Free To Love Speech

Free To Love Speech

72 LLR - Lillet, Linda playing tavlee

Version 1.1

February 19, 2018

Presented by
Linda Iggy Dean

Free To Love Speech


Picture of Linda in 1973.

This speech uses the storytelling technique to make a point. It is a story of an 1st generation Armenian American growing up in Detroit in the 1960s. Written for the Toastmasters International Speech Contest August 2018. 5 to 7 minutes. It must stand on its own. Introduction is:

Linda Iggy Dean, Free To Love, Free To Love, Linda Iggy Dean.



Dressed like a village girl in blue jeans, belly dancing belt, wrist handkerchief, Kinda skip with left arm up to Shake hands with right.

I am immigrant Roupen’s daughter. I am an Armenian born in Detroit Michigan. Armenians came to America for a better life, however, the Armenians that came during World War I were fleeing to survive a slaughter. My mom’s family came then. My dad was carried out as an infant by his young mother and her brothers. Roupen’s father Hovannes was killed in a church, thinking he was being drafted into the Army.

Roupen came from Baghdad Iraq. He was a pharmacist. He found a wife, Rosie, and they married in 1954. He wanted his family to be free.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a story about my parents. It’s for anyone who loves freedom and wants the freedom to love. America used to be the land of the free, but she has lost her way. It’s a shame because real people want Real freedom.


My mom had beautiful brown eyes, a kind heart and a sense of humor. Mom was always cooking. She made mouth-watering pilaf, chicken and fresh carrots every Sunday. Her secret was capturing the chicken broth to put in the pilaf for the next week. She also made fresh yogurt from a gallon of milk and a cup of last weeks yogurt. Yes, dad ate it up and lived to be 90. PAUSE maybe HA.

My nicknames were Little Rosie, chicken or pil-ah-gee (which means lover of pilaf.) My job was to make the salad and my dad grew the vegetables in his garden. I chopped, peeled, and diced. He planted parsley, onions and tomatoes. I spent hours pulling the weeds from the parsley. I lost myself in the calm of the garden. I still love the feeling of dirt on my hands. I became an Ayurvedic vegan so now I prefer fruits, nuts, and pilaf with vegetable broth. HA

If I had been raised in Armenia, I might have lived on a vineyard picking grapes and breathing fresh air. Instead, I was in the Motor City breathing exhaust fumes and dancing to Michael Jackson. DANCE

My parents introduced me to music. My mom played her 78 (speed) records on her console record player and my dad sang in the choir. When I was 3, I fell in love with Louie Armstrong and his trumpet. I wanted to be just like him. I got to play the trumpet in 3rd grade. My bedroom was off the dining room. No one cared for my practicing after dinner. HA HA

We moved from Detroit that year shortly after the Detroit riots in 1967. Rev King had been killed and so did my step-grandfather in his dry-cleaning store. We stopped going to church. I found my way to God in a Methodist church. I learned singing posture to Amazing Grace. I learned the Armenian Yerevan song,



It means, Yerevan, capital of Armenian, became my Erebuni (Fortress)You are my new divine, my new Ani. (capital in the 5th century)

147 words “Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city now situated in Turkey’s province of Kars, next to the closed border with Armenia. Called the “City of 1001 Churches”,[7][10][11] Ani stood on various trade routes and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were amongst the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world.[12][13] At its height, the population of Ani probably was on the order of 100,000.[14][15]

Long ago renowned for its splendor and magnificence, Ani was sacked by the Mongols in 1236 and devastated in a 1319 earthquake, after which it was reduced to a village and gradually abandoned and largely forgotten by the seventeenth century.[16][15] Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and national heritage symbol for Armenians.[17] According to Razmik Panossian, Ani is one of the most visible and ‘tangible’ symbols of past Armenian greatness and hence a source of pride.”[15 (2,Wikipedia)


My dad grew up in Baghdad Iraq. He finished high school but was denied entrance into college. When a Muslim man didn’t show up for pharmacy school, Roupen’s Uncle Yervant slide him into the program.

Roupen wanted more in life, he wanted freedom, so he came to America when he was 37. He repeated college and married Rosie Paulian in Detroit. Rosie was the first in her generation to graduate college.


My brother John Iguidbashian and I are products of Detroit. John, who passed out at the sight of blood in biology class, became a pediatric heart surgeon. He treats baby hearts in Portland Oregon. John has 3 Iguidbashian children.

