I just got a trip report from my father, who took a trip through Cilicia and Western Armenia. It reminded me of the trip I took back in 2004, which was much the same route.
It’s a very strange thing to experience and look back on. I imagine it’s much like one day your house is attacked by a band of thieves, who kill some of your family and move into your house. Then, many years later they tell you that for a price you can visit your old house, which you certainly can’t have back. And you do. You can’t help but wonder, but want to see what it was you lost. You go back and although they’ve remodeled and added on some new wings and torn down some of the old sections, you can see the room where aunt Ester and uncle Khosrov were murdered. You can sit in the huge yard and marvel at the fruits and veggies. Your hosts will be kind enough to offer you tea. After you’ve paid for your Turkish visa, hotels, transport and food… it’s a bittersweet experience. Years have gone by, and I still don’t know if it was more bitter or sweet.
Nevertheless, 2 days ago, as we drove past the Ararat Valley on the way to Karabakh, I was remarking how this was the only real, large valley we have left as Armenians. That in Turkey it was one after another, many much larger. It stunned me. To see it on a map is one thing, to drive through…
Yesterday, driving through Karabakh, and hiking up to Gtichavank again on a beautiful mountain, we only knew that this land was ours, and we could never let it go…
Little Armenia is a fairly large designated neighborhood in east Hollywood. The northern boundary of the neighborhood is Hollywood Blvd itself. It also has Sunset Blvd running through the center of it, and Santa Monica Blvd is the southern boundary. Many of the Armenians who first moved to this neighborhood have moved on to Glendale, Burbank and the Valley, but a sizable number remain. Some of my favorite Armenian businesses remain here – most of them revolving around food. The neighborhood doesn’t have particularly great visibility however other than some Armenian signs and one nice church that’s a bit tucked away.
Hollywood Blvd is famous of course for among other things, it’s Walk of Fame. The black sidewalks with pink stars that are dedicated to some of the most famous people in the entertainment industry. That sidewalk, in the central part of Hollywood is a must visit for tourists, and the stars stretch many blocks until they end at the world famous Hollywood and Vine corner. Four (somewhat long) blocks east of that is where the official “Little Armenia” neighborhood starts. I think it would be great PR for Armenians if we built our own Little Armenia Walk of Fame on our section of Hollywood Blvd. Just one block should be sufficient. We could give stars to really famous Armenians, including Cher (who already has a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star to the west), System of a Down, Kirk Kerkorian, William Saroyan, Charles Aznavour, etc. Same type of idea, but maybe the stars could be Armenian in design – we have beautiful 5, 6 and 8 pointed stars carved all over Armenia we could take inspiration from. Just as fun would be to have hand and footprints of those who get stars in cement, like at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.
If we made this happen, it would be a great way to highlight Armenian contributions to the US and the world. It would educate Armenians and Americans, and I hope would get mentions in many guidebooks for tourists to head a bit east to see this. Choosing the right block would be tricky, but it would have to be on Hollywood Blvd for sure. You could go for the westernmost block of Little Armenia, to put it closest to the original walk of fame, I do wish there were more Armenian businesses there though. You could put it on the block between Mariposa and Alexandria, or Alexandria and Kenmore. Those have a few Armenian businesses, and are close to the nice Armenian style St. Garabed Church. And you could go to the easternmost block of Little Armenia, between Edgemont and New Hampshire or Vermont. This is below the very nice Barnsdall Park, right by the popular Los Feliz area, and still pretty close to the Armenian Church.
Can’t you see the Little Armenia Walk of Fame already? Can we make it a reality?
The New York Times just published a good review of “Here”, a new American independent film that was mostly filmed in Armenia, and has some Armenian dialogue. If I’m not mistaken, this is a first. It is also introducing Armenia’s landscapes to the world, and those landscapes get a glowing report card. The NYT writes, “There are vistas in Braden King’s metaphysical road movie, “Here,” that are so beautiful you want to step through the screen and disappear into the Armenian landscape where much of it was filmed. ” That’s the first line of the review!
If you want to see this limited release, the show dates and locations can be found here (no pun intended), and the trailer can be seen here. It opens in NYC on April 13, LA on April 27 and SF on May 11.
It would be funny if it weren’t genocide denial… okay, maybe it’s still funny.
Turkish EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis, clearly a genius, challenged France while he was in Switzerland by stating publicly:
“We are today in Switzerland and I am saying the 1915 incidents were not a genocide. Let them come and arrest me,”
What is funny about this is that the French law is not on the books at this point, but guess what, Switzerland’s is! This chicken appears to have been ignorant of that fact, and was trying to posture by denying the Armenian genocide outside of France’s borders.
Swiss prosecutors have launched an initial investigation to see whether Turkey’s EU minister breached the law by denying that the mass killings of Armenians a century ago were genocide. Under Swiss law it is a crime to deny that the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War One constituted an act of genocide.
Egemen, there’s a saying in English… be careful what you wish for.