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Bipartisan Group of Members from Congress Urge President Trump to Affirm Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan letter signed by 84 Members of Congress was sent to President Donald Trump urging him to affirm the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly). Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) spearheaded the letter asking the White House to honor the United States’ historic leadership in defending human rights and to properly characterize the events of 1915 as a genocide in this year’s presidential statement on April 24th.

“More than 100 years have passed since the start of the Armenian Genocide and the time is long overdue to acknowledge the atrocities committed against the Armenian people for exactly what they were – genocide,” Rep. Pallone stated. “It would be a powerful statement by President Trump in his early presidency to commemorate this anniversary and remember the lives of the one and a half million Armenians who were needlessly slaughtered by Ottoman Turks during the 20th century’s first genocide,” he added.

The letter to President Trump states: “In leading an honest and accurate American remembrance of this known case of genocide, you will stand with President Reagan, who recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1981, and the Eisenhower Administration, which did the same in a 1951 submission to the International Court of Justice.”

During his time in office, President Ronald Reagan squarely acknowledged the Armenian Genocide stating that “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it – and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples – the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”

Additionally, the letter references America’s humanitarian intervention, adding: “Among the proudest chapters in our shared history is America’s remarkable record of protesting the Genocide and in caring for the survivors of this crime.” The letter highlighted the Near East Relief, a Congressionally chartered humanitarian organization which raised $116 million (over $2.5 billion in 2017 dollars) to aid the victims of the Ottoman Empire’s mass murder of millions of Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Pontians, Syriacs, and other persecuted peoples.

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Cyprus Parliament Calls for International Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

NICOSIA — Ahead of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Parliament of Cyprus has called on the international community to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Ermenihaber reports citing Kibrispostasi news agency.

Addressing the House of Representatives at the start of the plenary session, Speaker Demetris Syllouris said that even if more than a century have gone by since the Armenian Genocide of 24th April 1915 when Turkey applied an ethnic cleansing plan against Armenians, Turkey refuses to acknowledge the murder

Syllouris noted that Cyprus was among the first states in the world to recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, and in 1990, the Parliament of Cyprus declared April 24 as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. The Parliament has also adopted the law on the criminalization of the genocide denial and the war crimes against the humanity.

Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian also delivered a speech at the Parliament, noting that the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide still remain unpunished.

“More than one hundred year has passed. We do not seek vengeance, we seek justice. We want the historical facts over this tragedy to be unanimously accepted,” he added.

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George Clooney, Chris Cornell Attend London Premiere of Armenian Genocide film The Promise

LONDON (Armradio) — Actor George Clooney and singer-songwriter Chris Cornell attended the London premiere of the Armenian genocide film The Promise.

Chris Cornell, who composed the theme song for the film, posted a photo on Twitter.

Elton John, Cher, Barbara Streisand, Andre Agassi, Sylvester Stalonner, Dean Cain and Leonardo DiCaprio have all expressed their support for the film.

The Promise,” which world-premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last September, will go on wide release in the U.S. on 2,000 screens via Open Road Films on April 21.

The roughly $100-million film is considered a breakthrough after several attempts to make a Hollywood film about the Armenian genocide failed during past decades.

“The Promise” centers on a love story involving a medical student (Oscar Isaac), a journalist (Christian Bale), and the Armenian woman (Charlotte Le Bon) who steals their hearts. All three find themselves grappling with the Ottomans’ decision to begin rounding up and persecuting Armenians.

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Armenian Genocide Library Opens in Washington

WASHINGTON, DC — Historians and researchers studying the Armenian Genocide will have a chance to use over 5000 publications in the Armenian Genocide library in Washington, DC Voice of America reported.

The opening ceremony of the Armenian National Institute’s (ANI) Genocide library was held on April 5. The Armenian and English books presented here provide detailed information on the Armenian Genocide.

“The Armenian Genocide library is only one part of a program on establishing a complete research center. We create a system through which the researchers can make use of the valuable collection acquired by the Armenian Assembly of America and the Armenian National Institute within the last 40 years”, Ruben Adalyan, the director of ANI said.

Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan also attended the library opening ceremony. He welcomed the creation of the library and the cooperation prospect with Armenia.

