Montreal Armenian Disunity the Big Winner

 Berdge Manoukian, Montreal, 23 August 2015

The results are in. Viken L. Attarian has lost the investiture campaign and the establishment candidate, Mélanie Joly, was announced as the winner in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville riding's Liberal candidate nomination. Viken's contingent of volunteers, quoted as the best-organized team by numerous reporters and nomination process followers, unfortunately ended third among the four candidates.

Viken L. Attarian's Investiture Speech in 7 languages

While the numbers and the poll results are yet to be analyzed, the preliminary analysis of the results makes us conclude certain facts:

 Berdge Manoukian, Montreal, 23 August 2015

The results are in. Viken L. Attarian has lost the investiture campaign and the establishment candidate, Mélanie Joly, was announced as the winner in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville riding's Liberal candidate nomination. Viken's contingent of volunteers, quoted as the best-organized team by numerous reporters and nomination process followers, unfortunately ended third among the four candidates.

Viken L. Attarian's Investiture Speech in 7 languages

While the numbers and the poll results are yet to be analyzed, the preliminary analysis of the results makes us conclude certain facts:

a) Viken had a respectable turnout of his registered members;

b) Viken had the most second-choice votes of the whole slate;
 
c) Norayr Serengulian's votes were offered to Joly, and they stayed that way. The phone campaign to direct the Armenian votes to Joly was very successful;
 
d) That divisive effort against the call to Armenians to vote for an Armenian was a failure for Viken's campaign;
 
e) If all Armenians had voted for Viken, his chances to win the nomination would have been very high;
 
f) Armenian disunity worked very well and successfully defeated Viken;
 
g) The Laval-Des-Îles scenario of defeating another Armenian candidate (Vicken Darakdjian) was repeated on August 23rd, this time by defeating Viken Attarian;
 
h) Canadian Armenians have lost a golden opportunity to elect a valuable Armenian MP.

This is what we cooked and this is what we merit. A hidden agenda and behind-the-scenes negotiations was evident. One faction of our community succeeded in influencing politically unsophisticated Armenians to vote for a non-Armenian.

 
This outcome was warned by this writer, long before today's vote. Nobody listened to that warning and the worst has just been announced. What a disappointment for Viken's almost 300 volunteers. They were awed and disgusted facing the hard reality of divisiveness. It is a great loss to our community in addition to the disappointment of so many dedicated workers who came out with broken hearts and a bitter taste in their mouths.
 
In a democracy you could be a loser most of the time and a winner a few times. However, the democratic outcome could be hard to accept when you see the cause of the loss to be the ''enemy within''.
 
Another aspect of that democratic exercise was a blunt difference between Viken's team workers (proudly identifying themselves) and the Armenian volunteers of the Joly team (hidden, almost invisible and certainly unidentified). I do not think they would have liked to have been identified as PROUD Armenians, at least this was evident at the Grasset polling station.
 
We are in the 21st century …. but many among us still blindly follow the orders of few undeserving and divisive persons.

Արթնցիր Հայութիւն

 

Liberals in Ahuntsic—Cartierville pick Mélanie Joly as their candidate

Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette, 23 August 2015

It took three ballots, but former Montreal mayoralty candidate Mélanie Joly has been elected the Liberal candidate in the riding of Ahuntsic—Cartierville.

At the end of a day of last-minute campaigning, electoral hoopla and then endless waiting as votes were counted, Liberal officials declared the 36-year-old lawyer Joly, who placed a surprising second to Denis Coderre in the last municipal election, the winner.

Her closest opponent in what was a field of four candidate was project manager Grace Batchoun.

Officials did not reveal the final tally, but said a total of 2,065 votes were cast.

“It’s not the end, it’s the beginning,” a pumped Joly said taking to the stage before about 500 Liberals gathered at the Collège André Grasset on Crémazie Blvd.

“It’s Day One in our journey to re-win Ahuntsic—Cartierville.”

Joly faces the daunting task of entering the campaign three weeks after everyone else and the formidable opponent of Maria Mourani, the former Bloc Québécois MP turned New Democratic who holds the riding.

But the undercurrent of suspicion over the way the election unfolded and allegations the Liberal brass manipulated the election to ensure Joly, a personal friend of leader Justin Trudeau, were still hovering in the air as candidates packed up their posters.

While all the candidates took to the stage with Joly in a sign of solidarity, candidate Élie Kassissia, one of those who made the allegations and placed either third or fourth on Sunday, stood with his arms crossed. Later, he fled the hall refusing to speak to the Montreal Gazette.

Batchoun told a reporter while she will work with Joly, she was not backing down on her views on the way the campaign unfolded.

“I feel I’m a better candidate,” Batchoun said. “We know there was favouritism. Absolutely. This is the reality. We’ve seen it, but it’s the people of Ahuntsic who voted and we have to accept their decision.”

“Democracy has spoken,” said candidate Viken Attarian, who said he will work with Joly. “The truth of the matter is they counted the votes and most voted for Mélanie Joly.”

But one of his supporters, Ara Balian, did not hold back.

“Because of who she is and what the party wanted, that’s what happened,” Balian said, noting the party just wanted Joly to create good photo images with Trudeau. “It’s too bad.”

Joly later dodged the question about disgruntled Liberals.

“I’m sure that we can work together and I’m very proud of all the teams and candidates,” Joly said.

It’s Joly’s second foray into politics. A dark horse candidate in the last municipal vote, she placed a surprising second to Coderre.

After that loss, she swore she was staying on the municipal scene.

“I am here to stay,” she said repeatedly only to turn around in February and announce the would seek the Liberal nod, a move that irritated other candidates, some of whom had been working the streets for two years.

The vote was also seen as a test of Trudeau’s ability to not only attract star candidates in Quebec where his campaign is lagging, but actually get them nominated given his decision to allow free votes in ridings.

Other Liberal leaders retained the power, in some circumstances, to place key electoral figures.

The open vote policy backfired on Trudeau in the Toronto riding of Eglington—Lawrence, where Conservative defector Eve Adams, whom he welcomed to the Liberals, lost a nomination.

Over the last few weeks, Liberals have been openly squabbling with the party brass, with accusations flying the election was being manipulated behind the scene to ensure Joly wins.

 

60 comments
  1. The Chestnut Tree

    “Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me:
    There lie they, and here lie we
    Under the spreading chestnut tree.”

    George Orwell, 1984

    The actions by Norayr Serengulian parallel 1984.  The above quote references Winston selling out his love interest, Julia, during his torture to save himself. The party succeeds in breaking up Winston and Julia, who were once a couple, and both now work for the Party and spend all their energy honoring and loving Big Brother. He works for the Party and often goes to the Chestnut Tree Cafe where he runs into Julia.

    So, who is the Party in this case? Who is Big Brother? 

  2. Last and Most Important

    Even the last and the most important lesson–the Armenian Genocide–didn't help the Armenian people unite.

    –Collaboration with the Young Turks.

    –Collaboration with the Nazis.

    –Murder at the altar.

    "Miatsek Hayer, Hayer miatsek" and keep doing exactly the opposite. And now this "voghpam zkez Hay joghovoort".

    Shame on you.

    Nicolai Romashuk Hairabedian

    1. Ahuntsic-Cartierville

      Armenians uniting and working together will only happen in fake speeches. We are only good at talking. When it comes to action Armenians will never unite!

