At a time when most of Greek America is paralyzed with indifference, it is inspiring to see an influential person like John Catsimatidis taking the initiative to get our community off the sidelines and back in the game. This is what I would assume Mr. Catsimatidis and his new son-in-law Christopher Cox are trying to accomplish by holding a luncheon with Senator Richard Lugar, at the 21 Club in New York. This event presents itself as a great opportunity for Greek-Americans to mingle with a member of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations and express our opinions and concerns to Senator Lugar.
However, just who is Senator Lugar? My curiosity led me first to the ANCA’s Congressional Report Card, which interestingly enough gave Senator Lugar a D in 2010 due to his refusal to cosponsor S.Res 316 better known as the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
The reason this interested me is that if Senator Lugar denies the Armenian Genocide he also denies the Greek Genocide since both are part of the same systematic extermination which is referred to as the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocides. It is because of this that I decided to dig a little deeper into Senator Lugar, only to discover that he received the UMD’s International Freedom Award in 2009 based on his invaluable advocacy on behalf of FYROM.
It came as no surprise than that it was Senator Lugar in 2007 that temporarily stopped a Senate resolution, which sought to condemn Turkey for the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink over the resolution’s use of the term ‘Armenian Genocide’.
What did surprise me was the fact, that Senator Lugar was one of 27 Senators who refused to sign a letter demanding Religious Freedom in Turkey back in 2006. It was Senator Lugar’s refused to sign this letter, which landed him and the other Senators on a publicized list. This list was shown on a full page ad published in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune by the Archons and Mr. Catsimatidis.
For years now, influential Greek-Americans have attempted, unsuccessfully, to turn Pro-Turkish and Pro-Skopjean politicians. In theory, it is a reasonable strategy. I’m sure Mr. Catsimatidis would use Senator Lugar’s recent cosigning of a Letter to President Obama concerning the importance of U.S.-Cyprus’ relations as evidence of his pro-Greek feelings. However, his record speaks for itself. This failed strategy is not the way to handle a Pro-Turkish Senator with a Turkish son-in-law.
Mr. Catsimatidis’ time and energy would be better spent on fund raising for a fresh face willing to take a Pro-Greek stand on our issues. For example, a young up and coming politician willing to challenge Senator Lugar from within his own party. Which raises an extremely intriguing question, is this luncheon Mr. Catsimatidis’ misguided attempt at aiding the Hellenic Cause or his new son-in-law helping out his grandfather’s ‘Favorite Mayor’ and once possible running mate?