NA – In any case.
CA – They don’t want to accept the fact that they took a decision to wipe a people off the face of the earth. Thus, we cannot forget what happened. But we must advance towards hope.
The Turks along the border aren’t opposed to Armenians. The mayor of Diyarbekir has openly stated that such recognition must happen. But there are also those who state the opposite. The Turkish nation is moving and moved at the funeral of Hrant Dink.
NA – And what is your opinion on Karabakh?
CA – It’s part of an overall program. At a minimum, it must be made clear whether Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan prior to Stalin presenting it to Baku. Is Karabakh a part of Armenia? No, it’s a sovereign country.
NA – Do you seek agreement with the authorities in Armenia before making such pronouncements?
CA – Whenever I discuss my positions with them, they always say that I am correct. But they do nothing. The same in France. It’s not possible to talk with the authorities whoever they are.
I do not believe that France will do anything for us. Turkey is very important for France and we can’t overlook this. France always presents itself as powerful but come decision time it’s another matter. France will never do anything for the Armenians. We have been in a waiting mode for the past 90 years.
And today you are waiting for miracles even though the odds are stacked against such a thing. I do not dream. My life is proof. I have worked. I might not possess the mental prowess to effectively articulate what I believe but I say it nevertheless because it’s what I am thinking.
NA – Have you always been interested in politics?
CA – I am interested in politicians, both male and female. I want to wait and see what they will do. Promises, promises. Yesterday, I hosted my friend Besancenot. (Olivier Besancenot - French far left political figure and trade unionist). I respect the man for his sincerity.
NA – So, in reality, you wish to help Armenians?
CA - We must help them and the Turks. This issue between us must be resolved is we are people with the will to do so.
NA – But the Armenians? Aren’t you plundering them just a bit? Do you hold yourself accountable?
I have spent my life plundering society. Wouldn’t I do the same with Armenians? One day my sister said to me – Do you believe that the Turks can kill you one day?
The Armenians can do the same for the same reasons. I am a risk taker. This is how I see reality. Will I suffer as a result? Perhaps. But let the others show me a resolution and not just protestations.
I discussed the plight of Islamized Armenians with the RA President. I told him something must be done because these people are neglected. They must be helped.
We are not opposed to Islam. There are six wonderful mosques in Armenia that were ‘saved’ despite orders by Stalin to destroy them. Iran is doing what it can to renovate them.
We are a nation and a nation is comprised of all different sorts; the very good and the very bad, and all religions. It is normal that we have Christians, Jews and Muslims. Armenia must move in this direction, just like Europe.
NA – You have known all three presidents of Armenia. Can you tell us your impressions?
CA – No, that’s not my job. They are all men of goodwill. But sometimes circumstances get in the way. In any case, none of the three presidents has ever said ‘no’ to me. Perhaps they should have on certain occasions.
What does it mean to be Armenian today? I would like to know. What does a diaspora Armenia mean? To eat and drink well? To own a store and rattle on about the genocide? Is that what being an Armenian is all about? It is just not enough.