San Gabriel Valley Tribune, CA
April 25 2013
1,500 attend commemoration of Armenian genocide at Montebello monument
By Mike Sprague
MONTEBELLO “” Don’t forget what happened to the 1.5 million Armenians
massacred in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks. That was the message speakers
delivered Wednesday at the commemoration of the 98th anniversary of
the Armenian genocide.
About 1,500 people were present at the Armenian Genocide Martyrs
Monument at Bicknell Park in Montebello.
“We must take a sacred vow to never forget and always remember the
Armenian genocide,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“This monument is a sacred place,” Villaraigosa said. “It’s a marker
of one of the 20th century’s greatest crimes. The Armenian genocide is
not a matter of debate. It is a matter of fact. ”
The United Armenian Council for the Commemoration of the Armenian
Genocide, which represents about 50 groups, sponsored the event.
Turkey, a close U.S. ally, has long denied there was a systematic
campaign to kill Armenians.
The event is held on April 24 because 98 years ago on that date in
1915 is when the Ottoman Turkish government captured and imprisoned
about 300 intellectuals, said John Kossakian, one of the chairpersons
of Wednesday’s commemoration.
“We want to keep the memory alive,” Kossakian said.
“It’s not like any other genocide,” he said. “This genocide also comes
as a package with the loss of land. Armenians were deported off their
land and are immigrants all over the world. ”
The Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument was unveiled in April 1968 to
honor the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Turkish
government from 1915 through 1921, as well as to honor all victims of
crimes against humanity.
Wednesday’s event was one of many held in Southern California this
week. A rally and vigil was held Tuesday night at the monument, a
march was held Wednesday in Hollywood and two more were held in
Geoffrey Robertson, a former international judge from London, said
Armenians should demand justice from Turkey.
“The attempt to exterminate a race is not just unforgettable,” Robertson said.
“It is unforgiveable unless and until the perpetrators make amends,”
he said. “This shouldn’t be a day of sadness. It should be a day of
anger and a day to demand justice. ”
Robertson said justice would be an apology and reparations.
It wasn’t just the speakers who said the genocide must be remembered.
“We can never forget,” said Sara Nahapetyan of Montebello, who comes
every year to the event. “1915 “” never again. ”