False Alarm and A Shudder

By Garen Yegparian

Admit it. You were happy when the New York Life Insurance Company agreed to compensate the heirs of Genocide victims–even if you weren’t getting any cash. You were thinking–"Hah–great–one instance where the veracity of the is being reaffirmed in an American court."

But then you noticed something. A word was missing–just as in the last sentence above. That all important–yet fearsome (to some)–G word. Yup–NYLIC had managed to avoid using the term as part of the settlement. Things didn’t look so good any more.

Now we have a new dust-up. Based on the documen’s I’ve seen–and they are incomplete–it’s safe to say our "queasy factor" should be rising. While I’m wading where no sane mortal would wander–**the back-and-forth of legal documen’s–this seems to reek of mutual recriminations of money grubbing and unfounded accusations.

This Monday–on June 28–Judge Christina Snyder will hear argumen’s on whether sufficient notice was given to those who might be due money from MTLIC policies.

This dispute centers around the use of the term "Genocide" in publicity–how much outside US publicity is "reasonable," and what standing non-US citizens have to gain in all this.

It seems to me that NYLIC was only too willing a hundred years ago to get money from our ancestors OVERSEAS. Consequently–it’s entirely fair to expect they be required to make appropriate efforts today to reach deprived heirs overseas–even if those efforts would–under similar circumstances–be deemed extraordinary–therefore unnecessary–in a US-based case.

A go-slow approach is wisest. We’ve waited a century; an extra several months to get funds to heirs and community institutions will hardly make a difference. Yet the attorneys on the "Armenian" side of the case seem to be in a rush to wrap this up. These men have pretty good credentials as far as service to the Armenian community goes–so questioning their motives is not something to be taken lightly. On the NYLIC (the ‘bad guys’) side–Walter Karabian–another contributing member of our community–has provided services. Makes you wonder?

If your guts are doing the same thing as mine–call the lawyers for the Armenian side and tell them what you think. Maybe a flood of calls to their offices will slow them down enough for all of us to get a handle on just what’s at stake here for our COMMUNITY–beyond the obvious remuneration due to individual Armenia’s.

Here are the office and fax numbers.

Call them.

Mark J. Geragos–Shelley A. Kaufman–Mark M. Kassabian

(213) 625-3900

(213) 625-1600

Brian S. Kabateck

(213) 217-5000

(213) 625-5010

William Shernoff–Evangeline Fisher Harris

(909) 621-4935

(909) 625-6915

Vartkes Yeghiayan

(818) 242-7400

(818) 242-0114

On a completely separate note–I’m compelled to point out how pathetic we are. You’re thinking–"What’s he gonna gripe about this time?" And maybe you’re right. But the only thing more sickening than the Reaganomania that swept over us–is the continuing response to Skeptik Sinikian’s and my pieces on the deceased president.

No–the problem is not that some wrote in to praise him–or others to bury him. The problem is that so many wrote letters to the editor ABOUT THAT TOPIC. Am I the only one who noticed that Asbarez printed more letters about this one matter than it did about everything else in the past six months?

This says to me that the readers of Asbarez (excluding the obligatory Turkish and other governmental snoops)–the overwhelming majority of whom are Armenian–care more about host country issues than Armenian issues. Imagine where those who don’t read Asbarez or another Armenian paper stand. Is it any wonder we have so many problems and such decay in our communities–their structures–and organizations?

Perhaps it’s natural to be immersed in our daily–mundane concerns. But isn’t the point of Armenian survival in the Diaspora is that we must make a conscious–sometimes superhuman–effort to overcome those distractions–provided courtesy of Turkey/Genocide/dispersion–and focus on our goals?


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