MAILBAG

Armenian group is looking for a lot

Regarding “A few clarifications, if you please,” May 15 and “Columnist should have researched ethnic group,” May 20, Dan Kimber’s anecdotal adult education student, the one who had been here for 30 years, but could still not speak any English, could nevertheless have become a naturalized citizen and voted in our elections (using bilingual ballot materials, of course). Regarding researching various ethnic groups: According to Wikipedia, the Armenian Youth Federation is the youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which purportedly advocates socialism (one kind of hot-button issue between U.S. Democrats and Republicans, of course), while also campaigning for not only the singular recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also the right to reparations. Furthermore, Wikipedia states that it also advocates for the establishment of a “Greater Armenia,” based on the Treaty of Sevres. Accordingly, Greater Armenia is then described as an Armenian “irredentist” political goal.

Irredentism is defined as being any position advocating annexation of territories administered by another state on the grounds of common ethnicity or prior historical possession, actual or alleged. Now, if the Revolutionary Federation’s updated, 2009 goal is just to garner U.S. support for officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide for what it was, then that’s one thing. However, when true irredentist passions gain sufficient support, major world troubles can, and have occurred, as a result.

Take, for example, the German people’s initial support for forcibly “liberating” territories in neighboring European countries, which had large ethnic German populations in them due to the way new national boundaries had been drawn up after World War I. Enough said on that one.

There has been little trouble over one particular irredentist organization’s desire to “take back” the American southwest, of course. But what about, say, those ethnic Albanians who purportedly have lusted for a “Greater Albania?” Lest we forget now, there was a little bombing war “over there” during the President Bill Clinton years, and some sources did indeed claim that many such Albanians did covet an expanded, ethnic Albanian-dominated nation.

HARVEY PEARSON

Los Feliz

Common sense needed on roads

There have been quite a few letters on this page from bicycle riders castigating dangerous drivers and from drivers castigating bicycle riders for dangerous and annoying riding performance. There have also been a number of writers saying that both sides need to improve their respect and treatment of the other.

I fully agree with the latter opinion and felt I had nothing more to add until the other day when I witnessed such brainless behavior by a bike rider that I felt compelled to join the written fray.

I had driven down Campbell Street and stopped at a four-way stop at Mountain Street before turning right. All was clear to turn with no other cars except two stopped going east on Mountain, so I started the turn, but stopped because out of the corner of my eye, I fortunately noticed a bike rider in his glorious psychedelic body suit coming down the hill from the left. He continued full throttle without the least slowing, blowing right through the stop sign and the intersection. How utterly stupid can you get?

If I had not been in a good alert state and stopped in time there would have been a new color on the rider’s psychedelic outfit and on my car — blood red.

I have ridden a bike for at least 40 years and have gone through my share of stop signs without coming to a complete stop, but always carefully making sure there were no conflicting cars, pedestrians or other bikers. I’m not arguing that this is right, but it is a heck of a lot easier to stop a car and start moving again at a stop than it is for a bike rider to stop and then start again.

Nevertheless, I have never before seen such totally stupid behavior by a bike rider as that guy roaring full speed right through a stop sign where cars were about to enter the intersection. The unfortunate thing is — besides a dead or badly mangled bike rider if I had not stopped — I probably would have been blamed for the horrible accident. Interestingly, one of the stopped eastbound cars was a police car, and unless the officer was in a misty stupor, he must have seen the derelict rider. But he did nothing, and when I motioned to him in the direction of the departing rider, he acted totally clueless. How sad!

So I reiterate, drivers and bike riders need to be thoughtful and careful at all times, and even more so when they are sharing the same road.

ROBERT MORRISON

Glendale


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