Arpa is an active member of the La Crescenta “Zartonk” AYF. She has long been involved in the community as both a student and AYF member, taking on leadership positions, volunteering for organizations such as the ANC and serving on countless committees in the AYF. She is currently studying to pursue a career in the field of education.
As a child, Arpa spent a lot of time with her maternal grandmother who told her stories about her great-grandfather and especially “Jebel Musa” (Musa Ler). She spoke about people resisting and struggling.
“Hearing these stories made me aware that there was more important things than just myself,” says Hatzbanian. “Although this sounds cliché, I’m not exaggerating. I always had the will to make a difference and make something of my life so I could live up to the family name.”
She describes how the passing of her maternal grandfather, Antranig Ourfalian, after her 15th birthday was a turning point in her life. The impact he had in the Armenian community was motivational for her.
“Today, when my work in the AYF begins to get too hectic,” she explains, “I remember two things: my grandmother’s stories—and how much easier my struggles are—and my grandfather’s lasting impact. With these memories, I will keep working hard and help motivate my ungers, so together we can honor our ancestors and leave a lasting impact.”
Name: Serop Sherbetjian Relation: Great Grandfather Hometown: Musa Ler
During the Genocide, Musa Ler (a mountainous region on the Mediterranean coast) was attacked by the Turks but the brave people fought back and were victorious. It was one of the rare instances of self-defense organized by Armenians and their heroic stance has been memorialized in Franz Werfel’s epic novel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.
For a short period, those who survived Musa Ler were brought back to their homes with the help of the French. At this time, Serop became the Muidur (mayor) of the region. He did his best, given the conditions, to serve his people who had worked so hard to keep their sacred land.
By the onset of World War II, however, relations between France and Turkey changed and the people of Musa Ler were once again exiled from their lands, this time to Anjar, Lebanon. In Anjar, Serop and his family were able to create a very influential Armenian community where he continued his leadership role as the first mayor. Until today, Anjar maintains a strong Armenian community.