      1. What a race to be proud of!

        Very true! This will certainly alienate a lot of Armenians against Trudeau and voting or not voting Liberal in the next federal election. It will also disgust many other Armenians towards such fellow Armenians who worked against a knowledgeable and worthy Armenian, who for sure was going to voice Armenian issues and concerns as an MP.

        But as said above, Armenians only talk about unity but do the opposite, and frankly we are fed up of hearing hollow speeches anymore because they are all lies. Deep down we do not like each other, we are not a loving people, we do not care about our national interests, we are jealous of each other. What a race to be proud of!

        Frankly a disgusting race and on top of that bragging of having Christian values and being the first Christian nation on earth, bla… bla… bla..We will never learn, never change, never amount to anything as a nation or collective people, only as individuals which is not enough for survival, because when we lose our collectivity or unity or nation, that individualistic attribute will be worth nothing, like all those people who have vanished.         

  3. Don’t Feel Too Bad

    Don't feel too bad Canadians and Americans.
    We have the same Armenian stupidity here in California. Some guys perennially run for some seats with absolutely no hope of winning. But they siphon off enough votes to cause other viable Armenian-Americans to lose, sometimes by a hair. It is truly insane.  

  4. Viken’s lection Result

    Berge,

    Bravo. You've depicted perfectly our community's immature situation. Certain people (unfortunately) will follow their leaders' orders. They don't have proper opinion. It's good to obey certain orders that work during war, for example, but not when it comes to community's interest. This is called hatred toward fellow Armenians. Was this a vendetta against Viken? I don't know, and to say that I had thought (it seems I was wrong) to believe to see a change in their behavior, specially during the Genocide centennial.

    Viken is an exceptional, educated, and correct person. The community would have been proud to have a person of his caliber as an MP. I know two Armenians endowed with the Queens's jubilee medal. He is one of them.

    Nicola Romanshuk Hairabedian's comment are still valid.

    Never mind Viken: a diamond shines nevertheless.

    Antranik Chaderjian

  5. Attarian Election

    I was in Montreal (I am from Toronto) last weekend for a different event. However, following the facts of politics, the moment Trudeau moved Melanie Jolie to the riding, it was obvious to me that she was going to win. She obviously had the Liberal establishment behind her.

    I speak from experience, based on my days in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. I was a member of the Liberal executive; we had a hard-working Liberal who ran for the nomination in 1980. Pierre E. Trudeau (father of Justin) parachuted Paul Demarais' cousin, Louis Desmarais, in the riding and he won the nomination. Most of the executive, including myself, resigned.

    Last weekend I saw that many of my friends were going to vote for Mr. Attarian. So the community division accusation is not factual. 

    It is regrettable that Mr. Attarian lost but I doubt it will make much difference on election day on October 19.   

  6. Montreal Armenian Disunity Big Winner

    Shame on us! How do we expect the world to listen to our cause when we, as a small nation, do not stand together?

    But then, this isn't new. We have always been divided throughout history, and it seems that we haven't learned much from our past.

    When will we learn that no matter what our Armenian political convictions, our priority should be to stand together: to stop licking "odar" boots and show a united front. Jews have the wisdom to always stand together in spite of their internal divisions… other nationalities have also learned this. Not us, not yet.

    I don't know what Armenian political party Viken Attarian belongs to and I don't care. We should have elected him regardless, because who else would fight for the Armenian Cause? Not Mélanie Joly for sure.

    Shame on us. The majority of us are still narrow-minded. If we continue acting this way, we will stay a minority or even worse: we will be completely assimilated in 20 years.

    1. “Jews have the wisdom to stand together…”

      "Jews have the wisdom to always stand together…"

      Right: it has been my observation here in US also that marginal  Jewish candidates have the political maturity to stand down, so the best candidate for Jewish concerns gets the most votes and wins. 
       

    2. My Affiliations – For the record only

      Dear Alice,

      I am NOT, nor have I EVER been, a member of ANY Armenian political party, or the Armenian branch of any other non-Armenian political party.

      While being a baptized Armenian Catholic, I am NOT a member of any Armenian Church or parish organization.  I am a member of the Armenian Catholic church simply by virtue of denominational affiliation, if we define the word church to mean all the faithful.

      Like most people, I have a specific political worldview and ideas I believe in. For me, the closest match of those values can be found in the Liberal Party of Canada.  As a Canadian, I believe that I would like to build a Canada that reflects those ideas.

      That is why, I am only a member of the Federal Liberal Party of Canada.

      It is not difficult to find out what I believe in.  I am a very public person.  Anyone can find out.  What I think = what I write = what I say = what I do.  Always.

      Thank you

      Paregamoren

      Viken Levon Attarian

      1. Addition for the Record

        Sorry for one important omission.

        The only Armenian organization I am a member of is the AGBU, since my maternal grandfather registered me sometime before my first birthday. He was a genocide survivor, who grew up in an orphanage supported by the AGBU.

        I apologize for this omission.

        Paregamoren,
        Viken Levon Attarian

  7. Welcome to Bourj Hamoud-sur-Saint Laurence

    If I read the above reports correctly, once again the group which puts its community dominance above any another consideration, such as national interest, has struck again in our hometown. It's "either our way or the highway" seems to be the motto of this claustrophobic, hidebound party. Welcome to Bourj Hamoud-sur-Saint Laurence.
    Hetoum
    1. National Insult

      "…..such as national interest,….."

      That is an insult. What are you accusing Canadian-Armenians of ?  Treason? I can't speak for Canadian-Americans, but here in the US, we occasionally hear the same thing.

      Why should Armenian-Americans or Canadian-Americans bend over backwards so as not to allegedly put "national interest" first. Try to give the same lecture to any minority group, and see what happens.

      Try to accuse Jewish voters, for example, who vote for candidates who are sympathetic to Jewish interests, of not putting that mythical "national interest" first, and see what kind of reaction you get.

      Do corporations in Canada/US who lobby for laws to allow them to ship industries and jobs overseas putting "national interest" (i.e. welfare of ordinary Canadians/Americans) first?

      Give me a break.

      When everybody else puts "national interest" first, then  you will have a case. 

  8. Liberals don’t appreciate Armenian Centre support

    Dear Friends and compatriots;

    Yes. It is too bad to lose an Armenian candidate who was running for the Federal election.

    I would like to mention that I ran in the Fed. election in 1997; I was not supported by the Armenian center, since I was not running on the list of the Liberal Party. I was a candidate on the Reformist Party list, with Mr. P. Manning's electoral list, which was not supported by the Armenian center.

    Until today the Armenian Centre supports only the Liberal Party, which is totally unjust. The result is very clear.  Liberals have not appreciated the support of the Armenian Center to the Liberal Party for the last fifty years or more when it comes to differentiate between Liberal Armenian and French Liberal candidate running for election.

    Hagop Karlozian 

  9. Well, I don’t know

    Well, I don't know. It's one thing to be an intellectual and another thing to run for political office. People nowadays don't have time to delve deep into issues, read  essays on political platforms. And let's admit: a young, hot blonde with almost 10,000 Facebook fans, with a simple message, will easily beat out a middle-aged man with very little social media presence and relying heavily on the notion that "because I'm Armenian, all Armenians will vote for me". Isn't this ghetto mentality? Isn't this the same thing people on this board are accusing the ARF of doing (because the leaders said so, you should do so?)

