So today there was a protest at the Beverley Hills Hotel, who under the Los Angeles World Affairs Council invited the Turkish defense minister, Vecdi Gonul. The protest was put on by the AYF, and there were up to 150 people outside. Protests don't appeal to me too much, I rather find a better way of being productive, so I decided to purchase a ticket and see the guy speak. The Beverley Hills Hotel was very nice, the food interesting, but most of all the people were really worth shoving the 55 bucks to get in. There are a lot of professionals that attend these events, and I ended up schmoozing on behalf of my fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Omega (Armenian fraternity). However, there were a lot of Turks in the crowd, including our table.
The minister was a so-so speaker, his english wasn't too good and his style was dull. He talked about Turkey's position in Eurasia and it's relationship with the United States, European Union, etc.. He outlined major points of Turkish policy that mirror American foreign policy (coincidence?). So anyways, on to the good part.. the question and answer session. The first person to ask a quesiton on the Genocide was actually an American lady (I had a brief but pleasant conversation withe her outside, really impressed me about how much she knew about the denial). The defense minister replied in the usual Turkish propaganda about denying the genocide and eventually one Armenian in the crowd yelled out "liar" and walked out. On the after the speech.. the protest..
Ok, so when I arrived there were about 100-150 protesters but when I came out the number dropped to around 30-50. I was talking with them, briefing them on what happened, and a thought occured to me, why weren't these protesters inside? In fact, why weren't a lot of Armenians inside? There only by my count 7 Armenians hearing the minister speak, while 100 of them outside. Wouldn't it have been more productive for the AYF to have purchased tickets and take people inside? I was a bit disappointed by the low number of Armenians inside the building, but this disappointment grew to a bit of frustration when I realized that so many Armenians came to just.... yell outside? Instead, they could have stared denial right in the face and hammered the minister with questions.