Pasadena: Armenians speak out against genocide Armenians

Pasadena Star-News, CA
April 24 2004

Armenians speak out against genocide Armenians mark anniversary of
By Jason Newell @Staff writer:Staff Writer

:Garbis Der Yeghian wants the so-called “forgotten genocide’ to have
its place in history.

Eighty-nine years ago this week, a group of Young Turks forcibly
escorted Der Yeghian’s great-grandfather – a senior clergyman in the
Armenian Church – to the banks of the Euphrates river, stripped him
naked and beheaded him in front of 41 members of his family.

“They asked him to deny his Christian faith, and he said, ‘I will
never do that,” Der Yeghian said.

Der Yeghian, an Armenian activist and college president who lives in
La Verne, is one of thousands who will speak out during today’s
Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day.

Ottoman Turks are accused of killing 1.5 million Armenians between
1915 and 1923, in a systematic effort to destroy the entire Armenian

Armenian-Americans will mark the 89th anniversary of the genocide’s
start with several memorials and events across Southern California.

Organizers of a 10 a.m. march through the Little Armenian
neighborhood of Hollywood expect 100,000 people to participate.

Others will attend a commemoration event at the Armenian Martyrs
Memorial in Montebello at 1 p.m.

A protest is planned in front of the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire
Boulevard in Los Angeles at 4 p.m. The Turkish government denies the
genocide, saying far fewer people died amid multiparty conflicts.

Der Yeghian, 53, past district governor for Rotary International and
current president of Mashdots College in Glendale, said the events
are important because they help bring attention to a tragedy many
young people haven’t heard about.

Der Yeghian, who is in Canada for three separate speeches today,
rarely passes up speaking engagements to talk about genocide and the
need for peace; he accepted 18 this week alone.

“Educating Armenian youth is not enough,’ he said. “We need to
educate all youth, because such genocide should never happen again.’

The Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century, was
the forerunner for subsequent genocides that claimed the lives of 170
million people, he said.