Political intrigue marked Armenian-genocide vote

Globe and Mail
POSTED AT 2:13 AM EDT Friday, Apr. 23, 2004

Political intrigue marked Armenian-genocide vote

By JANE TABER
>From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Ottawa – Aris Babikian watched nervously from the gallery of the House of
Commons on this, a most important and historic day.

For half of his life, the 50-year-old Toronto immigration consultant had
lobbied Ottawa to recognize as genocide the mass killing of Armenians during
the First World War.

By his count, the vote would be close.

Seated across the vast chamber from him were members of the Turkish-Canadian
community. Clearly, they were nervous, too.

On the floor of the Commons, MPs were preparing to vote. Deputy Prime
Minister Anne McLellan yelled at her colleague, Revenue Minister Stan Keyes:
‘You get up. You have to vote.’

Cabinet ministers had been ordered to vote against the motion, and it would
become clear later that Mr. Keyes was not comfortable with the rule of
cabinet solidarity.

Other ministers were missing: Trade Minister Jim Peterson, a friend to the
Armenian community, and Justice Minister Irwin Cotler.

The Prime Minister also was not there. His office said he doesn’t attend all
private member’s votes.

Tension in the chamber was palpable; people were edgy. But the motion
passed, 153 to 68.

Mr. Babikian was elated. The Armenian ambassador to Canada, religious
leaders from the community and other members were crying and hugging.

The Turkish contingent remained silent.

‘I was shocked. Until the last moment, I was actually expecting…reason to
be winning over the political needs or voting needs…,’ said Fazli Corman,
a diplomat at the Turkish embassy, who was also in the chamber. ‘This is
making us boiling with anger because it is just a travesty of facts.’

Others were boiling, too – for other reasons.

Mr. Keyes left the chamber and was heard by some of his colleagues cursing
in the private lobby.

‘I didn’t want to vote for that,’ sources overheard him saying, angry that
Mr. Peterson and Mr. Cotler had ducked the vote.

Mr. Corman believes that MPs supported the motion only because they are
worried about angering their constituents.

‘… The Armenians are voters at this moment in Canada,’ the Turkish embassy
diplomat said. ‘Because of that the Canadian Parliament comes out and puts
themselves into the position of a judge and then decides about my history.
It is not acceptable.’

The vote has been condemned by Turkey and Turkish-Canadians and celebrated
by the Armenian community worldwide.

Mr. Babikian went to bed, finally, at 5 o’clock yesterday morning after
spending hours on the telephone being interviewed by media in Armenia,
Lebanon and the U.S.

For him, this victory acknowledged the suffering of his grandfather, whose
family was wiped out in the massacre. For years Mr. Babikian has been
travelling to Ottawa to lobby MPs, an effort that became more intense over
the past several months as the vote approached.

In that time, the Armenian community sent out more than 2,000 e-mails and
5,000 postcards to MPs. There have been phone calls to politicians from
their constituents and meetings in communities from Quebec to British
Columbia.

Special dossiers explaining the Armenian point of view were also sent to all
MPs.The other side had been pushing hard, too. Mr. Babikian was not only
fighting the Turkish government and the embassy but also two large Canadian
corporations with contracts in Turkey and an unsympathetic Foreign Affairs
Minister.

Twice this week, the Turkish ambassador to Canada, Aydemir Erman, had
written to MPs, arguing the vote would affect Turkish-Canadian relations.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham had also sent letters, expressing his
‘deep concern’ with the motion, saying it could have ‘far-reaching negative
consequences.’

Thunder Bay, Ont., Liberal MP Stan Dromisky, head of the Canadian Turkish
Parliamentary Friendship Group, had talked to his colleagues about the
billions of dollars of lost business for Canadians if the motion passed.

Bombardier employs about 1,000 people in his riding. The company is making
subway cars for the Ankara subway project.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier said Thursday that the company is hopeful the
motion will ‘not impact our future market position in Turkey…’

Meanwhile, there were some MPs, such as Conservative Stockwell Day, who had
been telephoned by companies with contracts in Turkey, such as SNC Lavalin.

He said he listened, but the call did not change his view. ‘We make our
decisions based on the principle of the issue.’

Mr. Babikian learned Tuesday afternoon that Mr. Graham was to attend the
next day’s Ontario Liberal caucus to discuss the issue, just hours before
the vote was to be held.

He contacted his ‘friends in the Liberal Party’ and told them it was ‘do or
die.” ‘If you respect our friendship…you have to speak up,’ he told them.

