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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Czech Republic Parliament Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

PRAGUE (Armradio) — The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic today approved a resolution, condemning the genocide of Armenians and other religious and national minorities in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The resolution passed with 104 votes.

The resolution was proposed by MEP Robin Bönisch from the CSSD. “I think it was the Czech Republic’s duty to formally recognize the genocide. And because yesterday it was the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide, I think it was very symbolic to recognize the genocide of the Armenians today,” Bönisch said.

President Milos Zeman also called the killing of Armenians genocide. On the occasion of the anniversary, the President sent a letter to Barsegh Pilavchian, the spiritual leader of the Armenian community in the Czech Republic.

“I agree that history is not meant to be interpreted by politicians. At the same time, however, I believe that the events that cost 1.5 million innocent people represent a tragic chapter in the history of not only the Armenian nation but also of the entire civilized world,” Zeman wrote in a letter published on Tuesday.

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Thousands March for Justice to the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – On the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, tens of thousands participated in Los Angeles’ March for Justice demanding justice for the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The April 24 march to the Consulate General of Turkey in Los Angeles was organized by the Armenian Genocide Committee—a coalition of groups the include the four denominations, the national political parties, as well as the most prominent relief, youth and advocacy organizations in the community.

The march began at Pan Pacific Park, adjacent to the Holocaust Museum and spanned for more than one and a half miles through the streets of Los Angeles to the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

The event drew a massive audience of Armenian-Americans and non-Armenian onlookers who were interested and curious about the mass march/rally which resulted in several street closures in one of the busiest areas of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City Council members, Paul Krikorian and David Ryu joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in addressing the tens of thousands waiting to participate in the March for Justice. Mayor Garcetti, who has been a steadfast ally to the Armenian Cause and the Armenian-American community for many years reiterated his commitment for the proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide, adding that all Armenians have an obligation and duty to watch “The Promise” and urge their non-Armenian friends and neighbors to do the same.

The March for Justice concluded into a rally in front of the Turkish Consulate. Among the public officials who addressed the crowd were Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, LA City Councilman Paul Koretz and President of the LA Unified School District Steve Zimmer.

The program began with the leaders of the four Armenian denominations leading the crowd into prayer, followed by Maria Cozette singing of the United States and Armenian national anthems.

Congressman Schiff, a fierce advocate and leader of the Armenian Cause in the House of Representatives delivered an impassioned speech about the importance of the United States government to recognize the Genocide so that future genocides do not prevail. “Genocide is not a historic relic — even today hundreds of thousands of religious minorities face existential threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It is therefore all the more pressing that the Congress recognize the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide and stand against modern day genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Lieutenant Governor Newsom denounced Republican and Democratic presidents alike for declining to pressure Turkey to recognize and accept responsibility of the Genocide of Armenians. He went on to reiterate the State of California’s stance as a state that believes in truth and justice, “a State that believes the Genocide that happened to the Armenian people was an outrage and unconscionable act of inhumanity, not just the Armenian people.”

Masters of Ceremony Hrach Avedissian and Lara Armani skillfully guided the rally, which included remarks from the Armenian Genocide Committee by Silva Katchiguian, Raffi Hamparian and Armig Khodanian. The youth’s message was delivered by Rafi Orphali. The rally also featured musical performances by R-Mean, Joseph Krikorian, Armenchik, Maria Cozette, and Harout Pamboukjian.

Armig Khodanian’s Message

Dear members of the clergy, elected officials, supporters and friends of the Armenian Cause. We all know what transpired 102 years ago today. We all know the crime, the culprit and those who seek to contradict the facts behind the Armenian Genocide. We all know the importance to stand together as one, in solidarity to defeat those who are denying the pain, suffering and annihilation of our ancestors. The government of Turkey continues to conduct a well-funded campaign of Genocide denial as they spread their distorted history throughout the world. In recent years they have attempted to utilize paid journalist, sell out academics, as well as the entertainment industry as a counter weight for our advocacy and educational efforts.