“The opening of Armenian information center-library in Washington is a very important event. Firstly, the establishment of such center in the US capital is already a serious achievement, and secondly this center will become a place for meetings and discussions, as well as a center for organizing coordinated activities. This is more than a library and information center”, Hayk Demoyan said.

Although the library will not be available to the public, it will provide comprehensive information to historians and researchers studying the Armenian Genocide.

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Senator Chuck Schumer and Mark Geragos Keynote Speakers at Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and powerhouse attorney Mark Geragos will speak at the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 2-4 p.m.

Thousands will gather in Times Square (43rd St. Broadway) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th century. This historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire. The commemoration will also celebrate the survival and spirit of the Armenian people, their rich heritage and global contributions and include the talented young voices of the Hovnanian Armenian School students, who will sing the Armenian and American national anthems and God Bless America. Presenters will include civic, religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural leaders and performing artists. This event is free and open to the public.

Events leading up to the commemoration include a genocide awareness walk-a-thon over the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday, April 22, 2017 followed by fellowship in Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as a young professionals event at City Perch in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where Olympians Migran Arutyunyan and mixed martial arts champion Albert Ghazaryan will be present and honored.

The 102nd Armenian Genocide Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights Daughters of Vartan (, an international Armenian fraternal organization headquartered in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (, the Armenian Assembly of America (, the Armenian National Committee of America (, the Armenian Council of America and the Armenian Democratic League – Ramgavars.

Participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for U.S. and Canada, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF), Armenian youth organizations and university Armenian clubs.

For more information please visit,,,,, or contact Taleen Babayan at

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Pro-Turkish Journalist Stephen Kinzer’s Assault on the Armenian Genocide and Armenians

David Boyajian

By David Boyajian 

Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of writers who blatantly favor Turkey and/or Azerbaijan and are hostile to Armenians. Some enlistees in this pro-Turkic brigade include Justin Amler, Richard Falk, Alexander Murinson, and Brenda Schaffer.

Another such enlistee is American journalist Stephen A. Kinzer.

Throughout his career, Kinzer has not only diminished the factuality of the Armenian genocide committed by Turkey from 1915-23 but also misrepresented the Armenian people and their homeland.

He spoke at the Watertown, Massachusetts Library on February 21, 2017.  His presentation, titled “U.S. Foreign Policy: Intervention or Restraint? What can we expect from President Trump?”, focused on his new book The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire.

His previous books include Crescent Star: Turkey between Two Worlds (2001), Reset Middle East: Old Friends and New Allies: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Iran (2010), and A Thousand Hills: Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It (2008) about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Kinzer himself is descended from Dutch Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment and the Cambridge-based Massachusetts Peace Action sponsored his talk.

I attended and questioned him. More on that later.

Kinzer was NY Times bureau chief in Istanbul from 1996 to 2000, and currently writes for The Boston Globe.

Once termed “Turkey’s Goodwill Ambassador to the US,” he’s a Turkophile. Kemal Ataturk, says Kinzer, would have made a great United Nations leader today. At times Kinzer has, as its friend, criticized Turkey.

He has conceded that in the 1915 period — though not in the 1919-23 Ataturk period — Turkey committed massacres and atrocities against Armenians.  He thinks Turkey should acknowledge these. However, he repeatedly explains away the murders, never recognizes them as ‘genocide,’ doesn’t cite the voluminous evidence for that genocide, and often misrepresents Armenians and Armenia. He has visited the latter and eastern Turkey/Western Armenia.

Kinzer has written many thousands of words about 1915, Armenians, and Turkey. We have space to expose only a fraction of his countless distortions.

Diminishing the Genocide
“There are troublesome questions,” Kinzer has written, “about the fate of Ottoman Armenians” in 1915.  These events are, in his words, “debatable,” “hotly debated,” and “still unclear.”

Kinzer never acknowledges that the vast majority of non-Armenian specialist historians long ago concluded that Turkey committed genocide.

He writes about an “orgy of ethnic violence” in 1915. Translation: Armenians were about as guilty as Turks.

Moreover, the “Ottoman atrocity” must be placed “in the context of other 20th massacres.” Kinzer probably makes meaningless assertions like that to obfuscate the real issues.

Ottoman authorities “ordered the expulsion of Armenians from eastern Anatolia.”  Kinzer doesn’t mention that central and western “Anatolia” and Istanbul were also the sites of Armenian “expulsions” and mass murders.