They did during a heated caucus in which Mr. Graham and other MPs, such as
Mr. Karygiannis, who has fought for this for the past 15 years, presented
their sides.

Later Wednesday, the motion passed.

Despite years of effort, Mr. Babikian believes the motion passed, in part,
because of changes in the House of Commons – private member’s motions now
must be voted on and the Prime Minister has allowed his back bench to vote
freely. He harbours no grudges against cabinet ministers who voted against
the motion – except for one.

‘But what’s bothered me and what bothered my community is the extent Bill
Graham went to put pressure on the caucus … to go and put pressure in the
11th hour on the caucus you’d think Bill Graham is a senior civil servant in
the foreign affairs of Turkey.’

Canada: Concern Over Bombardier Contract

Thunder Bay Post, Canada
April 23 2004

Concern Over Bombardier Contract
Tb News Source

There are some worries that a vote in the House of Commons
yesterday could impact on negotiations for a major contract for
Bombardier and the company’s plant here in Thunder Bay.
Bombardier is in the running for a huge order for rail cars for
Ankara, Turkey but yesterday, Members of Parliament voted to formally
recognize the genocide of Armenian Turks during the First World War.
The motion is sure to anger the Turkish government which has never
acknowledged the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians. Turkey had warned
Ottawa there could be economic consequences if the vote passed.

Liberal backbenchers voted massively in favour of the motion, but
Cabinet ministers opposed it. Bombardier spokesperson Helen Gagnon
says, while they’ve not heard directly from the Turkish government,
the company has expressed its concerns over the issue to our own
federal officials.

Gagnon says Bombardier remains hopeful it’s strong track record
supplying light rail systems to the country will work in its favour
with future contracts there.

Turkey denounces Armenian genocide vote in Commons

CBC Ottawa, Canada
April 23 2004

Turkey denounces Armenian genocide vote in Commons

OTTAWA – The Turkish government called in the Canadian ambassador on
Thursday to express disappointment over a House of Commons vote that
recognizes the death of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923
as a genocide.

Armenians blame the Ottoman Turks for the massacre of their people.
Turkey denies the charges.

The Turkish government says by siding with the Armenians, Canadian
MPs are rewriting history. A spokesman for the Turkish Embassy in
Ottawa says relations between Canada and Turkey will be harmed by the
vote.

Armenian Canadians hold a vigil on Parliament Hill

For decades consecutive Canadian governments have dodged the
sensitive issue by calling what happened in eastern Turkey a
“tragedy,” stopping well short of referring to the events as
“genocide.”

In 1915, during the First World War, Turkish troops put down an
Armenian uprising. Armenians say about 1.5 million people were killed
by the Ottoman Turks during a brutal eight-year campaign.

Turkey has always fought attempts by Armenians and international
human rights organizations to have the events declared a genocide.
Previously, Ankara has warned countries contemplating similar action
that there would be negative consequences. In some cases business
contracts have been held up or denied.

Prime Minister Paul Martin joined other members of his cabinet in
insisting the motion is not binding on the government.

Martin came to office promising to allow more free votes on critical
issues. It’s part of his commitment to erase the “democratic deficit”
by giving MPs more power on Parliament Hill. But some politicians are
questioning his commitment in light of the government’s decision to
ignore the results of the vote.

Martin didn’t show up for Wednesday night’s vote recognizing the
Armenian genocide, but he didn’t escape questions about whether there
is any value in allowing more free votes if his government is just
going to ignore the results.

Martin said he felt Parliament and the government could have
differing views, “And that, in fact, is one of the great benefits of
dealing with parliamentary reform and parliamentary democracy.”

The government’s view is that the events nearly a century ago in the
Ottoman Empire were a tragedy, but not genocide.

Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis says the clear majority of Parliament and
a majority of Liberal MPs see it differently. They want Martin to
live up to his promise to give MPs real clout. “The people elected
parliamentarians to come here and rule the country,” he said.

Fellow Liberal Sarkis Assadourian has the same message. “They should
stand up and take note.”

In the House of Commons, Bloc Québécois MP Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral
also questioned Martin’s commitment to democratic reform. “Is the
prime minister saying, ‘Talk, talk all you want, but we’ll do what we
like.’?”

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham said the government has enormous
respect for the sentiments expressed in the motion, but he says
foreign policy must rest in the hands of the government.

Finance Minister Ralph Goodale said there was nothing about the
government’s response to the vote that undermines its commitment to
parliamentary reform.

He said there will always be a difference between the will of
Parliament and the cabinet’s job to set official government policy.

