Bleak & Bright

Garen Yegparian


In Yerevan, we have the bleakness of a stolen election, politely and preemptively, of course, but stolen nevertheless.

In Glendale, we have the bleakness of some Armenians running as spoilers, and some political factions working to keep Armenians down.

In Burbank, we have the bleakness of overt hate fueled by ignorance. Please see the accompanying transcript of a telephone message received by Armond Aghakhanian’s campaign for school board.

In the Diaspora, we have the bleakness of a severe disconnectedness with the civic/electoral/political reality of the Republic of Armenia. I am just as guilty as anyone, in this respect. Can you think of anything significant I’ve written over the course of the last half-a-year during which the presidential campaign played out there?

All the vile people who are responsible for these sad states of affairs should beware. Their time is short. Why?

In Yerevan, there are bright spots. People voted in very significant numbers (if not a stolen majority) for Raffi Hovannisian to become president. And, they’re now making an issue of the rigged election results by standing up, firmly, for their rights as citizens.

In Glendale, there are bright spots. Decent, thinking people, Armenian or not, are coming together to work for the election of the best candidates, regardless of the desires of some machinators with outsized egos and a desire to control political life in the city

In Burbank, there are bright spots. Armenian residents are voting at above average rates in very difficult, competitive races for city council, school board, and city clerk. To the best of my knowledge, the candidates, whether supported by Burbank ANCA or not, do not harbor anti-Armenian sentiments. Those who have learned about the message received by Armond’s campaign were quite shocked. And, there is progress in the Burbank police department where anti-Armenian attitudes are being slowly eliminated.

In the Diaspora, there are bright spots. People are speaking up about the unacceptable electoral behavior of the power elites. There was even a demonstration yesterday, in Glendale, in front of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia. Ever so slowly, people are getting over their fear of “airing our dirty laundry in public” and seeing the value and effectiveness of letting the sun shine in on the dark activities of those corrupting our fledgling republic.

Keep fighting the bleakness with the brightness of engagement and action.

Transcript of Hate Call
Yes, good day to you. I was trying to reach Lori Adams. Since she sent me a letter in the mail endorsing (cough) Armond, Armond for Burbank teachers (uhh) school board.

And (umm) I just wanted to say (umm) please don’t forward me anymore mail regarding such a candidate. Especially (umm) for someone here in Burbank. And I, and I will tell you for the reason why.

Umm I don’t understand why Armenians think they have the right to run for government government positions.

They’re not, they’re not, indigenous and native to this country. And also they’re the freaking of America.

I mean they have refugee status. They get section 8 housing to pay for their rent. They get small business loans to pay for their businesses. They get grants to go to school so they can become dentists and pharmacists. Then they get food stamps, they load them up with (umm) 300 400 dollars of groceries. And then they schlepp themselves into 80,000 dollar Mercedes they didn’t earn.

Are you kidding me?!

Are you kidding me?!

So please, please, a vote for you!?

Are you kidding me?!

You’re not a part of America, you’re not a part of the United States.

And if you don’t know your history you should know it.

You were ousted out of Russia, the Armenians were, you went to Turkey, the Turks almost eradicated you, then you went to the Middle East…your…nobody likes you!

And so what makes you think that you even have the audacity to even be in the United States of America and have a vote.


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  1. Peter Musurlian said:

    The only thing worse than the true feeling of hate expressed by that voicemail message, is a local politician who panders to that audience…in the hopes of picking up a 5 to 15 percent Hate Vote…that could make the difference in a bid for office.

    These local politicians are just like George Wallace or Strom Thurmond, only it is now the 21st Century and many have learned from the courageous activists of the 20th Century…not to tolerate a 21st Century repeat of history.

