Friday, March 05, 2010

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Armenian Genocide Resloution... AGAIN

Armenians around the world are celebrating again.... I know exactly what I want to say today, and oddly enough I said most of it on this very blog back on 10/11/2007 http://www.cilicia.com/2007_10_01_armo_spiurk-backlog.html

Once again I was at work an couldn't watch the debate. Once again I was relying on facebook, twitter and text messages for updates.


Sadly, this year it was only 23 votes not 27.


Again, the White House wasn't able to stop this. Turkey wasn't able to stop it with their threats about relations, borders, protocols etc. I said it two years ago and I'll say it again now. EMPTY THREATS - CALL THEIR BLUFF! Turkey can not afford to lose the U.S. as an ally. They recalled their ambassador then and they recalled him now. BIG DEAL!



My favorite thing about today was reading in an article posted on the Los Angeles Times website this passage

The committee's nearly split vote came after a packed meeting attended by three genocide survivors, who support the measure. Pointing to the survivors -- ages 97, 98 and 105 -- Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said: "They're here for justice. How long can they wait?"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jane Harman... You're going down!


If anyone out there reads this blog regularly or keeps up with the issues facing the Armenian-American community, you probably recall how in October of 2007 the Armenians of the 36th Congressional District in California and around the world were appalled to learn that Congresswoman Jane Harman, a co-sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution was working behind the scenes alongside the Turkish government to ensure the resolution didnít get put to a vote. You can find the old blogs about the Armenian-American communityís reactions and actions here http://www.cilicia.com/2007_10_01_armo_spiurk-backlog.html


I canít begin to express how frustrating it is to believe you live in a democracy where your elected officials are supposed to represent you, then come to find youíre being betrayed and to add insult to injury your representative is working with a foreign government to defend their special interest. Surely, Iím not the only person questioning where Harmanís motives and morals lie. She has consistently come in as the richest or second richest member of Congress since she first got elected. Where did all those millions come from? Thatís all Iíll say about that, but you do the math! As frustrating as all this is I can always be proud of the ANC and my fellow Armenian-Americans who fight for Hai-Tad because we donít play dirty. We follow the rules and do things the right way, the honorable way!
Who would have ever guessed that a member of Congress from a random district in California could be such a wedge driving force into our nationwide, if not worldwide effort towards getting the Armenian Genocide Resolution to Congress? This has reached the forefront of Hai-Tad's efforts and it's up to the Armenians in this district to do our part to see to it that this threat to all our hard work is eliminated!

A few months ago Armenian-Americans from the 36th Congressional district which includes the cities of Venice, Playa Del Rey, Marine Del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance and Lomita met with Marcy Winogard, a progressive Democrat, who will be challenging Harman in the Democratic primary on June 8, 2010. Soon after the meeting the ANC-PAC endorsed Winograd and the community pledged to help her defeat Harman. One of the many strengths of the ANC is mobilizing our community into political action at the grassroots level. We have our work cut out for us in the 36th Congressional district. We donít have as many Armenian votes here as we do in other districts that have a high contingency of Armenian voters like in Glendale for example, but we are up for the challenge and will work hard to see to it that Marcy Winograd, a real Democrat who deserves this Congressional seat gets on the ticket!
Armenian-Americans in the 36th district have been working to spread the word about Winogradís candidacy at local farmers markets. We have also started walking precincts and knocking on doors to educate people about Harmanís underhanded tactics, betrayals and encouraging voters to support Winograd, a real Democrat, who wants to serve the people not corporations and foreign governments.


The South Bay Armenian American Community will be holding a public town hall meeting with Marcy Winograd on Sunday, February 28, 2010. The town hall meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the South Bay Armenian Center located at 2222 Lomita Boulevard in Lomita, California. If you interested in learning more about Marcy Winograd visit her website at: http://www.winograd4congress.com/

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Footage of the Armenian-Turkish Negotiations

Here is some actual footage of the negotiations I thought I'd share, but it is not in English. Just the original Armenian and Turkish dialogue... very interesting to see the process behind the document, you can really see where it comes from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjO0vx97BfQ

Armenia-Turkey protocols signed...

by the presidents, now let's see how they do in the Parliaments of the two countries.

I've already shared my thoughts on the deal, so now I'll write about the news articles that have been published about the protocols.