    Isn't it naive to think only Armenians can fight for their cause on the political arena? (Valerie Boyer, Karygiannis, Adam Schiff, Frank Pallone and many others). Especially with the Liberals… When in fact, it was Conservative PM Stephen Harper who first said the word Genocide (and prior to that as leader of Opposition courageously voted 'Yes' on the Genocide motion), when all other Liberal PMs before him just chickened out.

    Food for thought.

    1. “Chickening out”

      I am not a Canadian but I bet that Conservative PM Stephen Harper used the word Genocide for pragmatic reasons and not ideological, so does Adam Schiff or Frank Pallone or any other politician be it in U.S. or in Canada. After all, all politics is local and these politicians have come to accept that the Armenian voters in their districts constitute a base they would not afford to lose to their opponent.

      I do not see why a Liberal candidate in Canada would be any less supportive of Armenian Cause if the Armenian voters would constitute a base he or she would also not afford to lose.

      It would be naive to think otherwise.

  10. Like Father Like Son

    I have not met Viken but I have followed his writings and presentations. His seven languages in less than four minutes speech is definitively the hallmark of a uniquely gifted individual who has put his God-given talents for the public good. I thought he would make an ideal candidate in multi-ethnic Canadian society.

    It seems it runs in the Attarian family. Few years ago I read an interesting remembrance written by Antranig Dzaroukian where he mentioned Viken’s father. Anyone interested may search the link in Keghart.com under "Dreamy Haleb".

    1. Viken’s uncle Karnig

      I never met Viken’s father, but when I was growing up, I knew his uncle Karnig and his wife Arpine. If there were few people whom I could refer to them as a man of high integrity, intellectual capacity and kindness, Karnig Attarian was one of them.

  11. All Ganging up Against Viken

    I think this is beyond just Armenian thing; it has to be the Liberal party too. Imagine, a few weeks ago, Justin Pierre James Trudeau giving a hug to Viken as a gesture of support. And later, Melanie Joly endorses Viken on Youtube as the best candidate, but on nomination  day, they both abandon Viken. I guess Justin is not ready for leadership or he has not inherited some of the rare qualities of his father. On the other hand, Joly should have had some dignity and withdrawn her candidacy.

    If winning an election is all about in life and if Viken wanted to win at all cost, he could have compromised on his integrity and may even asked Kim Kardashian to come and endorse him, or throw a party in one of hooka houses with belly dancing. That way, most of our compatriots would have voted for him.

    1. “…Throw a Party…”

      "…throw a party in one of the hooka houses with belly dancing…"

      An Armenian who denigrates his/her people is lower than …Well, I don't want to be banned from Keghart.com. So….

      Would you say the same thing about any other minority in Canada? Despite your self-loathing opinion of Armenians, any other nation which has experienced what we Armenians have experienced would do anything to get a vote.

      We have a 5,000 plus years of proud history. Do you think this vote aberration is something? I live among and know a lot of other ethnic groups: Jews; Anglo-Saxons; Latins; Blacks; Chinese… Nobody can hold a candle to us Armenians. Nobody.

      Please stop spreading self-loathing propaganda. If you do not want to be identified as an Armenian, it's your choice and your privilege. But please do not drag our great people through the mud.

      Thank you. 

      1. Self-loathing Propaganda

        I have the right to raise my flag and burn it, unless I live in the ghetto. If you subscribe to the Kardashian cult, that is your business, that is Hooka and belly dancing mentality that attracts unfortunately many Armenian organizations. Viken comes from a different line of Armenians and I doubt that many read Viken’s strategy writings, to which many cannot comprehend and will not relate. If we cannot point our weaknesses out in the open, then we should bury our mythical pride in the books.

        This is typical Bourj Hamoud mentality that used to force people to think just one way. We are people like any other nation, and if you open the pages of our history, there are many shameful pages. It is our choice to discuss in the open and learn or deny and stay the way we are. I am proud of Viken as a friend and as an honest Armenian.

        1. Self-loathing Hysteria

          Self-loathing hysteria affects many Armenians; you're not alone. This has become even more public and obvious with the introduction of social media, where anybody can be a somebody and say whatever comes to mind (unfounded or otherwise).

          "We will vanish", "we are a disgusting nation", "there will be no Armenian left in 20 years", "silver coins", "uneducated nation" and "I/he/she is too good to be an Armenian" …sound familiar? It's so funny to watch and hear the parade of these statements erupt as soon as something doesn't go exactly the way we imagined/wanted it would.

          For me this is much more of a concern than our so-called disunity. It approaches collective psychosis.

          I repeat: there is no place for intellectuals in politics today. This statement wouldn't hold even ten years ago. But now we find ourselves in this situation. Don't blame the Armenians for it. This is the world today; get used to it. Everything is measured by the number of followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and who shows what on it. People (I don't mean only the young. I mean the majority of the 50 plus crowd) have no time to read analysis, writings, plans, etc. They want it simple. Two sentences are already too long.

          Sad? Maybe. But again, don't blame the Armenians for it. Despite all we've gone through we're still doing far better than many other nations. "Different line of Armenians"? Really? And you're talking about disunity when that's exactly what you're doing? Be proud that you're Armenian. You're part of a tribe which has survived against all odds, and will do so in the next 1,000 years as well.
          Genatzt!

          1. Let us be serious

            Let us be serious. This is Canada, who recognized the Genocide. Our “friends” on the parliament hill have warned us that our support has been fading dramatically. We can either be serious or lose what we have. Let’s not take for granted the recognition of the genocide, it can be reversed. Already some politicians are in the pockets of Turkish lobby and have visited Azerbaijan. You need strong representation like Viken and that is what I was addressing. We cannot afford shallow (Kardashian type) people to represent us. This is not “something doesn’t go exactly the way…”.

            I guess you are not aware what is going on here in Canada. In fact, you should have paid more attention on the US politics too. When a senator like John Kerry (and many others), who used to be 100% pro Armenian and suddenly change sides, then there should be something really wrong with what we have been doing. If that does not give you enough warning, then you may as well join the Kardashian band wagon and hang out in Hooka shops and watch belly dancing…

          2. Seriously. Looking at

            Seriously. Looking at Canadian politics vis-a-vis Armenian Genocide recognition in the last 10-11 years, the only people the Armenians should fully support are Harper, Kenney and the Conservative party. You might like them, you might hate them, but they did more good to the Armenian Cause than any Liberal Party PM or politician before them. So what's an Armenian candidate doing in the Liberal party?

            About John Kerry: Even if he was Hovhannes Kerian (an Armenian), as Secretary of State he has NO CHOICE but to fight against Genocide recognition. As long as Incirlik airbase is important to America. Perhaps things will change with Iran deal.

            Suddenly change sides: Get used to it, this is POLITICS, changing loyalties, interests and ambitions. One goes the other comes as long as you keep the Cause alive.

            In fact, you'll hate to admit it, with her week-long visit to Armenia and Jerusalem earlier this year, Kim Kardashian (that you make fun of) brought more recognition and acceptance to our Cause, more than any politician (intellectual or otherwise), more than any PM or President, more than any Armenian political party or organization in the last 100 years. It's called fame, popularity and media influence, more powerful than all the politicians you mention, combined!

