SpitRain IX: The Multicontinental Edition

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, United Nations Correspondents Gold Medal, the National Magazine Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, and two from the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA Eastern and Western Regions)… Do you know who this describes? Here’s another hint: A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. In case it’s not yet obvious, she was also President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the UN.

Former UN Ambassador Samantha Power (Photo: U.S. State Department)

Samantha Power is now a winner of the coveted SpitRain award, too, granted (by yours truly) to individuals who behave so shamelessly that the Armenian saying, “S/he’s so shameless, if you spit in his/her face, s/he’d say it’s raining” becomes applicable to her/him.

But she is not alone in earning this SpitRain. Rather, she was enabled by a host of others, to be named shortly.

No doubt, you saw the news that she joined the Aurora Prize selection committee. This prize was founded by Noubar Afeyan (entrepreneur, venture capitalist, inventor, technologist, and CEO), Vartan Gregorian (extensive resume of distinguished academic and foundation positions), and Ruben Vardanyan (billionaire in Russia), to recognize, annually, the efforts and achievements of “an individual whose actions have had an exceptional impact on preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.” This is a great thing, especially since it’s named after Arshalooys Mardiganian (Aurora Mardigian), who starred in the movie portraying her own story of surviving the Armenian Genocide.

But Samantha Power is also the person who did nothing to act on her “convictions” during her time in office. She was silent about the Armenian Genocide until some months before the end of her tenure, and even that was just a passing reference. Simply, she was no better than Obama or any other promise-and-renege official we’ve encountered countless times over the decades.

Imagine if soon after Ambassador John Evans’s unceremonious dumping (2006) for speaking honestly about the genocide (2005), she had done the same as Obama’s Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights on the National Security Council (Jan. 2009 to Feb. 2013), as chair of a newly formed Atrocities Prevention Board (April 2012), or U.S. Ambassador to the UN (until 2017).

How did she get appointed to the Aurora Prize Selection Committee (APSC)? It’s not spelled out in the press release, nor could I find a description of the selection process on the Aurora website. I have to assume that Afeyan, Gregorian, and Vardanyan did it, hence their complicity and sharing the shame required to earn a SitRain.

What of the other members of the APSC? Were they involved in her joining Aurora? It’s been more than a week, and I’ve seen no indication that any of them have voiced disapproval or dissatisfaction with Power’s being brought in their midst. Unfortunately, this leads me to include these august individuals as SpitRain recipients. In case you have any doubt as to their credentials, or simply do not know who they are, please read on or see the list with more detail on the Aurora website.

The APSC is composed of George Clooney (humanitarian, performer, and filmmaker), Ernesto Zedillo (former President of Mexico), Gareth Evans (former Australian Foreign Minister), Hina Jilani (Former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders), Leymah Gbowee (Nobel Laureate), Mary Robinson (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland), Oscar Arias (former President of Costa Rica and a Nobel Laureate), Shirin Ebadi (Human Rights Lawyer, Iran’s first female judge, and a Nobel Laureate), Lord Ara Darzi (Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London), and Vartan Gregorian.

Shame on these otherwise exemplary people!

And, even more shame on all of us, as Armenians, if we don’t raise a huge fuss over the poor judgment that led to Samantha Power’s being added to the APSC. She had her chance, and she blew it. Unless she finds some way to make up for her eight-year silence, she has no place in the Armenian circuit. Otherwise, many more like her will take advantage of us and dump us when it doesn’t suit their needs.

The Aurora Prize started, and should continue, as a proudly Armenian “thing” that is serving all of humanity in gratitude for the help we received when we most needed it. but Armenian rules and norms must apply. No back-door collusion, crafty compromising politics, or gamesmanship ought to be tolerated.

Fortunately, there’s already a bit of a stink being raised on Facebook about this as well as at least one other op-ed, published in Armenian, penned by Apo Boghigian. May there be many more. Write the Aurora folks at [email protected] or 2/2, Melik-Adamyan Street, 0010 Yerevan, Republic of Armenia. Heck, maybe there office should even be picketed!


Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.

Latest posts by Garen Yegparian (see all)


  1. I pointed out Samantha Power’s broken promises and lack of principles back in 2009 in an article titled “Putting Principle Over Power: Why Samantha Power Must Resign”. Please see link below.

    I wish that Armenian American organizations had acted back then.
    This is what apathy brings about.
    Now we may be stuck with Samantha (and her husband and Obama buddy, Cass Sunstein) and even see her get awards from Armenians.
    Apathy, often brought about by paranoia and laziness, wins the day.
    We can do better.


  2. After reading A Problem from Hell, I sent her a tape of my mother’s genocide recollections. She thanked me.
    As US Ambassador to the UN, she distinguished herself as a profile in cowardice emulating Obama who appointed her.

  3. I agree with you Garen Yegparian. She lacks integrity and claims to be a ‘scholar’ of Genocide? What a joke.

  4. US political leaders, including those who have been tasked with giving naive American-Armenians lip service, are cold blooded reptiles. The US itself is an empire run by several powerful special interests. Trump, who is led by right wing Jews, is no different than Clinton, who is led by left wing Jews. Both Republican and Democrat serve the empire’s financial/political elite; both are therefore utterly corrupt and dangerous. In today’s world, the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance poses the greatest single threat to mankind. Therefore, God bless Mother Russia.

    PS: Problems we see in Washington today have little to do with Trump per se; it’s an internal struggle between American nationalists (neo-imperialists) and international globalists (neo-marxists). For us Armenians, both are equally dangerous.

  5. Thank you Garen for this well-written column against two-faced careerist Samantha Power.

    “The Aurora Prize” should be renamed “The Arshalouys Prize”.

    The Arshalouys Prize should within a three-year period go to an accomplished Armenian individual or entity whose human rights work has brought tremendous welfare and security to Armenians and others and not to just globalist stars from far away places doing feel-good things.

    Prize recipients should be required to publicly speak or write about the unrequited Armenian Genocide in at least three separate instances within the first year.

    Prize organizers must completely separate business interests from their humanitarian work or close up shop.

  6. An Armenian American group needs to draw up an international online petition that demands the following:

    Aurora must dismiss Power.
    Or Power must resign.

    Armenians are about 9 years too late on Power (how and why did that happen?), but better late than never.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.