ANC WI: Wisconsin Armenians Commemorate The Armenian Genocide

Armenian National Committee of Wisconsin
4100 N. Newman Road
Racine, WI 53406

April 26, 2004
For Immediate Release

Contact: A. Zohrab Khaligian
[email protected]


MADISON, WI–For the fourth year in a row, Wisconsin Armenian Americans
gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to commemorate the
Armenian Genocide. Over 70 people–including 13 State Representatives and
Senators–attended the reception and program held on Tuesday, April 20 in
the GAR Hearing Room. The event was co-hosted by the Armenian National
Committee (ANC) of Wisconsin, State Representatives Mark Honadel, Bonnie
Ladwig, and Jeff Stone, and State Senators Jeff Plale, Mary Lazich, and
Cathy Stepp.

The purpose of the program was to thank the Wisconsin State Assembly and
State Senate for adopting Armenian Genocide resolutions, which designate
April 24 of each year as “Wisconsin Day of Remembrance for the Armenian
Genocide of 1915 to 1923,” and to continue to educate and promote awareness
of Armenia and Armenian issues, particularly the Armenian Genocide. The
featured speakers included Robert O. Krikorian, Ph.D., Representative Jeff
Stone, and Senator Mary Lazich. The program also included the reading of
commemorative statements from US Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl.

Zohrab Khaligian, representing the ANC of Wisconsin, presented the welcoming
message. Khaligian thanked everyone for attending the program and voiced
his disbelief that almost 90 years had passed since the Ottoman Turkish
government attempted to eliminate an entire nation, that their crime has
gone largely unrecognized and totally unpunished, and today the crime of
genocide continues as rumors abound about atrocities in Sudan.

Khaligian thanked the State Assembly and Senate for not ignoring the past
and setting the record straight by adopting Genocide resolutions which
reaffirm the Armenian Genocide as a fact of history. Khaligian also thanked
Wisconsin’s US Representatives Tammy Baldwin, Mark Green, Jerry Kleczka,
Paul Ryan, and F. James Sensenbrenner for co-sponsoring the Genocide
Convention Resolution–H.Res.193–which is currently waiting to be brought
to the House floor for a vote. Khaligian singled out Representative
Sensenbrenner for his leadership on the House Judiciary Committee, ensuring
that this legislation was adopted at the committee level following intense
pressure to eliminate the mention of the Armenian Genocide by pro-Turkish
lobbyist Bob Livingston and the Turkish Ambassador to the United States
Faruk Logoglu.

US Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl were also thanked for cosponsoring
the Senate version of the Genocide Convention Resolution (S.Res164).
Khaligian introduced Katie Crawley from Senator Feingold’s Middleton office
and Darci Louma from Senator Kohl’s Madison office, and then read each of
the Senator’s commemorative statements. (Full text of statements below).

Guest speaker Robert O. Krikorian, Ph.D. was then introduced. Dr. Krikorian
is a historian with the Office of the Historian at the US Department of
State, a Professorial Lecturer at the Elliott School of International
Affairs at George Washington University and a fellow at the university’s
Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. It was announced
that prior to the program, Dr. Krikorian was the featured speaker at a
series of lectures organized by the ANC of Wisconsin. The series included a
talk on Saturday, April 17th with the Racine Chapter of the Armenian Youth
Federation on Dr. Krikorian’s experiences in Armenia and Artsakh from
1988-1991. A lecture titled “Education and Responsibility” on Sunday, April
18th at St. Hagop Armenian Church in Racine and an academic lecture entitled
“In the Shadow of War: The Ottoman Empire and the Destruction of the
Armenians” on Monday, April 19th, which was presented twice, once at the
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library, and once at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union. The Friends of the UW-Parkside Library,
and the UW-Madison Armenian Student Association and History Department
hosted the latter two lectures, respectively.

Dr. Krikorian explained that the Ottoman Empire’s massacre and deportation
of the Armenian people during World War I should be understood in the
context not only of the war itself, but in the decline of the empire.
Beginning in the latter part of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire
suffered a series of military and political reverses, culminating in its
total defeat in 1918. The significant losses of territory in the Balkans,
North Africa, and Western Armenia preceding the Genocide created the
preconditions for carrying out this final solution to the Armenian Question.

The final two speakers were Representative Jeff Stone and Senator Mary
Lazich. A co-host since the first commemorative program, Representative
Stone commended the Armenian American community of Wisconsin for remembering
their history in an effort to prevent history from repeating itself.
Senator Lazich, speaking for the first time since becoming a co-host in
2002, read excerpts from an article written by Dr. Richard Hovannissian to
highlight the enormity of the Armenian Genocide.

Prior to closing the program, Zohrab Khaligian thanked Representative Bonnie
Ladwig for her support and guidance in making the State Capitol program a
success. Representative Ladwig will be retiring from the Assembly in the
Fall due to health reasons and will be sorely missed by the
Armenian-American community in Racine.

In closing, Khaligian explained that the objective for obtaining recognition
of the Armenian Genocide can no longer be to obtain justice for the Armenian
people. As the crime of genocide has continued to the present day, the
Armenian people and their supporters must strive to obtain recognition and
justice for the Armenian Genocide in order to prevent future genocides from
ever occurring again. Khaligian wondered aloud that if the crime of
genocide is allowed to continue, who will be left alive?

The Armenian National Committee is the largest Armenian American grassroots
political organization in Wisconsin and nationwide. The ANC actively
advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian American


Statement by Senator Herb Kohl

Dear Friends

Please allow me to extend my best wishes and greetings to all of you who
have gathered today to commemorate the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide. I regret my schedule prevents me from attending, and I hope this
event raises awareness and pays tribute to the victims of this seminal

I also hope this event provides everyone in attendance with an opportunity
to reflect on the tragic events of 89 years ago, and steels our resolve to
prevent it from ever happening again. We have an obligation to future
generations to share our lessons and experiences so that atrocities are
never repeated. Commemorations like this lay the important foundation of
that critical task, while also offering a fitting forum to pay our respects
to the victims of the tragedy.

Thank you for your efforts to promote peace, tolerance and a memorial of the
past. Best wishes.


Herb Kohl [signed]
US Senator

Statement by Senator Russ Feingold

Statemen t of US Senator Russ Feingold
Commemorating the 89th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
April 20, 2004

“I am sorry that I am unable to attend this important commemoration. Thank
you to the Armenian National Committee of Wisconsin for organizing this
event. Today, we remember the Armenian men, women and children who lost
their lives during the Armenian genocide. 89 years ago between 1915 and
1923, the Ottoman empire undertook a policy to isolate, exile and eliminate
the Armenian population. One and a half million Armenians were
systematically murdered in this campaign. Hundreds of thousands more were
forced to flee their homes.

The Armenian genocide must not be denied or forgotten. We have an
obligation to remember and remind others of the horror that occurred. As
seen by the killings in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda over the past decade,
targeting people for their ethnicity is still a frequent occurrence. Its
repetition demands that we speak out and inform others in order to prevent
future atrocities.

Today, I join you in solemnly remembering the victims of the Armenian
genocide, and in honoring their memory by reaffirming our resolve to prevent
genocide from occurring again.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. 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.” - WS