The Armenian Weekly; March 15, 2008; Commentary and Analysis

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The Armenian Weekly; Volume 74, No. 10; March 15, 2008

Commentary and Analysis:

1. Greece, Which Cake Do You Want to Let Them Eat?
By Andy Turpin

2. Irritants VII
By Garen Yegparian

3. Letters to the Editor
The Armenians and the Republican Party


1. Greece, Which Cake Do You Want to Let Them Eat?
By Andy Turpin

I have nothing but respect for the Greek-American and diasporan lobby in the
U.S. and abroad. As general defenders of human rights, fair-play values,
charity and anti-genocide activism, the Greek lobby has proven itself as a
strong force for good in this world when properly motivated.

But "properly motivated" is the key phrase to keep in mind here.

True friends rely on and expect each other to tell them when they they’re
about to make a mistake or act rashly. So, Greece, this is an intervention
on my part. When it comes to protesting the recognition of the legitimacy of
both Kosovo and by proxy Macedonia as independent republics, you’re out of
line and somebody needs to tell you that.

Over the weekend, an ethnic Serbian majority of 170 of Kosovo’s 800 police
officers deserted their posts in protest of Kosovo’s Feb. 17 declaration of
independence. Many of the Serb protesters waved Greek flags in solidarity
with Greece’s and Spain’s decisions as major EU nations not to recognize
Kosovo in the UN or NATO.

These decisions on the part of Greece and Spain do not necessarily reflect a
genuine native populous dislike of Kosovars in these countries, but rather
represent a culture of separatist fear and hypocrisy in these governments
truly directed at Basque, Macedonian and Turkish Cypriot nationalism.

Spain, for the sake of this argument, should be left to its own affairs.
They have a blemished and pockmarked history of repression and fascism
involving ETA, Western Sahara, and the Civil War. Vaya con dios on that.

But Greece, you should be better than all of this! No one should be
condemning you for legitimate protests on various footings when it comes to
the issue of reunifying Cyprus.

Like a messy divorce, Cyprus is a convoluted issue with deep wounds on both
sides, and continuing with that metaphor I think the best role lobbies from
Armenia and Italy can play to mediate the conflict is to offer goodwill
support and give Greece a diplomatic "couch to crash on" in UN talks.

But in Kosovo, by expressing this form of macho Christian solidarity with
Serbs and Serbian paramilitaries (which world intelligence services know
have genuinely committed human rights violations against ethnic Albanians),
you’re sacrificing the long-earned trust gained by both Greek and Armenian
UN peacekeepers from all people in Kosovo to mediate ends to future strife.

And for what? Because you’re upset your prodigal son Macedonia refuses to go
by that stupid acronym FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) that
only your nation insists upon using?

You’ve stepped up to the plate and allowed Skopje the right to govern
itself. This hubris posturing is just bringing shame to your good name and
alienating your representatives in dinner party conversation, I assure you.

Take some time, Greece, and sleep on it. I think you’ll realize I’m right
and feel better about yourself and your foreign policies the next time we
see each other.
——————————————- ————————

2. Irritants VII
By Garen Yegparian

How are dairymen in Switzerland and Karabagh’s defense forces alike? They
both produce perforated products: cheese and the Baku-Jeehan (Ceyhan)
pipeline, respectively. That’s all the threat, made explicit, it’d take to
cause the bottom-feeding oil companies invested in Azerbaijan to turn up the
heat on that bothersome, bloviating and bovine of an un-elected "president"
Ilham Aliev.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, these gnats got squashed two decades ago.
They must want us to solve their overpopulation problem.

Then there’s the arms-purchasing spree, thanks to its oil revenue, that
Azerbaijan is engaged in. But what good are all those weapons if you’re too
chicken (in Artsakh in 1993, I was told the Turks (Azeris) were afraid to
fight at night!) and incompetent to use them? Unless, of course, the Turks,
of Turkey, that is, have been passing on all their American-received
training. And the whiners in Ankara have the temerity to allege that the
Kurds in Iraq have passed on American training to their PKK compatriots!

