On Melin Toumani’s Claim of Armenians’ “Self-Importance”

Just read "We Armenians Shouldn’t Let Genocide Define Us” by Melin Toumani in New York Times. Obviously, the tactics of еpatage seems to be working for Melin Toumani. After all, she has published a book and contributes op-eds to America's leading newspapers.
But being an U.S. newspaper contributor doesn't make one a thought leader in Armenia or for the Armenian diaspora. Her work has attracted criticism in Armenia and, having read her op-ed, I cannot sat I'd blame my compatriots if they disregard what she says or writes in future.
There have been different opinions expressed on how the Armenians living abroad could preserve their identity and the author of this op-ed is definitely entitled to her own. But the author’s decision to include extensive criticism of Armenians  for their supposed ‘self-importance’ into  an op-ed on such a solemn issue, as the Genocide, is regretful, to put it mildly, and merits repudiation.
Yes, Armenians love to refer to their compatriots' past and present achievements in science, arts, and other spheres. But wouldn’t you expect representatives of a small nation, which has had a long history, and which has narrowly escaped being wiped out with its sons and daughters seeking refuge all over the world, to try highlight achievements of their compatriots?
Such references help us, Armenians, to preserve our identity no matter where they live. They help us to reassure ourselves that, in spite of all the misfortunes and tribulations, we can be proud of being Armenians.
Neither when living in Armenia nor when meeting Armenians in other countries have I got an impression that my compatriots claim global superiority in any sphere (with the exception of making dolma, of course).
If you happen to discuss tennis with an Armenian, chances are that he would point out to you that Andre Agassi's father is Iranian-Armenian. When discussing military commanders that hailed from Karabakh, some of the residents of my father’s ancestral village even tried to assure me that Napoleon’s Marshal Murat was a Karabakhtsi. But while trumpeting Agassi's real and Murat’s imaginary Armenian roots, Armenians would not claim they are the best in the world at tennis or cavalry.
I am not sure what it is that Melin Toumani thinks defines her, but one doesn't need a crystal ball to see that her sayings and writings won't define either how we, Armenians, think of ourselves or our national traits and history.


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