ASBAREZ Online [04-30-2004]

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04/30/2004
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1) ANC Capitol Hill Observance Honors Balakian, Canadian Legislator
2) Elected Officials Express Dismay at US Apathy on Genocide
3) Chirac: Turkey Not Fit for EU Entry
4) The Passing of Archbishop Zareh Aznavourian
5) Genocide Acknowledgement–Bushwhacked Again!

1) ANC Capitol Hill Observance Honors Balakian, Canadian Legislator

SENATE AND HOUSE MEMBERS CALL FOR PROPER US REAFFIRMATION OF THE ARMENIAN
GENOCIDE

WASHINGTON, DC–Over 40 Members of Congress joined with several hundred
Armenian Americans from across the country this week to honor victims and
survivors of the Armenian Genocide, at the 10th annual ANCA Observance on
Capitol Hill. Special guests at the Observance included New York Times Best
Selling author Peter Balakian, who received the ANCA Freedom Award for his
tireless efforts to document the US humanitarian response to the Armenian
Genocide in his landmark book, “The Burning Tigris.”
Longtime Canadian Armenian community supporter and champion of the recently
adopted Armenian Genocide resolution, the Honorable Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral,
spoke poignantly of worldwide efforts to recognize this crime against
humanity.
Senators and Representatives, as well as Congressional staff representing
some
100 Congressional offices, were greeted by over 400 community members, many of
whom travel annually to Washington, DC to attend the Capitol Hill Observance
and discuss Armenian American concerns with their elected representatives. The
program was held in the historic Cannon Caucus Room.

2) Elected Officials Express Dismay at US Apathy on Genocide

INSPIRE 12,000 COMMUNITY MEMBERS AT MONTEBELLO ANC COMMEMORATIONS

MONTEBELLO–Once again, the Armenian-American community of Montebello and
surrounding communities observed the anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide
with an April 23 rally and vigil candlelight at the foot of the Armenian
Martyrs’ Monument, organized by the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of San
Gabriel Valley (ANC-SGV). This year’s message was a collective call to
political action by the Armenian community. The rally opened with introductory
remarks by Tamar Sadorian, who then invited the evening’s master of
ceremonies,
Serge Samoniantz, to conduct the event.
Special guest speaker Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-34th District)
was
one of many public officials who expressed dismay at the US government’s
failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Napolitano, a staunch supporter of Armenian-American concerns,
presented a
keen view of the community’s obstacles in having the genocide recognized by
the
Bush Administration and the backers of the Turkish deniers. She noted that her
efforts and those of her colleagues in the Congress would, nevertheless,
continue until justice is served to the Armenian people.
Introduced by San Gabriel Valley ANC member Jack Hadjinian, Montebello
Mayor Norma Reid-Lopez presented a proclamation from the City of Montebello
unanimously declaring April 24 a Day of Remembrances for the Victims of the
Armenian Genocide.
Special assistant to Sheriff Lee, Baca Captain Gary A. Nalbandian,
representing Baca, presented plaque from the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
Nalbandian closed his remarks with a rousing Armenian remark: “Struggle until
Victory!”
Speaking on behalf of the youth, Mesrobian Armenian School Associated
Students
Body officer and Montebello AYF member Angie Achikian, conveyed willingness to
take on the torch from the older generation and continue until final success.
Emcee Serge Samoniantz recognized the public officials present, including
Montebello City Council members Bob Bagwell, and Bill Molinari, as well as
Police Chief Gary Couso-Vasquez, Gil Cedillo Jr., from Assemblyman Ron
Calderon’s (D-58th) office, and Greg Martayan, a former LA City Commissioner,
who is running for a Los Angeles City Council seat in the San Fernando Valley.
Also attending were ARF Western Region Central Committee chairman Hovig
Saliba,
ARF Dro Gomideh chairman Sako Sassounian, and Armenian Mesrobian School
principal Hilda Saliba.
Before introducing the final speaker, Samoniantz announced the arrival of
the Homenetmen Western Region Scouts who had marched from Pasadena, a distance
of about eight miles, to pay their respects to the genocide victims, with a
candlelight procession.
San Gabriel Valley ANC Chairman Seto Boyajian, delivered the keynote
address recounting steps taken by the Armenian community to advance
recognition
of the Armenian Genocide in the United States. He assailed Pres. Bush’s
inability to come to terms with the Armenian Genocide and his unwillingness to
properly characterize the 1915 events as Genocide in his annual April 24
statement, emphasizing Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Kohn Kerry’s
lengthy and meaningful message calling for the international recognition of
the
genocide.
The program concluded with the traditional distribution of candles to the
audience, the candlelit gathering around the monument plaque, and the solemn
Requiem Service conducted by the clergy of the Holy Cross Cathedral.

3) Chirac: Turkey Not Fit for EU Entry

PARIS (AP/Zaman)–Turkey’s aspirations to be the first Muslim-majority member
of the European Union took a hit Thursday when French President Jacques Chirac
said Ankara most likely will not meet the bloc’s conditions for another 10-15
years.
Speaking at his first full-fledged news conference in six years, Chirac also
said the upcoming transfer of power in Iraq must be “unambiguous” and the
US-led occupation authorities must cede complete control to an Iraqi
administration.
The French president said Turkey needed to improve its human rights record
and
reform its justice system before being considered for EU membership.
“Is Turkey’s entry possible today? I say ‘No,'” he said.
But Turkey could become a member “in the perspective of 10-to-15 years,”
Chirac said. “My conviction is that it is in the long term.”
Asked whether the recognition of the Armenian genocide would be taken as a
precondition for Turkey’s EU membership, Chirac said it was an issue between
Turkey and Armenia.
Turkey, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and a part of NATO since
1952, is hoping to begin talks next year on joining the EU. Ten new members
are
joining the 15-nation union on Saturday.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity that
Turkey
accepted Chirac’s comments but still hoped the EU would open membership talks
in 2005.
“Negotiations are one thing, and membership is another,” the official said.
“Chirac was speaking about the long term. There’s nothing new about what he
said.”
Chirac’s news conference came weeks after Foreign Minister Michel Barnier
told
parliament that France would oppose Turkey’s entry.
The European Commission in November noted Turkey’s “significant progress” in
meeting the EU’s conditions, but said more needed to be done.

