CSUF: Senator advocates acknowledgement of Armenian Genocide

Senator advocates acknowledgement of Armenian Genocide
By Elizabeth Leffall
The Collegian
[email protected]
April 24, 2004, Vol.128, No.36

In an emotionally charged ceremony, Sen. Chuck Poochigian called for
acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the Free Speech Area,
“April 24 represents a massacre of our people,”
Poochigian said.
Today represents 89 years of remembering an act by a young Turkish
government, a sadistic people, who arrested and murdered our people in
Constantinople,” Poochigian said.
Poochigian choked back emotion as he described the effects the genocide had
on his culture and family. “1.5 million people died between 1915 and 1916 as
a result of rule under the Ottoman Empire,” he said. “My grandparents’ lives
were directly affected by this atrocity. They had to see family members
split and many never saw each other again. My family and my people live with
that knowledge every day.”
During the ceremony various speakers encouraged the community to continue
to recognize the Turkish government’s part in the Armenian Genocide.
Professor of Armenian Studies Barlow Der Mugrdechian said the event,
organized by the Armenian Students Organization (ASO), was designed to bring
about awareness and recognition.
“I think it is important that this commemoration takes place on campus to
educate both students and non-students that such an atrocity took place,”
Der Mugrdechian said.
ASO club members dressed in black, wearing red armbands as they
participated in the ceremony.
Sevag Tateosian, a criminology senior, read a poem to music entitled, “You
will Fall” by author Vahan Tekeyan.
A replica of the martyr’s monument in Armenia called “Dzidzernagapert” was
recreated for the event. Translated the monument means the citadel of
swallows. Dikran Chekian, a business senior and the current ASO president,
said the swallow is used because it is a bird that always returns to the
nest. The 12 gray slabs that make up the citadel represent the 12 regions of
people east of Turkey and west of Armenia lost in the genocide.
Poochigian said progress is being made to have the event recognized
Most recently, on April 22, the Canadian Parliament recognized the genocide
of Armenians as a crime to humanity.
“We must put confidence before expedience.” Poochigian said. “We encourage
Turkey to admit that the genocide took place and commit to their history and
restoration. Commitment to justice should never stop at the grave,” he said.