Hell, they even funded not one but two major movies to combat our efforts and to contradict The Promise,…..two movies that flopped.

But ever wonder why successive Turkish Governments are attempting to deny a fact? Why deny the Armenian Genocide? Why deny something that started 102 years ago? Turkey knows there is no such thing as Turkish history without Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and Kurdish suffering. Yet, journalists, historians, and authors who speak about the very subject in Turkey are either imprisoned, as was the case of Sevan Nisanyan and countless others, or in the case of Hrant Dink, who was assassinated.

The Armenian genocide was an unprecedented event in the human history, but, regrettably, it was not the last genocide of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, it did not end within a few years. It endures well into the present day Republic of Turkey. Thousands of Armenian Cities, Towns, cultural institutions, Churches, prominent architecture and houses have lost their identity, have lost their soul, or even worse yet, are being openly lied about as originally being of Turkish origin. These actions are not just towards us Armenians, but also towards the Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds and other minority peoples of Anatolia.

Let us also not forget the Turkish funding of ISIS in carrying out such atrocities towards the Yezidis, Kurds and Christians within Iraq and Syria.

In recent years, there has been a small glimmer of a spark inside Turkey, primarily within progressives, minorities and intellectuals, that the Armenian Genocide is irrefutable. This small spark of hope is still in its infancy, and faces an increasingly authoritarian Turkish government. Today’s Turkish government is afraid; the geopolitical landscape is changing. Western governments have finally come to realize Turkey is not a Democratic nation, and most importantly not trust worthy. Turkey has, and continues to discriminate against its own citizenry, distress ethnic and religious minorities, and harass those, internally as well as externally, who have the courage to challenge the governments failed policies, including the policies of denialism.

The majorities within Turkey, either, buy into these policies, are blind towards these policies, or are too scared to act against an authoritarian regime.

That is the reason why successive Turkish Governments are attempting to deny the Armenian Genocide.

The present authoritarian government is no different, it knows once its own people realize that the founding members of the Turkish Republic are synonymous with the Hitlers, Stalins, and the Pol Pots of the world, that their ideology is synonymous with Nazism and Fascism, that their authoritarian methods are a rouse to keep the populace in check and enslaved to the regime, the fragile façade that is the Republic of Turkey would be shattered into pieces.

Unfortunately, President Trump, like previous administrations, refused to properly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as Genocide.

This is very disappointing. The office of the United States President, was once perceived as the leader of the free world, of hope, transparency, and democracy, yet President Trump has chosen to become a tool of denialist Turkey.

That is where we come in, that is where you come in. Educating more people about the Genocide, confronting denialists and history revisionists is key to ensuring that future generations are well-informed and aware of the truth. That is where our advocacy, our marches, rallies, educational seminars, books, documentaries, movies and music about the Armenian Genocide help grow the spark of hope within Turkey. A spark of hope that will grow into a flame of resistance, which will in turn garner a Turkish government who will have the courage to look inward and recognize the terrible deed of their ancestors, to recognize the Genocide of our ancestors. Come to terms with the guilt and the shame passed on to it by the Ottoman Empire and successive regimes, and reach a just solution to us Armenians, reparations of our lands, churches, schools and institutions, restoration of a strong and unified Armenian Nation.

Why does Turkey deny the Armenian Genocide?

Because, the government of Turkey is scared of the truth…The truth THAT IS the Armenian Genocide.

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Rep. Adam Schiff Statement on Failure of President Trump to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON, DC — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), sponsor of the bipartisan resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide, released the following statement in response to President Trump’s failure to recognize the Armenian genocide:

“Today, we received another disappointing statement from yet another President, refusing to acknowledge the murder of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915-1923 for what it was — a genocide. President Trump now joins a long line of both Republican and Democratic Presidents unwilling to confront Turkey, and by refusing to do so, he has made the United States once again a party to its campaign of denial. How can we speak with the moral clarity we must about the genocidal campaign by ISIS against religious minorities in Syria and Iraq, if we are unwilling to condemn the first genocide of the last century? If the President will not speak out, the Congress must, and I join my colleagues — Democrats and Republicans — in calling on the House to take up the Armenian Genocide resolution.”

