It is not everyday that the government of the most powerful nation on earth invites the representatives of one of the smallest minorities for a 30-minute session to discuss issues of mutual interests. The US State Department had invited a group of Armenian community representatives to meet with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC.
Since Mrs. Clinton has taken personal interest and leadership in the protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey, it is safe to assume that she would have addressed that issue primarily. But, that was the opportunity for the Armenian community to raise other issues of concern, whether included in the agenda or not — the specter of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the dramatically dwindling US assistance to Armenia, the Bush-era leftover policy change regarding section 907 of Freedom Support Act banning direct US aid to Azerbaijan, waived by the previous administration or House Resolution 252 on the Armenian Genocide, just to cite a few of those crucial issues.
Unfortunately, all these problems — some of them of life-and-death significance — were sidetracked to give way to petty bickering as to who should attend the planned meeting. This is a perennial problem, which will always arise, because our community is fragmented and because there is no consensus on who can represent the Armenian community.
If we had mature leadership across the board, perhaps some group leaders would subdue their selfish showmanship to the importance of the occasion and allow the community concerns to take center stage with the hope of success.
Unfortunately, once again crucial divisions came into play to miss this very rare opportunity to voice our community concerns to the State Department in a united stance.
Negotiations were being conducted behind the scenes to finalize the list of participant organizations, when the Dashnag party decided to go public, in a provocative editorial in the Armenian Weekly, triggering a blaming game, which marginalized the issues of paramount concern.