Armen Karapetian, an Armenian who lives in New York, was hoping that the April 24 demonstrations would serve as an opportunity to make the world know more about the Armenian Genocide.
He was disappointed when he noticed community members gathered in a closed basement, away from the media. Outside was raining and they obviously wanted to protect themselves from the rain. Inside speeches were delivered in the presence of Armenians only. In the same city, in the Time Square, hundreds of Armenians were expecting to be joined by others for a public demonstration.
Karapetian expressed his dissatisfaction about this in a letter to an open forum. His protest was forwarded to Hirant Gulian, Chairman of the 95th Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee, who agreed to meet Karapetian and explain him the misunderstanding.
Read the correspondence below:
1) From Armen Karapetian to the open forum:
April 24 demonstration in the basement of the Diocese in New York
I can no longer contain myself after reading the accolades about the speeches given in the basement of the diocese for the April 24 memorial. As a background it was raining here in New York and the yearly April 24 demonstrations were transferred to the Diocesan basement. However, it was not well publicized and some people actually gathered in Time Square waiting for the leaders to arrive and no sign of the leaders. If I remember correctly the whole purpose of the April 24 demonstration in Time Square was to make a point to the Turkish government and the general public so they know we are serious about our cause. However, when I heard that it was brought indoors, the first thought was what a shame since our martyrs walked through the desert and died in the harsh conditions of Der Zor and now we are so lame that we can not withstand the rain in the middle of New York City, where there is an umbrella for sale on every corner.
The second thought was who we are demonstrating for? All the people who were there already knew about the genocide. I looked around and there was no Turk present, no usual Turkish journalist to report on the event and no American general public who forsakes their values and supports the so called Turkish alliance with the US. It reminded me of the old tree falling in the forest and no one to hear its noise. That was when I got up and left, before this pitiful demonstration of the Armenian resolve was staged. If I was in the Turks' shoes I would wonder how serious the Armenians are about the genocide, when they would not even brave few drops of rain to demonstrate. Certainly no one of consequence heard about what happened in the basement of the Diocese except some Armenians. It was funny in a painful way to read how people were patting each other on the back about the great speeches.
2) From Hirant Gulian to Armen Karapetian:
Parev Mr. Armen Karapetian,
I usually do not answer comments like this simply because you do not have the facts yet, you do come up with a conclusion. If you are interested to know more Committee will be at the Diocese on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. I will be more than happy to give you 10 minutes of my time to give you details. Please be advised that, it will be only 10 minutes which I think will be sufficient time to answer all your ill mannered conclusions.
Thank you for your comments,
95th Armenian Genocide
3) From Armen Karapetian to the open forum:
I thank Mr. Gulian for his message. It is gracious of him to offer me 10 minutes of his valuable time to set me straight and answer my “ill mannered conclusions”. His explanation whatever it might be is not worthy of 10 minutes of my time.
Just a reminder to him and all the other organizers, the April 24 is a day of national mourning for us Armenians and it holds a special place in our hearts. The demonstrations are important to make sure that the world does not forget about this crime and injustice. It is not a church picnic to be rained out and moved indoors. Anyway talking for 10 minutes or 10 years still could not justify to move it out of the public view into the basement, no matter how beautiful and spacious that basement might be. There were quiet a few of us who would have gone out and demonstrated in the rain just to make a point with the Turkish government and general public. The politicians could have stayed in the dry basement and made their speeches. I have said enough about this matter and frankly it is very unpleasant to think about it.