            But it's typical of an Armenian. CRITICIZE,JUDGE, CONDEMN. Rather than seeing the most famous woman in the world today is passionate about her Armenian roots and our Cause.

          3. For want of a nail

            Artur and Avery,

            Be advised, there's an old saying: 'For want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost. For want of a horseshoe, the steed was lost. For want of a steed, the message was not delivered. For want of an undelivered message, the war was lost.'

            Warmest regards,

            Ted

          4. A nice old proverb; but the

            A nice old proverb; but the optimist and the courageous Armenian in  me will reiterate:

            By finding the nail, the war was won. 🙂

            Warmest regards,

            Artur

    2. Clarification by Viken Attarian

      Thank you Hagop for your comment.

      Let me say that Mélanie Joly never endorsed me on YouTube. That was a humorous PR stunt, when we wanted to inject some light-heartedness into a rather somber campaign. Also to show that our team was courageous and we could laugh at ourselves.  We only claimed that Mélanie endorsed me, because there is a Mélanie who does. She is a Liberal party member who lives in the riding, who oddly enough has a physical resemblance to Ms. Joly. She proposed the idea and agreed to record three short videos for distribution on the last days of the campaign. She was even present at the Armenian Community Center, handing out my pamphlets.

      I can also assure you that I had and continue to have many supporters within the various leadership structures of the Liberal Party of Canada, some of them came to help me on investiture day and wore my campaign T-shirts. Others endorsed me and were not shy to sign their names on my promotional brochures. Some of them sent statements of support which were printed in the brochures and posted on my website. At least one board member temporarily resigned from his position (as board members are supposed to be neutral) and publicly declared himself to be supporting me. Others actually donated money to my campaign and so on.

      I am grateful to all who supported me and helped out. I appreciate the level of commitment they made to make me succeed. We have all grown and learnt from this experience–myself as the candidate and all the way to the youngest cheerleader who was waving my banner throughout the day.

      Paregamoren,
      Viken Levon Attarian

  12. Intellectualism, Armenian Tribalism and Social Media Popularity

    There are many interesting comments here, in particular, the ones posted by Avery and Artur who make valid points about why Armenians should have voted for me and whether that is not a manifestation of a ghetto mentality.

    I suspect that neither of them know me in person nor have read my writings. I can appreciate their position.

    In my defense, let me say that I abhor tribalism and I agree with them that I should not ask Armenians to vote for me because I am an Armenian.

    However, there are several facts in this campaign that need to be clarified. This was an internal party nomination election. Only party members residing in the riding had the right to vote. The electoral pool was restricted to about 5,200 registered members of whom 1,000 were of Armenian descent. At the end, only around 2,000 electors showed up of whom about 600 were Armenian. This gives you an idea of the power of the Armenian vote. Had Armenian voters all voted for me as their first choice, I would have won this nomination in the second or third round. There is absolutely no question about that.

    Why should they have voted for me you may ask? Because I presented a full electoral plan for the riding and a full detailed platform for all of Canada. I was the ONLY candidate in ALL of the 338 ridings of Canada to have such a plan (including timelines, expected expenditures and progress measurement targets). Why could I do that? Because I am not a "neophyte intellectual" in politics. I have been working in the Liberal Party policy matters for 10 years and I sit on the National Electoral Platform Committee of the party. I am the author of several of the policy positions of our party. I am also a known Armenian media personality (TV and radio) who has fought for Armenian causes all of his adult life with a very public record of achievements. The reason I asked Canadian-Armenian voters to vote for me is because I believe I was the best candidate for all citizens, including those of Armenian origin. Every single one of the Armenian voters knew me and what I stood for.

    For the record, I do not believe there is anything wrong with being an intellectual politician. Winston Churchill was a Nobel Prize-winner in literature. Francois Mitterand was an essayist. Andre Malraux was a novelist. Vaclav Havel was a great author and playwright. These people marked the history of their countries and their intellectualism was never in conflict with what they had to do in politics.

    Also for the record, the average age of the 5,200 members was above 50 with about 40% senior citizens, clearly beyond the social media following age. I am a middle-aged intellectual, that is true, but I can assure you that I had a very real chance of winning this nomination.

    Finally, I am sure that you will not deny the fact that, call it what you may, there is a strange and arguably a very uncomfortable symbolism in the fact of an Armenian candidate being defeated by the vote of Armenian electors, in a voting station in the Armenian Community Center at the instigation of other Armenians.

    Paregamoren,
    Viken Levon Attarian

    1. Statistics

      Based on the figures Viken provides – 1000 eligible Armenian voters out of 5200 eligible voters and 600 Armenian actual voters out of 2000 actual voters – we come to the following statistics for the said district.

      The Armenian Canadians’ constituted 19% of the eligible voters, 30% of the actual voters with 60% of the Armenian Canadians voting.

      The Non-Armenian Canadians constituted 71% of the eligible voters, 70% of the actual voters with only 33% of the Non-Armenian Canadians voting.

      The participation of the Canadian Armenians in that district is noteworthy (60% vs. 33%). Surely 30% of the votes play a decisive role in the final tally of votes.

  13. Montreal “Hero” – Serengulian

    Guetsess Norair.

    Your name will be etched in the Canadian Armenian annals for your "heroic" efforts to make sure that you and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation supporting you and the Armenian Centre in Montreal delivered almost not a single vote to an Armenian compatriot candidate.

    You appear to be very elated in support of Joly beside whom you were cheering at the closing of an orchestrated "democratic" vote. The picture does tell volumes of your love to Armenians and Armenian causes. What sort of silver coins were you promised?

  14. Also….

    One thing you should realize: It's inevitable that middle-aged Armenian men, especially the ones not born in Canada, automatically come with baggage. Even if they're not a member of any Armenian party, where they went to school in the old country, where they played basketball or football, which theatre group they participated in, automatically puts them in the ARF sympathisant or anti-ARF camp. This is the way it is, old habits on both sides die hard.  A bit sad, but this is how our 20th century diaspora history has shaped up, let's accept it and move on.

    Thankfully the new generation fares better. One  intelligent thing Armenians in Canada can do, is to groom, nurture and put their money on 2 or 3 Harout Chitilians. That's the future! And see if everyone will not unite behind such young, bright, and modern-thinking candidates.

    1. Thank you

      Thank you for the kind remarks.

      I am honored to serve for a second mandate the citizens of Montréal as a city councilor and vice-chairman of the executive committee. 

      I am and always will be grateful for all the unconditional support and encouragements I have received from all institutions and members of our community.

      Harout

  15. Kardashian

    Artur (I am not sure what is your Armenian name),

    Again, I am not criticizing her, she is free. I am criticizing us for endorsing her. Our youth is following her example and endorsing her lifestyle, our youth has already leading her foot steps. If that's your role model, you are free, then say good bye to something called Armenian values, Christian values, family values. We could have said that 100 years ago and converted to Islam and may be we may have spared 1.5 million lives. Again, I am not making fun of her, the world is making fun of her.