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Gaidz Youth Organization Commemorates Genocide in Pasadena

PASADENA – Over 150 community leaders, activists and youth gathered at the Pasadena Memorial Park to pay tribute to the 102nd anniversary of the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

The event, organized by the Gaidz Youth Organization (GYO) and Armenian Council of American (ACA) began with the national anthems of the United States and Armenia sang by Noelle Doctorian. Master of Ceremonies and GYO member, David Magalian discussed the importance of Armenian-Americans educating their non- Armenian neighbors and friends about the Genocide.

ACA Board Member Krikor Moloyan introduced Pasadena City Councilmember and Vice Mayor Gene Masuda, as well as Seamus Garrity representing State Assemblymember Laura Friendman of the 43rd State Assembly District which contains the largest Armenian-American community. GYO member Allison Ghafari followed with an eloquent poem illustrating the struggle, survival and resilience of the Armenian people.

Moloyan’s speech reminded the audience of the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Turkish government towards the Armenian people and the continuation of assaults on the Armenian people by the current Turkish and Azeri dictatorships. Following Moloyan was Father Sarkis Petoyan of the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Pasadena. Fr. Petoyan’s speech was a call to action for Armenian youth to become more involved in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

GYO member Sarkis Karaoghlanian delivered a powerful speech about the current denialist machines who are working hard to ensure that the Genocide is never recognized. He reiterated the importance of activism to combat the Turkish regime’s efforts at distorting the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.

Nor Serount Cultural Association’s Dance Troupe dazzled the audience with their beautiful dance performances and Nor Serount Chairman Harout Der Tavitian performed patriotic songs closing the event. At the end of the program, attendees places flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial site which is a permanent display at the north end of the park.

Krikor Molyan’s message

This year marks the One Hundred and Second anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

We Armenians are all too familiar with the facts and events of 1915.

We are also familiar with the continuous denialist campaigns waged against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Although there has been a fledgling community of progressives within present day Turkey, that not only recognize the Armenian Genocide, but also urge their government to do so, Turkey’s recent elections have dampened any hope of a serious democratic debate about its genocidal past, troubling present and uncertain future.

More than 110,000 people have been detained in Turkey, and nearly 50,000 have been arrested on specific charges. Up until last week, Erdogan’s government arrested: 10,732 police officers, 7,463 military members, 168 generals, 2,575 prosecutors and judges.

Most concerning are the 2,708 journalists who were dismissed from their posts in 2016 and the 131 journalists in jail as of January, 2017.

President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate the Sultan of the Turkish Republic on his brazen display of corruption, and as of tonight, he has not issued an official statement regarding the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It is unfortunate, that the United States government, perceived as a beacon of hope, transparency, and democracy has chosen to become a tool of denialist Turkey and remains silent on our ancestors suffering.

It is heartbreaking that consecutive United States Administrations have not had the courage that their predecessors had in 1915 to not only attempt to stop the suffering of the Armenian people, but to vociferously and publicly address the crime to the international community.

For the criminal is not just the individual, groups, or governments that attempts genocide, but those who knowingly attempt to distort and deny facts regarding any Genocide.

This same criminal body that attempted the Genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, continues its attempt at a Kurdish Genocide. Many Kurdish leaders have apologized for their ancestor’s role in the Armenian Genocide. It is imperative that we voice our support for the Kurds who are being persecuted by their government just as we were persecuted a hundred years ago.

This is why we demand acknowledgement. This is why we demand justice. For an unrepentant, unpunished offender of a crime will repeat the crime, and there is no worse crime than Genocide.

It is time to not only persist on the recognition of our ancestor’s suffering, but to cease attempts at Genocide towards any group of people because we believe this prolongs the suffering of our martyrs.