  2. Charter_Communication=Criminals said:

    You know I never understood the “American dream”? Largely, America is a nation that is on the brink of a huge demographic changes. If anything immigrants are the life-blood of the American nation. Specifically, legel-immigrants. Residents of this nation (citizen or not) are only exercising their right to the services that are PROVIDED to the residents (citizen or not) of this great nation, the United States of America, by this great nation, the United States of America. It is a tragedy when Americans are accusing other Americans of progress. Largely, these programs that support higher education and provide social welfare are implemented in order to create a more representative society and a more equitable treatment of residents (citizen or not). To me, it appears that some “Americans” are just sore because decadence, a lack of culture or identity, and a rejection of religious values has eroded the fabric of many of the communities in America, where as for immigrants, these elements are stronger among them (Namely, family and family values). Why should Armenians stop progressing? If there are benefits to be used they will use it. It is a simple process of the social hierarchy. Clearly, it would be both stupid and illogical to fail to exercise the right to use such programs when the very government that you are claiming “Armenians are not part” have put fourth these subsidies and programs to provide a social ladder to immigrants. Bill Cosby once stated that, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody” and I believe, in this instance, Armenians can’t please everyone especially the racist and opportunist rodents and vermin that are plaguing the Tri-City area.

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  4. Knar Mouhibian said:

    Regarding the Stolen Election – I say !!! BAREVolutiion !!! AYOOOO

    Regarding the Hate Voicemail … here’s my reply ….

    Dear Madam Owner of this Voicemail,

    This letter is offered in good spirit and is meant to enhance your health. A bit more knowledge, a bit less ignorance can do wonders to make those pesky Armenians begin to look pretty good.

    Assuming we are all humans rather than gargantuan reptiles or indestructible roaches, none of us are indigenous to America. Your ancestors may be Irish, English, German, or various other combinations. That makes you no more or less indigenous than one of Armenian ethnicity. Your summary of Armenian history needs drastic clarification. Everything you said about Armenians is spewed from hatred, having nothing to do with reality, so your heart objects with loss of harmony, it beats rapidly, and you lose your breath. If you are upset about the shortcomings of the welfare system and it’s abuses, do not kid yourself and think that the only crooks belong to the Armenian ethnicity, or that all Armenians are crooks. I’m sure you know that we can point to plenty of crooks within any group. Now, back to history.

    The Armenian race, ethnicity and nation has existed and thrived for thousands of years, longer than most others. It has been such an integral part of the advancement of humanity that one shudders to think what type of apes we would all be had it not been for Armenians.

    From the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti of the Armenian Mitanni Kingdom, to Saint Gregory the Illuminator whose statue is in the Vatican, to Raymond Damadian whose invention – the original MRI full-body scanner is in the Smithsonian Institution and may have been used by your doctors to diagnose, to the 9 Armenian scientists on the JPL Team (Pasadena) that put the Mars Rover and the American flag on a distant planet called Mars, to Kenneth Khachigian who was the close confidant and speech strategist for a number of US Presidents including Reagan and wrote his famous inaugural speech and farewell address, to the visionary that gave birth to the Apple computer, Steve Jobs who was raised by his Armenian mother and spoke Armenian, to chess genius Kasparov, Andre Agassi tennis champ, composer Khachaturian, entrepreneur Kirk Kerkorian, the brave Dr. Jack Kevorkian, writer William Saroyan, artist Sergei Parajanov, Mike Connors, Cher, musical genius Serj Tankian, infamous singer Harout Pamboukjian, Viza band, and the list goes on for pages and pages …. and oh, yes, our beloved Princess Diana was 1/64th Armenian. Well, you get the picture.

    So you see, Armenia has not only existed longer than most nations and cultures, but has contributed to the good of humanity in immeasurable ways. Did you know that Armenia was the first nation to adapt Christianity as its official religion following centuries of providing a safe haven for persecuted Christians within it’s national borders (yes that long ago)?

    Now Madame, I hope you see that once knowledge triumphs over ignorance, hatred begins to melt away, fear subsides, blood pressure drops, and the lumps in your throat and heart turn to curiosity and love.

    Respectfully and Sirov,
    Knar Mouhibian
    American of Armenian Heritage and proud to be both