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New Armenian Genocide Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress


WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) officially introduced a new Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res. 399) in the United States Senate on Tuesday.
The resolution is virtually identical with a bill that was approved by a key committee of the U.S. House of Representatives two years ago. Nancy Pelosi, the then House speaker who has long stood for Armenian genocide recognition, refrained from putting it to a full House vote siting insufficient votes to pass it.
“It is time for the United States to join the nineteen nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and the European Union that have formally recognized the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as genocide,” Senator Menendez said. “The Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and was one of the incidents upon which the Genocide Convention was predicated. Only by accurately acknowledging the crimes of the past can we ever hope to move forward in a legitimate manner and prevent such human rights crimes from happening in the future.”
“The Armenian Genocide is well-documented and formally recognized by 11 NATO allies and the European Union. This resolution accurately characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as a genocide, honors the memory of the victims, and strengthens America’s moral leadership on human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities around the world,” said a spokesman for Senator Kirk.
The proposed legislation is due to be first discussed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee headed by John Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate and longtime backer of such bills. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also supported the Armenian-American community on the issue.
Still, observers believe that securing Senate approval for the resolution could prove even harder than pushing it through the House. Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated the Obama administration’s opposition to such measures.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined as original cosponsors. In addition, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), Chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, has also agreed to cosponsor the bill.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5920

Prof. Ervin Staub to Speak at Tufts Commemoration of Armenian Genocide on April 11

 

MEDFORD, MA — Tufts University, the Darakjian-Jafarian Chair in Armenian History, the Department of History, and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (supported by the Ethel Jafarian Duffet Fund) will sponsor the annual Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide at Tufts on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. The Tufts event will feature a lecture by Prof. Ervin Staub, entitled “Overcoming Evil: Preventing Genocide and Creating Peaceful Societies.” Prof. Staub will be introduced by Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, Professor of History and Darakjian Jafarian Chair of Armenian History at Tufts University.

The commemoration and lecture will take place in Goddard Chapel on Tufts’ Medford, MA, campus. A reception and book signing will follow in the Coolidge Room in nearby Ballou Hall.

Ervin Staub is Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the doctoral program in the psychology of peace and violence at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford, and has taught at Harvard. He has studied the roots of altruism, the origins of genocide, violent conflict, terrorism, and their prevention, psychological recovery, and reconciliation. His books include the two-volume Positive Social Behavior and Morality; The Roots of Evil: the Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence; The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others; and Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism (2011). A forthcoming book is The Roots of Goodness: The Development of Inclusive Caring, Moral Courage, Altruism Born of Suffering and Active Bystandership.

Staub is past president of the International Society for Political Psychology and of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence. He has conducted many projects in field settings, from promoting altruism in children to seminars/trainings and educational radio projects in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo to promote psychological recovery and reconciliation, to training active bystanders in schools to prevent harmful behavior by students. He received awards for life-long contributions to peace psychology, for distinguished contributions to political psychology, for distinguished scholarly and practical contributions to social justice, and for work on international and intercultural relations.

Overcoming Evil describes the origins or influences leading to genocide, violent conflict, and terrorism. It identifies principles and practices of prevention, and of reconciliation between groups after violence, or before violence thereby to prevent violence. The book draws on the author’s previous work on all these issues, as well as on research in genocide studies, the study of conflict and of terrorism, and psychological research on group relations, and emphasizes early prevention, when violence-generating conditions are present and a psychological and social evolution toward violence has begun, but there is not yet immediate danger of intense violence. It also describes the work of the author and his associates in real world settings in Africa.

Staub’s work aims to promote knowledge, understanding, and “active bystandership” by leaders and government officials, members of the media, and citizens to prevent violence and create harmonious societies.

More information about the lecture is available by calling 617-489-1610, e-mailing hq@naasr.org, or writing to NAASR, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478; or by contacting Prof. McCabe at ina.mccabe@tufts.edu.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5904

UC Merced Awards Spendlove Prize to Peter Balakian

 

MERCED, CA (Merced Sun-Star) — UC Merced announced Monday that Peter Balakian, an award-winning author and leading voice of the Armenian Genocide recognition, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance.

UC Merced will award the prize to Balakian during an evening ceremony April 12. He’ll give a public speech the next day at 10 a.m. in room 105 of the Classroom and Office Building.

The Spendlove Prize, established through a gift from Sherrie Spendlove in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove, honors one person each year. Previous honorees include former President Jimmy Carter and Merced native Charles Ogletree, a professor of law and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University.