But the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa wasn’t buying the argument. Fazli
Corman, a counsellor at the embassy, told CBC News, “This move will
affect Turkish-Canadian relations negatively.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

The Unknown Genocide

Mother Jones, CA
April 23 2004

The Unknown Genocide

On April 24th, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, President Bush will
issue a statement mourning the state-sponsored mass killing of more
than a million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 in what was then the
Ottoman Empire. Yet to the disappointment of many Armenian-Americans,
he will refrain from using the term “genocide.” Against the evidence,
Turkey — the successor state to the Ottoman Empire — officially
views the Armenian Genocide as an unfounded allegation, not the
established historical fact that it is.

History, then, is not on Turkey’s side, but realpolitik is. Aside
from being a crucial N.A.T.O. ally, Turkey is also the transit-point
for oil. U.S. companies have a large stake in the ongoing
construction of an oil pipeline running from Baku, Azerbaijan to the
Turkish port of Ceyhan. In 2000, the House of Representatives
withdrew a resolution on the Armenian Genocide after Turkey
threatened to close its airbases to U.S. planes on fly-over missions
in Iraq.

There are about 7 million people of Armenian descent word-wide: 3
million in the Republic of Armenia and 4 million in the Diaspora,
with the largest communities in North America, Europe and the Middle
East. Many are the descendants of genocide survivors and have
campaigned for decades to have Turkey recognize and apologize for the
Armenian Genocide.

One million-plus Armenian-Americans, concentrated in New York,
California, and Massachusetts, make up one of the most politically
active ethnic communities in the country. The Armenian National
Committee of America (A.N.C.A.), a grassroots political organization,
expects its Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill to be
attended by 110 legislators. The organization’s San Francisco Bay
Area chapter recently mailed 10,000 brochures to history and social
science teachers publicizing a workbook on the Armenian Genocide
developed by the San Francisco school district. The project was
funded by A.N.C.A., which also launched a companion website:

The Armenian Diaspora has made progress in discrediting the Turkish
government’s version of events in legislatures, newspapers, and
classrooms throughout the world. Several parliaments — including the
French National Assembly have passed laws recognizing the Armenian
Genocide. The U.S. Congress had passed resolutions doing the same.
The Association of Genocide Scholars of North America concluded that
the killings meet the definition of the 1948 U.N. Convention on
Genocide which includes the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part,
a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Atom Egoyan’s
“Ararat” — the first major motion picture on the Armenian Genocide
— was shown worldwide and won Canada’s top movie awards in 2003. The
movie focused on the way the Diaspora has dealt, over generations,
with the memory of the genocide and Turkey’s refusal to acknowledge
it.

This year, the New York Times issued guidelines to its journalists
stating that the facts of the Armenian Genocide are well-established
and that references to it “should not be qualified with phrasing like
‘what Armenians call,’ etc.” — reversing a long-standing policy of
using qualifiers.

Turkey contends that the number of Armenians killed is vastly
exaggerated; that there was no systematic effort by the government to
exterminate the Armenians; that traitorous nationalist Armenian
parties allied with the Russian Empire during World War One bear
responsibility for the suffering that befell their people; that
during this time of “international war and inter-communal struggle”
Armenians weren’t uniquely afflicted, suffering along with Muslims,
Jews, and other subject peoples of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey also
refers to the deportations of the Armenians — most infamously via
marches to the Syrian deserts during which many were killed or died
from disease and starvation — as “relocations.”

The problem for Turkey is that records of the “Young Turk” government
which orchestrated the killings, dispatches from Western diplomats,
military officers, and aid workers, and testimonials of genocide
survivors all confirm a systematic effort to wipe out the Armenian
minority.

Fear of being forced to pay reparations — monetary and territorial
— is often cited as a reason for Turkey’s refusal to recognize the
Armenian Genocide. Some Armenians are still calling for “the return
of the lands” from which their ancestors were expelled, a demand that
is not going to be supported by the international community. In any
case, even if it was, mass migrations from Paris and Los Angeles to
populate Turkey’s rural areas are not realistic either — the
descendants of the survivors are well-integrated into their “host
countries.” More likely, international courts will required that
Turkey pay massive reparations.