Kinzer considers 1915 “highly emotional for Turks and Armenians.” Translation: The victimizer nation’s anger is as appropriate as that of its victims.

Genocide Resolutions
The US House is “foolish,” wrote Kinzer in 2010, to consider an Armenian genocide resolution.  It would “harm US-Turkey ties.” He won’t admit that three successful House resolutions (1975/84/96) on the Armenian genocide haven’t harmed US interests.

Congress “has neither the capacity nor moral authority” to judge 1915.  “Among all killers of the 20th century,” the resolution “[singles out] Turks for censure.”  Congress must first “investigate other modern slaughters — [such as] the one perpetrated by the British in Kenya during the 1950s?”

Yet, one or both houses of Congress have officially recognized the ‘genocides’ in Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda, Ukraine, the present Christian ones in Syria and Iraq, and have approved considerable Holocaust legislation. Indeed, the “Uncompensated [Holocaust] Survivors Today Act” was just recently introduced in Congress.

I can find no evidence that Kinzer opposed any of that legislation.

Kinzer says no president has ever termed the Armenian episode “genocide.” Actually, President Reagan did so in 1981 in Proclamation 4838.

Countless principled Jews have been in the forefront of those who have researched 1915 and acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Sadly, though, some Jews and Jewish organizations — notably the ADL, AJC, AIPAC, and JINSA – have a self-inflicted syndrome I call Holocaust Hypocrisy.

Holocaust Hypocrisy
Kinzer dedicated his book Reset to his Jewish grandparents, Abraham Ricardo and Jeanette De Jongh Ricardo, who died in Nazi Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Naturally, Kinzer approves of the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.  It “documents an effort to destroy an entire people … the story it presents is beyond dispute.” He disapproves, however, of the proposed Armenian Genocide Museum in DC because “the [Armenian] events of 1915 are still a matter of intense debate.”

The title of Kinzer’s 1998 article, “Armenia Never Forgets, Maybe it Should,” perfectly expresses his belief that Armenians should put aside their past, especially their genocide.  Yet the Armenian genocide and Holocaust are separated by no more than 18 years.

Kinzer, you see, allows himself to dredge up the past — German concentration camps, the Holocaust, Kenya, Rwanda, America’s sins going back to the 19th century, and more.  Armenians, on the other hand, should simply “forget” and patch things up with Turkey.  You decide if that’s Holocaust Hypocrisy.

Employing a well-known Turkish tactic, Kinzer also attempts to split Armenia from the Armenian diaspora.  In so doing, he contradicts himself.

Armenia vs. Diasporans
In Crescent and Star, Kinzer says Armenia’s citizens “want to rebuild their country’s relationship with Turkey and … look toward a better future for both peoples.”

In contrast, the genocide acknowledgment campaign “is waged not from Armenia itself but from Armenian communities abroad.” Diasporan Armenians are “anti-Turkish”, and some are “more nationalistic than most Armenians in Armenia.” They are motivated by “a long-delayed revenge” for the genocide, he claims.

His readers wrongly conclude that Diasporans are fanatics while Armenia is relatively non-nationalistic and cares little about the genocide.

Elsewhere, though, Kinzer declares that it’s Armenia which clings to “ethnocentric nationalism.” And “national thinking is the dominant and almost all-inclusive ideology” there.

Armenia, he claims, views the world through the “prism” of the genocide even though Kinzer had alleged that it was Diasporans who were genocide-obsessed.

“1915 has cut into the Armenian psyche” and “plays an emotional role” in keeping Armenia and Turkey “apart.”  Yet Kinzer previously asserted that Armenia was eager to rebuild its “relationship with Turkey.”

Nationalism in Armenia, contends Kinzer, is quite “out of fashion” in the modern world.  He doesn’t tell his readers that every one of Armenia’s neighbors — Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, and Turkey (Kinzer’s favorite) — is also highly nationalistic.

As you’d expect, Kinzer is also pro-Azerbaijani while giving short shrift to Armenian Artsakh/Karabakh.

