Before moving on to the somewhat mundane task of chronicling April 24th commemorative events, allow me to formulate what I suspect, and hope, everyone feels.
As if it wasn’t enough that the Armenian government’s utter lack of public-relations-sense, and disregard for Armenians’ own Genocide/Turkey, was manifested through the ill-timed “roadmap” declaration. There has been no apology, no back-pedaling, nothing. What could the U.S. and Turkey have on these people that they have justified, in their own minds, such long-term destructive behavior?
Of course with Armenia properly muzzled, it was a cinch for Barack Obama to make his uttely unacceptable statement utilizing “Medz Yeghern”. While this term, according to some, is more inclusive, because it includes the whole kit and caboodle of genocide, land, damages, etc. — the whole of the tragedy, the relevant term in international law is genocide/tseghasbanootiun.
Then we have Turkey whining— incensed are the poor souls— that the pathetic presidential pronouncement didn’t mention “Turks killed by Armenians”. Talk about adding insult to injury. Why are we being encircled, cornered this way? What is it that is sought by the puppet masters?
This issue is not going away, and will be revisited. We’ve got our work cut out for us. Clearly, I never authorized these cretins to speak in my name and give away my birthright. Nor, I suspect did anyone else. Nor, dare I remind everyone, could we have even pondered doing that through citizenship and electoral participation in Armenia until about a year ago. The only good thing to come of this is the ARF’s withdrawl from the “coalition” government.
Now back to the chronicling.
Thursday night, the 23rd, found yours truly at the Montebello Martyrs Monument. The vigil’s program was typical, except the freshness of Armenia’s folly provided fodder for that night’s presentations, especially the Armenian language one. It was a good analysis of the absurdity of the “roadmap” announcement. The traditional walk from Pasadena to the monument had a larger turnout than usual, 83 participants. That was heartening. Total attendance hovered near the 400 mark, though an embarrassing proportion of that was engaged in separate conversations, not heeding what was presented at the podium. Another interesting and encouraging aspect was the integration of various aspects and times of our struggle and issues—from the “roadmap” announcement to Sibel Edmunds’ revelations to denialist efforts to other countries’ Genocide recognition to a 1972 comment made by the then Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles “We should have killed you all”. Can you blame me if I express the hope that this was the guy Kourken Yanikian took out?
April 24 was a good day for demonstrating. Not too hot, not too cold. But first, I’d hoped to make it to the LA City Council’s issuance of a proclamation, but could not. At the Hollywood March, I failed to get a good count of the turnout. It looked a bit larger than last year, but my count was significantly lower, though I fell behind and didn’t reach the optimal counting position in time. The slogans and signage were standard. The mood of the presentations from the stage was decidedly more cooperative, vis-à-vis other sectors of the community. That was very heartening. Perhaps there has been a changing of the guard. This is where I first heard about Obama’s sell-out. Harout Sassounian conveyed the bad news coupled withwhat I have long considered the more appropriate approach— demanding our land and reparations. It was also heartening to hear Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council President and early Obama supporter, not shy away from criticizing the presidential statement. Having a high school Darfur activist speak was also a good touch, though she arrived just after the program had ended and people were already leaving, decreasing the impact of her words and presence. Also, many people were not paying attention to the speakers while others simply left at the end of the march.
Back at the Montebello monument, organizers estimated that some 2500 people probably passed through over the course of the 4 hours of the liturgy, program, and flower laying. More probably came through later. This, again, is a sad turnout.
The most meaningful action, as always, was the AYF organized demonstration at the Los Angeles Turkish Consulate. Participation numbered some 3500-4000. This year, the police had shut down the eastbound lanes of Wilshire Boulevard, increasing the demonstration’s effect. As always, thugs, er, agents from various levels of government stood guard at the entrance to the building housing the genocidal state’s delegation in LA. It was refreshing to hear a few new slogans entering usage this year. I can only hope more people will get it and show up at this gathering next year, since by all indications, our grievances won’t be anywhere near resolved.
At night, I attended an early screening of Atom Egoyan’s latest film, Adoration. I had thought it was Genocide related. It is not, but is well worth seeing. Genocide and other timely political issues are well integrated.
Saturday April 25th saw “Cycle Against Denial” initiated. The AYF Sardarabad chapter organized this. I think it’s a great idea and over 160 people rode. It was roughly a nine mile loop starting from Ferrahian High School in Encino. I can only hope this grows tremendously. In a few years, it should be plugged in to the demonstration at the consulate which would become a convergence— bicycles from the San Fernando Valley, walkers from the Hollywood March, and car caravans from Montebello. Imagine the effect!
Sunday April 26th was time to be in the Valley again, for that annual vigil. With over 450 in attendance, the program was done well, compact, integrating, through video, the previous day’s ride and a good analysis of the international developments. Unfortunately, the youth were largely outside the hall and the musical closing lasted too long.
Finally, back home on Burbank, on Tuesday the 28th, we received the annual proclamation. The AYF did a good job of organizing the program. Unfortunately, once again publicity was insufficient to the task of producing good attendance, barely over 150 people this year.
Next, it’s back to elections for two weeks. Then I’m sure we’ll have lots to discuss regarding Armenia’s failed diplomacy. If you did not participate in actions this April 24th season, at least make a monetary contribution. It will be especially well received this year, with people being very cautious in their giving because of the economy.