Turkey’s refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide, is much more
than a matter of money, though — the recognition would entail a
fundamental transformation of the country’s political and educational
discourse. An honest examination of the violent dismemberment of the
multi-national empire from whose ashes modern Turkey rose would
require that the government dismantle the founding myths of the
state. As Etienne Copeaux of France’s Group for Research and Studies
on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Affairs told Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty:

“To recognize the genocide would be to recognize that a very large
number of Armenians used to live in Anatolia. Therefore, it would
mean there is a multi-cultural Anatolia. But, as we can see today
with the issue of the Kurds, the Turkish state is envisaged as a
uni-cultural state, a state with a single culture, a single language.
So [to recognize the Armenian genocide] would mean Turkey should
offer concessions not only to Kurds but also to other nationalities
that still live in Turkey.”

The few Turkish historians who are challenging the government’s
version are not to be envied: Taner Akcam, who has called the
killings of the Armenians a “genocide” left Turkey after universities
refused to hire him; he currently teaches at the University of
Minnesota. And after battling genocide denial for so long, many
Armenians are wary of scholars who urge a full reckoning with their
Turkish counterparts. As Armenian-American political scientist Ronald
Grigor Suny told the New York Times: “Many people in the diaspora
feel that if you try to understand why the Turks did it, you have
justified or legitimized it in some way.”

The Republic of Armenia said that it wants Turkey to apologize for
the Armenian Genocide but has not made it a prerequisite for
diplomatic or economic relations. Armenia is currently blockaded by
neighboring Azerbaijan — the two countries are in a “no peace, no
war” stalemate over the Armenian-populated statelet of
Nagorno-Karabakh and several Azeri regions adjacent to it. Turkey —
which shares a border with Armenia — has blockaded Armenia in
support of Azerbaijan. The World Bank estimates that the dual
blockade is costing Armenia $500 million annually. A third of the
country’s population emigrated following the U.S.S.R.’s collapse, as
the economy deteriorated and the Karabakh War escalated, its security
is highly depended on the Russian military, and is the highest
recipient of U.S. aid per capita in the former Soviet Union.

There have been press reports about the re-opening of the
Armenian-Turkish border in the last few months. The United States and
the European Union see resumed trade ties and the normalization of
Turkish-Armenian relations as key to stabilizing the Caucasus.
Several Turkish officers even participated in NATO’s Partnership for
Peace program exercises held in Armenia this year — not without
generating more than its fare share of controversy in the country and
the Diaspora.

Turkey’s drive to enter the E.U. has been met with constant promises
of “tomorrow, tomorrow.” The Europeans have pointed to Turkey’s poor
human rights record, Cyprus, and lack of progress on democratization,
but unwillingness on the part of Europe to let a poor, populous
Muslim country into the club is a reason as well. The E.U. has not
made the acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide a requirement for
Turkey’s entry, but it has urged Turkey to re-examine its past in
keeping with the E.U.’s commitment to the protection of minority
rights.

Turkey’s younger generation is growing up in a world at odds with
their country’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and under a
government that has little tolerance for dissent on the subject.
Continuing the current policy is bound to backfire internationally by
isolating Turkey, in addition to undercutting its aim of becoming a
fully-fledged democracy.

The few remaining survivors of the Armenians Genocide will not, in
all likelihood, live to hear an apology. It is a shame that Turkey
has begun the new century with its continued rejection of one of the
greatest crimes of the last.

-Nonna Gorilovskaya

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

http://teachgenocide.org/.

Glendale: A night to never forget

Glendale News Press
LATimes.com
April 23 2004

A night to never forget
Glendale Unified School District high school clubs join to
commemorate 89th anniversary of Armenian Genocide.

By Mark R. Madler, News-Press

GLENDALE – With a message to never forget and to hope for justice for
its victims, the 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide was
commemorated Thursday night in a student-created program at Glendale
High School attended by nearly 300 people.

Kicked off by the national anthems of both the United States and
Armenia, the program featured poetry, speeches and interpretive
dance.

“This is not a celebration, but a commemoration,” said Ani Minassian,
senior class president at Glendale High School. “We are trying to
educate the public about any type of massacre or genocide.”

The event was put together by the Armenian clubs of Glendale Unified
School District’s four high schools – Glendale, Hoover, Crescenta
Valley and Clark Magnet – with the assistance of Glendale Unified
school board President Greg Krikorian.

This was the third year the event has been held.

The Armenian Genocide began on the night of April 24, 1915. From 1915
to 1923, the Ottoman Turks and the Republic of Turkey are accused of
killing 1.5 million Armenians, in an attempt to eliminate the
Armenian people.

While many of those who performed in the event are current students,
Argishd Parsekhian, a 2003 Crescenta Valley High graduate, returned
to take part in telling the community what happened to his people.