Balakian is the author of the memoir “Black Dog of Fate,” winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir and a New York Times Notable Book. In the book, Balakian writes about learning what his family and ancestors experienced with the Turkish government’s extermination of more than 1 million Armenians in 1915, including many of his relatives. The massacre led to the creation of the word “genocide” and served as a template for Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. A humanities professor at Colgate University in New Jersey, Balakian is the recipient of many awards and prizes and civic citations, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Emily Clark Balch Prize for poetry from the “Virginia Quarterly Review.” He has appeared widely on national television and radio including “60 Minutes,” “ABC World News Tonight,” “Charlie Rose” and “Fresh Air.” Foreign editions of his work have appeared in a dozen languages including Arabic, French, Dutch, Hebrew, Greek and Turkish.

The Spendlove Prize Selection Committee is chaired by Mark Aldenderfer, dean of the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, and includes a representative from the Spendlove family, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a faculty member and representatives from the UC Merced community.

The Spendlove Prize includes an $8,000

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/03/19/2275339/uc-merced-awards-spendlove-prize.html#storylink=cpy

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5907

Serzh Sarkisian Calls on Turkey to Repent and Face its History


MARSEILLE — President Serzh Sarkisian said Turkey must face its history urging it to “repent” for the World War One-era massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and expressed confidence that Ankara will eventually recognize them as genocide.
“We believe that Turkey must repent,” he said during a visit to France’s second largest city of Marseille late on Wednesday. “That is neither a precondition nor a desire to exact revenge. Turkey must come face to face with its history.”
“One day Turkey’s leadership will find the strength to reassess its approaches to the Armenian Genocide,” Sarkisian said, speaking at an official reception organized in his honor by Marseille’s Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin and attended by prominent members of the local Armenian community.
“Sooner or later Turkey, which considers itself a European country, will have a truly European leadership that will bow its head at the Tsitsernakabert [genocide memorial in Yerevan,]” claimed the Armenian leader. “The sooner the better, but that is up to the Turkish people.”
“Our position has not changed. We are ready to have relations with Turkey as a neighboring state,” he said brining an example of Germany and Poland. “Chancellor Willy Brandt bent his knee in the Warsaw Ghetto admitting his country’s guilt,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian had words of praise to French president Sarkozy, “the recent visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Yerevan was a historic visit indeed, and no other state leader have spoken the words about our nation’s pains, related to the Armenian-Turkish relations and the Genocide, and we should be grateful to the wise President of this glorious country.” he said
In his speech, Sarkisian did not mention the future of the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements signed two years ago. Earlier this year, he threatened to withdraw Yerevan’s signature from the agreements if Ankara continues to make their parliamentary ratification contingent on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5121

Turkey Slams France Over Armenian Genocide Bill

ANKARA — Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, which was recently put on the agenda of theFrench National Assembly.

Ankara’s statement warns of “irreparable damage” that could ensue should France’s latest move to criminalize denying the Armenian Genocide passes next week in the French parliament.

“The French authorities are well aware of the sensitivity of this issue [the Armenian genocide] for our country.. At a time when the Turkey-France cooperation opportunities could enter a development phase, such initiatives would reflect negatively on the course. And the initiating side of all this would bear the responsibility for the consequences. We expect from France to assist so that the disagreement between Turkey and Armenia, in connection with history, be settled through dialogue,” Turkish MFA’s statement reads.

The statement notes that the bill, concerning the events in 1915, is included in France’s agenda during the pre-election season.”

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5149

Ara Sarafian to Lecture on Henry Morgenthau and the Armenian Genocide

GLENDALE, CA — Historian Ara Sarafian will present a lecture titled “Staying Focused: Henry Morgenthau and the Armenian Genocide ” on Saturday, March 31, 2012 – 8:00pm at Abril Bookstore in Glendale (415 E. Broadway).
United States archives constitute one of the most important sources on the Armenian Genocide. This is because the United States was a neutral power until 1917. Its consuls and nationals were dispersed throughout Ottoman Turkey and reported what they saw. The US ambassador in Constantineople, Henry Morgenthau, was also an exceptional man who took a serious stand on the persecution of Armenians. Consequently, American archival records remain a major resource for historians working on the Armenian Genocide.
For these same reasons, deniers of the Armenian Genocide have also been relentless in their efforts to sideline or denigrate the importance of American archives regarding the Armenian Genocide. In this talk, British historian, Ara Sarafian will discuss Ambassador Morgenthau’s role in engaging the Armenian issue, and the manner in which Morgenthau has been targeted by a misinformation campaign that seeks to deny the Armenian Genocide.
Ara Sarafian is the Managing Director of the Gomidas Institute (London). His publications include “Talaat Pasha’s Report on the Armenian Genocide,” the British Parliamentary Blue Book “The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16 [uncensored edition],” “United States Diplomacy on the Bosphorus: the Diaries of Ambassador Morgenthau, 1913-1916”, and “United States Official Records on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917.”
For more information, call (818) 243-4112.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5890

