Glendale: Armenians get together to celebrate independence

Armenians get together to celebrate independence
Thousands gather to mark declaration of independence from Ottoman Turkey and
By Fred Ortega
(Published in Glendale Press: May 28, 2006)

LOS ANGELES — In a sign of their growing political clout, thousands of
Armenians and Armenian Americans were joined Sunday by Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa for a street fair to celebrate Armenia’s first
independence day on May 28, 1918.

The fair, held in the Little Armenia section of Hollywood along Hollywood
Boulevard between Vermont and Alexandria avenues, featured 45 vendor booths
selling everything from shish kebabs and Armenian bread, or lavash, to
Armenian arts and crafts and portraits featuring traditional Armenian

More than 5,000 turned out for the event, put on by the Armenian Youth
Federation. It was the first time the event was held in Little Armenia, said
Bo Patatian, media liaison for the Armenian Youth Federation.

“We wanted to have it in a central place, and since 65% of the residents in
this area are Armenian, there is no better place for this event to fit in,”
Patatian said, adding that previous Armenian Independence Day festivals have
been held at Glendale High School and in Pasadena.

Armenians are blessed with two independence days, Patatian said. The first,
in 1918, marks the date on which the Armenian National Council declared the
country’s independence from Ottoman Turkey and the old Russian Empire. That
first Armenian republic, however, was short-lived; in 1920, the country was
absorbed into the former Soviet Union.

“The real independence day is Sept. 21, 1991,” Patatian said, referring to
when the modern Armenian state was born after the collapse of the Soviet
Union. “But this first date still has a very important emotional connection
to our people.”

Among those celebrating independence day in Little Armenia Sunday was
Glendale Unified School District Board member Greg Krikorian.

“This is the day on which Armenians first claimed independence, after
surviving the genocide and stopping the Turkish armies,” said Krikorian, who
was also joined at the fair by Burbank Unified School District Board member
and 43rd Assembly District candidate Paul Krekorian. “Being here today with
so many different families, friends and neighbors is an emotionally moving
time, a time to be thankful for what we have here in this country, to be
thankful for our families, a chance to get together and enjoy life.”

Villaraigosa arrived at the event and was almost immediately mobbed by
families who handed him their babies and shook his hand vigorously as
Armenian love song crooner Paul Baghdadlian wailed in the background and
dozens of people performed an impromptu, traditional Armenian dance on the

“This is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate not just the
independence, but the fact that Armenians play such an important role here
in Los Angeles, being part of the largest Armenian population outside of
Armenia,” said Villaraigosa, whose city officially declared the Hollywood
neighborhood Little Armenia in 2000. “We appreciate all the contributions
they have made and continue to make to our city.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS