Armenian Reporter – 05/05/2007 – community section

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May 5, 2007 — From the community section

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1. Tragedies on the national and personal scales recalled in New York
at a Genocide commemoration

2. An embattled Turkish publisher discusses free speech and human
rights in turkey, in the wake of the Dink murder (by Florence Avakian)

3. Breaking bread, breaking boundaries (by Jenny Kiljian)
* At synagogue, Armenians and Jews commemorate Armenian Genocide

4. At St. Vartan Cathedral on April 24, prayers for the martyrs mingle
with the sounds of music (by Florence Avakian)

5. ARS: One hundred years of hard work (by Tamar Kevonian)

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1. Tragedies on the national and personal scales recalled in New York
at a Genocide commemoration

NEW YORK — Armenians gathered at the Surrogate Court House in New
York City, just north of City Hall, on April 20 for a Genocide
commemoration organized by the Armenian National Committee of New

The Holy Martyr’s Armenian Day School choir began the program by
singing the national anthems of the United States and the Republic of
Armenia. Later in the evening, the choir paid tribute to the 32
victims murdered by a gunman at Virginia Polytechnic Institute earlier
in the week.

Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian gave the invocation, in which he paid
tribute to those who lost their lives on Virginia Tech’s campus, and
spoke of the courage of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Speaking on behalf of Councilwoman Melinda Katz, a supporter of the
local Armenian community, Michael Cohen read a proclamation from the
New York City Council. Karine Birazian, Mistress of Ceremonies for the
program, read similar proclamations from the New York City mayor’s
office as well as from the governor’s office.

Armenia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Armen
Martirossian addressed the audience about international developments
regarding the Armenian Genocide. Amb. Martirossian also discussed the
recent controversy at the United Nations (UN), where the Turkish
delegation tried to block an exhibit marking the 13th anniversary of
the Rawandan genocide because it referred to the Armenian Genocide.
(Excerpts from Amb. Martirossian’s remarks appeared in the Reporter’s
April 28 edition.)

Following the ambassador’s talk was a tribute to Hrant Dink by Dr.
Hrand Markarian. Dr. Markarian’s slide presentation gave a
biographical sketch of Dink as well as a review of his accomplishments
as an Armenian community leader and human rights activist in Turkey.
Included was a film, shot months before Dink was assassinated, in
which the late-journalist spoke of the increasingly dangerous
circumstances in which he was finding himself as someone who spoke
openly about the Armenian Genocide. Carla Garabedian had conducted the
interview while she was making the movie Screamers.

ANCA chair Ken Hachikian gave the keynote address, in which he
emphasized the significance of the Armenian-American community’s
growing political voice in Washington, D.C. "There are over 190
members in the House of Representatives and over 30 U.S. Senators who
have co-sponsored Armenian Genocide legislation. This is the result of
Armenian-Americans exercising their democratic rights for the sake of
gaining justice, not just an apology, over the crime committed against
our ancestors," said Hachikian.

Sossi Essajanian of the Armenian Youth Federation addressed the
audience on the long-term consequences of the Armenian Genocide, which
have included present-day incidents of genocide in places like the

Karine Birazian shared the poignant news of the imminent passing of
her grandmother, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Birazian closed
by saying that, "although I cannot be by her this evening, I can only
hope that she will soon embrace for the first time the 14 siblings she
never got to meet. And I can only wonder: Will the last Genocide
survivor live to see recognition?"

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2. An embattled Turkish publisher discusses free speech and human
rights in turkey, in the wake of the Dink murder

by Florence Avakian

NEW YORK — A photograph of journalist Hrant Dink projected on a large
screen looked down on the audience at Fordham University on Friday
evening, April 6. They had come to remember the courageous writer and
to hear about the continuing challenge to advance human rights in

The event was hosted by the Armenian American Society for Studies on
Stress and Genocide (AASSSG), the Fordham Psychology Association, the
Association for Trauma Outreach and Prevention (ATOP), and Fordham Psi
Chi; it was chaired by AASSSG and ATOP president Dr. Ani Kalayjian.

The centerpiece of the program was a presentation by Turkish
publisher Ragip Zarakolu, who has been harassed by official and
unofficial Turkish forces for publishing books on the Armenian
Genocide, including the Turkish-language editions of Peter Balakian’s
Black Dog of Fate and The Burning Tigris. He dedicated his eloquent
speech to "my comrade Hrant Dink’s unforgettable memory. As genocide
is the final stage of racism and cleansing, so murder is in the same
way the final stage of censorship and prohibition. If the one side of
the final solution used by totalitarian parties and governments is
genocide, so the other side is the annihilation of the reasoning that
is thought and speech."

Such things have no place in a democratic culture, he said. "Perhaps
the only limit that should be placed on freedom of expression is to
stop the incitement to commit crimes against humanity." He revealed
that publication and sale of Hitler’s Mein Kampf is permitted in the
United States, but strictly prohibited in Germany. However, in Turkey,
"it has become a best-seller during the past two years."

According to Zarakolu, this has "a certain connection to the rise of
extreme nationalism and antisemitism in Turkey. While the Turkish
Republic systematically views minority rights as a ‘threat,’ it does
not consider racism and extreme nationalist movements as threats, but
on the contrary, these are met with tolerance and even the occasional

Mr. Zarakolu said he believed Turkey’s failure to implement the
European Treaty on Human Rights, which it has signed, is the "most
problematic issue" in Turkey’s process towards European Union
membership. "Turkey’s need to face its own history is not only a
matter of historical significance but of contemporary importance as
well," he stated, citing the present-day travails of Turkey’s Kurdish

Despite the Turkish Republic’s birth 80 years ago, it is still
experiencing the "tremors as a result of the fall of the Ottoman
Empire," Zarakolu said. "The European Union’s core was founded around
the inheritors of fallen empires which have been able to overcome
their differences. There is a great deal of work the ambitious Turkish
government must do if it wants to be included in such an

Mr. Zarakolou stressed that "the most important of these duties is
to accept the Armenian Genocide, accept the fact that [the policy of
genocide] also included Assyrians, and perform the necessary tasks as
a means of making amends. By including the Armenian Genocide alongside
the Holocaust in text books, it is essential that future generations
be inoculated against ultra-nationalism, racism and antisemitism."

From Zarakolu’s perspective, the murder of Hrant Dink "proves how
necessary this is and how soon it must be done."

To conclude he noted, "Hrant Dink had integrity and vision. He was
courageous. He won’t be forgotten. When we follow Armenian issues in
Turkey, and the many other issues that plague Turkey, think of Hrant.
Think of him whenever anyone, anywhere, speaks out to defend freedom
of expression."

* A human, not just Armenian, story

The event also featured the screening of a 30-minute documentary by
artist and filmmaker Apo Torosyan. "Discovering My Father’s Village"
took the audience on a vicarious journey to Edincik, Turkey, through
the eyes of Torosyan’s aunt, who grew up in this village which at one
time held 20,000 inhabitants. The elderly woman describes how her
family members were killed; but Torosyan said that the message of his
film is "hope, not hate. Today there are highly educated young Turks,
so there is hope because this is a human story, not just an Armenian

Several others also spoke at the gathering. Dr. Edmund Gergerian
introduced the winner of this year’s "Krieger Essay Contest,"
16-year-old high school student Avner Aronov, who read from his essay,
"What the legacy of the Armenian Genocide means to me." Dr. Joyce
Apsel from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a founder of the
International Association of Genocide Scholars read a paper by
Professor Helen Fein, the recipient of the 2007 AASSSG Outstanding
Achievement Award. Dr. Kumru Toktamis, adjunct professor of Cultural
History at New York’s Pratt Institute, grappled with the question of
whether "Turkishness" is an ethnic or civic category, and how the
answer would affect the country’s minority cultures.

Two students who had marched from Los Angeles to Washington as part
of the "Journey for Humanity," Edward Majian and Hasmig Tatiosian,
stressed that the issue of genocide — whether historic or present-day
— must be discussed in a "holistic" way. "Denial affects us every
day," they said, and made a plea for dialogue between Turkish and
Armenian students. "We must always look at the glimmers of hope."

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3. Breaking bread, breaking boundaries

* At synagogue, Armenians and Jews commemorate Armenian Genocide

by Jenny Kiljian

LOS ANGELES — After breaking bread at a Kosher Armenian Shabbat
dinner, the men donned yarmulkes and the women covered their hair with
lace doilies as around 750 Armenians and Jews entered the main
sanctuary of the Valley Beth Shalom synagogue in Encino on Friday,
April 27 to commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide
during an unprecedented convergence of the two communities.

The historic demonstration of support was hosted by Jewish World
Watch, a coalition of more than 54 synagogues working together to
combat genocide and other human rights violations around the world.

"It is the first time in memory that our communities have come
together to share, sing, learn and hold hands as we remember the
martyrs of our people," said Rabbi Ed Feinstein in his welcoming
remarks. "We extend our arms and tears to our Armenian friends, that
they might know their cry is heard and we share their sorrow."

The service began with the Sholem Aleichem, in which the congregants
greeted and embraced one another. Jewish World Watch executive
director Tsivia Schwartz-Getzug then read a proclamation from Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in remembrance of the Armenian genocide.
Schwarzenegger declared the week of April 22 to April 29 as "Days of
Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide" in the State of California.

"Few people know better than we the agony of such tragedy. The
Jewish community and Jewish World Watch reaches out to the Armenian
community to share this pain, and shoulder this burden of frustration
that boils within the community — within each of you — in the face
of the sins of complacency and silence," said Jewish World Watch
co-founder and president Janice Kamenir-Reznick in her welcoming

The service artfully merged elements of the Requiem Service
(Hokehankisd) of the Armenian Church with its Hebrew counterpart
(Kaddish) as the choirs of Valley Beth Shalom and the St. Peter
Armenian Church raised their voices together in mourning, and the
shepherds of the two communities consoled and encouraged their flocks.

With a hearty "Shabbat Shalom," His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan
Derderian began his message on the "Universality of Human Suffering."
He thanked Jewish World Watch and its founder, Rabbi Harold Schulweis,
for "honoring the Armenian community with this observance of the
Armenian genocide, and for instilling a new beginning in the life of
our two communities that will serve as a foundation of our

"We are all destined to be truth-tellers," said Derderian. "This
commemoration sends a powerful message to the world, that the Armenian
genocide and the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten."

He invoked the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope John Paul II,
and Dostoyevsky as he in his message about the responsibility we all
share in calling attention to acts of injustice throughout the world.

"Only a godless ideology could plan such destruction. But the Jews
and Armenians have a strong faith in God. We remember — but not with
the desire for vengeance or the incentive for hatred," said Derderian
in closing. "Tonight’s commemoration marks a new era in the life of
both our communities, as we embark on a long journey of collaboration
to experience God in abundance."

Rabbi Harold Schulweis delivered his message on the importance of
remembering the atrocities of the past and instilling a sense of
morality and justice in the hearts of future generations.

"Why should we dwell in the sadness of the past? Why lay a heavy
stone upon the hearts of our children and children’s children? Is it
not wiser to forget — to remove the sharp thorns from our memory?"
he posited rhetorically.

His answer was resoundingly adamant. "Biblical wisdom mandates
memory. 169 times in the Hebrew Bible, the word ‘Zachar — remember —
is repeated. To remember is the moral mandate of our generation. Why
is it so wrong to forget? Because to die is tragic, but to be told
after death that you have not lived is humiliating and blasphemous.
Your ancestors lived and died, and dying they lived. Dying, their last
words were ‘remember.’ We dare not forget their martyrdom. Not for
ourselves alone. We dare not forget for the sake of our children and
our children’s children. Children must know."

Schulweis also addressed the need for communities like the Armenians
and Jews with their shared histories of pain and suffering to unite,
rather than shouldering the burden alone.

"No two genocides are alike. They are different in motivation,
execution, intention. Genocides kill with different weapons, different
gases, burn with different fuel. But all genocides share in common the
fears of little children, the tears of shivering orphans, the callous
abandonment of an entire people, the scars of betrayal," said
Schulweis. "It’s not comparison, but compassion that is called for. Of
genocides, we cannot say ‘mine is mine and yours is yours.’ We must
learn to say ‘yours is mine, and mine is yours,’ because both are
ours. Our genocide is global. The lessons of genocide are not for Jews
and Armenians alone, they are lessons for the world. Children of
Armenia, we share a kinship of suffering. We are bound together. Your
past was prologue to our future. Tonight, we lock arms together. We
are not alone. Alone we are weak. Alone our voices are whispers.
Together, the full-throated voice of our ancestors pierce the heavens
and penetrate the towers of apathy. Together we bring dignity and
sanctity and recognition to our martyred ancestors."

Schulweis ended his remarks by reading a meditation that he wrote to
honor the Armenian community and to memorialize the martyrs of the
Armenian genocide. "Children of Armenia and of Israel, we are each
other’s protectors. If one voice is muted, the other voice will scream
out loud. If one hand is maimed, the other will raise his hand and
shield the persecuted. Who are you to me? My own self."

The service concluded with the singing of the national anthems of
Armenia and Israel, as well as America the Beautiful.

Kosher Armenian Shabbat Dinner

Contrary to popular misconception, rabbis or other religious officials
do not "bless" food to make it kosher, nor is kosher is a style of
cooking, according to the Web site Judaism 101. Armenian food can be
kosher if it is prepared in accordance with the Jewish law of Kashrut,
which is the body of Jewish law dealing with what foods observant Jews
can and cannot eat and how those foods must be prepared and eaten.

In keeping with those laws, some 500 Armenians and Jews shared a
flavorful Kosher Armenian dinner before the commemoration service in
the synagogue. It was a historic occasion for the two communities, a
fact that was heralded by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as
well as Armenian Consul General in Los Angeles Armen Liloyan.

"I hope together we are laying the cornerstone tonight of what will
become a long tradition of fellowship and learning between our
Armenian and Jewish congregations in Los Angeles," said Villaraigosa,
as he thanked Rabbi Harold Schulweis and Archbishop Hovnan Derderian
for their leadership. "Tonight, we recognize more than the commonality
between two victimized communities. We are here to stand up and
declare the responsibility we all share — to remember. To remember
the history and the consequences of failing to stand up and confront

Villaraigosa reminded the guests about Agos editor Hrant Dink, who
was assassinated on January 19 in Istanbul for "the sin of telling the
truth about the history of the Armenian genocide."

"We can’t allow the darkness to spread. We need to stand together —
Jews, Armenians, everyone."

In closing, Villaraigosa read a passage from a poem by Siamanto —
who was one of the first targets of the Armenian genocide — and
called on the guests to "stand up and shine the light."

"And the spirits of all the dead, tonight, through my own eyes and
soul, are awaiting the dawning of the light. So that to humanize the
cruelty of our inhuman lives, perhaps from above a drop of light may
fall upon the murdered and the murderer alike."

Consul General Liloyan spoke of the importance of genocide
recognition, and the bond between the Jewish and Armenian people.
"Armenians and Jews have striking similarities in our history of
struggle, and our accomplishments in the face of those difficult
circumstances," said Liloyan, noting three prominent Jewish figures
who played a significant role in Armenian history — Henry Morgenthau,
Raphael Lemkin, and Franz Werfel. "We should stand up and speak
against injustice. It is important to act together to acknowledge and
denounce genocide without political considerations."

Liloyan emphasized the differences between the Holocaust and the
Armenian genocide, noting that in the case of the latter there has
been no recognition or reparations made to the victims by the
perpetrator. "Today, Turkey denies the Genocide, and says that the
world should let historians deal with it. Historians can’t deal with
the normalization of diplomatic relations or with reconciliation
between the two countries," he said, calling on Turkey to open its
border with Armenia. "It is the responsibility of governments to
create dialogue."

He also acknowledged the steps that Jewish World Watch and the
congregants of the various synagogues took to commemorate the 92nd
anniversary of the Armenian genocide. "We appreciate that the Jewish
community has sided with us, and has drawn a distinction between
themselves and the Israeli official position," he said.

California Courier publisher Harut Sassounian also thanked the
Jewish World Watch for their efforts. "I would like to express my
sincere appreciation for this unprecedented joint observance of the
Armenian Genocide, and thank the organizers: The Jewish World Watch
and Valley Beth Shalom for their heart-felt sympathies for the victims
of the Armenian Genocide. While it is not surprising that these two
great communities have come together tonight, it is surprising that it
has taken so long. I can assure you that this is the beginning of a
wonderful relationship that will be long-lasting and mutually
beneficial for both communities," said Sassounian.

A broad cross-section of the Armenian-American community in Los
Angeles — clergy, political leaders, educators, attorneys and judges,
artists, as well as members of the media — participated in the
evening’s dinner and Shabbat commemoration.