In “Armenians, Bitter over Enclave, Let the Oil Boom Pass By” (NY Times, Dec. 6, 1998), Kinzer says — sneeringly, in my opinion — that Armenians could have prospered had they simply agreed to Baku’s proposal of an oil or gas ‘peace pipeline’ and placed Artsakh/Karabakh back under Azerbaijan, supposedly as an “autonomous” region.

Kinzer does acknowledge that Armenians would never trade Artsakh for oil.  But there is scant evidence that Baku and Ankara would ever have allowed their oil and gas pipelines to cross Armenia. Even had they been so inclined, they would probably have demanded a raft of concessions that Armenia could never agree to.

In other of Kinzer’s writings that continually tout Azerbaijan, I can find only a few short references to Azerbaijan as an autocracy whereas its repression of Artsakh goes unmentioned.

Kinzer’s Answers
I asked Kinzer two questions after his Watertown presentation.

  1. Some Jewish American lobbying organizations — ADL, AJC, AIPAC, and JINSA — and Israel have long colluded with Turkey to defeat Congressional resolutions on the Armenian genocide yet have successfully pushed Congress to enact Holocaust legislation. Do you consider this hypocritical?

Appearing uncomfortable, Kinzer avoided the question.  What Jewish groups do, he replied, is not his “business.” Yet his writings have criticized “pro-Israel lobbies” and AIPAC.  Maybe Kinzer approves of the Jewish lobby’s Holocaust Hypocrisy but hesitated to admit it publicly?

  1. Your writings express doubt about the Armenian genocide though it’s been widely recognized by scholars, countries, and more. You also believe Congress shouldn’t recognize that genocide. Do you still feel that way?

Kinzer replied that he recognizes the Armenian genocide.  That’s inconsistent with his writings but didn’t totally surprise me. His audience was, after all, compromised of politically progressive activists in a town with a sizeable Armenian community.  Watertown had also thrown out the ADL in 2007 because it wouldn’t acknowledge the Armenian genocide and opposed its recognition by Congress.  In any case, Kinzer’s acknowledgement is now a matter of public record. Kinzer added that he still opposes Armenian genocide resolutions.

The lesson here is that Armenians must continually fight to ensure that their genocide and other issues are treated fairly and factually by journalists and media. And Armenians shouldn’t shy away from confronting those who assault their rights and history.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Massachusetts.  Many of his articles are archived at


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Screening of “Lost Birds” at Fresno State April 7

FRESNO — The CineCulture Series and the Armenian Studies Program at California State University, Fresno, are sponsoring a special screening of the film Lost Birds at 5:30PM on Friday, April 7, in the Leon and Pete Peters Educational Auditorium (west end of the SaveMart Center, near Shaw and Woodrow Aves.), on the Fresno State campus.

Directors Ela Alyamac and Arda Perdeci will be flying to Fresno from Turkey to be the discussants at the screening of their movie.

Set against the backdrop of the First World War in a small Armenian village in Ottoman Anatolia, Lost Birds is a historical fairy tale told through the eyes of a young brother and sister left behind in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Lost Birds is the first film made in Turkey to depict the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It was brought to the screen by the five years of work, persistence, and courage of filmmakers Aren Perdeci and Ela Alyamac, who share writing and directing credits. Lost Birds handles the task of telling a very dramatic story in a fairy tale narrative and this leads the audience to feel something magical yet so real at the same time.

Bedo and Maryam’s happy home life is torn apart when their grandfather is apprehended and taken away by soldiers. Now, forbidden to go outside by their mother, one morning, the two children sneak away to play in their secret cave. But, when they return, they find their home and the entire village empty. Together, with the wounded bird they have been nursing back to health, the children embark on a perilous journey to find their mother.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. Free parking is available at any of the adjacent Fresno State parking lots (near the corner of Shaw and Woodrow Avenues).

For more information about the presentation please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at

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Presentation by Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh: “The Drowned, the Saved and the Forgotten: Genocide and the Foundations of Modern Humanitarianism”

FRESNO — Dr. Keith David Watenpaugh (University of California, Davis), will give a presentation on “ The Drowned, the Saved and the Forgotten: Genocide and the Foundations of Modern Humanitarianism ” at 7:30PM on Tuesday, April 4, in the University Business Center, Alice Peters Auditorium, Room 191, on the Fresno State campus.

The lecture is part of the Armenian Studies Program Spring 2017 Lecture Series and is supported by the Leon S. Peters Foundation. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Islamic Studies Speaker Series, and the College of Social Sciences.

