ARF CALIFORNIA CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS ORGANIZES GLENDALE FORUM
GLENDALE–The second community gathering organized by the ARF Southern California Campaign in connection with parliamentary elections in Armenia on May 25–took place on May 21 at the Glendale St. Mary’s Church Hall. More than 300 gathered to hear panelists–ARF CC representative Hovig Saliba–director of the "Nor Hayatsk" TV program Haig Aharonian–and Reverend Bedros Hajian–who works closely with troubled Armenian youth in the area.
In opening the gathering–member of the editorial staff of the Navasart monthly publication Shnorhig Nazarian–stressed: "We are obliged to participated in the campaign and put forth the political party that we believe in–in this case–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation–its candidates and party ballot composed of Armenia’s intellectual and political leadership."
Panelist Aharonian spoke of the past leadership in Armenia’s parliament: "We–for ten years–watched and were saddened; we believed–yet only saw that people came and gave nothing–but they took a great deal away." He stressed that the NA has been transformed into a commercial body–"It’s not enough to simply criticize; we must work to develop the country."
Rev. Bedros Hajian said–"It’s amazing today–that to avoid serving in the army–Armenia’s youth prefer to flee the country–land in the US illegally–and become jailed by immigration officials." He revealed that there are thousands of Armenian youth in US jails; this phenomenon–he said–was non-existent until 1990. "The ARF–however–has exerted great efforts throughout the Diaspora to educate the youth; it has taken on the role of a father." He denounced certain Armenian TV programming both in the US and Armenia–undertaken by self-dubbed leaders who oppose the ARF–to deceive youth. "They need to be accountable for their wrongdoing–and must convey–instead–ARF’s resoluteness in protecting national interests."
ARF CC representative Hovig Saliba began by confessing that though born in Lebanon–he has always dreamed of living in the homeland. "I have been in Armenia on countless occasions–and having immigrated to the US in the mid 70’s–did not desire US citizenship–always dreaming of gaining Armenian citizenship. I hope that the constitutional amendment on dual citizenship passes enabling us–once and for all–to become citizens of our country and participate in elections."
Saliba said the ARF will remain a soldier and servant of the Armenian people–and requested that eligible voters cast their vote on May 25 for the ARF.
"The survivors of the Armenian genocide had no option but to settle into a Diaspora; it is also understandable–considering the present conditions of our homeland–that those facing difficulties are forced to migrate. I also know–however–that wherever and under whatever conditions Armenia’s live–we must never reject the notion of returning to our country," conveyed Saliba.
Addressing anti-ARF propaganda–Saliba explained that it is nothing new–but has existed since the days of Ottoman rule–Czarist and Soviet rule–and even during the early days of Armenia’s independence. And because the ARF is the healthiest of political parties–it is pursued by interests and forces that oppose our nation.