One Hundred and Two years after Genocide was committed across Anatolia, this crime against humanity is perpetrated today. In Syria who’s civilian death toll is well over 60,000 and the persecution of the Yazidis of Iraq. In Somalia and the Central African Republic. In Myanmar, South Sudan, Burundi, Darfur and Nigeria.

Even more troubling is the growing list of countries on the brink of Genocide which include Nigeria, Chad, Yemen, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Iran, Mali, South Africa, Rwanda, Angola and many others.

We also must not forget to utilize the incredible wealth of knowledge, skill, ambition and ingenuity of our current generation. The Armenian communities of the world must put our resources towards legal and scholarly endeavors, towards the new generation and towards improving our homeland. For example, The Promise Institute of Human Rights, recently established at the UCLA School of Law is a step in the right direction.

We have a lot to do.

Armenia must continue its path to become a strong nation built on the foundations of our martyred ancestors. This can only happen with an ethical, democratically elected government who, unlike the continuous authoritarian regimes of Turkey, must have the respect of its people as well as the international community.

Armenia must not only become strong, but must show its Turkish neighbor how a government should act, where human rights for all are respected. Armenia must become an example for the region, especially for the Turkish people.

The Armenian Council of America thanks the State of Wyoming on their recent recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian community truly appreciates the respect demonstrated by the Equality state.

Yet this is a small step towards our mission, we must continue to educate, continue to advocate, and continue to demand.

Let’s vow today that each and every one of us will make a contribution towards our community. Support young Armenian entrepreneurs, pick up an Armenian book you’ve never read, or volunteer at a community center. Our collective strength will pave the path to our bright and prosperous future.

Sako Karaoghlanian’s message

102 years ago, our ancestors suffered one of the most horrifying events in history. Over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children were massacred by the hands of the Ottoman Empire. We were broken, we were scattered, we were lost, but our hope never died.

William Saroyan said it best, “Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.”

What we sometimes fail to realize during our protests, commemorations and mourning, is that by standing here today we are proof that turkey failed in their mission to exile us from existence.

We grew stronger, we grew brighter, we found each other around the world, we united, and we multiplied. There are now approximately over 11 million Armenians living worldwide due to our unity.

As new generations of Armenians emerge, our duty, the duty of all Armenians and most especially the duty of Gaidz Youth Organization members, is to keep our culture strong and unified. In present day, we protest, advocate and pray for our Genocide to be recognized worldwide.

The Gaidz Youth Organization also ensures that we do everything in our power to prevent such atrocities and Genocides from transpiring again. Not just for us Armenians, but for all mankind. The success of any Genocide would mean the failure of decency, humanity, and most of all, as Armenians, a failure to our ancestors. A failure to prevent another group of people from going through horrific situations that our ancestors went through. A failure to empathize with them, as well as those being persecuted. That is why, a century later, we continue our struggles for recognition. That is why we unite against not just the denialist actions of the present day turkish regime but the actions of the azeri dictatorship who time and time again has called for the obliteration of Artsakh, Armenia, and the Armenian people.

Less than a decade ago, the Azeris conducted a pogrom against Armenians in Baku, and Sumgait. A little over a year ago, the Azeri dictatorship attempted to restart their mission, yet once again they failed. They failed due to our unity and just cause.

Armenians, like any other ethnicity, have differences of opinion when it comes to political ideology, as well as the way one practices religion, these differences do not separate us from being united and ensuring our cultures’ prosperity, and to love every Armenian as though they are brothers and sisters. These differences do not hinder our efforts to safeguard all Armenians.

We must continue to protest, speak our mind, and educate ourselves.

The reason we, members of the Gaidz Youth Organization, choose to not only remember, but to commemorate, to advocate, to struggle for recognition, is to re-affirm our core beliefs in ethical principles, democratic principles, human principles.

