The Armenian-American community of Los Angeles received a rude awakening on Tuesday morning. Armenian schools had been targeted with Turkish flags hung from gates and banisters for all to see. While this may be seen as a juvenile act of trespass and symbolic vandalism, it is undoubtedly a hate crime. It reminds us of the abhorrent and inherently racist policies of the Turkish regime and the deafening silence from the supposed torchbearers of western democracy. This act reminds us that while the United States defends freedom of speech, it simultaneously aids the Erdogan regime. Erdogan’s Turkey blatantly promotes racism and encourages its citizens to perpetuate the cycle of hatred. Now these policies are imported to the United States which on its own is experiencing a revival of xenophobia.
The targeting of Armenian schools takes aim at the future generations of Armenian-Americans who continue to remember, preserve, and protect what remains of Armenian culture. It was this culture that the perpetrator’s parents or grandparents systematically destroyed at the turn of the 20th Century. Many of the children at these schools, some as young as three years old, are taught what it is to be an American and an Armenian. Armenian culture is unique in that we welcome peoples of any background with open arms. Indeed, we have shared our culture with our neighbors and have adopted a great deal from them. This constant interaction with other ethnic groups has made us tolerant.
It is no wonder that the Armenian-American community is up in arms. These perpetrators intended to prompt a horrific reminder that their ancestors decimated Armenian existence from eastern Anatolia. The greater Los Angeles community must be concerned, as unchecked, these heinous acts will only become more frequent and similar acts will target other ethnic minorities across the city. Let us all take a stand and condemn this hate crime.
The Armenian Council of America would like to express our gratitude and support for the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, and the other various public departments and officials who are currently investigating this event. We commend them on their quick response and the tireless efforts that they bring to this investigation. We also thank all of the community organizations and special interest groups who have demonstrated their support to our community.
Board of Directors,
Armenian Council of America
January 29, 2019