Encroaching Seriousness?

Maybe it’s just me noticing it more. Maybe it’s really happening. Maybe it’s just hit a tipping point of perceptibility. Maybe it’s the larger number of electoral-political activities, consequent to more Armenia’s running for office. Maybe it’s that seemingly frivolous forms are being used to support far more substantive efforts. Maybe it’s a Hrant Dink assassination side effect. Maybe it’s the sheer size of the community creating more opportunities. But doesn’t it seem like there are more serious events going on in our communities? The folks at Armencal (armeniancalendar.com, check this site out, it’s a good way to keep abreast of coming event in Armenian communities worldwide) were kind enough to let me review their listings. While this results only in a rough proportion, I found 130 listings that qualified as serious out of a total of 583. This is in the US for the period archived. There have always been lectures. There have always been conferences. There have always been book signings. There have always been Genocide related activities. There have always been art exhibits. There have always been these and other "serious events" as I’m calling them, just not in such great numbers. I contrast serious events to the typical annual dinner-dance for an organization, or the innumerable "parties" and social gatherings. Let’s not forget that epitome of greed, the self-organized "concert" of some singer to line his own pockets. But, there’s even an up side to that tackiness. It speaks to the existence and sustainability of an Armenian Economy in the Diaspora. Clearly, almost no non-Armenia’s go to these events. Yet they are abundant, well attended, and flourishing. It’s encouraging to see a broad range of organizations promoting public lectures and kindred events. I just missed one about the Hamshen Armenia’s and I regret it. While attendance is not huge, it is certainly respectable. Whether organized by the Armenian Chair at UCLA or the AESA, each draws according to its constituency. Nothing compares to the huge crowd that turned out in Philadelphia when the AYF Sebouh Chapter invited Raffi Hovannisian in the fall of 1982 to present a slide show of Western Armenia after his visit there that summer. But that was a fluke, the result of pent up longing for home and fresh information about it. Turnout was even respectable at the few lectures organized by the Burbank ANC. This inspires hope. We may be sobering up and relearning the value of being informed instead of merely trying to recover from Genocide and repeated dislocations. Let’s keep organizing serious events. Let’s keep attending them. I, for one, prefer any such events over any dinner-dance at any time! EDITOR’S NOTE: In his colum published in Asbarez last week entitiled A.A., the author made references to the Hunchakian party and its activities. The editorial board of Asbarez does not share the opinions expressed by the author about those specific references.

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