US House Unanimously Adopts Resolution Urging Turkey to Safeguard its Christian Heritage


Calls for Return of Confiscated Church Properties

WASHINGTON, DC – The US House of Representatives unanimously adopted via a voice vote, H. Res. 306 on Tuesday, urging the Republic of Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties to their rightful owners.
As considered on the House floor, H. Res. 306 mirrors a bipartisan amendment (Berman-Cicilline) that overwhelmingly passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 43-1 earlier this year.
The resolution was drafted by two California lawmakers, Republican Ed Royce and Democrat Howard Berman. “Despite Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s recent claims of progress on religious freedom, Turkey’s Christian communities continue to face severe discrimination,” Royce said after the House vote.
Berman spoke of “Turkey’s disturbing, persistent failure to respect the ancient Christian heritage of Anatolia.” “Turkey should take immediate steps to restore all confiscated church property and allow full freedom of worship and religious education for all Christian communities,” he said.
The legislation urges Turkey to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties by doing the following:
1) end all forms of religious discrimination;
2) allow the rightful church and lay owners of Christian church properties, without hindrance or restriction, to organize and administer prayer services, religious education, clerical training, appointments, and succession, religious community gatherings, social services, including ministry to the needs of the poor and infirm, and other religious activities;
3) return to their rightful owners all Christian churches and other places of worship, monasteries, schools, hospitals, monuments, relics, holy sites, and other religious properties, including movable properties, such as artwork, manuscripts, vestments, vessels, and other artifacts; and
4) allow the rightful Christian church and lay owners of Christian church properties, without hindrance or restriction, to preserve, reconstruct, and repair, as they see fit, all Christian churches and other places of worship, monasteries, schools, hospitals, monuments, relics, holy sites, and other religious properties within Turkey.
Ankara was quick to denounce the resolution. The official Anatolia news agency quoted the Turkish ambassador in Washington, Namik Tan, as calling it “unfair and unjustified.”

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5168

Elixir in Exile


If Ponce De León could search for the Fountain of Youth, could an Armenian daughter demystify the elusive Iskiri Hayat?

