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March for 100 Years

17.05.2015   23:31

By John Perron and Tamar Poladian Perron

When a descendant of famine survivors and a descendant of genocide survivors form a wonderful, loving family then go forth and multiply, their children are perhaps the most fortunate souls in the world. That awareness filled this father’s and this mother’s hearts on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. As night began to fall, sleep did not come easy – our minds were filled with the knowledge that if our family had resided on Armenian soil 100 years ago, this father would not have survived and this mother would not have been able to save her 4 year old daughter plus her 2 year old twins. We shed tears with the realization that our family would have been among the most unfortunate people in the world at that time.

This husband and father left his family at home and ventured into the darkness that Thursday April 23, 2015 to join other fortunate sons and daughters of the unfortunate souls who perished 100 years ago …attending a candlelight vigil in Glendale, California with well over a thousand surviving members of a revered and honorable lineage. Millions more across the globe prepared for events commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

At a time when Christians are once again being held up to slaughter by zealots who are blind to their own criminality and evil, the civilized world can recognize genocide. “Evil”, by its insidious nature will hold hostage all that stands in its way. The defenseless are destroyed. Goodness, decency and faith are challenged. When “evil” speaks, its voice threatens out of one side of its mouth and denies out of the other side. “Evil” will always be able to claim that the victims deserved it or that there was no option except evil doing. But “evil” is the voice of barbarians and sociopaths spoken with the language of the guilty.

When the Unified Young Armenians (UYA) organized the candlelight vigil for that Thursday evening to shed light on the events of a century ago, they were familiar with the language of “evil”. They had heard the denials and recognized the voice. They knew because it had been taught to them and their ancestors so they would know the enemy and keep the devil behind them. They knew because they had also been taught that their path is now forever forward.

Forward is the path this family’s father took when he awoke on Friday, April 24, 2015 to participate in a march for justice organized by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee (AGCC) with community leaders, children and the elderly – warriors all. They marched forward unified as one, over 130,000 strong, with the winds of change at their back.

On that day, the world heard from scholars as well as laborers all speaking with one voice, demanding to be heard, demanding never to be forgotten, demanding “Justice”. In Little Armenia at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, the City of Los Angeles dedicated “Armenian Genocide Square.” Just down the street, tens upon tens of thousands gathered to hear the voice of leadership, from the community’s heralded spokesman U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to Los Angeles’ first City Councilman of Armenian descent, Paul Krekorian – and many others – each using the Armenian language. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell gave his entire speech in Armenian. Even the deaf could hear their message, since it was written on everyone’s face, even those who did not know the words. They were connected mind, body and soul.

Whether spoken at the candlelight vigil the night before by Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian or at the commemoration organized by the United Armenian Council of Los Angeles at the Genocide Monument in Montebello the day after by the first Mayor of Montebello that is of Armenian descent,  Jack Hadjinian;  whether in English or Armenian;  the words may have been different but the message of reverence, respect, anger and justice were exactly the same. God heard the message and on April 25 in Montebello. He shed a few gentle tears in the City of Montebello on the face of this family’s mother – in the form of small raindrops on that day to symbolically soothe the good souls who gave voice to the message for the past 100 years.

Many tear s have been shed since 1915 – tears of sorrow, tears of pain, tears of remembrance. More than 130,000 strong, over one-eighth of a million people gathered in East Hollywood and raised their collective voice as they marched to honor the last 100 years. And now we share that voice. And this family, its mother and father, can plainly see in the faces of their children, and hear in the voices of the souls who passed and the souls yet to come . . . we are Armenian. We shall not go gently into that good night. We shall wipe away our tears and along with the most fortunate souls, we shall march together into the next 100 years shedding tears of joy –  as victors!
#Turkeyfailed.

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John Perron is a political advisor and consultant for nonprofits and business enterprises. John was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council in 2014 and is President of the East Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Tamar Poladian Perron is an attorney and a member of the Glendale Community Police Partnership Advisory Council and Glendale Police Advisory Council. Tamar was the first Armenian Community Liaison for any Los Angeles City Councilmember and Field Representative for Michael Woo in the 13th Council District. She also served as a member of the T.C. A. – Arshag Dickranian Armenian School Board of Trustees.

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