Glendale: Going After Recognition

“Going after recognition”

Schiff asks Bush to call deaths of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman
Turksa genocide.

By Gary Moskowitz, Glendale News-Press
April 24, 2004

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GLENDALE – To Sarkis Asatryan, remembering the Armenian Genocide today
is not enough.

Asatryan, a Hoover High School senior of Armenian descent, believes
people need to work hard to make sure that the 1.5 million Armenians
killed between 1915 and 1923 did not die in vain.

Since the Armenian Genocide began on the night of April 24, 1915,
today marks its 89th anniversary.

“My grandfather’s brother was killed because he wanted to buy bread
and the government would not let him, and he was beheaded,” said
Asatryan, 18. “I think the first step is to educate people not just
about the Armenian Genocide, but the genocide of Native Americans,
Cambodians, Serbs and Jews, and what an inhumane thing genocide is.

“I think we are truly making an effort to make the Armenian Genocide
known to the world. To me, we have to remember where we’ve been to
know where we are now. I think Armenians consider themselves a race
born to survive no matter what,” Asatryan said.

Armenians say the Ottoman Turks deliberately slaughtered some 1.5
million of their people between 1915 and 1923. Turkey denies the
charges of genocide, saying the Armenians were among the many victims
of a partisan war raging during World War I as the Ottoman Empire
collapsed.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) sent a letter to President George
W. Bush this week, calling on the president to recognize the
atrocities committed against the Armenian people by actually using the
term “genocide” in his annual statement commemorating the events of
1915.

Schiff was joined by Rep. George Radanovich (R-Mariposa), Rep. Frank
Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and more than 165
members of the bipartisan Armenian Caucus in asking the president for
formal recognition of the genocide.

“It’s enormously important for us to recognize the first genocide of
the 20th century,” Schiff said Friday. “I think it does further injury
to the survivors and doesn’t set the right tone for our commitment to
avoiding future genocides. We will keep working on it until we get the
job done, and I hopethe president lives up to recognizing it.

“I think Glendale feels this most keenly because a great many Armenian
families here have direct experience with the genocide. Imagine going
through a tragedy like that in your family and have your own country
fail to recognize that. Denial of genocide is a second injury,”
Schiff said.

The Canadian Parliament on Wednesday formally declared that Ottoman
Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915, according to news
reports.

The Parliament’s House of Commons voted 153-68 to support a motion
declaring the events of 89 years ago as genocide, despite a plea from
Foreign Minister Bill Graham not to aggravate NATO ally Turkey.

Razmik and Frida Aghourian, owners of Oven Fresh Bakery in Montrose,
normally would be open for business from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. today,
but decided to close in commemoration of the genocide.

The Aghourian family will attend an Armenian Apostolic Mass today
instead of working, Frida Aghourian said. The Aghourians are among
many local business owners who opt to close their doors every April 24
in commemoration of the genocide.

“It’s to respect all the people who suffered and died,” Frida
Aghourian said. “It’s to recognize and let everybody know something
horrible happened.”

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/glendale/news/la-gnp-assemblyside24apr24

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