“We want to get word out that this is what happened,” Parsekhian
said. “We want other people to recognize this is why it’s important
to us.”

Other student groups and cultures were represented in the event, as
well. For instance, the Indian Club from Clark Magnet High
participated with a student telling of a massacre in Punjab, India,
by the British in 1919.

With fewer people still living with first-hand knowledge about the
genocide, it is more important than ever for the younger generation
to know what happened, said Narbeh Sahaghian, a Glendale High senior.

“It’s like a baton being passed on from generation to generation,”
Sahaghian said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Burbank: Paraders prepare to entertain city

Los Angeles Daily News
April 23 2004

Paraders prepare to entertain city
By Alex Dobuzinskis
Staff Writer

BURBANK — Entertainment will be the theme at Saturday’s 23rd annual
Burbank on Parade, with comedian George Lopez as the grand marshal of
the event.

Lopez, a Burbank resident whose eponymous TV show airs Friday nights
on ABC, will ride in a convertible with his wife and two daughters.
An estimated 4,000 people are expected to participate in the 219
parade entries.

“Kids will love it, the older people will love it. There’s something
for everyone, and it’s a wonderful community spirit, small
town-oriented, fun-for-everyone kind of day,” said Joanne Miller,
vice president and chairman of Burbank on Parade.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. at Olive Avenue and Keystone Street,
with the theme “Let Us Entertain You.”

Activities, including the judging of parade entries and a talent
showcase, will be held until 4 p.m. at the parade’s ending point,
George Izay Park.

The Burbank Tournament of Roses Association will host one of the 20
floats in the parade. There will also be horses, antique autos,
clowns, marching bands, Irish dancers and more.

The parade will also have city officials in it, among them City
Councilman Jef Vander Borght, who said that he has been going to the
parade for years with his family.

“Where else can you get a front row seat without having to spend all
night waiting in the cold?” Vander Borght said.

In past years, up to 30,000 people have watched the parade, said
Miller, and more could come out this year because of the popularity
of Lopez.

The date for the parade caused some controversy this year because it
falls on April 24, the day Armenians commemorate the Armenian
Genocide of 1915 to 1923.

“We did not put it on that day purposefully. We did not do it
maliciously, and we did not do it to injure anyone,” Miller said.

The parade is always held on the last weekend of April, and when the
problem with the date was presented to Burbank on Parade, it was too
late to change the date, she said.

“We have committed to not have the parade on this date in the future,
and we will hold to that,” she said.

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 [email protected]

BAKU: Meeting with the Milli Majlis

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan State Info Agency
April 23 2004

MEETING IN THE MILLI MAJLIS
[April 23, 2004, 12:20:06]

Chairman of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan Republic Murtuz Alasgarov
received charge d’affaires of Socialist People’s Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya in Azerbaijan Mustafa Muhammad Shahtur, April 22.

Warmly greeting the guest, the Chairman said: although it has been
over 10 years since establishment of diplomatic relations between
Azerbaijan and Libya, our inter-parliamentary links and cooperation
in other spheres have not yet reach a desirable level. Besides, the
joint commission founded in 2003 to develop relationship between our
two countries has not yet commenced its activity. It is Azerbaijan’s
interest that the commission to start functioning, and the country
will take appropriate efforts to this end.

Touching upon the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mr.
Murtuz Alasgarov expressed gratitude to the Libyan Government for
supporting Azerbaijan in this issue.

Mr. Mustafa Muhammad Shahtur thanked the Chairman for the warm
meeting and stated of his country’s interest in development of
bilateral relations with Azerbaijan. He described the goal of this
meeting as conducting consultations in connection with start of the
joint commission’s activity, and on a number of other issues. The
diplomat said Libya had always supported Azerbaijan in relation to
settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and that this policy
would be continued in future.

The charge d’affaires has invited the Chairman of the Milli Majlis to
visit Libya to discuss perspectives of bilateral relationship’s
development.

Mr. Murtuz Alasgarov expressed his gratitude for the invitation and
announced that related notification on the date of the visit would be
provided through diplomatic channels.

The Chairman of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan and Charge d’affaires
of Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in Azerbaijan have
exchanged views on a number of other issues of mutual interest, as
well.

UAE: Canada parliament recognises genocide

Gulf News, United Arab Emirates
April 23 2004

Canada parliament recognises genocide

Ottawa: The Canadian Parliament on Wednesday ignored long-standing
government policy and angered Turkey by formally declaring that
Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenians in 1915.

