Regrettable Retrogression

By Henry D. Astarjian MD, 4 June 2015

A gail force psychological energy is gusting through Armenian Nation these days, creating national and international havoc. Massive number of Armenians took to the streets, churches, cathedrals, Congress and Parliaments to commemorate the annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Turks from 1915-1923.

Armenian lobbyists and organizations had worked diligently and for a long time to sensitize governments and global powers to recognize the Genocide, a crime against humanity.

For a century, many governments, for their own reasons, had looked the other way, appeasing Turkey, by not calling the slaughter Genocide.

By Henry D. Astarjian MD, 4 June 2015

A gail force psychological energy is gusting through Armenian Nation these days, creating national and international havoc. Massive number of Armenians took to the streets, churches, cathedrals, Congress and Parliaments to commemorate the annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians slaughtered by the Turks from 1915-1923.

Armenian lobbyists and organizations had worked diligently and for a long time to sensitize governments and global powers to recognize the Genocide, a crime against humanity.

For a century, many governments, for their own reasons, had looked the other way, appeasing Turkey, by not calling the slaughter Genocide.

Now, through the persistent, and exhaustive efforts of Armenians, a number of important states in the West have called the massive, planned, and deliberate extermination of a race, Genocide.  They could have done that decades ago, but they didn’t. Other geopolitical conditions, similar to the present, were a factor in their indifference, but that is off the limits of this writing, at this time.

Preparations for this display of Armenian solidarity had taken a long time, occupying the imagination of the youth and the elderly, thus deviating the energies and actions from vital subjects detrimental to the very existence of the Armenian Cause.

In cities and countries around the world the massive demonstrations, protests and seminars, lectures, and panel discussions, speeches and rallies were executed flawlessly. All incriminatory fingers were pointed towards Turkey, the occupier of the Ottoman Caliphate mantel.

In some areas carnival, and in others pseudo-carnival atmosphere prevailed. Armenians of every faith, denomination, and political affiliation, inebriated with what is considered to be a victory over Turkey, celebrated the Genocide Centenary with variable feelings; some mourned their loved ones, some considered the commemorations revenge.

Two major noteworthy events glued me to my monitor: that of the Vatican celebrations, and that of the National Cathedral in Washington. I thought I was watching a Cecil B. DeMille movie. The majesty of Saint Peter Basilica provided the background to an imperial celebration of a mass led by the Pope who looked like the poor brother of gold-bedecked and decorated, royally attired Armenian Catholicosi, one of whom had a diamond-studded cross sewn onto his miter. The president of Armenia, the secular head of Armenia stood there, or sat at the sidelines in a well-cut suit. There was a brilliant Armenian choir, which showed the world the musical excellence of Armenians.

From the pulpit, the Catholicosi preached the concept of Christian brotherly love among Churches, additionally there was demand of return of the original seat of the Catholicosate of Sis, which was confiscated by the Turks and exiled to Antelias, outside Beirut.

This was the image of Armenians as a nation presented to the world: a community, which had survived a Genocide, grown big and prospered under the auspices of their host countries, and under the control of the Church hierarchy.
 
Nothing Secular.
 
This is a regrettable regression to the Medieval past of the Armenian nation.
 
The National Cathedral was the next major event. There the Church displayed the same scenario in the presence of, amongst other dignitaries, the vice-president of the United States, confirming the image of Armenians as Millet. Nothing Secular.
 
On Wednesday, May 13 His Holiness, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia met close to 100 community leaders and dignitaries to answer their questions.
 
According to a press release from Antelias, His Holiness discussed six issues:
 
1. The Genocide Centennial
2. The lawsuit filed with the Turkish Constitutional Court for return of the  Church property of Sis.
3. The dilemma of Armenians in war-torn Aleppo.
4. The situation in the Middle East.
5. The Armenia-Diaspora relations,
6. The mission of The Great House of Cilicia.
 
All but one, major secular issues were addressed by a head of the Armenian Church, rather than the secular, ordinary Armenians and the Armenian political parties.
 
This too is a regrettable regression to the Medieval past of the Nation, when we were considered to be a Millet administered by the Patriarchate of Istanbul, and the Catholicosate of Cilicia centered in Sis.
 
For decades we have yearned for, preached, struggled, and made major sacrifices to regain Western Armenia. We have constantly advocated a United Free, Sovereign Armenia. We have made the provisions of the Sevres Treaty, and Wilsonian Map our guide and the path to realize our goal. Yet, the Church reduces all that to a meager opening salvo of requesting return of Church property of Sis.
 
Once again, this is a regrettable regression to Medieval past of our nation. It is to this and the next generation of Armenians to shed this status off our backs and work for a real obligation to liberate our kin and the land of Western Armenia.
 

 

1 comment
  1. Church Leaders

    Someone should tell our Church leaders that they're our Church leaders–not our political leaders.

    Neither do they have the right nor are they qualified to represent us in the political arena. No one elected them to political position. Catholicos Aram's empty demands for Sis have egged Turkey to direct ISIS and other terrorist rabble to attack our Deir el-Zorr church and go after our defenseless Aleppo community. What have Catholicos Aram's demands achieved other than destruction and bloodshed? Spare us the amateurism and the vacuous rhetoric, please. 

    It's particularly galling to watch our Church leaders "represent" us, especially when they're not even good at being our spiritual leaders.

    Rather than assist the impoverished citizens of Armenia, who are being forced out of the country because of unemployment, our oligarch in black robes keeps building more ornate churches in a misguided campaign to compete with the Jehovah's Witness and other cults.                                                                                                       

     

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