I grew up watching my dad fix toasters. I fetched tools and learned how to take things apart. I thank my dad for my engineering genes and my love of dirt. HA I have a beautiful daughter who is also an engineer, no broken toasters except for me. HA


Armenians are unusual. We are the disciples of the Jesus’ apostles. My dad knew Turkish, Arabic, Armenian and German. He would spit at the window if a driver cuts him off. My mom taught me how to swear like an Armenian sailor. HA HA

It’s challenging being an immigrant. Too often in America, you are seen through lenses of hatred. Being an Armenian, I lost my homeland one hundred and 3 years ago. In America, I found the Unity church. We believe in Love. Some say Armenians cannot be killed because our eyes are on heaven. We will always walk this earth because we are free. We can all be free to Love.

956 –147 – ~20 words is~780 words



(1) Yeravan Song words and music. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from

(2) The city of Ani Turkey. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018 from

The Armenian Diaspora Speech

Linda Iguidbashian Dean

The Armenian Diaspora Speech

Version 1.0

January 23, 2018

Presented by Linda Dean


The Armenian Diaspora Speech


This is a story about my family. My father Roupen was born in the summer of 1914 in western Armenian, in the village of Arabkir. The village was part of the Ottoman Empire, now called Turkey. The ruling people were Turkish Muslims. The sheik was concerned by the loss of land as the Christians to the west had separated from the Empire. Concerned about the Armenians succeeding into Russia, he ordered the extermination of all Christians remaining in the Empire. The massacre began on April 24, 1915. One and a half Armenian were thought to have been killed.

The Armenians that survived immigrated throughout the world. The word Diaspora captures this, meaning: any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, especially involuntarily.

There are references to the movies Doctor Zhivago and Hidden Figures. Uncle Levon is compared to Zhivago since they were both medical doctors conscribed into the Army during World War I. Hidden Figures is referenced in relation to the women of Hidden Figures since Linda and the three women featured in the movie were first women in the computer field.

The book The Burning Tigris documents the conflict between the historic Armenian and the Ottoman Empire. Armenia borders with Russia. Some Armenians were sympathetic to joining with Russia. The Ottoman Empire, interested in keeping their empire in tact decided to murder the Christians to stop from losing territory.

The word Abba means father, New Testament. an Aramaic word for father, used by Jesus and Paul to address God in a relation of personal intimacy.


Abba, Father, God, Roupen [pause]

My father Roupen was given this fine Jewish name so that maybe he would survive the Armenian Holocaust of 1915.

My fellow Toastmasters, I am the daughter of an Armenian Holocaust survivor. This happened during World War I. It is said that the Armenian massacre was the first Genocide of the 20th Century. It took place under the Ottoman Empire.

You see, the sheik was losing land as the native Christians were taking back their homelands. The Balkans succeeded first to the west. The Armenians to the East were seeking protection from Russia. The sheik’s answer to this was to kill off all the Christians he could find…. The Armenians, The Greeks, … The Coptic’s. All the followers of Jesus.

This is how my father’s story began. His mother and uncles carried Baby Roupen to safety.

My dad was a man of medicine and he liked to fix things. Dad wanted to be a doctor but since he was a Christian in Iraq, he was unable to attend college. Fortunately, his uncle was already a pharmacist with ties to the university. When a Muslim man didn’t show up for school, his uncle quietly gave the position to my dad.

Education was his ticket to a better life and he never forgot that lesson.

Dad wanted a better life for his children. So, he emigrated to the United States in 1950. He attended the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and earned his master’s degree, so he could practice in America. It took 7 years, but he managed with the help of Uncle Vahan Kurkjian. Vahan was a historian and writer. He wrote “A History of Armenia” in 1958.

My dad had a problem though. He only had a student visa and would HAVE to leave once he finished. Well, the Armenian network of match makers found Rosie Paulian in Detroit. Rosie was my mother. She was beautiful and had a college degree, very rare for a woman at that time. Roupen and Rose were pen pals while he studied. Together, Lillete, brother John, and I came along.

My sister Lillete was named after a book of poetry written by Uncle Levon. Levon is the Armenian version of Doctor Zhivago. Levon worked in the Turkish Army and sent his money to his brothers so they could educate themselves. He died in the Army, it was a rough life for a Christian.

My dad was a man of medicine. He wanted to be a doctor. Instead, brother John became the doctor. He is a pediatric heart surgeon in Portland Oregon and has written papers detailing surgery techniques. Roupen wanted to be a doctor, John fulfilled that dream.

