Sunday, October 31, 2004

I just got this e-mail from Markar Melkonian (Monte Melkonian’s brother) who is justifiably concerned about the possible deployment of Armenian troops to Iraq. Please read it, act accordingly and forward it on to everyone you know.

Dear friends,

Sixteen years ago, when an earthquake ravaged Armenia we rallied to her side. Today, thousands of Armenians might well become victims of yet another disastrous upheaval. But this time it is neither tectonic plates nor Turkish troops that pose the threat. This time, the threat is coming from a handful of short-sighted politicians and ministers in Yerevan.

The President of the Republic of Armenia and members of his administration have proposed to deploy fifty to sixty members of an Armenian contingent to Iraq. Although they claim that the contingent will provide only “humanitarian assistance,” it is to fall under the command of the Polish force, which is part of the U.S.-led coalition that is occupying Iraq.

There are around 25,000 Iraqi Armenians. Some of us have received many reports of threats and reprisals against the Armenian community in that country, and we have read their petitions and the petitions of their church officials, imploring leaders in Yerevan to abandon the deployment plan.

The vast majority of our compatriots in Armenia share their concern. Recently, the independent polling group, Vox Populi, conducted a telephone survey in Yerevan, which showed that 60 percent of the respondents opposed the deployment of Armenian troops in Iraq--and only 6 percent approved.

Armenia’s National Assembly must approve the deployment before it can take place. So far, no date has been set for the vote, but it might take place some time after the November 2 presidential election in the U.S. Despite overwhelming popular opposition to the deployment, it is not a foregone conclusion that the National Assembly would vote it down.

It is urgent, in the run-up to the U.S. election, that we Armenians in the West join hands with our compatriots in Iraq and join voices with the people of Armenia, in opposing this deployment. Please take a moment to voice your concern to:

The Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, Washington DC:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia:
Attn: Mr. Vardan Oskanian

Explain that you oppose the proposed deployment of Armenian troops to Iraq. Remind them that such a deployment will adversely affect Armenia’s relations with its neighbors, especially Russia and Iran, and that it will isolate Armenia from its long-standing friends in the Arab countries. Remind them, too, that the deployment could precipitate bloodshed and a mass exodus of Armenians and other Christians from their country, Iraq.

We are in a position now to make a difference.

With sincere appreciation,

Markar Melkonian

P.S.: Please forward this message to friends, church groups, cultural associations, and student associations.

No comments:

Post a Comment