The LAPD has confirmed that the permit for a parade of the Ottoman Military Marching Band, originally scheduled to take place on Monday in Hollywood, has been withdrawn by organizers.
The prospect of large-scale protest and backlash from our community has clearly forced those behind this offensive campaign to back down from their planned march.
The Armenian Youth Federation welcomes the cancellation of this shameful and extremely insulting event. The notion of celebrating a military responsible for the murder of 1.5 million of our ancestors on the streets of Hollywood, just over the border from Little Armenia, is wholly unacceptable.
As a result of this apparent cancellation, the protest demonstration planned for Monday in opposition to the march is also being halted.
However, the AYF remains on high alert and continues to monitor this issue closely. Should there be any attempt by the Ottoman Military Band to reorganize its offensive display within our community, we are ready to promptly and appropriately address such an action.
This episode once again displays the blatant contempt of Turkey and its allies toward the Armenian community. It is incumbent upon us to remain vigilant and organized against such brash provocations.
On October 3rd, the Ottoman Military Band will be marching through the streets of Hollywood in their imperial garb, with Turkish flags, swords, and shields in hand. They will be playing Ottoman military music and celebrating the history of the Turkish army right here in the heart one of the largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia.
The march is scheduled to take place on Monday, October 3rd, from 4 6 PM on Hollywood Blvd., between Highland and La Brea.
This brash display is an affront to the over 500,000 Armenian-American residents of Los Angeles. As the descendents of those who survived the Armenian Genocide, it is an insult of the highest order to be confronted by a parade of an army responsible for the attempted annihilation of our people.
We cannot stand by in silence while such an offensive march passes through our own community. It is increasingly clear that the Turkish government and its advocates are going to all lengths to not only deny the Armenian Genocide, but to flaunt and rekindle memories of their crime directly in our neighborhoods.
The AYF calls on all concerned to show their dissatisfaction with this offensive parading of Genocide here in our adopted home. Stay connected with www.AYFwest.org in the coming days for more information about this disturbing march.
On September 21, 1991, the Armenian people collectively stood up to demand freedom from the Soviet Union. A resounding 99% of Armenia’s citizens voted for independence that day, reestablishing the republic whose foundation was laid down nearly seven decades earlier.
While we celebrate 20 years of Armenian statehood, we also recognize the many grave socio-economic injustices and political challenges still facing our young republic.
With President Sargsyan’s upcoming visit to Los Angeles this weekend, we offer this video message from newly elected AYF-WR Central Executive Chairperson, David Arakelyan.
GLENDALE Delegates from the Armenian Youth Federations 14 chapters convened over the weekend at the organizations campground in Wrightwood for a three-day assembly which set the goals and direction for the upcoming fiscal year.
The AYF Annual Convention is an opportunity for us to gather and discuss the critical issues facing our people and homeland, as well as the Armenian Cause, said Tro Krikorian, from the Pasadena Nigol Touman Chapter, who served as the Conventions co-chair. The discussions that took place here showed a clear consensus in the organization regarding where we need to go for the upcoming fiscal year, and the important role we need to play in the community as Armenian-American youth.”
During the course of the Convention, delegates engaged in lively and in-depth discussions on such key issues as the state of the AYF, enhancing community activism, establishing new means of outreach in the Western Region, and strengthening the organizations presence in the homeland.
Delegates were joined by representatives from the Badanegan Central Council and the AYF Camp Management Board. The AYF Executive Director Serouj Aprahamian, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Western Region Central Committee representative Shant Baboujian also attended the meeting.
The Convention concluded with the election of the organizations new Central Executive. This years body will consist of five members from across California, whose function is to govern the administrative and organizational aspects of the AYF.
The elected members will serve in the following capacities: David Arakelyan – Chairperson, Allen Yekikian – Vice Chairperson, Avo Shanlian – Advisor, Kevork Tutunjian – Secretary, Sanan Haroun – Treasurer.
The AYF remains committed to the advancement and engagement of Armenian youth in the United States, said David Arakelyan, speaking on behalf of the newly elected body. Though the challenges facing our community and our nation are formidable, we are determined to meet them and create a better future for the Armenian people.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.
Three months ago, sitting in the terminal at LAX, I wrote a blog entitled “Janabar” marking the beginning of the 2011 AYF Youth Corps program. Now, looking back on our group, the 25 different individuals, the 25 different backgrounds and personalities, the 5 different camp sessions, the 6 weeks of volunteer work, the over 600 kids whose lives were touched, I can only think about what’s next.
The participants of the program this year left Armenia having seen Yerevan, having lived in Gyumri, having lived in Shushi, having lived in Stepanakert, having lived in Broshyan, and having seen Javakhk. They left Armenia with a deeper understanding of its realities. They left Armenia with hundreds of photos, and thousands of memories. Most importantly they left Armenia with longing; longing to return home.
The Youth Corps program has a special place in the hearts of every single one of its participants ever since 1994. The alumni of this program continue to work for the Armenian community and the Armenian homeland as a result of the heartfelt connections they made while they were participants.
I sincerely hope that passionate, driven, and motivated youth continue to choose to see Armenia through Youth Corps. In the future this program will keep growing, it will keep expanding to more and more cities, and it will continue providing the fodder to light the fire inside new generations of Armenian youth who want to strengthen their ties to our homeland.
Our future as a people must be within our borders. The idea of Tebi Yerkir starts with a shift of mindset towards our homeland, and is followed by our physical presence. Seeing and understanding the country firsthand, through programs like Youth Corps, is an excellent way to dig beyond the surface and bridge the distance between the diaspora and the homeland.
