Sunday, November 30, 2008
My hope continues... Samantha Power is back, not only as part of Obama's trasition team, but as part of the State Department agency review team on the president-elect's official Web site. I hope she bites Clinton's head off. Now let's get a real position on Genocide. My next blog was interestingly enough going to be about my prediction on when the Genocide issue achieves recognition in the United States under an Obama administration. Given the inevitable appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, my hope was diminishing. I started to imagine a different scenario, one that would delay proper Genocide recognition into a second term, and eventually call for recognition without proper reparations (a risky precedent... admit genocide without risk?). But Obama has displayed good judgement once again. After the Clintonites he appeased with high positions, he's remembering those who gave him a moral standing in this politicized Washington. Dr. Power, I salute you. (See her message to the Armenian community earlier in the campaign). Pulitzer Prize winning author (Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide) and Harvard Professor Dr. Samantha Power speaks at this year's Annual Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region Banquet where she received the ANCA Freedom Award for championing human rights as they pertain to the Armenian Cause. PHOTO BY ARSINEH KHACHIKIAN © 2008 Arsineh Khachikian OBAMA ADVISER WHO CALLED CLINTON A 'MONSTER' BACK November 29, 2008 Posted: 01:41 PM ET From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney Power resigned from Obama's campaign earlier this year. (CNN) — Samantha Power, the Obama foreign policy adviser who stepped down from her post earlier this year after labeling Sen. Hillary Clinton a "monster," is now working for the president-elect's transition team. According to the Associated Press, Power is part of a team of foreign policy experts tapped by President-elect Obama to help ease the transition at the State Department — the agency Clinton is expected to head up. Power is also formally listed as part of the State Department agency review team on the president-elect's official Web site. Power stepped down from the Obama campaign in March after she called Clinton — then Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination — a "monster" and someone who "is stooping to anything." The comments came in an interview with a Scottish newspaper. "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,' " Power also told The Scotsman then. "The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive." Power quickly issued an apology for the comments, but resigned her post days later. "I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton," Power said in her resignation statement. The Obama transition team did not comment on Power's new role. Power is currently a professor at Harvard University and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for her book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. In 2004, Time Magazine labeled her one of America's top 100 scientists and thinkers.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Akh, it was inevitable. I had to return to say something about the complete transformation our world has taken in the last year. Let's review what has happened in the last year (and couple months). I say couple months because I want to start with the event that was the beginning of things happening that shocked me: 1) The Armenian Genocide Resolution passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, resulting in worldwide coverage of the issue, including my favorite, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. 2) Riots broke out after the Armenian Presidential elections, sparking a State of Emergency and resulting in many horrific deaths, thus putting the citizens of Armenia in a state of fear, frustration, rage, and lack of hope. (I didn't say they were good or bad, I just said it was a transformation. 3) Serzh Sargsyan became president of Armenia and started with a bang, inviting Turkish President Abdullah Gul to the Turkey-Armenia fútbol match in Armenia. He accepted the invitation and was received peacefully. In addition, hundreds of Turks also attended, while paying a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum. The game was followed with diplomatic talks of Turkish-Armenian Relations, and continue. 4) Senator Barack Obama became the first African American President-Elect of the United States. He takes with him the promise to properly recognize the Armenian Genocide. 5) My favorite, I published my first book and travelled to 13 cities to present and share the story and experience. That's just my own personal transformation. :) That's my top 5 major events of the last 14 months, stated to set the stage of my return to blogging. But if you've read my blogs before, you know full well I'm full of opinions, and not to fall short of my reputation, here's my first: OH HOW OUR STANDARDS HAVE LOWERED I'm just as happy as the next bleeding-heart liberal that Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States. I'm a firm believer that he will make the difference in proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide, despite the line up of advisors he's chosen. Yikes, these are not good friends. None-the-less, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and waiting until he has the opportunity to speak on the issue before attacking him. That said, I know he's not president yet, but he has already given a few press conferences. One of the things I loved most about Obama during his campaign was his articulate and poised speech. The last two days have shown another side of him that is not inspiring such strong confidence, and while I expected the media to prey on him for the first signs of a nervous and almost speechless Obama, they go on to clarify the points he was making for him. Again, proud of Obama, but when will the media do their job and properly question our leaders? If that were Bush (and I can't believe I'm defending him right now), the media would have chewed him up and spit him up by now. Anyway, I'll be in DC for the inauguration, so you know I'll be out celebrating with everyone else. I just hope that this is not a sign of a cowardly media sucking up to their precious new president. The fantasy is now over, let's treat him like we would any other president. CHANGE IS ON THE WAY... IN ARMENIA For the first time in years, I left Armenia for a solid few months of time in order to tour to promote my new book, My Nation: The Trails & Trials of an Armenian Repatriate. This gave me a chance to step away from Armenia, gain perspective and return with a fresh pair of eyes to see how much has changed. Boy has it. Customer care, entrepreneurs, major business endeavors, and serious marketing strategies have risen. My new high speed internet at a very low cost is not just the result of a competitive market, but also made possible by tele-marketing campaigns. Look, I hate tele-marketers, but how perfect was it that the day I was planning on researching internet package plans with Beeline, they happened to call offering home delivery service. Just days later, I had a technician trained to also setup internet on a Macintosh, knocking on my door with DSL in hand. All my questions answered, customer care hotline's provided, which I used almost immediately, and before I knew it, I was ready to go. Business aside, people seem nicer, more flexible, happier this time around. It's possible I'm just refreshed and now weeding out the positives around me, as opposed to before. But it's nice to come back to. For a while it seemed that the dynamic environment that attracted so many of us to move here was gone... replaced with tension and anger after the country took steps backward during the elections. It seems a positive energy is pushing us forward yet again. That's all for now. Stay tuned for more. I leave you with a pic of the week from my last stop on the 3 month tour: Dubai... not on my list of favorite cities... frankly, high on my list of cities I hate. Streets of Dubai. October 2008. © 2008 Arsineh Khachikian