How Do We Affect The Image Of Armenians In Our Communities

Humor and suffering are often two sides of the same coin and successful comedians understand that nugget of truth and utilize humor to lighten suffering. Shock jock Bill Handel of KFI and his cohorts in their unattractive attempt to be humorous about reducing the U.S. population to save the government money proposed to clean out Glendale and its Armenian population with a racist comment, “What the Turks started, Bill will finish.”

Would they have had the audacity or courage to say, “Let’s clean out Beverly Hills of all its Jews and finish what Hitler started!”

We all know that would never happen, because Jews all over the world would react furiously, call Handel anti-semetic and become successful in having him fired immediately. Then the question becomes why would Bill Handel never think about such an antipathetic statement about the Jews? More than likely it’s because he’s been educated to understand the magnitude of suffering from the Jewish Holocaust.

And why does he have such a lack of awareness about the Armenian Genocide and the depth of cruelty and suffering imposed upon the Ottoman Armenians? How many books about the Armenian Genocide are in print in comparison to the more than 50,000 books written about the Jewish Holocaust? What does this say about our community, our writers, and the images we would like to portray?  

And how do you personally affect the image of Armenians in our community?

How many of you reacted with potency to the outrageous rant of Bill Handel?  

How many of you reacted to KCET on April 24 when our most popular public television station did not show any Armenian genocide documentaries?

What I see is apathy from our community and I feel that education is the key to promoting understanding. If we expect non-Armenians to care about us they need to understand where we came from, the effects of the Armenian genocide on the Diaspora, how difficult it was for our people to leave their homeland, in some cases two homelands, and give up their livelihoods to start all over again in a foreign country.  

I applaud those who survived, I applaud those who came to America with nothing, worked hard and educated their children, and I applaud those who tell our story to those who do not know and through those stories project the dignity of truth. It is our responsibility to history.

Kay Mouradian, is the author of A Gift In The Sunlight: An Armenian Story


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  1. Gor said:

    I certainly agree with Kay Mouradian that too many of us Armenian Americans are apathetic and/or not activist enough.
    In the same vein, I wonder how Kay feels about the fact that, except for Massachusetts and a small bit in California, Armenian Americans did not go after the genocide denials of the Anti-Defamation League. Are Massachusetts Armenians superhuman, particularly active, and especially indignant about the ADL?

    Or might there be some other explanation, such as that Armenians, their leaders, and their political organizations in major regions such as NY, NJ, Penn, Chicago, and numerous other locales did care enough to act?

    Visit Click on “News archive” and see hundreds of articles in the US, Israel, and around the world, that reported and commented on this ONE issue. Jews responded internationally – much more than Armenians did – and generally in a way that was sympathetic to Armenians.

    Kay asked what the reaction would be if someone had said, “Let’s clean out Beverly Hills of all its Jews and finish what Hitler started!” Good question. But the ADL, which is a Jewish organization, is still in a state of denial, as is the Jewish American Committee, about the Armenian genocide, and actively opposes the Armenian genocide resolution. I wonder why Kay Mouradian does ask why Armenians outside Massachusetts, except in one case at Glendale’s Hoover High, and also on the UC Santa Barbara campus, have not given a strong response to the ADL and AJC and done what Armenians in Massachusetts did. The ADL and its programs are, after all, all over the country, having worked their way into schools, colleges, cities, corporations, the police, and numerous other institutions.

    In the latter state, Armenians went after the ADL and its programs with and got 14 cities and the Massachusetts Municipal Association to cut ties to the ADL. People have termed this the biggest Armenian American campaign outside of the genocide and genocide resolution themselves.

    It seems to me that, though the Bill Handel issue – one man, and just one statement – was serious, but the ADL campaign should have garnered much more support than it did by Armenians and their Armenian American groups.

    I am wondering why the Bill Handel affair – local to one region of the US and with limited public relations reach – raises the issue of Armenian apathy in Kay Mouradian’s mind whereas the ADL – and even perhaps similar issue does not seem to have. One is a heavyweight issue, the other is far, far less so.

    Armenian leaders – and I hope Kay Mouradian – have to address this question lest it simply hang in the air, unanswered, to the detriment of us all. How many other issues are not being addressed by Armenian leaders and their organizations and who is responsible for this sad state of affairs?

  2. Tsolin said:

    To suggest that Bill Handel expressed anti-Armenian bigotry because WE as a community have somehow failed to properly educate him is outrageous, untrue, and frankly, a scapegoating of the Armenians for Handel’s own perverted views.

    Bill Handel — and other high-profile descendants of Holocaust survivors who express anti-Armenian bigotry, repeat denialist narratives, yearn to present “the other side of the story,” and force “Turkish-Armenian reconciliation” upon us — know exactly what they are doing.