    John Kerry, long before he became Secretary of State, he changed his colors. You have mentioned Canadian politicians, actually Jason Kenny has been warning us that we have lost our friends in Ottawa. You cannot win friends in one day, especially when you do not have the big pockets like the Turkish/Azeri lobby. I hope you do understand how lobbyists operate here.

    Again, we failed miserably to harvest Viken's 20 years efforts. Harper is not leading in the polls and we may end up either with NDP majority or minority. NDP is infiltrated with Turkish sympathizers. In case it were Liberals, Justin Trudeau is not his father, and Viken would have been the only hope to stand up against this kid.

    1. Hagop, why is Artur’s

      Hagop, why is Artur's Armenian name an issue here.

      Monte is not an Armenian name: how many Armenians do you know with Armenian names who have done anywhere near for our Armenian Nation what Monte Melkonian has done.

      As to Kim having an influence on Armenian children: 

      The #1 influence on any child is his or her parents.
      If Kim has more influence on a child than his/her parents, it is the fault of the parents, not Kim. 

      She could have changed her name to something else, e.g. Mike Connors (born Krekor Ohanian), and been just as successful, maybe more. Few would know she is Armenian.
      But she is very proud of her Armenian father: she kept her last name as a statement. And wants to do whatever she can to help Armenia. Who are we to interfere ?

      And since we are having a "battle of proverbs", here is one:
      John 8:7 "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

      (not that she has sinned in any way, shape, or form).

    2. Not About Kim

      Again, you have not read what I wrote. Kim is free, but my warning is to us not to follow her lifestyle. Love the sinner, hate the sin!

  16. Proverbs and Kim Kardashian

    Artur,

    I am glad you know some proverbs. Here is a proverb, that can best analogize our nation's continued support of Kim Kardashian. I hope you rethink your position with supporting her, and wise up my friend.

    Proverbs 7:10-23

    10 The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart.
    11 She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home.
    12 She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner.
    13 She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said,
    14 “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows.
    15 You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are!
    16 My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen.
    17 I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
    18 Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
    19 for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip.
    20 He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month.”
    21 So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery.
    22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap,
    23 awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.

      1. Role Model

        Artur,

        You and I will have to agree to disagree on Kim Kardashian. If you believe she is a good role model, and has been invaluable to the Armenian Cause, and you do not find anything wrong with her lifestyle, then let her be your shining star–the example that your children, your familial relations, so on follow.

        Warmest regards my dearest friend, 

        Ted

        1. Let Us be the Best

          Ted,

          Let us be the best role-models we can be for our children and grandchildren so that our children and grandchildren won't search for other role models. Instead of spending your energy on judging and convincing people what's wrong and what's right through Bible quotes, or proverbs, improve yourself, and leave Kim alone to worry about herself and her children.

          She is totally free to make millions of dollars by propagating that lifestyle. And the millions who idolize her are also free in their choice.

          But that doesn't change the fact that what she did with her visit to Armenia was invaluable to our Cause. We could have spent a billion dollars and not achieved the same result. It's called star power. And a stroke of luck for the Armenian Cause. Every Armenian with a head on his/her shoulders will be thankful to her for that. Putting away moral-religious nonsense.

          It's also ironic that you're talking about morals in a thread about politics and politicians–a breed most of whom are the biggest prostitutes in society, where they perpetrate lying and immorality while living off taxpayers' money.

          So have you thrown the first stone yet?

          1. My dearest Artur, I did not

            My dearest Artur,

            I did not throw the first stone. Snoop Dogg did. 

            When Snoop was asked to give advice to Kris Humphries about his split from Kim Kardashian in a segment called “Nemo’s Advice,” Snoop opined, “You shouldn’t have tried to wife the b**ch, man, she’s not that type of a ho.”

            He then joked about Kim wanting to trade up from Reggie Bush during a trip to Africa, before musing, “Ray-J the only n**ga that bounce back from the b**ch. She’s cold-blooded. I’m pretty sure she’ll have a book in a month talking about all the n***as that she got and how she played them. So, my advice is you can’t make a ho a housewife. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”

            However, if Kim ain't good enough for Snoop, she might be good enough for you.

            People are free to follow her. But, I guess, by your logic, people are not free to dissuade others from following her lifestyle.

            Well,  thank goodness for Snoop Doggy Dogg.

            Warmest regards my dearest Artur. By the way, this conversation is old. I'm out.

            Viken, you are a hero to many Armenians. In fact, you are a hero to many people. You transcend race. If those that don't see the tremendous value that you have provided, whatever. Keep doing what you're doing. 

            One love,

            Ted

          2. Desperation

            My Dearest Ted,

            Desperation time: you are going to quote Snoop Dogg now? Would you care to list all the drug-related arrests of model citizen Dogg? All the other arrests? Would you care to get the expert opinion of any other gangsters? Would you also care to list all the crimes Ms. Kardashian has been arrested for–if any?

  17. Hagop: “We are people like any other nation…”

    Hagop:

    “We are people like any other nation, and if you open the pages of our history,”

    Your are wrong friend:  we are definitely not like any other nation. We are one of the only  two ethnos who came to the very brink of extinction  at the hands of another ethnos.
    That has left such an indelible mark on all of who are alive that to state what you stated is beyond bizarre.
    No Jew would ever say such a thing.

    “there are many shameful pages”

    Indeed there are.
    But there are many, many, many   multiples of proud pages next to those.
    Those who are self-loathing will spend their lives wallowing in self pity stuck on those few shameful ones.
    Those who know our history, what we have been through, what we have accomplished, and how we have kept our humanity  and civilized behaviour despite what was done to us,  will count their lucky starts that they were born Armenian. I do.

    “This is typical Bourj Hamoud mentality that used to force people to think just one way.”

    I left this for the last, because it deserves the most attention.
    This type of language directed at any other members of our communities spread all over the world thru no fault of our own is despicable.
    That alleged “Bourj Hammoud” behaviour kept Armenians Armenian in  very tough surroundings.
    People like us who post well-written comments or run for office in Canada, or US ,or France, etc  are not at (figurative and literal) front lines of our struggle for survival.
    It was “Bourj Hammoud” mentality that compelled someone like heroic Jirair Sefilian to rush to the defense of Artsakh.
    People like that fought and died so we can remain Armenians.
    How many Armenians from Canada went ?

    I am  a member of no political party – ARF, Hunchak, Ramgavar, Republican, Democrat, whatever.
    Never been, never will be.
    But I  object to Armenians who try to divide us.

    Here is the  bottom line for all Armenians in Diaspora:
    No Armenian populated Artsakh, No Armenia.
    No Armenia, no Diaspora: we will slowly dissolve in the vast ocean of the foreign nations  and disappear as a distinct ethnos.
    The only reason we remain Armenians here is because we are anchored to Hayastan.
    Think about that before you disparage the “Bourj Hammoud” mentality.
    Writing literate comments is not going to stop nomadic Turkic  invaders.
    If it did, 250 of our irreplaceable intellectuals could  not have been murdered by low-brow savages on April 24. 

    And I do not know honorable Mr. Viken Attarian and have no clue about the particulars of this election, and don’t care.
    Clearly, the gentleman is a man of high intellect and very high achievement.
    We should all be proud of such man being one of us. 
    But I object to the divisive language and attitude in this thread.