They're terrible! So many mistakes!!! I think they illustrate quite well how little the media knows about Armenia, Armenians, the Diaspora, the Turks, the Genocide, etc.

One thing I have found interesting during this whole back and forth among Armenians around the world, including Armenia, is that nobody was against the border opening. I'm not saying they should be, I'm just saying they weren't, even though I expected some would vocally just be 100% against opening the borders without recognition of the genocide. Some newspapers however, published just that. That Armenians who are against the protocols wanted genocide recognition first. Not so.

Another thing often gotten wrong is they say that some Armenians are afraid that the historical panel will decide there was no genocide. I haven't heard Armenians contemplate that outcome either. Their complaint is that there was a genocide, and studying whether there was one is stupid, and that it will just be used by Turkey to delay recognition by third countries like the US, who happily take any excuse possible to avoid recognizing the genocide.

Another mistake I've seen again and again is that "Turkey and Armenia" have agreed to open their borders. Not right. Turkey has agreed to open it's borders, not Armenia. Armenia's borders have never been shut with anybody. They are open to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran, and always have been. Turkey and Azerbaijan however have closed their side of the border.

Another point. Armenia has never mentioned Turkey pulling out of "their close Greek friends lands" in Northern Cyprus. Every time the stupid Turks bring up the "occupation" of Karabakh by Armenians, the Armenians need to bring up the occupation of Northern Cyprus. It's ridiculously hypocritical for the Turks to even mention Karabakh, and Armenia sits there and listens to that drivel, year after year.

And the final thing that comes to mind on this is that when the signing of the documents was delayed, apparently the Armenians refused because of something the Turks were going to say in their statements after the signing. Let the Turks say whatever they want. Take that opportunity to talk about the Armenian Genocide to their faces, telling them that one day they will come around and admit it, and become a little more civilized and human for it.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Opposition continues... Fight On! Lebanon, You're Up!

I'm finding it a bit hard to believe that the repat and diaspora blogs are so dead. I'm very interested in hearing from the repats about what is going on in Armenia in regards to the protocols. My father who lives in Armenia claims he has been at Republic Square for the past 18 days taking part in the protests. He says there is a news blockade and they are not hearing or seeing reports of all the protests in the diaspora. Can it be that the media in Armenia is being repressed and censored? There are reports here of a hunger strike in Republic Square.


Things aren't too different here in the diaspora. In Los Angeles we heard about the protests in Argentina, France and New York. It was difficult to watch the images of police brutality towards our brothers and sisters in France. It's been hard to swallow President Serz Sargsyan's audacity to propose these protocols which are a slap in the face for every diasporan! The Genocide hits home with so many of us because it is because of the Genocide that our families ended up in the Diaspora. If it weren't for the Genocide my grandparents would have not lost their families and been forced out of their village in Dikranagerd and into Syria!


If you have not read these disgusting protocols you can educate yourself here;
http://www.anca.org/assets/pdf/misc/protocols_explained.pdf


Yesterday over 10,000 Armenians in Los Angeles protested outside the Beverly Hills Hilton where President Sargsyan met with community organizations. It was a great feeling to see young and old gathered, people from every political group, different churches all united shouting in unison. It was inspiring to see both recent immigrants from Armenia and people who were born in the diaspora all protesting side by side for the same issues. For years I remember feeling like the Diaspora was fighting for Hai Tad by itself, but hearing about the protests in Armenia and seeing so many recent immigrants from Armenia out at the protest felt great! For once we were one united voice. One people. It's so very sad that the one time we have come together like this is against our own nation's President. The man who in fact should be the one bringing us all together to fight for our Country not bringing us all together to protest his actions.


There was such a great energy at the protest. The most popular chant was by far "Tavajan" every time the monitors would start that chant our voices seemed to get louder. I think the most chilling moment for me was late into the afternoon when I could tell people were running out of gas. The monitors voices were horse from yelling for hours. The microphone was passed to a young boy who was probably 10 years old and he lead the crowd in the "Baykar,Baykar Minchev Verch" We may have only had 10,000 people shouting their hearts out but it felt like 50,000 because at that moment our voices were reverberating off the building and filling the air. I can only hope that our voices were heard in Sargsyan's ears.


