On Sunday, June 25, the large Armenian community in California was to show its Armenian muscle and heartbeat by responding to the Gyumri- Vanadzor Telethon that was to benefit the 1988 earthquake victims of Gyumri. For 30 years, thousands of survivors, their children and grandchildren have been living in rat infested tin houses with leaky roofs, without water and proper heating, stable nutrition and medical care. With leadership and generous funds, Mr. Antranik Baghdassarian established a direct “ people to people” program by which dozens of families already have moved out of their houses into new furnished homes. Thus, bringing an end to their miserable existence.
Addressing the viewers, Mr.Baghdassarian pleaded for every Armenian to participate with whatever amount they can afford. “It is shameful”, he said, “to allow this inhuman condition to exist”.
Another spokesperson pointed out that many of us, on weekly basis, spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on lunches, nights out, entertainment and amusements. Perhaps, multi-section, spread out Armenian communities were not informed of the telethon and not reached by the organizers, which resulted in poor outcome. I hope, the word will get around and many hearts and pockets will join this campaign and pay their humanitarian dues. It is never too late to extend a helping hand.
The very committed Mr. Baghdassarian with his plain speech and strong demeanor reminded me of the legendary Mr. George Mardikian, who post WWII rescued thousands of Displaced Armenians from Germany and elsewhere by bringing them to the USA, who in turn became a very productive force for America and the Armenian communities.
Mr. Baghdassarian in his speech exhibited that same kind of resolve to eliminate people’s misery in Gyumry and Vanadzor. Needless to say, it will restore their self worth, bring back dignity, and will allow them to become productive citizens of Armenia.
Mr. Baghdassarian, an accomplished businessman and a true Hye, has not forgotten his humble beginnings, is listening to the Armenian heartbeat, the voices of the needy and responding in a most generous way. Short on “I, me, mine”, Mr. Baghdassarian is an exemplary humanitarian. Thank you, Mr. Antranik.
Nazik Kotcholosian Messerlian