My plans for my future is to give back to my community, my dream is to one day become a principal at an Armenian school and educate the youth of the future about our past and excite them for their future. We as Armenians always grow and excel through any obstacle, let us continue to make our ancestors proud of our accomplishment. Let us not make their blood shed go to waste. For our future, we see triumph, and prosperity. Gaidz Youth Organization believes, we, the youth, are the future. We are the heartbeat that continues to pump the blood that gives Armenians life. Furthermore, we Armenians have proven that we are strong, and can overcome anything. We must keep this bond with each other, and excel through life and continue to refute the actions that were perpetuated against us. We must also accomplish greatness within our respective communities. We must ensure that we are strong and able to achieve our goals. In doing so, we can continue to laugh, sing and pray, and most importantly help build a better community and a stronger Armenia.

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Lost Evidence of Armenian Genocide Discovered in Jerusalem Archive

JERUSALEM (The Jerusalem Poist) — Lost evidence was recently recovered in a Jerusalem archive that researchers have dubbed as “smoking gun” proof of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey.

Boxes of evidence have rested in the archives of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem for nearly a century, inaccessible to scholars “for reasons that are not entirely clear.”

In and Article titled: ‘Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide’ Uncovers Lost Evidence, the New York Times reported on Saturday that Taner Akcam, a Turkish historian at Clark University in Worcester, MA, has come upon an original telegram from the military tribunals that initially convicted the Armenian genocide’s planners. This key evidence has long been missing, and the lack of original documents, the Times said, is the foundation of the Turkish narrative of denying the genocide.

“Until recently, the smoking gun was missing,” Akcam told the Times. “This is the smoking gun.”

The telegram, in code, is from Behaeddin Shakir, a high ranking Ottomoan official, to a colleague, inquiring about specifics regarding the deportation and murder of Armenians in eastern Anatolia. A copy of this telegram was used in Shakir’s conviction, shortly before almost all original documents and testimony went missing, forcing scholars to rely on secondary sources for their research on the topic.

According to the Times, Armenian leadership in Istanbul shipped 24 boxes of records to England when Turkish nationalists were seizing control of the country in 1922. The documents then made their way to France in the care of a bishop and finally to the archive of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where they’ve remained since the 1930s, inaccessible to scholars “for reasons that are not entirely clear.”

Akcam came upon photographs of the original telegram in New York, in the possession of the nephew of a now-dead Armenian monk.

Read more in NY Times: ‘Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide’ Uncovers Lost Evidence

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Justin Trudeau Pays Tribute to Armenian Genocide Victims

OTTAWA — Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued astatement on 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide;

“On this day, we solemnly gather to commemorate the tragic loss of life among the Armenian population, which took place over a century ago. In 2015, the House of Commons unanimously passed a motion declaring April 24th as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day.

This day honours the memory of those who unjustly lost their lives and suffered during the genocide. We pay tribute to them and their descendants, many of who now reside in Canada. On this occasion, Canadians – regardless of faith or ethnic background – stand together in solemn remembrance and reaffirmed dedication to ensuring that we never stand indifferently in the face of hate or violence in any form.

As we observe Armenian Genocide Day, please join me in my hope for a future characterized by peace and mutual respect. “

The Leader of the Official Opposition and Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rona Ambrose, also issued a statement on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

“Every year on April 24 the world remembers those Armenian men, women and children who lived through terrible sufferings and lost lives 102 years ago.

It’s a day to remember, but also to ponder about the events that left a deep trace on the modern world. The Conservative Cabinet led by Stephen Harper recognized the events of 1915 as genocide in 2006. In addition, the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada have also adopted resolutions assessing those events as genocide.

Every year Canada and other countries make use of this anniversary to shed light on the existing conflicts and to say that they cannot have a similar tragic ending. We do that also to support the global efforts aimed at peaceful coexistence.

Canada must continue remaining the proud protector of human rights and democratic freedoms which are today jeopardized. This is why we are happy to see that the Armenians and Turks of Canada can work together to set up productive relations. I and the entire Conservative faction of the parliament share the memories of all the Canadians on this anniversary and encourage the representatives of both communities to demonstrate a gesture of goodwill and continue the rapprochement efforts”.

