By Dikran Abrahamian, BA, MD, Ontario, 24 September 2009
By Dikran Abrahamian, BA, MD, Ontario, 24 September 2009
My attitude towards the AGBU became complicated when Louise Simone Manoogian, the President of the Union (1991-2002) encouraged the emigration of Armenians from the Middle East to the United States. I thought it was a shortsighted view, to say the least. The closure of Melkonian in Cyprus was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Since that misguided decision, I have developed an aversion to the leadership of the AGBU.
At present, my dilemma is whether I am an AGBU member or not. I know many others who are also wondering about their status. I consider myself a member in spirit, and as such, I morally feel obliged to comment on the latest statement of the Congress of Canadian Armenians (CCA) regarding the Protocols. The Congress purports to be an umbrella organization of several associations or patriotic unions.
Being familiar with the views of the CCA leadership, I am not surprised by their support of the protocols. I do not share their stand; that is abundantly clear from the Keghart initiated Opposing Some Provisions in the Protocols petition. Yet, I strongly believe that every Armenian, Armenian association or party is entitled to have a say in this vital national dialogue, to define what course of action we should collectively take in the Diaspora and in Armenia.
Putting aside the analysis of what the CCA has to say about the protocols–their statement is published elsewhere in Keghart—I would like to address one particular aspect of their announcement so as to explain who the CCA might represent.
After the introductory remarks, the CCA statement goes on to say, “together with the Armenian General Benevolent Union , the Armenian Assembly of America [AAA] and many other respected organizations in the Diaspora, [it] supports normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey without preconditions.”
Superficially, the adjective “respected” used in this context appears to be an innocent qualifier. However, in politics words may have the exact opposite meaning when applied to adversaries. One gets the impression that those organizations which oppose the protocols are not necessarily “respected”. Is that the case? Am I stretching my interpretation? Are the organizations and individuals who do not approve the CCA position lacking in “respect”?
Secondly, which “other respected organizations” in Canada are we talking about?
There’s none to see in the body of the statement, although there is mention of “many of the large Canadian Armenian organizations" in the footer. I ask the question, because the CCA is a Canadian-Armenian entity and as such, it is expected to express the will of Canadian-Armenians, and not organizations south of the border.
One is left clueless, because the CCA statement does not mention any names other than the AGBU and the AAA. To my knowledge, none of the AGBU chapters in Canada is an affiliate of the CCA. On the contrary, the former chair of the Montreal chapter, along with many Canadian AGBU members, has endorsed the petition against some provisions of the protocol. Wouldn’t it be more truthful to make the distinction and identify the AGBU as that of the board in New York? By inserting the AGBU name one suspects that the CCA has resorted to confusing the AGBU members in Canada and has issued the statement without getting their consent. This is unbecoming to an organization that seeks “respect”.
That leads me to my next objection. Why is the CCA “importing” the AAA’s endorsement? Is it to impress Canadian-Armenians? The AAA does not speak for Canadian-Armenians.
On August 2, a news release on the CCA website stated, “Last week, the Armenian Assembly met with members of the Congress of Canadian Armenians (CCA) in Canada to discuss issues of mutual concern and cooperation.” It added, “The Armenian Assembly of America and the Congress of Canadian Armenians entered into a formal cooperation agreement in 2008.” … “In March of this year, the CCA sent a student delegation to Washington, DC to take part in the Assembly’s 2009 National Advocacy Conference & Banquet.”
It appears that relations between CCA and AAA have matured to such an extent that the two groups are indistinguishable from each other. Hence, the CCA statement could not have been any different from that of the AAA.
The AAA’s statement, both in form and in content is akin to statements issued by the United States administration. Adding “Armenian” in front of the statement does not make it so. Ultimately, one wonders whether the CCA is playing the role of the AAA’s Trojan horse in the Canadian-Armenian community, by espousing views concocted by the American administration.
Previous appearances in Keghart.com
Do Not Ratify! 1 September 2009
Thirty Years Later 29 August 2009
Sharing Some Thoughts About Recent Articles 28 July 2009
Yes, Taking Stock Mr. Oskanian And Mr. Ayvazyan 10 May 2009
A Word of Caution When Using Commercial Forms! 3 May 2009
Genocide Commemoration Day-Toronto-Video Clips from Hai Horizon TV
Remembrance Day in Memory of the Martyrs 26 April 2009
D. Abrahamian’s Speech at the United Remembrance Day in Toronto 26 April 2009
Is President Obama Detached From Reality? 10 April 2009
An Apology, a Thank You and Dialogues February 9, 2009
Is Erdogan’s Anger for Real? 2 February 2009
Belonging to a Community: Is a Political Affiliation or a Religious Stripe Necessary? 30 January 2009
A Letter to a Friend – Why the Silence and Inactivity? 10 November 2008
In Lieu of a Mission Statement – Reflections on the Occasion of the First Anniversary of Keghart.com 18 October 2008
Where is the beef? September 17 2008
Six Months and Counting 24 August 2008
Reactions of Armenian Communities in North America to the Presidential Election & March 1st Tragedy 20 June 2008
Jirayr Sefilyan And Bigotry 2 June 2008
An Accident, A Tragedy 20 April 2008
In Solidarity With Tibetans 28 March 2008
Reflections On The Recent Tragedy In Yerevan March 9, 2008
Looking ahead into the future and distancing from the past is unequivocally Obama’s path 2 February 2008
"Hopes in … dreams last much longer than fear instilled through murders." 19 January 2008
Reflections on Books, Centres & Philanthropy November 7, 2007
No, Mr. Wiesel, you don’t speak on my behalf! October 31, 2007
Will Justice be denied again? October 9, 2007
A Faux Pas revisited (Survey Results) October 8, 2007
Ontarians have to wait another decade October 6, 2007
A Faux Pas September 17, 2007
What’s Next? September 3, 2007
The Latest Victim of the Armenian Genocide & Democracy: Hrant Dink January 19, 2007