ASBAREZ ONLINE [05-25-2004]

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05/25/2004
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1) Community Celebrates the Impact of Armenia’s First Independence Day
2) Coalition Firm in Improving the Country’s Situation
3) ARF Bureau Representative Visits Canada
4) ANCA Presents Case for Genocide Resolution Vote

1) Community Celebrates the Impact of Armenia’s First Independence Day

LOS ANGELES–Perhaps no other day symbolizes the resilience, hope, and
profound
commitment to freedom of the Armenian people more than May 28, 1918. The 86th
anniversary celebration of the May 28, 1918 Armenian Independence Day took
place on Sunday, May 23, at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, which was packed
by the community-at-large and invited guests who had gathered en-masse to
celebrate the noteworthy historical event.
Present were ARF Bureau members Vicken Hovsepian and keynote speaker Hagop
Der
Khatchadourian, Consul General of Armenia to the US Gagik Kirakossian, members
of the Central Committee of ARF Western Region, representatives of religious
bodies, and representatives and members of ARF-affiliated organizations, as
well as a wide array of other community institutions and organizations.
The Los Angeles Homenetmen scouts performed the flag ceremony, followed by
the
singing of the US national and Armenian anthems.
Speaking in Armenian and English, Master of Ceremonies Razmig Haroun, in his
opening remarks, recalled the words of Nigol Aghbalian, “The Armenian man of
future centuries will be amazed at the heroic resoluteness of that generation
which stood by the side of its abandoned homeland and, with its weakened and
inexperienced hands, but with an unfettered spirit, created a new Armenia from
ruins…May 28 celebrates this telling and ultimate determination.” Haroun
stressed it is impossible to celebrate this great resurrection of the Armenian
people without recalling that extraordinary generation which lay the
foundation
in Armenia with the concept of government. Haroun spoke of the heroes who
achieved the impossible because they were united, body and soul; and it was
that psychological atmosphere that gave birth to the miracle of Sardarabad.
“We
must be able to recreate the spirit and atmosphere of Sardarabad, and must be
able to infuse the Armenian spirit with the patriotism and knowledge that
existed during Sardarabad, in order to carry out our pan Armenian struggle as
one people.”
Keynote speaker, ARF Bureau Member Hagop Der Khatchadourian characterized the
miracle of the May victory as one that “crushed the centuries-old chains of
slavery, terror, and burdens,” to inspire hope in the Armenian people–hope in
the future and firm conviction in the power and abilities of Armenians.
When the genocide served to enslave the Armenian mind and conscience, along
with literary creations–even banished the existence of the Armenian exiled
from the 20th Century, May 28 emerged as the beacon that dissipated the
dreadful obscurity of psyche and spirit, and served to rekindle national
confidence and honor.”
Addressing Armenia’s political tensions, Der Khatchadourian said that the ARF
firmly believes that the key to resolving the current situation is through
guaranteed reforms in the life of the country and its people, ensured through
Constitutional reforms to strengthen democratic mechanisms, spur economic
growth, establish social justice, and fight against corruption, and the shadow
economy.
Speaking about national advancements realized in the last 15 years, Der
Khatchadourian said that it is our sacred duty to seize the moment with our
collective capabilities to ensure even more victories. “There is still a long
road; our quest continues–until we collectively reintroduce our inalienable
rights to a united Armenia, through uniting as Armenians.”
Also participating in the night’s celebrations were Consul General Gagik
Kirakossian, singers Sose Keshishian, Sushan Petrossian, Garine Avakian,
Hovhannes Shabazian, Rasmik Mansourian, and Karnig Sarkishian, and dancers of
the Armenian Dance Centera and Hamazkayin Ani Dance Ensemble.

2) Coalition Firm in Improving the Country’s Situation

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the
governing coalition called on the opposition once more to engage in real
dialogue.
The statement reads that though the opposition, through its statements made
jointly with other parliamentary forces, emphasizes the need to create a new
political atmosphere in the country, it has, nevertheless, failed to take the
appropriate steps in this direction.
“Adopting a policy of holding protest rallies instead of engaging in a
dialogue, they effectively do not adhere to the Council of Europe’s calls to
settle issues by political means without preconditions,” the statement
continues.
Referring to a solution to the problem, the coalition states the situation
can
not change simply with the readiness of authorities, but also requires the
opposition to change its stance, adding that it “believes the possibility
for a
further dialogue still exists, and expects that the opposition, with a
responsible stance, participate in the process of settling the current
problems
jointly.”
In concluding, the coalition confirms its resoluteness “to settle the
problems
and issues that the people are concerned with through implementation of the
Council of Europe’s recommendations and the country’s commitments before the
Council.”

3) ARF Bureau Representative Visits Canada

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau
representative
Hrant Margarian, arrived in Montreal on May 24, where he was greeted by
representatives of the ARF Canada Central Committee (CC), and members of the
Montreal “Mihran Papazian,” and Laval “Sargis Zeitlian” ARF chapters.
Margarian met with ARF Canada CC members and was briefed on the body’s
activities; in turn, he presented Armenia’s current political situation and
its
foreign policy issues.
Margarian will participate in the 86th anniversary celebration of the First
Armenian Republic, to be held on May 27 at the Canadian Parliament. On May 28
and 30, Margarian will serve as keynote speaker at the May 28 Independence Day
events in Toronto and Montreal.

4) ANCA Presents Case for Genocide Resolution Vote

–URGES SPEAKER HASTERT AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER FRIST TO HEED CONGRESSIONAL
AND CONSTITUENT CALLS FOR ACTION

WASHINGTON, DCThe Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), again this
week, urged the Congressional leadership to take note of the overwhelming
bipartisan support for legislation marking the 15th anniversary of the US
implementation of the Genocide Convention and schedule a vote on the Senate
and
House Genocide resolutions (S.Res.164 and H.Res.193).
In an ANCA update sent to Members of Congress, ANCA Government Affairs
director Abraham Niziblian outlined ten key reasons why Senate Majority Leader
Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert should place the Genocide
legislation on
the Congressional docket for action.
The Genocide resolution was introduced in the Senate in June, 2003 by
Senators
John Ensign (R-NV) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ). Its
Companion House measure, H.Res.193, led by Representatives George Radanovich
(R-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank
Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), was adopted unanimously by the
House
Judiciary Committee last May and has 111 cosponsors. The resolution cites the
importance of remembering past crimes against humanity, including the Armenian
Genocide, Holocaust, Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, in an effort to stop
future atrocities. Support for the measure has been widespread, with a diverse
coalition of over 100 ethnic, religious, civil and human rights organizations
calling for its passage, including American Values, National Organization of
Women, Sons of Italy, NAACP, Union of Orthodox Rabbis, and the National
Council
of La Raza.
The ANCA update provides the following compelling reasons why the Genocide
Resolution deserves a vote: it seeks to prevent future genocides; it
strengthens America’s commitment to the Genocide Convention; its unanimous
adoption by the House Judiciary Committee; its broad, bipartisan support;
endorsement by a coalition of over 100 organizations; support by Pulitzer
Prize
winning author Samantha Power for adoption of the Genocide Resolution;
participation of over 40 legislators in the Capitol Hill Observance of the
Armenian Genocide; request to President by 191 members of Congress this April
to recognize the Armenian Genocide; the National Genocide Resolution postcard
campaign; benefit concert supporting passage of Genocide Resolution.

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