Commentary: Why Armenians Can't Do What's Necessary - 1984

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Why Armenians Can’t Do What’s Necessary

Commentary by C.K. Garabed

Published in the Armenian Reporter

April 12, 1984


If there is one thing that we have heard more than anything else from Armenians, it is the need for them to get together, to organize, act in concert. To what avail? Nothing changes! What is it about Armenians that prevents them from doing that which they all recognize as necessary? Why is it difficult for them to truly organize? It isn’t the organizational concept as such that is faulty. Where we fail is in the leadership, or so-called leadership. See if the following observation doesn’t make sense.


We lost our true leaders in 1915. Those who took their place in the diaspora were fourth-raters who were more impressed with their credentials than their personal qualities, and these poor substitutes are what we have had to contend with for two generations. If they had any brains, they would have developed a program that would have captured the imagination of all Armenians.


To the inevitable question of “Why not join and have a voice in policy-making?” we reply, “Have you ever tried to reason with a jackass?” Or tried to make headquarters out of hindquarters?


“Big talk,” you say, adding. “Why don’t you propose something constructive, instead of only criticizing?”


All right! Some of us do feel that we have something to offer to those who can stop talking long enough to listen, such as the third generation in whom we can perceive the stirrings and eventual restoration of our lost leadership.


The military and corporate style of management proceeds from the establishment of a program. This program is clearly defined and is comprised of Goals, Objectives, and Milestones, and Performance Standards. To apply this system to ourselves would look something like this:


Program: Hai Tahd (The Armenian Cause)


Goal: To recover lands, restore population and culture of Western Armenia.


Objectives: 1) Stem erosion of the population base; and establish a policy to increase the population base; and thwart the process of attrition and assimilation.

2) Preserve Armenian culture and way of life (religion, language, literature, music, dance, theater, cuisine), establish Armenian schools for young and old.

3) Promote immigration to and land ownership in the occupied territory. Establish a national fund.

4) Establish a government in exile.

5) Foster ghettoization: homes, schools, churches – This would solve transportation problems, reduce expenses, retain language and culture.


Everyone recoils at the thought of living in a ghetto. Yet a nationalistic country is one vast ghetto. Like the city from which residents flee, only to return when things change, the revulsion to living in a strictly Armenian neighborhood will be replaced by a feeling of satisfaction that comes from living in accord with rich and moral traditions. And this may happen if American society continues to disintegrate while Armenians do not. Armenians are most easily assimilated in a cultural environment that they perceive as superior to their own. But when the time comes that they perceive their own culture as being superior to that which surrounds them, then the concept of ghettoization will be revitalized.


Realistic milestones established for the above objective will produce a timetable against which results may be measured to evaluate progress. Performance standards established for each of the foregoing will tell us if the results measure p to our expectations.


Note to the reader: The above article is based oon the assumption that a culture cannot long survive apart from the conditions that gave rise to its birth and nourished its growth; that a friendly environment is not necessarily more supportive of it than a hostile one; and that it can best realize its destiny free from foreign dominations, interference and influence.