The support for these protocols is so minimal it's almost non-existent. As I write this blog hundreds from the Los Angeles area are in Montebello. They have created a barricade by forming a human chain and surrounding the monument. President Sargsyan was scheduled to visit the monument to pay his FAKE respects to the memory of the victims of the Genocide. However, our community is there to stop him and get the message across that he is not welcome at our monument. We don't want a hypocrite like him anywhere near it. We do not support him or his protocols. We do not support the formation of a historical committee to debate the Genoice. We reject the idea and we reject him. The Genocide is not up for debate. No historian in their right mind would join such a commission. Is the Holocaust debatable? NO! Are the massacres in Darfur debatable? NO! It blows my mind that the President of Armenia would even consider the fact that the Genocide is debatable!


We do not recognize the current border! Ararat is ours! Moosh and Van are ours! Kharapagh is not for sale or up for trade! The decision to illegally close the common border was a unilateral decision made by Turkey! The decision to deport and murder over 1.5 million Armenians was that of Turkey. You tell me... who is the hostile neighbor?


Unless Sargsyan is a secret genius who is staging this entire thing to show the world that he tried to normalize relations with Turkey their way and his nation is not behind it I feel he should be impeached. The chances of him never having intended to sign these protocols is very slim, but regardless of the outcome I feel he needs to be impeached! Any Armenian who would even entertain these protocols is not fit to be the President of our country.


Sargsyan will be leaving Los Angeles today and heading to Lebanon and then Russia. I'm sure Lebanon will greet him with open arms...but I don't know what those arms have up their sleeves but news is that the Lebanese-Armenian community has started their protests already!


Something tells me when all this is over Sargsyan is going to need to seek political asylum somewhere. Maybe Turkey or Azerbaijan will take his Tavajan ass!


STOP THE PROTOCOLS!

http://stoptheprotocols.com/

Friday, October 02, 2009

Links everywhere

Parevner !

Of course there's much more serious things happening here around armenian concerns, but they're not as satisfying as they should be, so let's wait for better things to tell...

Just received 2 surprising web links, the kind of which i love to have... and share :)

The first from a french friend of a french friend : an original creative person ! i don't know how else describing her, and the best is probably to visit her newly born website Aurťlie Barbereau

And the second one from Artsvi Bakhchinyan, interesting for learning an armenian danse lesson with chinese teacher and students :)
So enjoy TAMZARA DANSE and have a good practice ! :)

Ecco, ciao

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sarksyan to visit Diaspora. Diaspora to Protest!

Armenia's president, Serzh Sargsyan has called a meeting on October 3, 2009 in New York City with Armenian organizations from the Eastern United States to discuss the Armenia-Turkey protocols. Following this meeting in New York, Sargsyan will be traveling to Los Angeles where he will be attending a gala banquet at the Beverly Hills Hilton.

It is my hope that during the meeting in New York the Armenian Organizations he will be meeting with give him a piece of our mind. It is also my hope that the protest that has been planned across the street from the gala banquet in Los Angeles will get his attention along with all the other protests and rallies being organized in Armenia and the Diaspora.

It comes as no surprise to me that once again, the United States is getting involved with an issue that is none of its business. The only opinion that matters on these protocols is that of the Armenian nation and it seems that the Armenian people around the world have spoken. The question is...will we be heard?


Friday, September 25, 2009

No to the Turkey-Armenia protocol

I'm not against Turkish-Armenian relations at all, but I think that there is something very critical being swept under the rug here, and not even talked about, which is evil.

The protocol forces Armenia to recognize the current border with Turkey. Why? That is an incredible concession being made by Armenia, in return for absolutely nothing. While most people are protesting the historical commission, that does not interest me as much. It is silly, but it is not as harmful in the longrun. The genocide is a fact that the whole world now recognizes, whether officially or not. The endgame in that battle is getting near, and Turkey already knows how it is going to end. That is why the commission is a mere delay tactic.

When the genocide is recognized by Turkey, the question will be reparations, and if Armenia recognizes the current borders, which is totally unncessary in order to simply establish normal diplomatic relations and an open border, it will be in a much worse position at that time.

In other words, we are giving up a lot, in return for what, being treated like human beings? Like neighbors? The people of Armenia have sacrificed a great deal over the past 18 years due to the closed border, and now Armenia has established trade routes through Georgia and Iran, as well as the air. There is no point in making such a large concession to the Turks in return for nothing at all.

