By SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
I was driving to work earlier today and noticed that gas has gone up to over 3 dollars a gallon. What’s up with that? Didn’t we just invade an oil rich country? This is like buying a 300 acre ranch or farm only to wake up in the morning and find out you don’t have any eggs or milk in the refrigerator. What is going on here? Someone is making money off of this war and at the rate gas prices are going up–I know it’s not me! I remember a time when I was in college and 3 dollars not only bought me enough gas to get to school and back but still left me enough change in my pocket to buy a sandwich (not a great sandwich but still a sandwich) and that was only 7 years ago! I can’t speak for everyone but I just want to say from those of us who didn’t vote for Bush to all of those who did? "THANKS FOR NOTHING–JERKS!" I hope you’re happy that gays can’t get married. Now thanks to high gas prices no one else can afford to get married either! At this rate–my wedding reception will be at lovely the Taco Bell Drive Thru on scenic Colorado Blvd. Think about it–3 dollars a gallon!
My only comfort in this moment of utter rage is the fact that every time I drive by one of these gas stations I see some idiot pumping gallons on gallons of gas into their Sports Utility Vehicle or their Humvee four-wheeled tank with an utter look of dejection on their faces like someone just held them up at gunpoint. Some of them even shake their heads while exchanging glances from their monster on wheels and the gas pump ticker! This is classic comedy at its best and I’m tempted to just sit outside gas stations watching these poor folks and taunting them with a loudspeaker with commen’s like "Where’s your ?utility’ now?" or "Hey–I think Iran has some oil–we can invade them next!" I’m convinced now more than ever that the timing is right to start a new organization–"Armenia’s for Electric Cars."
Moving on to other issues of more importance–April 24 is on a Monday this year. That means that if all goes as planned–there will be a lot of money being put on the blackjack tables in Las Vegas by unscrupulous Armenia’s who think that the best way to acknowledge a massive loss of human life is by acting like degenerates in the casinos of Sin City. But hopefully–(one can never stop hoping) this year will be somewhat different. Maybe this year–parents will actually tell their children not to act like soccer hoodlums in the streets of Hollywood. Maybe this year–our President will decide that the right decision is to actually us e the term Genocide in his annual statement. And maybe the Republic of Turkey will pull their head out of the sand and realize that the land and property that they acquired by the blood of the innocent should be returned to the descendents of those who were murdered. Like I said before–one can never stop hoping.
If I was one of those betting men that will no doubt be at the Commerce Casino or in Las Vegas on the 24th–I would bet that these things will not occur. But in spite of the inevitable–we are still closer to our goals and to seeing justice done on numerous fronts. We just all need to do our part to help it along.
Here’s a simple to do list for this April 24th that will ensure that you’re participating in the advancement of justice and promoting a greater understanding of the Armenian genocide. Take this list with you this week and see if you can do at least three of the items on this list and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an honorary activist in training.
1. Go through your entire wardrobe and pick out all the items that are made in the Republic of Turkey. Separate them from your other items and then burn them! Just kidding. Just donate it to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and make a note not to go shopping for new clothing when you’ve forgotten your reading glasses at home. Seriously–if there’s any day when you should be sensitive to this issue–April 24th is the day. Put the damn jar of pickled red peppers down–take two steps to your left–and pick up the jar of the same pickled peppers made in Armenia. I guarantee that you won’t throw up or break out in hives. It’s just peppers.
2. Attend one of the events in either Montebello or Glendale. Make sure you head over to the Turkish Consulate and take a few laps around the block. Not finding parking that’s close enough is not an excuse. Just remember that you’re walking a few blocks to honor the memory of those who walked hundreds of miles and didn’t survive. Remember that comfortable and sensible shoes are a must!
3. Call your local TV station and ask if they are planning on covering the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. TV stations want to please their viewers and if enough people call–they’ll realize that they’re missing out on a pretty important story. Please do this one because it drives me nuts when I turn on my TV on April 24 and have to watch a special report on "the good kind of cholesterol." One day is all we ask.
4. If you live in an area that doesn’t have a large Armenian population like Tulsa–Oklahoma or basically–anywhere outside of Glendale–Hollywood–or Burbank–then visit your local library to see what books they have on Armenian culture and on the Genocide. If they don’t have any books or if you can add to their collection–find out about the process–order some books and then donate them.
5. Call the White House switchboard and ask to speak to the President. If he’s not there–ask if the Vice President is around. If he’s not there–ask for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and keep asking to speak to someone until they patch you through to a live human being. I’m serious on this one. It’s your right as a citizen to be able to call White House and sound off on whatever issue you want. Call them up and let them know that you expect nothing less than the use of the word genocide and a forceful statement urging Turkey to acknowledge the Genocide as well. Mention that we want Mount Ararat back. Here’s the number: (202) 456-1111.
6. Right after you’re done calling the White House–call the State Department and ask to speak to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and give her a piece of your mind for firing Ambassador Evans. Evans was the guy she booted for using the term genocide when describing what happened to the Armenia’s in 1915. He’s a real American hero and if you don’t believe me–just think of all the spineless and gutless guys that preceded him who could have done the exact same thing he did but chose not to in order to keep their jobs and pension! Demand an apology from Condi Rice on April 24! Here’s her number: (202) 647-5291.
7. Make a small contribution to the Armenian National Committee of America. There are a lot of groups out there that are researching or writing books about the Genocide. There is even one that claims to be working on opening an Armenian Genocide Museum in Washington–DC (I’ll believe that one when I see it). But the ANCA (www.anca.org) is the only group whose message on this issue has been consistent and forceful. They can use your support and you can rest assured that every dime you donate goes to a great cause.
8. Buy a wrist band from the local Armenian Students Associations that says "Never Again." This group is working on raising awareness through a Live Strong type wrist band campaign. Just visit www.never-again.com to find out how you can buy a pin–a t-shirt–or a wrist band. These young kids raised over 10,000 dollars last year and donated every penny to organizations working to raise awareness about the Armenian genocide.
9. Write a letter to your local newspaper talking about the importance of remembering past genocides so others will not occur in the future. It’s important for people reading the newspaper to be reminded of man’s brutality and April 24 is the most appropriate time to do it.
10. Collect money from friends and relatives and donate it to an organization working in Artsakh. Let’s not forget that the poor people of Artsakh were the victims of genocide-like attacks during the collapse of the Soviet Union. These poor folks were attacked for no other reason than for being Christian–Armenian–and wanting to have basic human rights! We need to support Artsakh and areas like Javakhk where Armenia’s live in harsh conditions on their historic lands.
Remember that you only have to do 3 things off this list. That’s a 30 percent rate or if you’re a baseball fan–it means you’re batting .300. That’s a number good enough to guarantee you admission into the Hall of Fame! There’s a lot more you can do to be active–but just remember that the important thing is that you do something–anything that will contribute to the greater good. And blasting loud Rabiz music out of the window of your tinted Escalade SUV is not an option. On Second thought–maybe we should raise the price of a gallon of gas to 12 dollars–just on April 24!
Skeptik Sinikian is shooting to go 10 for 10 on his April 24th To Do List and would like to hear about any unique ways that you observe this day. If you have an idea or a suggestion–email him at SkeptikSinikian@aol.com and excuse the dilapidated state of his blog at www.Sinikian.blogspot.com.