Please continue to follow our work, support our fundraisers and apply to next year’s program.
My last blogs were all written in different cities of Armenia with a nameless street. This one in particular has a street, it’s Glenoaks Blvd. At the end of the street you will find a small campus by the name of Woodbury University in the heart of California. As I wait for my turn to introduce myself and tell the class about my summer plans, I wonder where I should begin, which story I should tell my classmates and professor, which memorable kid I should talk about, which city should I describe, which funny story I should narrate, which participant should I talk about…
There is so much to tell. They had to know about my new best friend Vahe aka varounk, they had to know about how Adrienne got baptized, they had to know how Arpa and Patil became sisters to me, they had to know about Vache and his kind-heart, they had to know about Hrag’s everlasting smile, they had to know that Shavo was first our designated driver then he became one of us, they had to know how Sevana my kuro and I have plans to open a business in Armenia, they had to know how Nazeli stepped in cow poop, then they had to know about how Adrienne, Sevana and I were invited to a kid’s house and how well we were treated there, they just had to know these and so much more…
It was exactly 1PM, on a regular day in Armenia we were probably lining the kids up for lunch. Now I am sitting in a classroom impatiently waiting to inform my class about my best summer ever. After this, another class, and after that an AYF meeting. A regular-routine life, that doesn’t have any excitement. There is nothing to be impatient and excited about. There is no one that will welcome me with a flower anymore, there is no one that brings me shemushka, there is no parent and child that will beg me to come to their house, there is no new city that I will go to next to have another jampar, to meet other youth, to influence a new bunch of kids, to teach them a new song or even yet come up with a new ganch. And there it struck me, that I was back in America, and yes I was already homesick. I wasn’t surrounded by all Armenians, I wasn’t going to spend my night singing revolutionary songs, I knew that I wouldn’t have to sit in a taxi and calculating how many drams I should pay, and I knew that in the morning no one will be there to tickle me, to wake me up.
A month ago, my parents were miles away from me, now my home is 11,564.75 kilometers away from me. How could I not be homesick? I don’t see Ararat, I don’t see the dome or the steeple of Shushi’s Gazachetsots Church, there are no drivers busting U-turns or cutting in front of people, I don’t see men selling watermelon on the streets, there are no women putting laundry on wires, there are no hyper children surrounding me… Although, I wish that youth corps was a year round program, it inspired me even more to study hard and graduate fast, so I can search for a job and live the rest of my life in my HOMELAND.
As our final days of Youth Corps come to an end, I realize that in the past six weeks on this trip, there were times when I had never felt more exhausted, uncomfortable, excited, happy, intrigued, or even sad. I experienced a number of “extremes” and discovered things about myself I didn’t know beforehand.
At the same time, I have never been so satisfied with six weeks of my life. By embracing every moment as a learning experience, I have gained more from this trip than I ever anticipated. I decided to do Youth Corps not only to be able to influence the future of Armenia through its youth, but to cover the physical and emotional distance that had developed between me and my homeland. I had visited Armenia twice before to visit family, but this time I came not as a tourist or onlooker, but an involved and contributing individual. I know I’ve made an impression on people here and I hope that it will somehow echo in the future. Now as I prepare to leave I have never felt closer to my own culture, my homeland and its people. Of course, I was able to have the joy of waking up to work with amazing children every single day. Their sharp wit, intelligence, humor, and optimism moved me and taught me that hope and happiness persist and life goes on even in the most meager conditions. I can not begin to describe how much I have learned about the history of Hayasdan and Artsakh, topics that shamefully I new little about. I made it a personal responsibility to absorb as much information as I could. Additionally, I formed a deep emotional connection to my homeland, something I knew I lacked. I’m rarely a very emotional person, but the moment I stepped inside and glanced at the walls of the Martyrs Museum in Stepanakert, covered in photographs and memorabilia from the Artsakhian war, I could not help but cry. When I heard the words of Galya Arstamyan, the mother who ran the museum, all of a sudden the struggle, the fight, that had previously seemed so distant and unfamiliar to me, almost became my own. Being a new AYF member, I came to Armenia with basic knowledge about ARF history, beliefs, and ideals. Now, I have a much more meaningful understanding of the organization and the people that made Armenia’s freedom and independence possible. I can attest to that by all the ARF songs I have learned throughout the trip. Lastly, I must mention the newfound family I have formed from the 25 strangers I first met on this trip. It was inevitable that we got so close within 6 weeks. The fact that we know one another’s bathroom experiences and pet peeves is a clear testament to our intimacy. My family has definitely taught me the importance of respect and compassion in order to maintain harmony and good relationships.
I came to Armenia with a gaping hole in my heart for my homeland. I was prepared to take in every piece of Hayasdan that I could possibly get my hands on, and I did just that. I enjoyed every ray of the biting summer sun, the mosquito bites from Shushi, the ice cream, ice cold water from the myriad of plplaks, the sight of Ararat on a clear day, every hug, wet kiss, and handmade item I received from the children, the marshutka rides, the ponchiks at Ponchik Monchik, the times I was overcharged on a taxi and the other occasion where the driver refused to take our money, overpaying for souvenirs at Vernisage, the unforgettable taste of apricots and watermelon, the evenings on Hyusisain Poghota, chicken dancing with the kids every morning, the intimate “pillow talks” I held with my roommates and the countless rounds of Mafia. Youth Corps 2011 is over, but it only marks the beginning of my work here in the homeland. Hayasdan, I can assure you that I will be back.