Posted by panch in a gungle from ? (184.108.40.206) on Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 9:37AM :
Last night, at the headquarters of the Assyrian American Association in San Jose...a drama was played out that should have ocurred months ago...back when my lawyer sent a letter to their president, Jackie Bejan...suggesting they think twice before banning me from the upcoming Federation convention. In his letter he said that the only thing that seemed to have "happened" to break a 22 year old agreement between the Federation and myself...as well as the avowed and oft expressed affection for and interest in my work and plans for displaying it once again, as in all those years past...was some sort of "personal animus", as he put it...and that therefore this could not possibly be right...and going ahead with such a thing would put the Association at risk for a lawsuit...which could be entirely avoided if the Association honored its committment and allowed me to display the sculpture their president and I had been working together on preparing for the convention.
That letter was never shared with the executive committee of the Association or the general body. As things turned out, I was allowed to show, till I tried to sell...then asked to leave when I wouldn't sign a patently fraudulent contract put out on me the last night. I left and my sculptures were thrown in a corner and covered over.
As I have made no secret of the fact that I felt the president of the Association acted in a negligent manner in the discharge of her duties and reponsibilites as president and sheppard to her sheep...I am being now sued in part for making that "slanderous" and "defamatory" statement.
I have contacted the executive committee...sending each of them their own letter this time...informing them that I am forced to sue them, against my own wishes, in order to prove that my lawyer was not making empty threats. I never said I would WIN a lawsuit against them...the letter simply said they should reconsider because they would face the POSSIBILITY of a lawsuit if they proceeded. Here comes the lawsuit to prove those weren't empty words, and should have been heeded, or at least thought about and some legal advice sought back THEN...not thunderous lawsuits now.
Last night the executive committee met and I believe this time they did indeed discuss what should have been talked over before...when we could have reached some sort of compromise or clarification. I asked them for a written statement saying they had not been made aware of the letter and also that no one consulted them when the contract was put out on me. These are simple statements of fact...I don't really care which way they answer...I just wanted to see what the truth had been, so I could leave them out of the counter complaint I am about to file. After all...if they had no part in it, why should they have to join our circus?
I'm not so much of a fool not to realize that I have placed them in a ticklish position...but why should I be the only one laughing so hard? This comes down to what always destroys us...what has region fighting region...Sect fighting Sect...competing organizations within a stones throw and a brickbat's too, of each other fighting each other...that has us all at each other's throats...Loyalty. Loyalty is the issue here...and we understand this about as well as we understand anything else a third grader knows more about.
Loyalty to whom? To what? I would suggest that one's first responsibility is to be loyal to oneself...to do the right thing just because you sleep better at night...if for no loftier reason. As Assyrians and members of an Organization, I would imagine our loyalty should be to this Heritage first...to the people who share it with us...to each other's children who look to us to protect and promote it...and then to whichever organizations we belong to whose stated goals are to do right by the Heritage, each in its own ways. I would think that would be the most effective path to express loyalty through. Last of all would come loyalty to any one person, friend or official.
And, of course, members would take their lead from those who seek to lead them. The president of an organization indicates by his or her actions what kinds of loyalty the organization stands for. By being loyal to the Heritage and the organization next, leaders indicate the direction for members. If the leader can be seen as keeping loyalty to Heritage uppermost, then the membership would do likewise. If the leader demonstrates that loyalty to his or her own person is paramount, then the members will also follow suit. If the leader believes that loyalty to him or her is the greatest good and should come above all else...one would think the members would feel the same way.
But that may not always be the case. A leader may well demand the loyalty of all members be focused on him or her, making personal loyalty the greatest, or the only allowable, form of loyalty to the Heritage and the organization...while that leader does not reciprocate, indeed turns his or her own loyalty to him or herself too. That is unfortunate. If leaders are not loyal to the Heritage or the organization and the membership, but follow their own personal path, regardless of how this might betray the Heritage or the organization and members...the leaders set a bad example and are hardly in a position, it would seem, to demand personal loyalty to them as the best way to show loyalty to the Heritage and organization and members...when they did not demonstrate any loyalty to the members or the goals and procedures of the organization.
If everyone is going their own way...doing what suits each person, regardless of where this lands the organization or what it does to the Heritage...there is no loyalty except the narrowest sort...and that is why we fight among each other and split off into smaller and smaller splinter groups...no one keeps their eyes on the Prize, because the prize is a small and personal and often petty thing that can inspire no one.
I asked for their answer quickly as I am under a time constraint and must file the complaint within days. Whereas once it took no time at all for a serious decision to be made by one person and put into effect immediately, without consultation or "procedures" and rules...leading us all down this destructive path...it may well turn out now that the leadership will require a long and slow process...following the rules that were no where in evidence when the decision was made without any consultation whatsoever. Better late than never I suppose...though in this matter it would have been better "not at all".
-- panch in a gungle
-- signature .
Post a Followup