By Lucine Kasbarian

Hidden away in my parents’ home in New Jersey is an extraordinary liquid in a glass decanter shaped like Aladdin’s lamp.
Tinted like a carnelian gem and with a spicy, musky, transporting scent, this exotic liquid seemed destined to be applied like perfume rather than consumed like a beverage.
The liquid only emerges from its cabinet to be carefully meted out for honored guests or as a folk remedy for the odd illness.
Enter the rare and precious Iskiri Hayat. Persian for “the elixir of life,” this tonic has been a source of curiosity and admiration since my childhood — a cryptic key to a fascinating past.
The word iskir is a dialectical variant (Turkish corruption) of the Persian iksir (elixir). Hayat means “life” in Persian and Arabic. And from the veneration with which the beverage was spoken about and handled when I was a child, I was convinced that Iskiri Hayat had mystical properties.
Dèdè (my paternal grandfather) knew our Armenian ancestors concocted this liqueur in their native land, but not much else — other than that one whiff had the power to transport an inhaler from exile all the way back to our native province of Dikranagerd (present-day Diyarbakir, Turkey).
I once got a glimpse of the raw ingredients, each preserved in a cloth sack tied with string. Some of them — what looked like clusters of horsehair, or a bunch of petrified raisins — could have populated a witch doctor’s medicine bag. When I was old enough, Hairig (my father) would reel off the 20 ingredients of the liqueur to me in reverent tones: Amlaj, Kadi Oti, Koursi Kajar… Recited in succession, they sounded like an incantation. In fact, as an adult, I learned that Hairig regretted not asking Dèdè more about “the medicines” — what Dèdè called the herbs and spices comprising Iskiri Hayat.
On his last visit to Beirut in the 1950s, Dèdè returned with a batch of the ingredients given to him by Manoush, one of his three sisters. Illiterate, she prevailed upon her nephew, Vahan Dadoyan, to take dictation and write in Armenian script the name of each ingredient on a tag that would be affixed to each item. As was customary for that generation, women knew recipes by heart and gauged ingredients atchki chapov (by eye). Thus, Manoush did not identify any measurements.
Fortunately, Dèdè possessed a dry mixture of ingredients already combined. We don’t know where he got it, but Hairig had, since the 1950s, repeatedly used it to make the drink. Today, our quantity is scarce and the potency of those mixed herbs, roots and spices has been depleted. Only one bottle of Iskiri Hayat remains. This has only intensified Hairig’s mission to decode and recreate the family recipe for Iskiri Hayat.
How could my father, in the 21st century and far from his ancestral homeland, reconstruct the recipe when he didn’t even know the English language equivalent for the names of some of these captivating-sounding ingredients, nor how much of each ingredient to dispense?
Alas, like the mélange of spices and herbs in this ethereal concoction, many of the ingredients’ names themselves were probably combinations of languages spoken along the Silk Road, including the Armenian dialect of Dikranagerd, Arabic, Western Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish and perhaps even Chaldean Neo-Aramaic. Even for someone like my American-born father, who was fluent in the dialect of Dikranagerd and possessed more than a dozen dictionaries for the languages in question, trying to make sense of some names was problematic.
He knew that Sunboul Hindi was Indian Hyacinth. And that Manafsha Koki was Violet Root. But what the blazes were Agil Koki, Houslouban and Badrankoudj?
So much was lost in the genocide. To cut the Gordian Knot for an Armenian of the diaspora is to locate his/her confiscated, ancestral house in Western Armenia. Since Turkish authorities deliberately changed regional names and landmarks after 1915 to obfuscate their Armenian origins, the directives (often descriptions of the house and surrounding areas, handed down verbally from genocide survivor ancestors) are today insufficient.
For Hairig, another vexing quest had been to find people, of Dikranagerd ancestry or otherwise, who could help him decipher the names and meanings of the elusive ingredients in Iskiri Hayat. Though the famous Cookbook of Dikranagerd possessed a recipe for Iskiri Hayat, it was not the formula he sought. And while some firms produce commercial formulas, he wanted our specific ancestral recipe.
While the task seemed insurmountable, my father had made some progress over the years. However, in recent times, he seemed to have exhausted his options.
So, when I decided to make the pilgrimage to the deserts of Der Zor — the killing fields of the Armenian genocide — last year (see: http://www.countercurrents.org/kasbarian070910.htm), I hoped to extend our search to Haleb (Aleppo, Syria), where some genocide survivors (including my relatives) found refuge. There, I surmised, the right person would surely recognize the ingredients’ names, know what they looked like, and even point me to where I could obtain them. We could worry later about how much of each item to blend.
Ultimately, my aim was to refresh Hairig’s supply – and from a source logistically close to Dikranagerd. Doing so seemed a meaningful thing a grateful child could do for a devoted parent in his twilight years.
My father had never seen the home of his ancestors and, yet, he carried the ham yev hod (flavors and fragrances) of Dikranagerd in his words, thoughts and deeds — from his modesty, humor and hospitality, to his dialect and storytelling ability, to his culinary and musical aptitudes. A humble gift would be to help him make that remarkable elixir that could, at least emotionally, bring his ancestors, their way of life, and our lost homeland back to him. And was it not worth it to rediscover a missing and precious part of our culinary heritage, and perhaps share it with the world?