    Finally, the paragraph written by poster ‘Artur’ below is so appropriate, that it deserves a second mention.

    "In fact, you'll hate to admit it, with her week-long visit to Armenia and Jerusalem earlier this year, Kim Kardashian (that you make fun of) brought more recognition and acceptance to our Cause, more than any politician (intellectual or otherwise), more than any PM or President, more than any Armenian political party or organization in the last 100 years. It's called fame, popularity and media influence, more powerful than all the politicians you mention, combined!
    But it's typical of an Armenian. CRITICIZE, JUDGE, CONDEMN. Rather than seeing the most famous woman in the world today is passionate about her Armenian roots and our Cause."

    Yes: analysis of Google searches proves that interest in Armenia and AG shot through the roof after her visit. 

    1. Out of context

      Avery,

      I believe you are using quotations out of context.

      Nobody has disparaged "Bourj Hamoud" Armenian community. It is simply referring to the practice of coercing people to vote for a candidate as opposed to another. People who have lived in Bourj Hamoud, and in Lebanon at large, know this despicable practice all too well. Furthermore, you were not at the Armenian Centre at this particular nomination exercise, and you would not know first hand what transpired.

      The same line of argument you are using with respect to "We are people like any other..", projecting that Hagop does not know all what you have enumerated.

      As mentioned elsewhere, by another commentator, at this juncture, when we have lost friends in the parliament and higher up in the echelon of power breakers in Canada, an Armenian faction chose to sabotage the chances of another Armenian eminently qualified to sit in the Parliament and protect our interests. That's the Bourj Hamoud mentality referred to.

      Don't twist and misinterpret, knowingly or unknowingly what people are telling. It's demagoguery what you are practicing.

      1. Pathetic

        No sir… These unfounded scare tactics full of gloom and doom that you and Hagop and some others are offering us , just don't add up, sorry. According to this " hekyat" we are soon losing our support on Parliament Hill, our only hope was your friend the former AGBU chairman , who was defeated only because the big bad Bourj Hamoud -sort Armenians just decided they don't like to vote for him.  And now we are in a catastrophic situation because we'll have no support at all.

        Seriously? What type of primitive thinking is this? All I see is sour grapes. Move on already, and get out of this depressed state of mind, where fear and failure is prevalent. be proud of your nation's accomplishments, and brave, when looking at its future!

      2. Shavarsh:

        You can call it
        Shavarsh:

        You can call it demagoguery if you like.
        In my years of travels in the blogosphere, I have been called a lot worse.
        Has never bothered me.

        The alleged “Bourj Hammoud” mentality – mentality – is being disparaged, Yes ? Yes.
        Said alleged  mentality clearly was not manufactured out of thin air.
        Said mentality, if there is such a thing, is clearly exhibited not by some alien creatures, but by inhabitants of Bourj Hammoud.
        Those inhabitants are Lebanese-Armenians of Bourj Hammoud.
        Therefore: when someone disparages the alleged “Bourj Hammoud” mentality, that someone disparages the Armenian inhabitants of “Bourj Hammoud”.
        Q.E.D.

        Thank you.

    2. Knowing Bourj-Hammoud

      I was raised in Bourj-Hammoud. I know every inch of Bourj-Hammoud. All my friends were from Bourj-Hammoud. My kindergarten and elementary schools were in Bourj-Hammoud. I have seen the good days and the bad days of Bourj-Hammoud. I can write volumes about Bourj-Hammoud. I love the people. I love every inch of the land. But there are a few things we need to point so that we can discuss, learn and enhance. I am not sure if Arthur or Avery have ever been to Bourj-Hammoud. It is my right to point the mistakes of the past so that we can move forward to a better future. How can we ask the Turks to accept their mistakes when we cannot even criticize our mistakes? It very much sounds like the Turkish government blaming some of their intellectuals as traitors for accepting the Genocide.

      1. Accepting the Truth

        "How can we ask the Turks to accept their mistakes when we cannot even criticize our mistakes?"

        True indeed. We tend to forget to respect all Armenians first and foremost, but we openly accept ODARS in our families. Out behavior and mentality are to blame for the White Genocide. We only point our fingers at the Turks for the past, forgetting about our current situation.

        Let God answer those who humiliate their own people.

        Paregamoren,
        Garbis

  18. And one more important point

    With all the preaching about unity, accusations against ARF, the lament, the crying, the anguish,the pathos in the article, I wonder why all these great human Armenian values  were conveniently forgotten when years ago Bishop Bagrat, Primate of the Armenian Church in Canada was shamelessly ousted in a so-called democratic vote in Montreal?

    So let's see:
    1. Disunity is OK when it suits your interests?
    2. Disunity is justified when it's done by your own clique?
    3. Campaigning against giving votes to a sitting Primate, is justified when it's done within the Etchmiadsnakan-AGBU crowd, but it is Bourj-Hamoudization when it's done by ARF-ers?

    Hypocrisy anyone?

  19. Beating around the bush

    Avery and Artur,

    Very convenient. Instead of addressing the issue raised in the article you prefer to divert the discussion to other almost unrelated matters.

    The question is: Do you approve sabotaging an Armenian Candidate in the Armenian Centre? It seems you are. To what end? Give some substantive reasons instead of beating around the bush.

    1. Why Sabotage?

      Sabotage? Why sabotage? If I don't like him, I won't vote for him. Period. If in my mind a Melanie Joly will be better for Armenian issues in the long run, I would vote for her. What's the big problem here? It is a matter of taste and free will. Without hiding the fact that if this individual was as involved at the Armenian Centre as in the AGBU circles, in the last decades, then yes, his chances would have probably been better among the Armenian Centre crowd.

      Why denigrate a whole community, a whole nation because of this very simple reality? Accept it, move on and lead a better and more clever campaign next time, instead of complaining and lamenting our so-called deficiencies.

  20. In Summary

    Berge’s article is about the splitting of the Armenian voters when one of the candidates is a qualified Armenian who, in “conventional” thinking,  is expected to better serve Armenian interests, so is far better if  elected.

    I guess what Artur and Avery are advocating is the following:
    1. The splitting of the 600 Armenian voters out of the 2,000 voters is indicative of a healthy and dynamic community that is not constrained by “tribalism” but has transcended such considerations.

    2. As for qualification, a candidate’s populism–a la the Kardashians–is far more important than the intellectualism of the candidate. They seem to say that those who voted for Viken’s opponent saw Kardashian-like attributes in the candidate that would help better serve Armenian interests.

  21. Some thoughts to ponder

    Dear commenting readers,  thank you all for your enthusiasm.  I wish we had the opportunity to engage in discussions like this in our community centers or even in our late high-school classrooms, open to all the public, our youth and the elderly, the cyber-literate and the others,  the politically engaged and those who stand on the sidelines, all of whose votes we covet in politics.

