Why all the way to quito?

AYF TAKES ISSUES TO AMERICAS SOCIAL FORUM IN ECUADOR

By Sossi Essajanian

QUITO–Ecuador (AYF)–When William Saroyan wrote his thoughts on Armenia’s in the world meeting to create a new Armenia–he could not have anticipated this. On July 25–three AYF members–two from the US and one from Argentina–gathered in Quito to carry the Armenian nation–the organization–and the Armenian Cause to new territories and dimensions.

Serouj Aprahamian from the Orange County Ashod Yergat chapter–along with Christian Topakbassian from the AYF chapter in Buenos Aires–Argentina–and Sossi Essajanian from the Greater Boston Nejdeh chapter met in Quito to represent the AYF at the Americas Social Forum–a popular forum gathering people’s movement groups to discuss issues–guided this year by the theme "Another America is possible."

Many would ask–why go all the way to Quito to share thought on the Armenian Cause and learn about those of others?

Aprahamian puts it this way: "Our struggle for justice is linked with the struggle for social justice around the world. We need to do our best to have our voices heard in all parts of the globe–while at the same time–showing solidarity with those peoples who are facing similar forms of oppression."

Throughout the seven-day forum–delegates attend various conferences–panels–and seminars about social movemen’s–human rights–poverty–migration–and popular sovereignty. During discussions and presentations delegates listen to the causes–problems–and experiences of the indigenous people of Latin American countries including Peru–Chile–and Columbia.

The AYF delegates have already had the opportunity to inform fellow delegates about the Armenian Case–and how it relates to Latin American situations.

Case in point: During a lecture on migration and immigration–Topakbassian told the group–"I am from the Buenos Aires chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation. Why am I an Armenian living away from my homeland? Our story is not one of immigration but of flight from our homeland as a result of the Armenian genocide. But the Armenia we have today has a lot of difficulties including a hostile economic blockade by Turkey and the unresolved Karabagh conflict. But after listening to all of you speak so far–I see that we [Armenia’s] have similar problems including migration–money transfer issues–and health care concerns. Because all of these issues are important to us–we are here to learn about your difficulties–and you about ours–and share ideas. Together–we can find solutions."

In the days ahead–the three will participate in conferences and panels on forming alliances–social movemen’s–free trade–sexist violence–racism–etc.–and will participate in a forum-wide march with Armenian flag and spirit in hand.

Visit www.forosocialamericas.org for more information.

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