"This marks a historic day in the lives of Jews and Armenians," said
former Los Angeles City Commissioner Greg Martayan. "By divine will,
our extended family has grown."

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4. At St. Vartan Cathedral on April 24, prayers for the martyrs mingle
with the sounds of music

By Florence Avakian

NEW YORK — In the quiet darkness of St. Vartan Cathedral, Angel
Vantzian was one of more than a hundred people who lit candles
throughout the day on Tuesday, April 24, at New York’s St. Vartan
Cathedral in memory of family members, relatives, or friends martyred
during the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians.

"Our family lost many close and extended members in Sepastia,
including grandparents, uncles, and aunts. I’m praying for them and
for all the Armenians killed, as well as for all victims of genocide,"
Ms. Vantzian said.

In the evening a special requiem service conducted by the dean of
the cathedral, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, was held.

Following the service, a piano concert was performed by 16-year-old
award-winning prodigy Ari Terjanian. Playing with skillful technique,
and subtle emotion, he tackled a demanding program of J.S. Bach’s
English Suite III, Beethoven’s energetic Pathetique, Chopin’s romantic
Ballade in G Minor, Babadjanian’s sensitive Prelude and Dance of
Vagharshabad, and Liszt’s exotic and intoxicating Mephisto Waltz.

A Holmdel, N.J., High School student and a subdeacon in the St.
Stepanos Armenian Church in Elberon, N.J., Ari was discovered as a
rare talent at age 10. He was already playing J.S. Bach’s difficult
inventions just six months later. At 13, he was invited to play at
Brookdale College’s 25th anniversary of the Holocaust program,
representing the Armenian community.

Ari has played before many audiences including the Westminster Choir
College, and the Manalapan Public Library. In October 2006, he held a
solo recital-fundraising event for the Armenians of Javakh. He has
also extended his talents to the organ, mastering a repertoire of
classical compositions. He often accompanies the St. Stepanos church

Fr. Haigazoun Najarian, Vicar General of the Diocese of the Armenian
Church, representing Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, delivered an
eloquent homily. "Those who fell, did so we could have life. We pray
for their souls. Ari took us to the locales of these world famous
composers," he stated, paying tribute to the talent of the young
pianist. "His fingers reacted to his brain, and his brain to his soul.
We are few in number, but we are talented. Ari is one of them, and
behind him are thousands of others."

* The struggle to continue

Today, two things remain, continued Fr. Najarian. "We remember our
past, our martyrs, because one day we will stand before God, and
request the rights that we lost. In the meantime, our culture is
strong. For those who fell, we will continue the struggle."

In his own comments after the memorial concert, Ari expressed his
"sense of responsibility. The Turks committed genocide, but composers
like Khatchaturian and Babayan continue who we are. I want to continue
this tradition," he said quietly. "Nothing that the Turks did, can
stop who we are."

The 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide had first been
commemorated at St. Vartan Cathedral on Sunday, April 22, following a
Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Yeghishe Gizirian. During the
requiem service, Bishop Gizirian stated with emphasis, "The martyrs
are not dead. They have not been defeated. They live through us, and
our prayers."

Following church services in all Armenian churches in the
metropolitan area, the Knights of Vartan hosted the annual Genocide
commemoration at Times Square. The event co-sponsored by all Armenian
churches and organizations, drew more than 1300 people. Special guests
who delivered messages, included high-ranking clergy, and several
members of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and other

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5. One Hundred Years of Hard Work

By Tamar Kevonian

LOS ANGELES — The ARS was founded in 1910 by Khatchadour Maloumian,
otherwise knows as Edgar Agnouni, after his arrival in the U.S., by
bringing together several existing women’s organizations and began
operating as the Armenian Red Cross. During the Genocide of 1915,
Agnouni joins forces with the Near East Organization to set up camps,
hospitals, orphanages and soup kitchens to help the refugees. Their
motto With the people for the people came about during these years as
they worked amongst the populace of the newly established Republic of
Armenia of 1918. "The ARS was organized to meet the real needs of the
Armenian people," says Sonia Peltekian, Chairperson of the Western
Region, "Today, unfortunately, the cycle repeats."