I was Little Linda, a spitting image of my mom. I was my dad’s tool runner when I was 8. I would get a workout carrying tools to and from the garage and the basement. I know my tools. It’s because of my dad that I became a Computer Software Engineer. I can absolutely relate to the recent movie Hidden Figures. Linda graduated from the University of Michigan in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. She was one of the first women in the field.

So, Roupen was a man of Medicine and Engineering. He wasn’t a man of God when we grew up. Living in the middle east, he had seen how religion just got people killed. My dad wasn’t actually a Christian when we were growing up. We stopped going to Church when I was eight. I didn’t know what I was missing until I had my own children. It was easy to miss God in the 1960’s and 70’s. The American culture had changed from the 50’s and God wasn’t a part of it.

It is strange for an Armenian to not be a Christian. According to the Bible, after Jesus passed away, the disciples and followers spread to the east into the Armenian homeland. It was because of men like Bartholomew, Peter, James, and Paul that Armenia became to first Christian nation in 301 A.D.

Armenians are known to die for Christ, and God. Under the Ottoman rule, one and a half million Armenians died very horrible deaths. The men were shot to death in their own Churches. The women and children were marched in circles until they died. Many women were raped and became Muslim wives and mothers. The book The Burning Tigris documents what happened.

The killing of Christians is still going on all over the middle east. Turkey now has fewer than 20,000 Christians remaining. My dad grew up in Iraq. These are not safe places for a Western Armenian to travel. Eastern Armenia is a free nation in the Russian orbit.

The Western Armenians like me are now in all corners of the Earth. We landed in Australia, Europe, Lebanon, Israel, and the Americas. The term for this is “The Armenian Diaspora”. Armenians observe their Genocide on April 24, a nice spring, Easter day, when the carnage began in 1915.

My dad married a second Armenian woman, a woman of faith named Ashkhen. It took her 18 years, but she brought out the Christian in my dad. He no longer needed to struggle for money, and he came to give it away. He helped build the American University in Armenia. He had a yearly gift of college tuition to any Armenian student from Arabkir, his home town. In his will, he gave away all his money so that young Armenians could get an education.

I am very proud of my dad, Abba, Father, Roupen.

I thank God that he survived.

I thank God for my life.

I hope that I can contribute as much as my father did.

God Bless,



Balakian, Peter (2003) The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. HarperCollins books, New York New York, USA. Arabkir reference is on pages 87-88.

Doctor Zhivago (film). See

Hidden Figures (film). See

Kirkjian, Vahan M. (1958), A History of Armenia. Armenian General Benevolent Union. Golden Jubilee Publication. Vantage Press, 120 West 31st Street, New York USA

Iggy’s Frist Public Appearance

I am a Toastmaster in the Detroit area. I am the District 28 Meetup Coordinator. I held a training session at the Dearborn and Toledo Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) in January 2018. I recorded my presentation on January 20th .

Here is the YouTube link to my training session on Meetup Pro for District 28:

I have plans to write on many topics. Here is my project list:

  • I have a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Walsh College Troy in 2014. I have many interesting articles. I will be cleaning these up and posting them here. My first one is about forecasting the housing market and what factors have to most significant effects. Population growth is a huge factor as well have free cash-flow within a family. (More immigrants and all having extra money will cause growth.)
  • I am a retired Computer Engineer. I have two published papers when I worked at Motorola Cellular Infrastructure Group (CIG) in the 1990s in Fort Worth Texas.
    • There is a paper on using modeling tools and reuse of a platform. CACI modeling tools was used to create a Motorola networking tools for network performance management. Motorola SES 1997.
    • There is a paper on middleware communication tools like CORBA. Motorola had a UDP system. This is a trade study of 4 middleware platforms, UDP vs TCP over IP. Motorola SES 1999.
  • I am bipolar manic depressive. I plan to write many things about this.
    • My Memoir: Adventures in the Psych Hospital.
  • I am a Vegan, I practice of Ayurveda, and I survived Breast Cancer in 2012. I plan to blog on bettering your health.
  • I am a Toastmaster. I earned my Distinguished Toastmaster Master (DTM) in July 2017. I will post short stories and other speeches. My goal is to a collection of short stories and essays. Hopefully, these will published some day.
  • I am an Armenian, Methodist, Unity Church Christian. My dad Roupen was a survivor of the Armenian Holocaust. I was born in Detroit Michigan. I hope to share a message of Love, Forgiveness, and Renewal. I am an Iguidbashian & Kurk-jian, from Arabkir. A Detroit Paul-ian.

Welcome to the Linda Iggy Blog!

February 9th, 2018

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