BY SKEPTIK SINIKIAN
Since I began writing this column–many readers have suggested that I digress from my usual political commentary and address issues that affect Armenia’s in the United States and at large. I’ve received recommendations to write about the cult of materialism that pervades Armenian culture in the Diaspora–the state of our youth–the state of our adults–and of course the ubiquitous issue of Armenia’s dating non-Armenia’s amongst many others. Now–I have my opinion on these issues but I’m not sure if writing rambling articles about the demerits or virtues of Armenia’s listening to Arabic and Turkish music at Armenian functions is going to change the minds of anyone out there. I’ve learned that most of us are opinionated creatures–myself included. And I don’t feel comfortable speaking about certain issues without having enough knowledge about them. The philosopher Socrates remarked that "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." As such–we need to continuously ask questions to acquire knowledge and a better understanding of society and the world we live in. So this week–I wish to pose some questions to which perhaps some of you may have the answers. If you do–I’d love to hear them. Let’s start off light and leave the heavy stuff for the end.
? Why is it that every time I finish reading an issue of Asbarez–I end up looking like I just wrestled a West Virginia coal miner? Someone told me that the Asbarez has no more or less ink than any other newspaper–so I put it to the test. I read four different newspapers from cover to cover to compare the results. I suppose it’s a trade off. In none of the other newspapers I read did I find as much news about issues that affect the Armenian community–but after I was done my hands were covered in so much black ink that I look like one of the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins.
? Why is that every April 24–Armenian youth feel the urge to drape their cars in the tri-color flag and drive down streets playing loud Armenian music as if they’re at a World Cup soccer match? Our parents and grandparents didn’t march through hundreds of miles of desert sand so their descendants could act like soccer hooligans. It seems strange that Armenian parents who are notorious for their strictness and discipline can’t seem to keep their own kids in check on the most solemn day in our culture.
? Why do the same Armenia’s that close their establishmen’s on April 24th to commemorate the Armenian Genocide also sell Turkish products? I also would like to know why some Armenia’s are obsessed with "made in Turkey" products. No where else in the world outside of Turkey and other Turkic states are Turkish products held in such high regard as in Armenian grocery stores or on Armenian dinner tables. My favorite excuse was someone who told me that they will not stop buying Turkish products because some of the products are manufactured by Armenia’s in Turkey. They went on to explain to me that by boycotting Turkish products they would be hurting Armenian business located in Turkey who are just trying to make a living and that was against their Armenian principles. I suppose the next time I’m picking up a jar of pickled red peppers I’ll have to keep an eye out for the label that says "Made in Turkey by Boghos Boghosian who has four kids and is barely making ends meet." Ridiculous!
? Ok–one final thing that I’m confused by and maybe you can help me understand this. Last week–Americans witnessed the horrific beheading of young American Nicholas Berg by a group of presumably Arabic militant Islamic fundamentalists. Speaking on the South Lawn of the White House–President Bush commented that "The actions of the terrorists who executed this man remind us of the nature of the few people who want to stop the advance of freedom in Iraq. Their intention is to shake our will. Their intention is to shake our confidence. Yet–by their actions–they remind us of how desperately parts of the world need free societies and peaceful societies. And we will complete our mission. We will complete our task." My question is the following (and I’m going to devote an entire column to this in the coming weeks). Why is the beheading of this one innocent person such a tragedy and the beheading of thousands upon thousands of innocent Armenia’s–Assyrians–and Greeks by the Turkish authorities between 1915-1923 a debatable topic for the President?
That’s it for this week. I’m going to spend the time between now and next week pondering these mysteries. Hopefully–next week we’ll have some answers. Until then–don’t stop asking questions and seeking answers.
Skeptik Sinikian does not take any responsibility if the above column confused anyone and apologizes for digressing from his usual ran’s on random topics. He promises to behave next week and write something more sensible and less controversial. He can be reached at [email protected]