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Armenian, Jewish Communities Unite to Commemorate Holocaust and Armenian Genocide Together

BOCA RATON, FL – As Armenians and Jews around world will gather this week to commemorate Yom HaShoah and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which happen to fall on the same day this year, Congregation B’nai Israel and the Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc. have organized a joint program of remembrance with a screening of the critically acclaimed film DENIAL at Congregation B’nai Israel, 2200 Yamato Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 on Sunday, April 23rd at 6:00pm.

Based on the book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, DENIAL recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s (Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Rampton (Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson), to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred.


“The Armenian and Jewish communities have a shared historical pain.  Our religions may be different, but our stories are the same.  Families broken apart and slaughtered in campaigns of ethnic cleansing that took millions of lives from us, an uprooting of a people and a way of life, our survival and that we have not only survived but thrived, and a vow to remember and never forget” commented Arsine Kaloustian, the Chair of Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Inc.  “We also share the vigilance against any denial of these atrocities, which makes the theme of the film so relevant for both communities,” she added.

The program will begin with a catered welcome reception, while a multi-panel presentation on prejudice and genocide created by students from Palm Beach Central High School will be on public display.  Local Armenian and Jewish community leaders will then deliver brief remarks and discuss the importance of the film. After the film screening, the evening will conclude with an interfaith candlelit prayer service from local religious leaders.

“We human beings, created in the divine image, have a Godly responsibility to speak out and act against the atrocity of the extermination of any people because of their race, religion, or ethnicity. Too often people are complicit in their silence against those who would deny such a holocaust. The lessons of history must be studied and learned so that we might chart a better course for humanity. It does not do justice to our Godly responsibilities to ignore, deny, or reframe human history,” stated Rabbi Robert A. Silvers of Congregation B’nai Israel.

The event is free and open to the public. Members of the media are also invited to participate. Space is limited and RSVP is required. Please register online at: .


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Los Angeles County Proclaims Armenian Genocide Day of Remembrance

LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Board of Supervisors marked the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by proclaiming a Day of Remembrance for one of the darkest chapters in human history.

“The month of April and the celebration of the Armenian culture culminates in our Day of Remembrance, a day where we mourn, remember, and rejoice in the rebirth of a resilient people,” said Supervisor Barger.

Earlier this month, Supervisors Barger and Hahn introduced a motion proclaiming April as “Armenian History Month” in Los Angeles County – the home to the largest population of Armenians in the United States. The Armenian community continues to enrich the region through their leadership in the fields of business, agriculture, academia, medicine, government, and the arts.

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California Legislature Commemorates the 102nd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide

SACARAMENTO — Today, members of the California Legislature commemorated the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, even as the United States of America continues to turn a blind eye to the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians.

“We commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide to remember the 1.5 million souls lost and to celebrate the Armenian’s contributions to California,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “Through vigilance and education we can banish genocide to our history books.”

“Armenian-Americans have not only survived, they have thrived and enriched the fabric of our communities. The genocide is about real people and real stories. For me it is about my wife Vanessa and her family, people I love and who are Armenian-Americans,” said Wilk. “By remembering the horror of the genocide we are taking steps to ensure it never happens again.”

Earlier this year the Armenian Caucus, in partnership with the California Arts Council, launched its 3rd Annual Essay and Inaugural Visual Arts Scholarship. Both are open to any C alifornia high school student.

The three prompts for the essay scholarship are:
· They have been hired to work for a still-to-be-constructed Armenian-American National Museum, with the museum to be located in Glendale, California.
· They have received word from the museum director that one wing of the museum will be entitled Notable Armenian Americans.
· They are to share with the director, in the form of an “internal memo,” one name that should be featured in this wing of the museum and the reason(s) that this name should so be featured.