Genocide is unparalleled in its horror. It is the ultimate crime against humanity, but it is also a problem of humanity that evokes a problem for humanity. In this talk, drawn from his award-winning book, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (2015) Keith David Watenpaugh examines the particular questions that arise when the problem of humanity motivating a problem for humanity is the crime of genocide. Examining international humanitarian responses to the genocide of the Ottoman Armenians (1915-1922), he argues that modern humanitarianism and genocide have a complex and intertwined history that has shaped the critical modern concepts of humanitarian neutrality, humanitarian governance and the role of justice in relief, and Human Rights-based development.

Professor Keith David Watenpaugh studies the history, theory, and practice of human rights and humanitarianism and directs the Human Rights Studies Program at University of California, Davis. Author of the award-winning Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism and Being Modern in the Middle East, he has published frequently in scholarly journals. Dr. Watenpaugh is the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, and he is immediate past-president of the Syrian Studies Foundation. He also directs a global project supported by the Carnegie Corporation and the Open Society Foundations to address the higher education needs of Syrian refugee university students.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available, using parking code 273703 (use the code in kiosks in the parking area to receive the permit) at Fresno State Lots P5 and P6, near the University Business Center, Fresno State.

For more information about the lecture please contact the Armenian Studies Program at 278-2669, or visit our website at

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The Story of Aurora is Now in Turkish

ISTANBUL — A long-forgotten book and a long-lost screenplay about one of the most well-known figures of Armenian Genocide is now in Turkish. Edited by writer Anthony Slide and presented with a foreword by Atom Egoyan, Aurora contains an annotated reprint of Aurora Mardiganian’s original account “Ravished Armenia and the Story of Aurora Mardiganian” and for the first time, the full screenplay of the 1918 feature film “Auction of Souls”.

In 1915, during the deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Aurora was a 14-year-old girl from Çemisgezek. She witnessed horrible events, destruction of her people, and lost her family and relatives one after another. And yet, she managed to survive despite the physical and mental torment. This was just one of those many survival experiences, except that there was a twist, which makes it very unique. Her story was published and then used as the basis of a feature film in which she starred herself.

Two years after her survival, she arrived in the United States and recounted her story to the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. This story was interpreted by her legal guardian Henry L. Gates, and after being published with the title of “Ravished Armenia”, it was presented to the film producers in Hollywood. And so, Aurora, without fully understanding what’s going on, had to go through her trauma and remember that tragedy before the cameras over and over again.

Anthony Slide, the editor of our book, dwells on this very matter: while they were presenting Aurora’s eyewitness account as popular entertainment for the average American audience, her already wounded soul got more and more damaged. She was forced to make public appearances at each film screening across the United Stated. She was being exhibited. When it became too much for her to handle, Aurora’s look-alikes were hired.

Curiously enough, only some fragmented frames survived from a film that was once a blockbuster and broke box-office records. So, just like Armenians, the film had disappeared from sight. And so did Aurora. Yet, since 2016, Aurora’s memory is being honored through an international humanitarian award named after her, the Aurora Prize For Awakening Humanity.

While tracing Aurora and the lost film, Anthony Slide draws our attention to a historical tragedy which was condemned to be forgotten, as well as to an evanescent production in the film history.

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Armenian American Museum Unveils Animated Concept Design Video

GLENDALE — The Armenian American Museum unveiled a new animated tour video of the cultural and educational center’s concept design, providing a first look at the project’s iconic design and ambitious program.

The animated video tour begins with an aerial view of the Armenian American Museum in the proposed Downtown Glendale location adjacent to the Central Library and Americana at Brand. The tour continues with the interior of the Museum, revealing the grand lobby, state-of-the-art auditorium, and exhibition halls, where Museum officials plan to feature permanent exhibitions on the Armenian American experience and traveling exhibitions on diverse cultures and subject matters that will engage all audiences. The video concludes with an evening shot featuring the rooftop sculpture garden and Museum exterior.

The vision for the Armenian American Museum is a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.
Museum and City officials are on schedule to complete the concept design, traffic, parking, economic, and environmental studies in time for the consideration of the ground lease agreement by the Glendale City Council during the fourth quarter of 2017.

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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.