20 June 2007

1760) Armenian Lobby : Its Academia And Georgia, By Vasili Rukhadze

Abkhazia, CA

One can write an extensive book about the influence and power of the Armenian lobby in the West and, for that matter, in the world. It is made up of many well established, well connected and very rich ethnic Armenians coming out of a large diaspora, or Spyruk, (roughly 5-6 million) spread throughout the United States, Canada, Russia, France, Great Britain and other European countries. In many cases, these expatriates have lived abroad for generations. Below are a couple recent examples of the lobby's strength. . .

One example was the Armenian National Committee of America pressuring the US House of Representatives to adopt an amendment in June 2006. The amendment would block US aid to finance the South Caucasus Railway (Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars), bypassing Armenia. In October 2006, the US Senate adopted a similar resolution, which forced President Bush to sign, in December 2006, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act. The act banned the US Ex-Im (Export-Import) Bank from financing the construction of the Baku-Akhalkalaki-Kars railway.

Another example, in October 2006, occurred when the lower chamber of the French parliament adopted a controversial bill that made a crime to deny that Turks committed genocide against Armenians during World War I in 1915. This law also was pressured by Armenian lobby in France. The goals of the lobby are clear and widely known: to defend the interests of the Armenian state in the Western world and to prepare ground and eventually create a "Historic, Greater Armenia" stretching from Black Sea to Caspian Sea in Caucasus at the expense of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

To this end, a large segment of Armenian academia (both abroad and in Armenia) plays a vital role. It actively influences foreign academia and wider masses about the legacy of Armenian people, its culture and history. It tries to prove the "wretchedness" and "shallowness "of those peoples and cultures in the Caucasus which are perceived as main obstacles on the way of a "Greater Armenia". This article is just about this issue and it would have never been written if not for the ever-increasing waves of "academic" falsehoods, insults and humiliations packaged as "academic scholarship" by their authors. It is not about one single article, book or a writer. It is about a wider phenomenon, becoming more and more dangerous not only for "victim" cultures and peoples, but for Armenians themselves.

These "academic works" flood scientific conference halls, magazines, newspapers, multitude of websites and bookstores, in USA, Canada, Europe, and Russia. All these publications are of very high polygraphic quality apparently sponsored by rich Armenian diaspora organizations. They quickly and easily find wide audiences, touching spheres as varied as history, geopolitics, ethnography, archeology, linguistics, architecture, different areas of art. Their content varies from being bias to pure absurdity, distorting facts to the point of rewriting whole chapters of history.

In this whole campaign Georgia has been exceptionally heavily targeted by multiple Armenian "scholars".

It is beyond the scope of this article to mention particular names of hostile Armenian academic works and their authors (it would take multitude of pages anyway). It is not even necessary, because anyone who wishes can check any Armenian authored article, essay, presentation, book or just website about Georgia, published in many foreign languages-they all have one same underlining content: they belittle Georgia, Georgian people, culture and history in order to glorify Armenian one. In these various "works" ancient Georgian language is declared as a branch of Armenian language, actually created by old Armenian scholars. Unique Georgian architectural monuments: churches, castles, medieval palaces, still standing in Georgia, are systematically described as the heritage of Armenian culture (some pathologically radical groups go as far as to secretly remove original stones with Georgian scripts on them from ancient Georgian temples and change them with Armenian ones, to prove buildings' "authenticity" as Armenian). Multiple samples of historical Georgian music, songs, temple frescos, clothing, dishes, arms, types of martial arts and many others are constantly and unquestionably listed as the products of Armenian culture in the works of various Armenian scholars. Great Georgian kings, statesmen, writers, musicians, poets and philosophers are repeatedly and wrongly announced as ethnic Armenians, in order to glorify the potential of Armenian people while belittling that of Georgian people's.

All above mentioned efforts of Armenian academia would sound very funny, especially when representatives of other cultures in France, Greece, Ukraine, Egypt and many others complain that their most notable historic figures: statesmen, thinkers, artists are also being declared as ethnic Armenians. But all these are well beyond being merely funny because their works deliver a message of poisonous hatred portraying Georgians as culturally and intellectually inferiors to Armenians. Georgian ethnos continually is being described as an oppressor nation who settled on today's Georgian lands later than Armenians and other ethnic groups and still is oppressing local population. In their works Georgia is often described as an artificial conglomerate, put together by Georgian "occupiers". These works are so many that any foreign scholar who seeks to study historical (and modern) Caucasus and Georgia in particular, can't avoid encountering with these absurd, bias materials. Needless to say, a novice researcher feels immediate contempt against, "oppressor" Georgians, "stealing" cultural heritage and history from Armenian people.

Armenian academia sees Georgia's Armenian populated region Javakheti as potentially undivided part of a "Greater Armenia". This latter should include some other parts of Georgia as well, they say, along with Georgian capital Tbilisi that they consider as historically Armenian city (no matter that ethnic Armenians barely make up 4% of the city's total population). But it is naïve to think that all this academic bias, steadily turning into mass hatred, is only about Javakheti or any other piece of land. It more resembles very well known ethnic hatred, when group of people or whole nation is hated for being just who they are. This overwhelming and unexplainable hatred against particular Georgians or whole Georgian people is spilling over from various books, articles, top or second ranking websites, from ordinary Armenians or academicians, expressing their feelings nakedly or thinly veiled in the dirty rag of "academic scholarship". Those few who dared to pick up a pen to denounce all these were insulted, threatened and abused by various secretive and never disclosed affiliates.

It is not entirely clear why Georgia and Georgians deserved such hatred. In its long and turbulent history Georgia many times saved the very existence of Armenian people, helping them with military power or opening its doors to tens of thousands of Armenians to settle within Georgia, when their lives were threatened by mighty and vicious empires in the South. The pages of the history are filled with the fascinating examples of friendship between these two peoples, working and fighting together for survival against common enemies. Did this feeling entirely disappear? Armenian academia decided that it is so. Unfortunately, Georgian academia has been very passive in responding to these "academic attacks". How much longer can Georgian academia afford to be idle? It is vital to answer this question because Georgians run a risk that in about 20-30 years they will lose the theoretical-academic ground to claim their Georgian heritage and Georgian culture. The pace of Armenian "academic' onslaught is very fast. Georgian heritage intensively is being renamed. Georgians do not need to answer the bias with bias, lies with lies and hatred with hatred, but they definitely need to start making the world hear their voice about their academic truth.

Vasili Rukhadze is New York based Georgian political analyst. He holds Masters Degree in Political Science from the City University of New York. He is the author of multiple articles, with the focus on Caucasus, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia. Currently he is working on the project about the role of Caucasus and Ukraine in the West's energy security. Contact vrukhadze@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

29 May 2007 www.abkhazia.com


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