By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Armenians worldwide are justifiably outraged by the refusal of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leadership to bring the Genocide Resolution to a vote.
Cong. Pelosi had "the majority, the authority, and the opportunity" to schedule a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, but failed to do so, the Armenian National Committee of America announced last week. Why didn't she bring up the Resolution to a vote? It is important to note that contrary to their previous practice, neither the President nor the Secretary of State made any public statements against the Resolution. They did not have to; they had made a behind the scenes deal with Speaker Pelosi not to schedule a vote on the Resolution before Congress adjourned for the year, according to a knowledgeable Washington source. Under these circumstances, the self-serving claims of Turkey's Ambassador and Turkish-American organizations that their belated actions blocked the vote were complete exaggerations, if not outright falsehoods, and inconsequential!
The Armenian Genocide Resolution is neither the beginning nor the end of Armenian political demands. Here is why: this is a commemorative resolution with no force of law; similar Genocide Resolutions were adopted by the House of Representatives twice, in 1975 and 1984; and such resolutions are only a means to an end.
What is the real objective of the Armenian Cause? Obtaining justice for Armenians from the descendants of those who not only butchered them, but occupied their homeland and confiscated their properties.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated last week that the Resolution was like "the sword of Damocles hanging above our heads." He expressed the hope that such initiatives would not be brought up again in Congress as they wasted Turkey's energy and time. The threat felt by Turkish leaders a century after their ancestors' heinous crimes and the waste of their valuable resources to counter the Resolution are reason enough for Armenians to bring such initiatives to every legislative body in the world year after year. Moreover, each time Turkish leaders demand that a U.S. President block such a resolution, in return they are obligated to make costly political concessions to the American side.
Armenian-American organizations, led by ANCA, must now make a dispassionate strategic assessment to consider their next moves:
Here are some preliminary thoughts on specific actions that could be considered by Armenian-American leaders in the coming weeks:
Instead of getting dejected by last week's temporary setback, Armenians should strengthen their political resolve and escalate their demands from Turkey, using all legitimate means of redress to advance their just cause!