Armenian Aryan Order, sort of Armenian version of Le Pen’s party, BNP, or say Russia’s neo-nazi and so on, “expresses its gratitude to all the sons of the Armenian nation, be there in Armenia or in Diaspora, who struggled against the nomination of the homosexual Richard Hoagland as US Ambassador to RA.” They continue further by extending their “thanks” to foreign citizens for their efforts which “freed the Armenian nation from the sad perspective of having a sick Ambassador, who was also denying the reality of the Armenian Genocide.” Pay attention that while everyone else stressing the denial of Armenian Genocide by Hoagland, in line with the current White House official stance, as the main (if not the only) reason for blocking his candidature by Senator Robert Menendez and eventual withdrawal of his nomination, a group of Armenian bigots stress Hoagland’s being homosexual and mention genocide issue as “who was also denying…” secondary part.
Interestingly, in a response to my post on White House withdrawal of Hoagland’s nomination, I received a comment from ‘anonymous’ who believes that “the reason that Hoagland was not allowed to be ambassador has nothing to do with the genocide and everything to do with the fact that he is gay”. I still think that the main reason for Hoagland’s eventual withdrawal is the genocide issue, and protests by such light-weight and non-influential figures related to Hoagland’s sexuality would have had no impact whatsoever on White House decision: even though Bush administration is known for its bigotry, Hoagland's sexuality is pretty much known and open fact, and did not prevent his nomination or e.g. his latest appointment as ambassador in Tajikistan, not the most gay friendly country in the world...
I believe that this is just a good occasion for that group of Armenian bigots to turn into their favourite subject, since they are lacking substance otherwise, to make noise and remind others that there is such group in Armenia, and to make it sound that they somehow influenced the whole ambassador saga.
Their ‘fame’ came in 2004 with the ‘outing’ of Armenian MP and threats to make public an imaginary ‘gay list’ which allegedly contained names of gay members of Armenian government, 'supported' by video evidence and other documents. “Our nation can reconcile itself to a life of poverty but it will never allow itself to be ruled by a group of sexual perverts.” – Avetisyan, their leader said back then. According to him, Armenia “is being run by Masons who blackmail homosexual politicians into making laws that suit the Masons’ purposes.” In fact, he had been detained briefly in 2005 for anti-Jewish propaganda. Confronted in ArmeniaNow with whether his actions violate human rights, Avetisyan said national rights are above everything else. Sounds familiar, eh? It does not matter where this kind lives, be it France, Russia, Britain, or Armenia, actions and rhetoric are identical.
However, there was another important aspect of that story from our recent past. As rightly pointed out by Micha Meroujean, President of AGLA France (Association of Gay and Lesbian Armenians of France), it was “revolting that not a single politician, humanitarian activist, intellectual or media outlet has condemned Avetisyan's announcement.” Well, except for ArmeniaNow and Karen Babayan, Chief Physician of Dermatology and Veneral Disease of the Republic of Armenia.
“I don't care what any minister, deputy or any other high-ranking official does after his work,” said Babayan. “If he is a professional in his field but at the same time he is a homosexual then I don't care.
“Why don't they want to publish a list of high-ranking officials, who are straight but they spend their whole day with prostitutes? And who said that it is something better and more moral?”
Or, as Micha Meroujean suggested, what about publishing the list of "Most Corrupted Politicians in Armenia"?
“Avetisyan generally seen by society as a dilettante politician of marginal influence” (ArmeniaNow). I am sure (well, at least hope!) , the overwhelming majority from influential Armenian circles or foreign nationals who campaigned against Hoagland’s appointment and effectively forced White House to give in, would not like to be associated with groups like Armenian Aryan Order and they would certainly not be receptive of their “thank you” note.
I titled this post “Attention seeking bigots…”, and now I realised that at least partly they 'succeeded', they got my attention. However, while ignoring them may be one of the options, exposing hate groups is important in dealing with the problem of hate in a society.