    1. In my view, Ms. Kardashian rendered a tremendous level of visibility to Armenia and the Armenian Genocide.  I commend her for that. I also believe that she is a smart woman and it is not up to me to comment neither on her lifestyle, nor on her choice of career.  She is free (as we all are) to make all her personal choices, and no one should judge her for what she is or what she does (as long as they are not illegal of course, which they are not).
    2. The "baggage" that I am supposed to carry because I have attended AGBU schools, is really the following: A love for my language, a love for my culture, a love for my music, a love for my art, a love for my intellectuals and artists, a love for my history, a love for Armenia, a critical mind to approach analyzing our history, a dedication to Armenian causes, and so on. Which is, by the way, the "baggage" of anyone who has attended Djemaran or Souren Khanamirian school or the Armenian Evangelical High School, since, the insinuation is, those institutions produced closed-minded and "tainted" individuals like me.  Such is the logical conclusion of that statement.
    3. There is a word that describes the position that being bright and modern-thinking is associated with being young.  It is called ageism.  In certain settings, like hiring practices, it is discriminatory and illegal.  To hold my age against me is not a particularly defensible position to take.
    4. There is not one single Armenian who can be named, to have served at equal level of intensity, responsibility and commitment at both the AGBU and the Armenian Community Center (or its equivalent outside Canada), such is the fact of life.  To claim that this is a sine qua non condition for community support is illogical.  I repeat, I did not ask Armenians to support me simply because I am an Armenian, I asked them to support me based on my contributions to the community, to Armenian causes and what I had to offer for the future. To claim that my rejection, presumably by free and uninfluenced voter decision, whose voting preferences were exactly along our community organizational schisms, is actually only a manifestation of a healthy democracy is the equivalent of believing that there is a good statistical probability of winning several large lottery prizes in a row.  I would hope that this person is not a gambler, because he/she would lose their family assets very rapidly.
    5. Mr. Harut Chitilian who is mentioned in some of the comments, is a very good friend of mine, and I have supported him both publicly and in private.  We have many political discussions and exchange ideas. I absolutely concur that he is bright and modern-thinking.  It is precisely to nurture more of the likes of him that I offered all my abilities, my contacts, my political know-how and all my influence as part of my political program.  This was part of the political agenda that I offered both in-private and publicly to all Armenian organizations without distinction, whether at the Armenian Community Center or not.  In fact, there are video clips in Armenian on my website (as well as linked from my Facebook page) on this topic. 
    6. For the record, by the same arguments presented, Mr. Harut Chitilian must have a "lot of baggage" indeed, like me, he attended AGBU schools, like me he served on the AGBU Montreal Board and in fact, was its VP at one time.
    7. While seeming to be American (at least that is what can be deduced from the location flag, and the system IP address behind it), Artur is very knowledgeable about Canadian-Armenian community matters.  I commend him/her for that (unless of course he/she is a Canadian and is using a US-based proxy server or IP-address masking service).  It is important to keep up-to-date with everything that is relevant for Armenians around the world, and in our super-connected world, there is no excuse for the interested not to be so.  In any case, it is also important to call a spade a spade.  It was a Liberal-dominated Senate that first started the ball rolling in the journey for Armenian Genocide recognition in Canada.  It was a Liberal Parliament (and yes, a minority one) that voted for the motion to recognize the Genocide. And yes, I know that the Liberal Paul Martin government voted against it, but some courageous Liberal ministers, like Stephane Dion stood up to the Prime Minister. To diminish the contribution of the Liberal Party of Canada to the Armenian Genocide recognition efforts is at best unfair, at worst, it is deliberate obfuscation of the reality.  As to what I am doing in the Liberal Party of Canada, I have already stated that elsewhere in this thread.
    8. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper should be commended for making Armenian Genocide recognition official policy.  And that is exactly what I did when I was AGBU chairman,  I thanked him publicly and privately, and congratulated him for finally making Canada become one of the leading nations on earth defending the cause of human rights.
    9. In the end, an elected member of any legislative assembly has one job.  To write/amend the laws of the land.  It is OK to believe that popular celebrities are the ones who will end up in political power, but as a citizen, I would rather want to know that my elected representative knows what he/she is doing.  My doctor is not very popular, because she tells her patients what is wrong with them, gives them bad news, tells them what they are doing wrong in their lifestyle choices and what they have to do to get better.  But she is a very good doctor and that is precisely why patients flock to her.  If no patient would go to a physician who is just an "image" or has minimal or fake medical credentials, why would they want to put the governance of their country in the hands of similar individuals?
    10. For those who think that intellectuals have no place in modern politics, I have two words : Barack Obama (whether you support him or not).
    11. For those who think that ideas do not matter in modern politics, I have two words : Bernie Sanders (whether you support him or not).
    12. For those who think that age is a limiting factor in modern politics, I have two words: Bernie Sanders again (whether you support him or not).

    Paregamoren

    Viken Levon Attarian

    1. Your First Point

      Sireli Viken,

      I agree on all your points. However, I need to clarify on the first one.

      – Kim chose a lifestyle that can be destructive to our generation. She is free to do anything she wants; this is a free country. However, if she was in Bourj-Hammoud and she was not famous, she would  be dragged to one of the 'agoumps' and she would have had her share of "instructions" that no one likes to have.

      – In my writings, I have never judged her, but I am talking about a lifestyle that should not be exemplified. Endorsing her is very much endorsing her lifestyle. For instance, a person is free to engage in any legal and immoral activity. Immorality, such as prostitution and gambling, are legal, but endorsing the person that embodies the practice can mean encouraging that activity. If I were in the US, I would never vote for Trump, even if he was the only choice. He is engaged in gambling business that ruins the lives of so many. It is legal, but it is immoral.

      Let me repeat what I said in the first paragraph in capitals: "I DO NOT AGREE WITH KARDASHIAN LIFESTYLE, BUT IF SHE WAS ATTACKED BY MOBS IN BOURJ-HAMMOUD, I WOULD BE THE FIRST TO DEFEND HER." I did  that when I was younger in Bourj-Hammoud.

    2. Thank You

      Sir,

      Thank you for your lengthy comment. I will answer in point form.

      1. I can't agree with you more, but looking at all the vile comments about her on this page, I am afraid your opinion will disappoint most people on this page who otherwise support you.

      2. "Baggage" is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a reality we should accept especially the Armenians born and raised in the Middle East. For most people most of the time, even after immigrating to the US and Canada, "baggage" is a deciding factor with whom we become friends, we like, we vote for, etc. We should also accept that the number of ARF-minded people is a lot more, or more committed to their "baggage" than the AGBU-ADL circle. It has nothing to do with being close-minded or "tainted". It has to do with personal preference. It has to do with how our Diaspora history has developed since the Genocide. Can it be changed? Perhaps to a certain extent. But you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

      3. At the end of the day, this was a popularity contest not a job interview. In a job interview you might say that "ageism" is illegal, but it is a bit ridiculous to claim the same in an election, and to assume that people will not use their discriminating mind and free will in a poll, just because "ageism" is illegal. With middle age behind me, I have no reason to hold middle age against you. But let's be realistic: popularity and likability have a secret formula which differs each time and with each person. They are a combination of many things. Just because one believes he has all the qualifications to become a candidate, one should not feel entitled to the candidacy. That's the impression I get from your words.

      4. It's great for you that you think so highly of yourself and your accomplishments. I'm sure some people (including me) agree that you've done a lot of community work. But you cannot ignore what I've said above in points 2 and 3, which are part of a healthy democracy as much as all the other factors you mention. Free will, popularity, likability, alliances, opinions, changing loyalties, lasting loyalties, ambitions, etc: this is the world of politics, and it applies to everyone.

