Humor and suffering are often two sides of the same coin and successful comedians understand that nugget of truth and utilize humor to lighten suffering. Shock jock Bill Handel of KFI and his cohorts in their unattractive attempt to be humorous about reducing the U.S. population to save the government money proposed to clean out Glendale and its Armenian population with a racist comment, “What the Turks started, Bill will finish.”
Would they have had the audacity or courage to say, “Let’s clean out Beverly Hills of all its Jews and finish what Hitler started!”
We all know that would never happen, because Jews all over the world would react furiously, call Handel anti-semetic and become successful in having him fired immediately. Then the question becomes why would Bill Handel never think about such an antipathetic statement about the Jews? More than likely it’s because he’s been educated to understand the magnitude of suffering from the Jewish Holocaust.
And why does he have such a lack of awareness about the Armenian Genocide and the depth of cruelty and suffering imposed upon the Ottoman Armenians? How many books about the Armenian Genocide are in print in comparison to the more than 50,000 books written about the Jewish Holocaust? What does this say about our community, our writers, and the images we would like to portray?
And how do you personally affect the image of Armenians in our community?
How many of you reacted with potency to the outrageous rant of Bill Handel?
How many of you reacted to KCET on April 24 when our most popular public television station did not show any Armenian genocide documentaries?
What I see is apathy from our community and I feel that education is the key to promoting understanding. If we expect non-Armenians to care about us they need to understand where we came from, the effects of the Armenian genocide on the Diaspora, how difficult it was for our people to leave their homeland, in some cases two homelands, and give up their livelihoods to start all over again in a foreign country.
I applaud those who survived, I applaud those who came to America with nothing, worked hard and educated their children, and I applaud those who tell our story to those who do not know and through those stories project the dignity of truth. It is our responsibility to history.
Kay Mouradian, is the author of A Gift In The Sunlight: An Armenian Story