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Commentary on HR 252: The Unfortunate Fallout
By John Hughes
ArmeniaNow Chief Editor
A resolution calling for the United States to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide is effectively dead, as the Democrat-led 111th Congress concluded yesterday (Dec. 22) without Armenia’s perceived champion, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, putting the resolution on the Full House agenda.
HR252 first breathed new hope into the long-standing struggle for recognition in March, when it dramatically passed a Foreign Affairs Committee by one vote, taking it to the next legislative level, which would have been a vote on the Floor of the Full House.
The resolution was seen to have a chance of being debated (though likely would never have been signed by President Barrack Obama even if it passed) right up till the last, added, day of the lame duck Congress, which will be replaced next month by a Republican majority.
There was no dissent, publicly, against hearing the resolution even from Obama, whose administration has typically and predictably favored Turkey’s friendship over Armenia’s feelings and has disfavored the overwhelming weight of historic justification against the same evil that drew bi-partisan US condemnation of the Holocaust, Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia . . .
Even if brought to a vote, passed, approved by Senate, chances that the resolution would actually lead to a change in US policy have never been realistic since April, 2009, when new-president Obama shrunk from his campaign promises and shriveled in stature to those of us whose votes were cast in belief that this president was different from a string of previous disappointing politicians.
Since, on his first April 24 “atrocities” speech, when Obama wilted under the understandable but regrettable reality of Turkey’s strategic value to America, vs. Armenia’s burden on US foreign aid budgets, the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America would have done better service fighting the current systemic injustice in today’s Armenia, rather than their well-meaning but ultimately rebuked and costly lobbying against a system not set up to reward moral integrity or correct historic wrong.
Following yesterday’s latest disappointment, not only has another opportunity to raise world awareness passed, but its fallout has revealed, again, the unfortunate and universally Armenian character of a community splitting against itself, leaving blame as the bitter payoff for what should be commiseration.
For reasons that may be as rooted in history as the Genocide itself, the ANCA through its media arm, Asberez, has in its day-after coverage of the non-vote, attacked the Assembly, accusing the lobbying body of cowardice and with vitriol that, whether unwarranted, surely seems untimely, wrote:
“As always, the Assembly spent the majority of the last two years kowtowing to the State Department and its interests and, in the last minute, is jockeying to become the representative of the Armenian community. It is time for the community to see the Assembly for the duplicitous organization that it is and call them out on their hypocrisy.”
The Assembly invited criticism upon itself (and “kowtowing” may not be too harsh a judgment) when, in the wake of Pelosi’s failure to find a backbone it, remarkably, praised the Speaker.
“…We also particularly commend the steadfast leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi . . .” said an Assembly statement, hours after the Speaker’s “steadfast leadership” led nowhere.
Surely, such lame rhetoric begs the question whether the Assembly favors the approval of the Washington Beltway community or the respect of the Armenian-American community. But for ANCA to use the occasion to kick the fallen hardly serves to elevate the status of the accuser.
Worse, broadcasting evidence of the disproportionate divide in the relatively-small Armenian community that pitifully hinders what should be Diaspora’s single unifying cause, no doubt sweetens the Turkish Delight that the enemy camp must be enjoying following its de facto repeat triumph over right.