During those fleeting days I spent in Haleb and through fellow traveler Deacon Shant Kazanjian (another Dikranagerdsi — a person hailing from Dikranagerd), I met and quickly bonded with Talin Giragosian and Avo Tashjian, a married couple who possessed the fine qualities one would wish to encounter among Armenians. Talin also happened to be Dikranagerdsi, and it stirred the senses to hear her and Deacon Shant converse in our earthy, colorful, near-extinct dialect. Talin, an English teacher, tried her hand at translating the Iskiri Hayat ingredients we did not recognize, and even enlisted her mother’s assistance. However, they both were as baffled as my father had been over the virtual hieroglyphics. And with that, Talin and Avo met me at the famed covered Bazaar near the Citadel of Aleppo, where the passageways are said to extend from the Fortress all the way to the Armenian Cathedral of the 40 Martyrs in the Old City.
This underground marketplace was a reminder of what life was like centuries ago. Rather than seeming anachronistic and backward, the atmosphere was invigorating. The Bazaar lured visitors to connect with history by showcasing cultural features that had managed to remain intact despite the modern world’s creeping influence. Here, people were not “living in the past,” as some are inclined to say about those who don’t conform to modern habits. These people preferred to cling to their traditions, taking part in an authentic continuation of the past in the present.
As we entered the Bazaar, we marveled at the vaulted ceilings, the intricately carved doors and metalwork on the walls. Merchants — some wearing kaftans, others in Western dress — would call out to customers. Through the narrow, serpentine passageways, hired hands led donkeys carrying sacks of grain. Others carried supplies on horseback. Niquab-wearing women haggled over prices. Through the labyrinths, we passed through the jewelry, textile, pottery and camel meat districts, until we finally reached the herb and spice district.
Talin directed me to the stall belonging to the Spice Man of Aleppo. He was the eldest, best known and most amply supplied of the spice vendors. Talin surmised that the Spice Man, who inherited the business from his father and grandfather, retained the knowledge they had amassed and transmitted to him. This would have meant that when our ancestors emerged from the deserts of Der Zor speaking a variety of dialects, the Spice Man’s grandparents picked up the many names a product went by, including those used by the Armenians.
In spite of whatever their personal ambitions may have been, the Spice Man’s four sons all worked in the family business, operating out of a closet-sized stall. It was teeming with bottles, packets, canisters and jars filled with powders, liquids, seeds and roots. A ladder led to a trap door on the ceiling that opened into an attic, their main storehouse.
Unable to communicate with words, I still could not contain my zeal upon encountering the Spice Man. Stoic and world-weary, he had no inkling of or interest in the source of my enthusiasm. A man of few words as it was, the Spice Man did not speak English. But as Talin recited the shopping list to him, name by name, something incredible occurred:
“Do you have Agil Koki?”, she asked in Arabic.
The Spice Man gestured a grand nod of the head, like a solemn bow, to signal “Yes.”
“What about Badrankooj?”
Again, the Spice Man’s head would slowly move from up to down until his chin brushed his collarbone.
And so this ritual went on. Talin would say a name, and the Spice Man would unhurriedly acknowledge that not only did he know what the word meant, but that he stocked the desired item.
Then, the Spice Man would call out to his sons to each fill different parts of the order.
By the time Talin was through, we had collected all but one of the ingredients on the list. Even if he were not interrupted by demands from his customers, the Spice Man still would not have been inclined to have a significant chat. We were neither able to cajole him to explain in Arabic some of the more esoteric terms, nor did Talin recognize mystery ingredients by sight or smell. However, the Spice Man’s sons did write down, in Roman letters, each ingredient’s name on its corresponding package — a revealing moment.
I was in mortal shock when we left the stall having completed the lion’s share of my mission. To celebrate, Avo, Talin, Shant and I went to the Bazaar’s bath oil and fragrance district and rewarded ourselves by purchasing traditional kissehs — the coarse washcloths used by our elders.
Back in my hotel room, I shed a tear while inhaling each aromatic ingredient. Then, I securely packed them into Ziploc bags, distributed them throughout my luggage, and hoped I wouldn’t be taken aside at Damascus airport for suspected drug smuggling. Even afterwards, the heavenly scents that clung to the clothes in my suitcase made my mouth water when I unpacked them back in the States.
What was Hairig’s reaction when I returned to New Jersey, told him my tale, and presented him with one packet after the next? He seemed gratified, but also at a loss. Were we really that close to our goal? It was almost too remarkable. He inspected each sachet carefully as if to say “So this is what Badrankooj looks like!” and braced himself for the next step: finding a knowledgeable spice vendor who could give us English equivalents to foreign words with the help of visual stimulus.
From here, we will keep readers apprised of the last legs of our intoxicating voyage. The reconstituted beverage may indeed be so supernatural that the next time you hear from us may be from Dikranagerd itself.
# # #
Lucine Kasbarian is the author of Armenia: A Rugged Land, an Enduring People (Dillon Press) and The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale (Marshall Cavendish). She may be reached at: editor@lucinekasbarian.com.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5171

