W Prelacy: Harut Sassounian Honored at Genocide Commemoration Event

April 17, 2007

Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America
H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate
6252 Honolulu Avenue
La Crescenta, CA 91214
Tel: (818) 248-7737
Fax: (818) 248-7745
E-mail: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>
Website: <;


In commemoration of the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, on the evening of Sunday, April 15, the Western Prelacy Outreach
Committee had organized an event dedicated to the memories of our martyrs
and to the demands of our people. Moreover, the event served as an
opportunity for H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, to present
the evening’s keynote speaker Mr. Harut Sassounian with a letter of
commendation and blessing for his dedicated service to the Armenian media,
the Armenian Cause, and our nation.

The event, which was held under the auspices of the Prelate, was
the first event to take place at the Western Prelacy "Dikran and Zarouhi Der
Ghazarian" Hall. In attendance were Prelacy clergy, council members, and
around 200 guests. The evening began with prayer. Welcoming remarks were
made by MC Pattyl Aposhian-Kasparian on behalf of the Prelacy Outreach
Committee, after which guests observed a moment of silence for our martyrs.
Following her opening remarks, the MC invited Mr. Sassounian to present his

Mr. Sassounian spoke on new approaches to our long-standing
demands taking into consideration the current state of affairs and the
advancements that have been made towards the Armenian Cause thus far. He
began with a brief overview of the role of the generations immediately
following the Genocide, which was mainly rebuilding and passing down to the
new generation the spirit of pursuing our demands. Subsequent generations
have progressively furthered the pursuit of our demands and have succeeded
in having our voices heard on an international level, resulting in over
twenty countries recognizing our struggle and opposing the Turkish stance.

The demands of Armenians encompass the three following areas,
continued Mr. Sassounian, recognition of the Genocide, retribution, and the
return of our lands, and spoke in detail of these three stages. He noted
that great advancements have been made in our struggle for recognition over
the recent decades, pointing out the numerous countries that have recognized
the Genocide, forty U.S. states that have passed resolutions affirming the
Genocide, and the recent law passed by France that penalizes denial of the

With regards to retribution, he noted that although cases
against New York Life and similar institutions in France and Germany are not
directly tied to our demands that arose from the Genocide, however such
steps are necessary and warrant pursuing. We are also in need of more
educational materials and documentaries to acquaint the general public with
the Genocide. He then saluted the efforts of the USC Armenian Studies
Department for initiating a conference of international scholars and
authorities on the means to achieving our demands, and commended the
leadership of Prof. Hrair Dekmejian, Chair of the Armenian Studies
Department, who was in attendance.

Mr. Sassounian concluded his lecture with the most difficult and complex
stage in the pursuit of our demands, the return of our historic lands. "It
must be made clear that land is not given, it is taken" stressed the
speaker, speaking in reference to Turkey’s announcement that they are not
disposed to returning land. However, Turkey’s unwillingness to return our
lands should not discourage us. On the contrary, the Armenian people must
commit to a long struggle because we can not predict when or how a
fundamental change will take place; therefore it is the responsibility of
all Armenians to be aware of advancements to our cause and to be well
informed of the means to achieving our demands, whether it take decades or
centuries. He concluded, "It is not possible to reclaim our lands with
force in the near future; however the situation is not hopeless as long as
we keep our struggle alive. History has shown us that in the past borders
have been changed and maps have been redrawn; therefore it is possible that
one day Turkey will also be subject to these changes."

A question and answer session followed the lecture.

Alongside the lecture, the program also included an artistic
portion in which soloists Rima Garabedian and Samvel Grigorian participated.

In his concluding remarks, the Prelate commended the organizing
committee for their hard work and dedication, and commended the Mr.
Sassounian for his presentation of the topic, adding that for subsequent
generations to continue the pursuit of our demands, "it is essential that we
also instill in the new generation our national and spiritual values",
stressing that this obligations falls on our community organizations,
schools, and families.

The Prelate then spoke of Mr. Harut Sassounian’s extensive
service to the Armenian community, including his post as editor-in-chief,
his activities in the advancement of the Armenian Cause, and his role in the
allocation of aid to different parts of the world through United Armenia
Fund and the Lincy foundation, including the recent generous contributions
to Armenian schools in Lebanon. "Mr. Sassounian has been bestowed with
various medals and insignias in appreciation of his dedicated service. We
wanted to honor Harut as well, though we wanted to do so by offering our
community the opportunity to listen to his thoughts and ideas. However we
also wanted to offer a tangible expression of our appreciation" continued
the Prelate, and subsequently presented Mr. Sassounian with a letter of
commendation and blessing as the guests expressed their appreciation with a
standing ovation.

Following the reading of the letter by Very Rev. Fr. Barthev
Gulumian, the evening came to a close with a prayer by the Prelate and a
reception, organized by the Prelacy Ladies Auxiliary Guild, during which
guests had the opportunity to converse with Mr. Sassounian personally.