armenia has abandoned Hay Tad" is actually the viewpoint of the three traditional political parties, each separately claiming to be the pursuer of Hay Tad. You may not be naive to think that the traditional organizations will welcome the proposals of the Western Armenian national Congress, but who says that such an assembly will be different from the long list of organizations each claiming to be the real patriotic one, only exchanging accusations.

    For once, let us give the leaders of Armenia, government and opposition, the chance to work according to their evaluation of all the facts and data; internal social and political difficulties, geopolitical and military considerations, all kinds of pressures, etc, etc.

    Historically, representatives of western armenians met in February 1919 in Yerevan and proclaimed the union of the two Armenias, eastern (Caucasian) and western (Turkish). The declaration was officially announced on May 28, 1919 by PM A. Khadissian in the parliamentary session.

    " … equivalent to social diabetes in Armenian reality". What a funny and queer expression !!

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