4) The Passing of Archbishop Zareh Aznavourian

His Eminence Archbishop Zareh Aznavourian died on Friday, in Lebanon, at 57
years of age.
Archbishop Zareh faithfully served the Armenian Apostolic Church as an
ordained celibate priest for 38 years, most of which was spent at the
Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon; he spent two
years in Rome pursuing a higher education, and three years as the Prelate of
Cyprus.
Archbishop Zareh was an eminent teacher at the Cilician See’s Theological
Seminary. He was a noted composer of both religious and secular music, a
gifted
scholar, a Biblical translator, and an author of textbooks and
commentaries. He
was considered one of the most noted Biblical scholars within the Armenian
Church.
The Extreme Unction will take place during the Divine Liturgy service at the
Cathedral of St. Gregory the Illuminator in Antelias, on Monday, May 3.
Interment will follow in the Mausoleum of the Holy See of Cilicia.
Requiem Services will take place in all Prelacy churches on Sunday, May 2.

5) Genocide Acknowledgement–Bushwacked Again!

“There’s an old saying in TennesseeI know it’s in Texas, probably in
Tennesseethat says, fool me once, shame onshame on you. Fool meyou can’t get
fooled again.”
–George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002.

Another anniversary of the Armenian Genocide passed last week, and Armenians
were presented another impotent statement by the Bush administration omitting
the word “genocide.” After reading the recent articles on all Genocide
reaffirmation-related news this last week, I remembered the above quote from
President Bush which pretty much sums up how I feel. Come November, when I
cast
my vote for the candidate opposing President Bush, I’m going to write the
White
House a letter referencing this “old saying in Tennessee.”
It’s been four years since President Bush promised to properly acknowledge
the
Armenian Genocide in a statement as candidate for the nation’s highest office
and after being elected, became afflicted with severe selective memory loss
(Weapons of Mass Destruction, Service in the Air National Guard, the Armenian
Genocide, etc). I didn’t expect much from someone who had a “C” average
throughout college, but I also expected that four years would be enough
time to
cram for the Genocide final. It seems as though he still doesn’t get it. But
what’s worse is that some Armenian-Americans still don’t get it either. And
even worse than that? There’s one group out there, the Armenian Assembly of
America (AAA) who not only is supposed to get it, but is also supposed to go
after it and pursue it. (“Supposed to” is the operative term here).
My favorite article was the one issued by the AAA which stated that the AAA
“…expressed surprise and disappointment in President Bush’s statement…which
used language to clearly define the events but once again stopped short of
using the word genocide.” In 2001, when President Bush didn’t use the word
“genocide,” the AAA expressed “regret and disappointment.” In 2002, the AAA
praised the President for his toothless statement by saying that by using the
word “murder” he invoked the same words as US Ambassador to the Ottoman
Empire,
Henry Morgenthau, Sr. I guess since I use the words “the” and “and” I’m
invoking such greats as Shakespeare and Hemingway in my writing.
I tried to find out what the AAA reaction was to the President’s statement in
2003, but there were no press releases posted on their website for April 24 of
that year (). Fortunately, the Armenian National Committee of
America had a press release and the statement posted on their site
(). I had forgotten what a doozy the 2003 statement was. The
President referred to the genocide as the “great calamity” and get this…
saluted “our wise and bold friends from Armenia and Turkey who are coming
together in a spirit of reconciliation to consider these events and their
significance.” (Skeptik looks pensive and rubs chin–MAJOR SARCASM ALERT IN
5…4…3…2…) So, that’s where our friend’s at the AAA were in 2003? They were
coming together to reconcile our “differences” with the murdering, lying,
sneaky, fraudulent government of Turkey who is responsible for murdering my
ancestors and then denying the crime. And I thought they were up to no good.
Well, I guess it’s fine that they didn’t issue a press release in 2003 and we
can all rest better knowing these guys are looking out for us.
Am I going to only pick on the AAA, you ask? How about we make a deal? When
you have your own column, you can do whatever you want! As far as the AAA is
concerned, I can’t honestly believe that in 2004, after being used and abused
for four years, after they praised the President’s 2002 statement and didn’t
issue one in 2003, that they were genuinely “surprised.” They must think that
either we’re idiots or that we will understand and have pity on them for being
idiots. I have some advice for the AAA that may console them seeing as to how
shocked and surprised they must be by Bush’s statement–There’s an old saying
in that state of Tennessee which recently acknowledged the Armenian Genocide
for the first time. Yup, there’s a saying there–I don’t think they have the
same saying in Turkey or in Texas–but it says “Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on me for sticking
around, and fool me four times, its no surprise!”

Skeptik Sinikian is not a psychiatrist nor a licensed therapist but offers
clinics to help Armenian organizations cope with dikephobia (fear of justice)
and ideophobia (fear of ideas). If you would like to “surprise” Skeptik, write
to him at [email protected]

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