April 24 Action During COVID

There’s been a frightening dearth of activity this April’s “Genocide Season” with commemorative activities formally “suspended.” This is understandable… up to a point. We are well past that point.

Many of the lectures, presentations, seminars, workshops, etc. could have been moved easily to virtual, internet, electronic platforms (as much as I dislike these, they would have been less-bad of a solution than the nothingness that has been the norm).

Yes, there will be online activity mid-day for a few hours on April 24th organized by our joint, community-wide commemorative committees in the greater Los Angeles area, a schedule of online “events” has been put out by the ANCA-Eastern Region, and no doubt other areas are going to follow a similar route as San Francisco where all the regularly planned, day-of-the-24th activities have been moved on line.

Yes, the ANCA is continuing its activity in Washington, DC.

Yes, there’s the $150,000 fundraising drive ($75,000 publicly collected with the other half matched) that will go to feed 1.5 million people – thematically VERY appropriate. This too is organized by our joint, community-wide commemorative committees.

Yes, once again there are Genocide billboards up in Massachusetts, this time tying in with the coronavirus, constructively and wisely so.

Yes, VOA (Voice of America, the U.S. government’s propaganda arm), of all outfits, had a piece on the Armenian and Rwandan genocides about two weeks ago.

Yes, a piece about the Genocide and its denial appeared in late March on a website named Duran.

Yes, a few online lectures were planned.

And, finally, yes, we have the happy coincidence of Amazon employees planning an online walkout on April 24th to pursue justice for some of their fellow employees who have been the targets/victims of that corporate behemoth’s less-than-ideal treatment of employees and other societally damaging behavior.

But where/how will OUR demands for justice be put forth loudly this year at the time when they are most appropriate, when our communities worldwide are most attuned to and habituated to present them? Ankara is probably pleased with the fallout of this pandemic!

I have a suggestion. It goes against what I have always believed is the better way to behave around April 24th, because it is internally oriented, rather than externally, i.e. it will not present our demands to the world at large. But it is MUCH better than nothing. And, it does have the potential to engage many more of us than typically turn out for the various activities we organize.

Let us all, EVERY Armenian, worldwide, call 25 other Armenians and ask each of them to do the same. The agenda of the call consists of three items only:

1- Offer condolences for the family members lost during the Genocide;

2- Wish success on our efforts to gain recognition for the Genocide, reparations and return of our lands from Turkey; and

3- Ask that the person receiving the call also call 25 other Armenians (this may seem like a large number, but since this is a case where we DON’T want to “flatten the curve,” we want a steep spike, we must go for a large number of contacts).

Don’t limit this to just immediate family or local compatriots. If you’ve got friends or relatives in Zimbabwe (yes, we’re there too, I’ve met an Armenian woman who lived there) or Andorra, France or Uruguay, Lithuania or Oman, Iran or Iraq, Syria or Switzerland, call them.

Let’s do this on April 24th.  All of us have a little more loose free time these days, so making 25 quick calls should be easy to handle. And, let’s actually call and talk, not just text. Let’s avail ourselves of the sound and power of the human voice.

Do this, please.

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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.
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