No, no, no, I say. No Serzh. You may be trying to distract people from your corruption, you may be getting pressured from the West in exchange for brushing your post-election murders under the rug, but you cannot do this. You cannot act like we are on board, and that we want it.

You want a new protocol? A fair one? Here it is in one sentence, go ahead and sign it:
"Turkey and Armenia agree to establish diplomatic relations and open their land
border to trade."

And actually, it should just just read "Turkey agrees to establish...", since Armenia has agreed to have diplomatic relations and an open border this whole time.

Turkey needs this for the EU. It needs it to revive the economy of the eastern provinces. We do not need to make any concessions like this in order to get what ought to be ours to begin with.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Enjoy the Hamburger, Don't Forget the Chips

This is not an LA morning, I thought silently when I woke up. Went to work praying, as I always do. I met an Armenian student who came from Krasnodar last week. Not a word in English, but you'll make it, son --I thought. He was good in Math, knew Geography, spoke a few words in Armenian--the rest was in Russian. You will make it, but please don't forget your kind, we can't afford that--I was thinking while helping him fill the papers at school.
After school I went somewhere. Had to do some business. Met an old friend there who returned from Armenia several days ago. He confessed "It is different, not the 80's any more, but I'd love to live there." A young lady in her 30's was eavesdropping to our conversation. It was evident she was willing to participate. "Wait until you live there, you'll run away like crazy," she said. Who is she. I asked. Don't mind her, she is a hot head, my friend replied. She was a recent immigrant, I thought. Educated, gorgeous facade--but where did this hatred come from? She does not speak English yet, is in the process of acculturation. Wait until it hits you in several years, I thought. Wait until you pass through the 4 stages of naturalization, and I will talk to you then. Never mind, I don't want to talk to you, it'd be a tremendous waste. Find out on your own how difficult it is to be uprooted, planted in a different setting that has all the necessary components to grow, yet something would still be missing. Wait until you are able to purchase a nice car, some decent furniture; I hope you learn English the way you speak Armenian --then you'll get a well paying job, because you are ambitious, strong. Sooner or later you will realize that it's not "vortegh hats, endegh kats," as wise as it sounds, but "babo, vorn e mer hayrenin?" Can't help imagining how your heart will tremble when you hear a duduk melody, how guilty you'll feel when your husband will raise the shot of cognac to drink for "Hayastan." You still have some excuses, you're a newcomer. I hope you will change your views, because if you don't, then please stay away from me. I consider myself a kind and understanding human being, but will unleash my fury when I hear the same reaction in a couple of years. Stop confusing the government with the "yergir," please! I will not argue with you today, and I am not your enemy either. We have the same origins regardless of the fact whether you come from Middle East or Europe, Australia or Kenya. You, just like me, ran away. I stopped, you are still running. I have realized many things I used to disregard. The sorrow and pain made me an artist, a songwriter. I create, and I hold the "hayrenik" in my heart. Every time I visit Armenia my love to the land becomes stronger. I cherish every second of the limited time I have in Yerevan. I miss my family and my friends in LA when I am in Armenia. I miss Armenia when I am in LA. It's a catch 22, I guess. I infuse my feelings into the child who is confused, acts out, rebells without understanding, that his state of mind is boiling because he does not have the answers to the question "why did we have to leave Armenia for LA, Paris, Burkina Faso?" Wait until your son asks you the killer question. Meanwhile, enjoy the hamburgers with soda, and don't forget the chips.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Armenian in Georgia

Georgia has said it is "open" to the idea of Armenian being an official language in heavily Armenian areas. That would be a big step for a country that has tried hard to assimilate its minorities. Now let's see if they actually take the step, even on paper. Some Georgian officials reacted pretty explosively to the idea, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Temur Yakobashvili.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Turkish border to open in 3 and a half months?

According to the New York Times, the "roadmap" between Armenia and Turkey ought to be ratified by both sides in about 6 weeks, and it calls for an opening of the border within 2 months after that. The headline says the border will be opened to "trade", while the short article just says "opened", so I wonder if tourists and people would be able to cross the border as well?

Of course I also wonder if this is so much hot air and lies, and nothing is going to happen except for more excuses for the U.S. State Department to brush the genocide under the rug.