USC Institute of Armenian Studies Gala Event Launched to Preserve Armenian Genocide Survivors Voices


LOS ANGELES — “Don’t Let Their Voices Be Forgotten” is the message that the USC Institute of Armenian Studies’ Leadership Council is sending as it invites a cross section of highly respected community leaders and benefactors to a gala banquet on April 15, 2012, in honor of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for championing the Armenian Genocide Digitization Project.
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute, established by Steven Spielberg in 1994, has nearly 52,000 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust in its Visual History Archive. The Institute is beginning to work with partners around the world to expand its archive with existing and new testimony collections from survivors and witnesses of other genocides. The J. Michael Hagopian/Armenian Film Foundation archive of nearly 400 filmed survivor and eyewitness testimonies will be the first collection in the Armenian Genocide Digitization Project.
Hagopian’s interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses to the Armenian Genocide, filmed around the world, cover the broad landscape of Armenians living in Anatolia (mainly Eastern Turkey) before they were deported and massacred in 1915. The interviews include survivors from Adabazar, Eskisehir, Kharpert, Konia, Sivas, Urfa, Aintab, Marash, Malatia, Dickranagerd, Erzeroum, Van, Bitlis, Smyrna, Erzingan, Musa Dagh, Kessab, Shabin Karahisar, Gurun, Sepastia, Banderma, Yozgat, Everek, Hadjin, Zeitoun, Amassia and Kutahya.
Savey Tufenkian’s, Hacob Shirvanian’s and Kosti Shirvanian’s mother, Verjin Shirvanian, who was from Van, is one of the survivors Hagopian filmed whose voice shall not be forgotten. Flora Dunaians’ aunt Hripsime Kamalian of Banderma is another. Rosemarie and Paul Kalemkiarian Sr’s mother Siran Danelian of Marash is another. Gabriel Aslanian’s grandfather Yervant Derentz of Aintab is another. Lydia and Michael Minassian’s parents, Armenak and Araxie Ajemian, are yet two more voices who shall not be forgotten.
The goal of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies’ Leadership Council is to bring together digital copies of all of the collections of interviews with Armenian Genocide survivors and eyewitnesses, essentially creating what may become the largest archive of Armenian Genocide eyewitness interviews.

In addition to honoring the USC Shoah Foundation Institute on April 15, the USC Institute of Armenian Studies’ Leadership Council will salute the late humanitarian Armin T. Wegner and the late Armenian Film Foundation founder and documentary filmmaker J. Michael Hagopian.
A German with a doctorate in law, Wegner served as a volunteer nurse during World War I. Witnessing the massacre of Armenians in 1915, he took the haunting photographs that today stand as a reminder of the heinous crimes of the Ottoman Turks. His work documenting the horrors of the Armenian Genocide and, subsequently, his open letter to Adolf Hitler denouncing the persecution of the Jews has made him a human rights hero.
Hagopian’s first filmed interview with a witness to the Armenian Genocide was with Wegner, in 1966. That interview is one of the 400 survivor and eyewitness testimonies that will be included in the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive.
The USC Institute of Armenian Studies’ Leadership Council continues to play a primary role in bringing together and enhancing the Armenian community. Ads have been placed in all Armenian community newspapers in Southern California, and invitations and press kits were mailed before the close of February.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5867

Taner Akcam: Lives of Armenians in Turkey are in Danger


ISTANBUL — The Turkish authorities assisted in the anti-Armenian demonstration, which was held in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on February 26 and under the pretense of commemorating the Khojaly incidents, the renowned Turkish historian Taner Akcam said in an interview with Taraf daily of Turkey.
Akcam also noted that there were anti-Armenian slogans even before the actual demonstration.
“Large posters that read: ‘Don’t believe in the Armenian lies!’ were posted in Istanbul streets continuously for ten days. Subsequently, the instilling of enmity toward the Armenians was spread during demonstration itself, in which partook the Minister of Internal Affairs.
I ask PM [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan: if ‘Don’t believe in the Turkish lies!’ was to be written on large posters in the streets and subways in Germany, [or] the US, what would Erdogan have said? What would the newspapers supporting the Turkish authorities say? There always are racist, nationalistic currents in Turkey, but they had not presented themselves such openly prior to the Taksim demonstration.
The meaning of the Khojaly remembrance demonstration was that the Armenian citizens of Turkey have no security of life. They do not, because there exists such Minister of Internal Affairs who states that the spilled blood will not remain on the ground.
The 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide is approaching, and the Turkish authorities carried out this demonstration against it. With this, the Turkish authorities said: ‘If you bother me, I will provoke Turkey’s nationalists with Khojaly.’ Azerbaijani companies likewise financially assisted in holding the demonstration,” Taner Akcam said.

Article source: http://massispost.com/?p=5873

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'Genocide Monument'

Using the unrecognized Genocides of the past as a reason to keep vigilance on all current ones around the world. The iPhone app is now available free on the Apple App Store. The Android and Blackberry versions of 'Genocide Monument' are currently being funded for production.