BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Two weeks ago, the Western U.S. Region of the ARF, at its biennial convention, elected a new Central Committee (CC). In case any readers don’t know, I’ve been a member for over three decades, so I greeted this development with some jaded, understandable, “so what”-ism.
But upon a barely closer inspection, I felt a surge of pride and curiosity. The particular composition of this crop of electees is quite hope-inspiring. While there is certainly a depth of organizational experience represented, more intriguing is the mix of ages (thirtyish to seventyish), backgrounds, and involvements.
I cannot recall another CC with four Ph.D.- types in it. And, it’s not engineers/scientists (as many of our leaders have been who have brought that rigor to their organizational activity), but products of the social sciences— economics, literature, political science, and psychology. These cover almost all the aspects of our communities the ARF has taken upon itself to address. If we only had a sociologist in the bunch, I’d say we had landed a royal flush!
These perspectives and the guarded optimism many in the ranks feel hold much promise for the next two years (the term of the CC). It is with some confidence that I extend a hand to everyone around us to link-up and build our capacity to serve our community in the Western U.S., support progressive politics in our area, and work on extricating the sliver of our homeland under Armenian governance from the political mire it is stuck in.
On this last front, it’s interesting that Mexico’s presidential election, held just days ago, seems to have been rife with many of the same advance-vote-buying shenanigans that were reported after the Republic of Armenia’s parliamentary elections just months ago. Another parallel is the rising number of casualties in both countries attributable to (different) root problems. In Mexico, it is the illicit-drug trade, while in Armenia it is the sense of impunity undergirding the behavior of the so-called “oligarchs” and even military, leading, most recently, to the beating death of Vahe Avetian. Perhaps, since the largest concentration of Armenians in the country is to be found in California, both the Armenian and Mexican communities might be able to support and learn from one another on how to fix things “back home”.
Let’s make this a season of progress. Please, jump in and participate.