While we’re on the topic of Turkish irritants, here’s a new one. It’s a
fresh addition to a long-standing problem. Obviously, we shouldn’t be buying
Turkish goods, from tomato paste to towels. But what about movies made in

A friend brought this up, saying he really wanted to see "The Kite Runner,"
a story set in Afghanistan, but would not since it was filmed partially in
Turkey. One website I found (
confirms this, while another () belies
it. But it’s an interesting, and irritating twist, isn’t it? Now we have to
beware of movies we see, too!

>From films, there’s a logical leap to Los Angeles, home of "The Biz," where,
unfortunately, logic doesn’t apply.

The LA Metropolitan Transit Authority (that now wants to be known by the
catchier, flashier moniker "Metro") has introduced the TAP-transit access
pass. This is a credit card-like piece of plastic, magnetic strip and all,
that will hold your prepaid monthly or weekly "pass," ONLY.

You can’t just put a dollar amount on it, and the MTA did away with the
semi-monthly pass last July or so, probably in anticipation of the TAP
introduction. Brilliantly irritating! The way to induce a
mass-transit-phobic public to use MTA services is to reduce the options
people have.

While in LA, Los Armenios, it’s only apprpriate to talk about Armenians.
Why, oh why, would our compatriots of a century ago market madzoon as
yogurt? We introduce this stuff to North America, and proceed to give the
Turks linguistic credit for it. The irritation makes my skin crawl with
uncomprehending revulsion.

Now, let’s move on to several thousands of our compatriots in Armenia,
including its leaders, who are making a "martyr" out of a crook. Levon
Ter-Petrossian will soon be charged with some offense(s) I just read.
Genius, pure, unadulterated genius; that’s how to make your foe even more of
a hero to the imbeciles and support his myth of electoral victory.
Irritation is perhaps too meek a term to describe the effects of this

Remember, myths are tremendously enduring, like dandelions. Even when you
think you’ve rooted them out, some bit of the root escapes your tools and
poisons, and the plant sprouts back.

One of my favorites is what I like to call the "myth of inevitability" that
permeates the economic realm. Here we are treated to the fantasy that
American de-industrialization and the attendant outsourcing to developing
countries of jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, was "inevitable"
because of their "competitive advantage". Riiiiight, the process had nothing
to do with business leaders wanting this outcome, and buying up governments
to implement legislation conducive to their making a greater profit.

That is, we’re supposed to believe that corporate leaders’ greed had no
bearing on how we got from trade arrangements extant half a century ago to
those in effect now. Had these included proper protections for labor, the
environment and health, that "comparative advantage" would’ve evaporated
even faster than the current poisoning of the planet’s and especially major
port cities’ air by the massive cargo ships transporting all those products
>From the third world to the first.

Keep up your ire and act accordingly.
————————————- ——————————

3. Letters to the Editor

The Armenians and the Republican Party

Dear Editor,

As part of my book tour I have recently visited Armenian communities from
coast to coast. To my surprise I found a large number of Armenian voters
that support the Republican candidate. This, after all, is the same party
that has refused to recognize the Armenian genocide as a genocide
perpetrated by Turks against the Armenians. This is the same administration
that has removed a capable ambassador from Yerevan, just because he dared to
use the word "genocide" in conjunction with the Armenians. This is the party
which has repeatedly blocked the passage of the Armenian Genocide
Resolution. Can you imagine any candidate or political party in the U.S.
which dares to deny the Holocaust? Can you imagine any self-respecting Jew,
regardless of his/her political affiliation, voting for any such candidate
or party? Unbelievable as this may be, I have met ardent Armenian supporters
of Bush and the Republican Party in New Jersey, California and Florida. Some
will argue that in a democracy one should be able to vote any way one
chooses, and they would be right. But there are some moral issues which
transcend this notion. Torture, child abuse, abuse of women, suspending
civil rights and genocide, among others, are wrong. These are tools of
dictator states and not a democracy. Going to church and donating money to
Armenian causes is no substitute for doing the right thing and speaking up
against injustice, even if it is practiced by one’s chosen political party.

George Bournoutian
Professor of East European and Middle Eastern Studies,
Iona College, N.Y.