View of the Rayburn House Office Building from United States Capitol dome, taken on July 12th, 2007, (photo by Rebel At from Wikipedia)

Editorial Notes: Armenia’s Ambassador Assaulted in a Congressional Building


We were among the skeptics who had reservations about Lilit Makunts’ appointment as ambassador in Washington. But once she assumed her position she became the symbol of the Republic of Armenia in this nation’s capital, and therefore deserving the requisite respect for her rank and position.

However, an incident which took place on April 27 demonstrates the dark side of Armenian politics in this country. By now it is a tradition every year to hold a commemorative event in the Rayburn House Office Building of the US Congress in order to remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The event is organized by the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) jointly and sponsored by the Armenian Caucus. This year again many legislators took part in the event, highlighting the power of Armenian advocacy in this country.

Lilit Makunts was featured as one of the speakers. But on her way out of the premises, she was confronted by two young people who apparently are adherents of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF or “Tashnags”). They threw some kind of liquid at her (most likely water). The youth were apprehended, questioned and released by the authorities.

What could be the implication of this act in today’s heated political atmosphere?

To begin with, it tarnishes the good work that ANCA performs as a visible advocacy group.

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The incident also insults the memory of the martyrs of the Genocide, while the entire Armenian community is mobilized to make our voice heard by the world.

Turks and Azerbaijanis spent tremendous amounts of money to counter our efforts to have the Armenian Genocide recognized. This kind of senseless incident is a free gift to our enemies.

By exporting Armenia’s political polarization overseas, we undermine our political claims throughout the world.

Unfortunately, this incident is not the only one of its kind. The ARF youth (Armenian Youth Federation) have demonstrated similarly disturbing conduct during the New York Times Square rally on April 24, through their boisterous intrusion into the ongoing program and the display of their political party’s flag despite the general agreement against the use of such symbols at this event.

The ARF is reputed to be an organization exemplifying the rigorous application of discipline. In this light, such unruly behavior cannot be construed as coincidental outbursts of individual anger.

This is not the way to present our sorrow to the world and capitalize it for our cause.

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