Politics 11:45 24/04/2024 Armenia

What will Pashinyan do next, demolish the Genocide Museum?

By Harut Sassounian


Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his equally incompetent underlings have been making for months anti-Armenian statements. He started with denigrating Mount Ararat and then went on to criticize Republic of Armenia’s constitutionally-protected official symbols: the national anthem and coat of arms.

Pashinyan also suggested that Armenia needs to adopt a new Constitution deleting its references to Artsakh and the Armenian Genocide which are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. He repeatedly makes the artificial distinction between “Historical Armenia” and what he calls “Real Armenia,” meaning today’s Republic of Armenia, which is a small part of the Armenian Homeland.

Pashinyan has also been obsessed with begging for peace from hostile Azerbaijan which has no interest in making peace with Armenia. Pres. Ilham Aliyev’s only goal is the total destruction of Armenia, a country whose existence he rejects, calling it “Western Azerbaijan.” Regrettably, Pashinyan makes the excuse for all of his defeatist and compromising statements, using the scare tactic that if Armenia doesn’t comply with Azerbaijan’s demands, it would start a new war!

Through one of his obedient servants, Pashinyan is now questioning the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, under the guise of confirming the real facts of the genocide. The latest scandal began with a highly questionable statement by Antranik Kocharyan, Chairman of the Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee and senior member of Pashinyan’s ruling Civil Contract party. Delving into subjects that are unrelated to his office, Kocharyan cast doubt about the facts of the Armenian Genocide. Naturally, the Azeri and Turkish media were extremely pleased with his statement.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe Armenian Service on April 14, Kocharyan said that Pashinyan’s goal is to build “real foundations” related to the Genocide and to “make the list of compatriots subjected to genocide more objective.” Furthermore, he stressed that it is necessary to have the names of all Armenians subjected to genocide and verify “where, how and under what conditions” they were killed. Insisting on his misguided statement, the very next day he repeated it during a press briefing in parliament.

Nevertheless, after coming under harsh criticism, Kocharyan claimed that he was expressing his personal views, not those of his political party, thus shielding Pashinyan from his irresponsible words. However, it is clear that Kocharyan would not have dared to make such a controversial statement without the prior approval of his boss, the Prime Minister, who single-handedly makes all governmental decisions. Besides, Kocharyan himself referenced Pashinyan in his statement about the Genocide.

“This is a simple goal for us to know the addresses and locations of each of our 1.5 million compatriots. It is very important for the building of our relations [with Turkey] in the future as well,” Kocharyan said. “April 24 is approaching. Was it 1.5 million, 2 million or less? It should be strictly addressed. But if we don’t record it, the other side [Turkey] can always say that no such thing happened. And till today that have been saying so,” he added.

This is a very dangerous statement to be made by a high-ranking Armenian official. It is nothing less than parroting the Turkish denialist thesis which has for decades minimized the number of Armenian victims, saying that it is far fewer than 1.5 million and cynically asking, where are the bodies of the dead? Now comes a member of Armenia’s ruling party giving credence to the Turkish denials.

Seeking to verify the number of Armenian Genocide victims is problematic for other reasons. One hundred and nine years after the genocide, Kocharyan has come up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of counting the number of the victims. It is impossible for anyone to go back in time and document the names and locations of all 1.5 million Armenian victims. There are no graves and no traces of the victims. Entire families with all their relatives were wiped out.

Secondly, if Kocharyan goes ahead with his shortsighted suggestion, I doubt that it would be possible to come up with more than a couple of hundred thousand names of victims. This will be the greatest gift anyone can give to denialist Turks. The minute that relatively small number of victims is collected and announced, Turkish denialists will declare that Armenians just proved that there was no genocide and nowhere close to 1.5 million victims. The Turkish government will tell the world that it has been saying for a century that the genocide is a big lie and Armenians finally proved it.

Neither Kocharyan nor denialist Turks have the slightest notion about the United Nations’ definition of genocide which is based on the intent to kill a particular group of people, “in whole or in part,” without specifying the minimum number of victims. So the whole exercise is not only a waste of time, but also counterproductive.

I have a better idea. I wrote a column years ago suggesting that Armenians set up a “Wall of Shame” and list on it all those who have denied the Armenian Genocide since 1915, including denialist Turks and non-Turks, including some Armenians.

To make matters worse, Zareh Sinanyan, Armenia’s “Chief Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs,” in a TV interview last week, shockingly welcomed Kocharyan’s unwise words, stating that he “likes the idea very much.” We should not be too surprised that, contrary to his title, Sinanyan has made several statements which are contrary to Armenia’s and Diaspora’s interests.

If Pashinyan continues making his anti-Armenian statements, what will he announce next? The outlawing of the burning of the Turkish flag on April 24 in Yerevan or closing down the Genocide Monument and Museum, using his usual scare tactic that otherwise Turkey will attack?

It is sad that on the eve of the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we have to deal with Armenians who are serving the cause of Turkish genocide denialists rather than advancing our just demands from Turkey.

Source Panorama.am
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