The winners of the 3rd Annual Essay Scholarship are:
1. Tigranuhi Tina Ter-Akopyan | 9th Grade | James Monroe High School
2. Ramiro Archila | 10th Grade | San Fernando High School
3. Samantha Randell | 10th Grade | Claremont High School

The Visual Art Scholarship theme was “Human-to-Human Interaction,” and the criteria was:
· Only two-dimensional, visual art submissions will be accepted. Submission types are limited to drawings, paintings, photographs, digital illustrations and graphic design.
Submissions may not exceed an 11×17 frame and must weigh less than 25 pounds.

The winners of the Inaugural Annual Visual Art Scholarship are:
1. Hanna Hitchcock | 12th Grade | Salinas High School
2. Bora Wie | 12th Grade | Richard Gahr High School
3. Gavny Vardanyan | 12th Grade | North Hollywood High School

During the Senate and Assembly Floor Sessions Senator Wilk and Assemblymember Nazarian honored two outstanding Armenian-Americans and presented them with Joint Legislative Resolutions commemorating the genocide:
· Salpi H. Ghazarian , USC Institute of Armenian Studies leader, for her contributions to addressing and resolving national and global challenges in Armenian communities.
· Salpy Kerkonian , flutist and specialist in the interpretation of music by Armenian composers.

Wilk and Nazarian also provided legislators with the book, Bread from Stones, by author Keith David Watenpaugh.

The Armenian Caucus was formed in 2015. It is a platform for Armenian-American voices at a statewide level and is open to all legislators, Armenian or not, who are interested in learning more about the community’s issues.

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Panel at Hammer Museum Highlights How Filmmakers Depict Genocide

UCLA — A wide-ranging panel discussion at the Hammer Museum at UCLA delved into the challenges of using film to depict genocide and ethnic conflict. The event, held April 6, featured Terry George, an Academy Award-nominated writer and director; Dr. Eric Esrailian, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.

George is the director and co-writer, and Esrailian a producer, of a new feature film called “The Promise,” which is set during the 1915 Armenian genocide, and is set for a wide premiere April 21.

Esrailian, a digestive disease expert and philanthropist, also sits on the executive board of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and has been involved in developing the school’s Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment. He said one hurdle for the filmmakers is that the events of 1915 are still so poorly understood by the general public.

“One of the challenges is the lack of general awareness of the Armenian genocide,” he said. “Because the denial has been so heavy, it crushes the truth. You have to counteract that.”

That meant striking a careful balance: telling a story through specific characters while also establishing the facts around historical events. George said finding an empathetic person to serve as the focal point can be the key to taking on an emotionally difficult subject in a film. So “The Promise” uses fictional characters who, George said, “allow us to walk through the tumultuous events that defined the Armenian genocide.”

In addition to writing and directing “The Promise,” George was the co-writer and director of “Hotel Rwanda,” and his other projects have examined the Vietnam War and the conflict in Northern Ireland. Creating sympathetic protagonists is one of the important ways to draw viewers into stories about such major conflicts, he said. “An ordinary person who transcends the horrible situation they are put in and, in battling against it, proves our own humanity,” he said.

Smith said that balancing historical accuracy with interesting storylines is a tension that frequently arises in historical films aimed at mass audiences.

“Filmmakers want to keep the engagement of the audience,” he said. “The telling of the story is what’s going to do that and, therefore, artistic license is a really important part of that process.”

But that can raise questions about historical accuracy and credibility — something Smith said can be mitigated in part through close collaboration between scholars and filmmakers.

George said filmmakers have to research and source their work as accurately as possible so their films’ truthfulness isn’t in question.

The film’s release date is within days of both Armenian Genocide Awareness Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day, which this year both fall on April 24. Smith pointed out that April is also the month during which the Cambodian genocide began and that the movie premiere falls during the 100-day period of commemoration of the Rwandan genocide.

“Survivors are still feeling the pain of those events,” he said, adding that the confluence of those anniversaries and commemorations are “good opportunities for communities to come together, because the grief that is shared is universal.”

Esrailian said the new film has struck an emotional chord with audiences who feel connected to the Armenian genocide. “Art can allow people to heal,” he said. “That’s why we made the movie.”

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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.