MediaMax has an interesting interview series with Armenian intellectuals about what the genocide centennial means, the growing disunity amongst the diaspora, and what the future of Armenia looks like.

journalist Max Grigoryan:

I think we shouldn’t have got disappointed with Obama the first time he used the term “Medz Yeghern” and claim that he lied to everyone not uttering the word “genocide.” On the contrary, we should have said “look, Obama took a step forward and recognized the Armenian Genocide de facto, at that, he did it in Armenian.” But we let this opportunity slip through our fingers.

We should understand the difference between the political and legal recognition of the Armenian Genocide. When rejoicing at learning that one more country has recognized the Armenian Genocide we tend not to see that it is often done as a weapon to influence Turkey. We have handed that “weapon” to them. It’s a political weapon, while there are legal, moral and historic weapons that we should twist in our favor.

I would also like to recall that Hrant Dink used to say that it does not matter for him whether that word will be uttered or not, what matters is that Turkey acknowledges those victims and admits its guilt to those people.

Founder of Repat Armenia, Avetik Chalabyan:

The quality of our elite is the most pivotal question of any. We should look at the Centennial through this lens in the first place. Can we form self-sufficient national elite? The national life and any upward development trajectory imply that there is a nucleus of the national elite which can formulate an agenda and take respective steps to accomplish it. To this end, it should have a considerable potential of inner sovereignty. Yet, our current elite possess a very low level of sovereignty. It’s partially conditioned by the fact that the overwhelming majority of our elite are the descendants of former Soviet system. They can even speak of Nzhdeh but they largely bear the legacy of the old system.

The former system is now being consolidated as a new trans-national construct, led by Russia. This makes the formation of independent national elite a formidable challenge, and we may very well fail it. If we look back at our recent history, we would see that we failed to build sustainable national elite in 1914-1920. In 1991, we became independent from the former USSR due to its rapid disintegration, but now the next reincarnation of the Soviet Union is shaping up now, and there is not guarantee that we won’t become part of it again. Hence, this is the most important question – can we really become an independent nation or not in these conditions, as only in this case we will be preserve a chance to overcome the dire consequences of the Genocide in our lives.