Archbishop Barsamian Issues Appeal to Help Victims of Sudan Genocide

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (E.)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Chris Zakian
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

August 19, 2004


Primate Urges Faithful to Help Victims of “Another Genocide”

EDITORIAL NOTE: In response to the continuing tragedy of death and
displacement in the Sudan, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the
Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, issued an appeal to
all Diocesan parishes, to send humanitarian relief to the victims of
this latest attempt at genocide. What follows is the full text of
that appeal, issued on August 11, 2004.

* * *


To us Armenians, “genocide” is more than just a word. It is more than
an abstract calculation of how many died at such a time, in such a
place. It is more than a legal designation, used to describe a
species of mass murder.

We know that genocide is the utter destruction of a people: its great
figures and common folk; its high culture and everyday customs.
Genocide is the attempt to extinguish the future of a nation–and so,
diabolically, to render that nation’s history meaningless, and

Our own ancestors felt the cold hand of genocide rake across their
shoulders. And still today, we shudder from the chill of events that
took place nearly a century ago. That is the larger truth about
genocide: not only does it wipe out lives in the present; it also
sends ripples of sorrow outward, to torment future generations.

Through hard experience, we Armenians have learned to recognize

when it rears its hideous head. But we have also learned, by the
grace of God, how critical it is for the wider world to stand up, take
notice, and lend support to the victims–whenever and wherever
genocide appears.

This monster is abroad again–this time committing atrocities in the
Darfur region of the Sudan. Shocking reports tell of a marauding band
of mercenaries, called the Janjaweed, which is supported by the
Sudanese government to rid the region of its non-Arab residents.
Their weapons of genocide include systematic killing, punishment by
rape, and the burning of entire neighborhoods. An estimated 50,000
people could die in the near future from the violence and refugee
crisis. ONE MILLION PEOPLE have reportedly left their homes in the
Darfur region, and are barely surviving in neighboring Chad.

There is little need to draw the obvious parallels to the things our
ancestors endured in their own desperate hour.

Over the past months, our Diocese has been working with the National
Council of Churches (NCC) to bring the issue to the forefront of
public discussion, and we will be working with the NCC’s aid
organization, Church World Service, to provide assistance to the
victims of Sudan’s genocide.

With this directive, I strongly appeal to all our parishioners and
parish leaders to collect funds in an effort to provide humanitarian
aid to the

victims of this horrendous genocide. Please urge your parishioners to
contribute to the Diocesan “SUDAN GENOCIDE RELIEF FUND.” The most
efficient way to donate is through our Diocesan website,
, where you can click on the “Donate” link and
make a credit-card donation on our secure server.

Naturally, individuals and parishes can also send checks via mail to

Diocesan headquarters in New York (please write “Sudan Genocide
Relief” in the memo).

Finally, I hereby direct our parishes to hold a special collection for
this cause during badarak on Sunday, September 12. All funds
collected should be sent to the Diocesan headquarters by Friday,
September 17. Please use the occasion to discuss the genocide in
Sudan, and our moral obligation as Armenian Christians to come to the
aid of those in despair.

May God bless you and your parishioners. And may He answer the
prayers of all people who call out to Him from the depths of their