      5. It is very generous of you to offer your knowledge and services to the young generation, but we should also agree that one doesn't need to be an MP to be able to nurture young talent. This can be done behind the scenes, which I'm sure you've done and will continue to do.

      6. As I said before, the new generation fares much better, as the ties to the "baggage" their parents carried from the "old country" wane. It is no surprise that the ARF and the ANCC supported Mr. Chitilian in some way or another in the elections he participated in. Being a product of the new country changes many things, but there is much more to it: They see potential in him.

      7. Kudos to all the New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois, Liberals and Conservatives who voted for the Genocide measure. Shame on Liberal PM Paul Martin and his government  which voted against it. The explanations and the facts you provide are important footnotes in history, but they still don’t change the most important fact that Conservative Stephen Harper was the first PM in Canadian history to recognize the Genocide.

      9. But before his job of writing/amending the laws, he/she should first be elected. For that he/she should be popular, should make the right alliances, even be in bed with the devil, if that’s what it takes to be elected. And that’s why politics is not for everyone.

      10. I would not associate intellectuality with Obama. Great speech writers and tele prompters? Yes. Intellectual? Even if for a moment we say he is an intellectual, there are so many other factors which were much more decisive in his election (charisma, looks, a simple message–"Yes, we can"–alliances, race, etc.) that being an intellectual takes a backseat to all these factors which made him popular.

      11. Ideas matter. But the he overly simplified and accessible way to present them (especially in today’s world), matters much more.

      12. Bernie Sanders went into politics in his early thirties. He was a mayor by the age of 40. I am afraid the comparison is not valid.

    3. One Additional Thought

      One additional thought about intellectuals in politics.

      Two names: Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion. Two very decent men. Ignatieff an author, a professor, an intellectual. And two major failures as leaders. What is this secret called popularity? I don't know. But is it what makes or breaks a politician? Absolutely. More than policies, ideas, substance, or intelligent essays. Those can come later. After an election win.

  22. Social Media and Tribalism

    Artur,

    I have followed your comments. Your reference to community tribalism, social media popularity a la Kardashin, and a candidate’s intellectuality have not helped shed light for me to understand the central theme of this debate – the reasons for the unsuccessful bid of Viken Attarian.

    It is understood that you and any one of us will cast our votes as we want for whatever reason. Such debates serve to bring to public those very reasons and discuss the merits of the reasons.

    The only very candid statement you made was that in your opinion Viken is way too active in the AGBU “center” than in the Armenian Center “center” and hence should not have expected the votes from the Armenian Center crowd. But looking from afar, the candidate the Armenian Center crowd has voted for was never an active member of Armenian Center to begin with, neither does she command a Kardashian-like social media popularity, nor does she lack intellectuality and yet she got Armenian votes when the conventional thinking would have been that the 600 Armenians votes cast should have been in favor of Viken.

    If you may, let us narrow the scope of our discussion and cite instead the reasons that Armenian Center leadership did not advocate supporting Viken.

    1. Garabed, It is all about

      Garabed,

      It is all about self-entitlement. None of the candidates will admit it, but it is about ego and self-entitlement. This feeling of : I feel I am the best candidate therefore supporting anyone else is a manifestation of disunity. Sugar-coating this fact is ridiculous.

      Liberal leader Trudeau wanted Melanie Joly because he saw the most potential in her and he likes to surround himself with young beautiful women, the ARF leadership had their candidate, and they felt his chances were hurt because of the presence of another Armenian candidate. Viken hoped the ARF candidate would pull out, they hoped Viken would pull out. Both Armenian candidates had EQUAL chances to win, had one of them pulled out. And no, you can't bring up the "I put my candidacy first, therefore you should pull out". It kind of reminds you of the car fights in Beirut's narrow one-way streets doesn't it? "You go back, I was here first!"
      When the ARF leadership saw that the two Armenian candidate situation is going nowhere, it probably made the decision to support Joly, at least to gain dividends with the Liberal leader. After all, why would you give your votes to the main culprit of your failure,even if he's Armenian, right? 

      This is the story in a nutshell and without sugar-coating it. The rest is wishful thinking. 

      It was mainly the apocalyptic and insulting statements about our nation, on this page, that prompted me to comment. This collective psychosis,"worst nation" "I'm ashamed to be Armenian" "we're doomed", etc. etc . This thing is not about unity. It's about ego and self-entitlement, which is part of politics everywhere. Don't blame our great nation for it.

      Melanie Joly has the best social media presence, better than all the other candidates combined.  It doesn't compare in any way to Kim K's (the most popular woman on social media ), but still, a very active Facebook page. 

      1. Squandering Votes?

        Before expanding on my comment I would like to note the following to fault generalized statements that often appear in Armenian media.

        The Tashnag party dominated the Armenian political landscape in Lebanon for good many decades prior to the 1975 Lebanese Civil War. Throughout those years the party could have nominated only party members and assured their elections as members of the Lebanese parliament but throughout those years the party had only one member of the party nominated instead. The last and longest lasting Armenian parliamentarians elected through the well-organized machinery of the Tashnag party were known to be elected so the there would be an overall inclusive Armenian representation in the Lebanese parliament. To spare readers lengthy analysis, I will only cite that only the late Dr. Melkon Eblgihatian was a party member. The rest of the four (may they rest in peace) were Dr. Antranig Manougian, Ara Yerevanian, Khachig Babigian and Souren Khanamirian were not party members, nor were they Tashnag party ideologists. They were known to be representatives of their Armenian constituencies as Evangelicals, non-Tashnag affiliates, the Cilician See, etc.

        Regarding Montreal, I believe that Armenians would not have squandered their votes had they voted only for an Armenian candidate even at the risk of not assuring the candidate’s election. Their 600 votes cast in favor of a single Armenian candidate, who lost, would have assured the community much more powerful leverage with the winning party even though they would have won without the Armenian votes. Because during their stay in power, the winning party would bear in mind that a concentrated voting bloc at the next election could jeopardize their candidate's chances if that concentrated voting bloc sided with the opposing party instead of voting for a candidate of their own.

        I believe that the decision not to side with the Armenian candidate was strategically wrong and symbolically damaging to the Monteral Armenian community. As to who among the two should have emerged as the community’s candidate of choice, that was something that the Montreal Armenian community should have been able to amicably resolve amongst themselves but failed to do so.

  23. The liberal party and the Armenian genocide

    It is regrettable that Mr. Attarian ,even though he recognizes the impact of Mr. Harper on the recognition of the Armenian genocide minimizes the negative politics  of the LEADERSHIP of the liberal party since 1980. Starting from Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were all definitely  against recognition ("Our legal authorities indicate that since it happened before 1948 we cannot recognize it as genocide").  I have the letter from the last one, Pierre Pettigrew addressed to me on this issue, after the ANC delegation meeting with him  in October 2005.

    In 1990 , Sheila Copps on the steps of the Parliament Buildings during the April 24 genocide commemoration, "I can confirm that a Chretien government will definitely recognize the Armenian genocide". Quelle mensonge !.

    We must recognize that Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper stood firm against the ministries of foreign affairs, defense and big conglomerates and would not sacrifice their moral principles on the altar of political expediency.

    Unfortunately, we have not recognized and expressed yet in appropriate measure our appreciation of their support.   

     

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