During their ninety eight years of existence, the ARS has been
instrumental in helping encourage the establishment of several
institutions of the Armenian Diaspora by providing seed money to
projects such as ANCHA (Armenian National Committee to Aid Homeless
Armenians), Holy Martyr’s Armenian School, summer studies programs at
Occidental College, Boston University and UCLA, social and counseling
centers throughout the U.S., the Eye Care Projects and the Armenian
Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Since the devastating earthquake in
December 1988 in the city of Gyumri, they have also set up earthquake
relief and social services programs in Armenia and fourteen
kindergarten schools through Kharabagh. Over 55,000 people have
utilized their services to date and currently have 18,000 members

Currently their two main projects focus on the ARS Mother and Child
Health Clinic and Birthing Center, located in Akhourian, Armenia where
they provide pre, post and pediatric care. In a region with little or
no available medical services, this project is a significant effort to
give newborns a fighting chance. On April 24, 2005 the first baby was
born in the center and was aptly named Vrej (Revenge) by his proud and
happy parents.

The second project undertaken by the ARS is in Javakhk, a
particularly hard hit area of the Republic of Georgia that has
historically been Armenian. It is currently experiencing an extreme
rate of depopulation because of a lack of economic opportunity and
basic services. There are currently 200,000 people in the region.
Since the establishment of the program in 2001 the ARS has invested
over $250,000 for economic reform and the building of medical clinics
in 16 of the villages along with schools and community centers. "ARS
never failed to feed, shelter and care for those whom misfortune had
touched," said Nova Hindoyan, ARS Central Executive member.

This year’s banquet honored Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury,
president of the Educational Research Trust. She is the second person
to be honored with the ARS Ararat Award of Excellence. A nurse by
training, she studied sociology at the University of London and then
obtained a masters degree in economics. She has supported disability
causes for many years and is a member of the World Committee on
Disability as well being the Chief Executive of the Humanitarian Aid
Relief Trust, a Trustee of Medical Emergency Relief International, a
member of the Physicians for Human Rights and is also a judge for the
Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award which is
distributed through the United Nations to the most deserving country.
She is also the author of Ethnic Cleansing in Progress: War in Nagorno
Karabakh, published in 1993 and highlighting the genocidal actions of
the Azeri government toward the people of Artsakh.

Her continued pressure on the British government through her role as
a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords has not yet born any fruit.
"I’m sorry that the British government has not yet recognized your
Genocide," she laments. The United Kingdom is made up of four
different countries and is proud of the fact that both her native
Scotland and Wales have recognized this historical fact. "I cannot
tell you the amount of pressure the Turkish government placed on the
Scottish Parliament not to pass the resolution, but being Scottish, we
resisted all that pressure." Regardless of the British government’s
stance on Armenia’s history Lady Cox works tirelessly to honor the
memory of the martyrs by organizing April 24th commemorative events in
some of England’s most prestigious venues.

"I am here to pay tribute to your (ARS’) work, sharing my
experiences of being with your people in some of their darkest days,"
Lady Cox began. She proceeded to presented a series of photos
highlighting memorable images and experiences of her sixty-two
humanitarian missions to Armenia and Karabakh. The initial trips were
for airlifting supplies to the occupied region, particularly medical
supplies to surgeons who operated in draconian conditions without
anesthetics or pain killers. "I would like to thank the helicopter
pilots, seventeen of who lost their lives keeping open the life line
to Artsakh." Her painful but often heartwarming anecdotes brought
alive the images projected on the two large screens in the room: The
brave children, dedicated poets, stalwart mothers and sacrificing
soldiers all came alive with her stories.

The predominant message the Baroness carried was for the Diasporas
support to invest. "Of course there is corruption," she stressed,
"after seventy years of communism, it is to be expected." She
continued to clarify that studies have shown that of all the former
Soviet Republics Armenia was the only country with the lowest level of
corruption and with the highest level of awareness of the existence of
its corruption. "Please let me not hear that corruption is the excuse
not to invest in Armenia because the people need your help," as she
pointed to the photo on the screen.

Baroness Cox delivers a message of hope, "If you want Armenia and
Artsakh to survive you must get in there with the ARS and invest." An
appropriate statement as this was the ARS gala banquet to kick off its
100th Anniversary Inaugural Celebration for the Centennial Fund to
strengthen and expand its humanitarian and social relief programs for
the next 10 years.

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