Armenian Flags as Detriment to Culture

Once again I attempt to communicate with a level of reasoning in trying to juxtapose between Armenian nationalism and Armenian genocide recognition. I argue these are polar opposites.

I love the day of remembrance. I admire the efforts of the dauntless Armenians who protest all day in the hot sun in hopes of having Turkey and the United States recognize the tragic genocide events of 1915. Like any anniversary, whether it is a marriage, a birth, a death, or a historical occurrence, we Armenians have the right to remember these events once a year on April 24.

What I am completely against is the continuous driving around with Armenian flags while honking the horn. Armenians driving around with flags while honking give me a deep sense of hostility – not remembrance or recognition of an event.

If you are Armenian, do you really have to call your five friends and ask them to follow you with five cars down Whittier Blvd. in East Los Angeles while displaying some of the biggest Armenian flags ever manufactured and relentlessly honking the horn? What is the agenda?

As a long-time employee of an exclusively Latino/Latina high school, let me provide you with some historical background to the area of East Los Angeles:

According to the 2000 United States government census report, the vast majority of East Los Angeles is comprised by Latinos; specifically 97 percent. It has historically been, is, and will continue to be a hotbed for all things Latino.
I Ask You This: What in the world do Latinos/Latinas (majority Mexican) have anything to do with the Armenian genocide, its remembrance, its recognition, and Turkey’s approval?

Would you, as an Armenian, want me to stick a Mexican flag in your face on Cinco de Mayo and demand attention for remembrance? Likewise, do not drive around with flags while still having the audacity to honk the horn for attention. Treat people with some respect.

Some of the more humble Hispanics, as I spoke to a few on the street, even made the mistake as to think that the Armenian flags being showcased down Whittier Blvd. were that of the Colombian flag (Colombia has similar colors, just different horizontal stripe color-positioning).

As mentioned, Armenian flags and the accompanied honking is a sign of hostility. Furthermore, it causes commotion and dissonance. Those unfortunate enough to witness these rude Armenian flags see nothing but unrest on the street.
Case & Point: People in East Los Angeles couldn’t care about Armenia, their genocide, and the remembrance. There is no use in driving around their neighborhoods in disturbing the peace, causing noise pollution, and showing hostility towards the people who live there. The only thing you are doing is provoking more emotions with the flags and horns; to me this is not the agenda of the Armenian genocide recognition efforts.

Secondly, the Armenians driving around in their vehicles with the excessively large flags are not trying to remember the events of 1915. Instead, they are using the day of April 24 to address to the non-Armenian population their self pride to their country while showcasing some strong nationalistic propaganda. To these Armenians, April 24 seems to be a wonderful day of lawlessness in doing whatever they may please. It is almost as if they are celebrating instead of remembering.
Next time, try and observe the faces of the Armenians driving with flags and note what you see. They are almost smirking at you with no respect. First grinning, and then chuckling at the nearest passerby.

These are – and I am generalizing – a group of contentious and enraged adolescent Armenian boys using April 24 as an awfully poor excuse to tell everyone, “I am an Armenian and can do anything I like – even if it means driving around with large flags in a foreign neighborhood.” This is rude, offensive, and therefore should not be tolerated.
As an Armenian, it is extremely frustrating and irritating to experience this and would do anything to try and make these flags illegal.

Use some common judgment when it comes to celebrating and remembering an anniversary; tragic or otherwise. Next time, try and distinguish the difference between a remembrance in contrast to nationalism and other excuses of lashing out at the non-Armenian public.

The bottom line is that Armenians with their flags and honking allude to a deep sense of hostility rather than a sense of historical remembrance and recognition. The flags are not a necessity of the April 24 events, especially while driving and honking down a predominately Latino neighborhood.

I pity those who advocate such hostile and ludicrous acts of nationalistic pride; specifically those waving the Armenian flag on April 24. Having been completely offended, I place shame on those for being a detriment to my culture.
If you are into an egotistical experience marked by showmanship, perhaps this is not an anniversary for you to neither recognize nor become a participant of. Perhaps Halloween would be a more suitable holiday for these types of people.

-Arin Gragossian

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