Legislators in the House of Commons voted 153-68 to support a motion
declaring the events of 90 years ago as genocide, despite a plea from
Foreign Minister Bill Graham not to antagonise Nato ally Turkey.

Armenians say some 1.5 million of their people were deliberately
slaughtered by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. Turkey denies the
charges of genocide, saying the Armenians were among the many victims
of a partisan war raging during World War One as the Ottoman Empire
collapsed.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

ANCA-WR: CA Gov Schwarzenegger Issues Armenian Genocide Proclamation

PRESS RELEASE
Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region
104 North Belmont Street, Suite 200
Glendale, California 91206
Phone: 818.500.1918 Fax: 818.246.7353
[email protected]

Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
Telephone: 818.500.1918

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER PROCLAIMS APRIL 24 DAY OF
REMEMBRANCE FOR THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE

Sacramento, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America Western
Region (ANCA-WR) reported today that newly elected California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an Executive Proclamation designating
Saturday, April 24, 2004, as a “Day of Remembrance for the Armenian
Genocide.” The language of the proclamation addressed the historical
facts of the Genocide and commended Armenian Americans for retaining
their `distinct heritage,language and religion, and bringing rich
cultural diversity to the Golden State.’

`We are very pleased to have Governor Schwarzenegger proclaim April
24th as a California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide,’
commented ANCA-WR Government Relations Director, Armen Carapetian,
`Designating April 24th as a special day means a great deal to the
children and grandchildren of survivors of the Armenian Genocide and
even the survivors who were able to make it to California and called
this great state their home.’

On Saturday, April 24th, 2004, California State Senator Charles
Poochigian, the legislature’s highest ranking Armenian, will present
the proclamation to the ANCA-WR and the Armenian community at a
special ceremony to be held at the Armenian Martyrs Monument in
Montebello, California. The event will begin at 1 P.M. and will
include special messages from Senator John Kerry, Governor
Schwarzenegger in addition to speeches from various other California
State and federal public officials.

——————–EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT——————————

STATE OF CALIFORNIA P R O C L A M A T I O N

by the

Governor of the State of California

On April 24, 1915, in Constantinople, the Ottoman Turkish government
arrested and murdered several hundred Armenian religious, political
and intellectual leaders, beginning a campaign of terror known as the
Armenian Genocide.

From 1915 to 1923, the Ottoman Empire executed a systematic
destruction of Armenian culture through the forced exile, imprisonment
and annihilation ofmen, women and children of Armenian descent. More
than 1.5 million Armenians perished, and 500,000 survivors were forced
to leave their ancestral homeland in Turkey. Whole villages were
massacred and many people died of exposure and starvation during
forced death marches in the desert.

Despite this great tragedy, the Armenian people have persevered and
today are striving to build a free and proud nation, based on the
principles of democracy and a free-market economy. California is home
to 700,000 Armenians – the largest Armenian community outside the
Republic of Armenia. Throughout the decades, the Armenian-American
community has contributed to California agriculture, business,
education, public service and the arts. They have retained their
distinct heritage, language and religion, bringing rich cultural
diversity to the Golden State.

On this 89th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, we join with
Armenians around the world to mourn the loss of so many innocent
lives. In remembering this great human tragedy, we rededicate
ourselves to combat injustice, and we honor the triumphant spirit of
the Armenian people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of the State of
California, do hereby proclaim Saturday, April 24, 2004, as a “Day of
Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide.”

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have here unto set my hand and caused the Great
Seal of the State of California to be affixed this the twenty-second
day of April 2004.

/s/ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor of California

#####

www.anca.org

Mother See Rep to Participate in E. Diocesan Assembly & Clergy Conf.

PRESS RELEASE
Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Information Services
Address: Vagharshapat, Republic of Armenia
Contact: Rev. Fr. Ktrij Devejian
Tel: (374 1) 517 163
Fax: (374 1) 517 301
E-Mail: [email protected]
April 22, 2004

Representatives of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin to Participate
in Eastern Diocesan Assembly and Clergy Conference

>From April 26-28, the annual Clergy Conference of the Diocese of the
Armenian Church of America (Eastern) will convene in White Plains, New York,
following which, from April 29-May 1, the annual Diocesan Assembly will take
place. The host parish this year is St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian
Church.

Upon the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos of All Armenians, Rev. Fr. Vahram Melikian and Rev. Fr. Asoghik
Karapetian will participate in the Conference and Assembly as the
representatives of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. During their stay in
the United States, the Reverend Fathers will also visit Armenian communities
and parishes throughout the diocese. They are scheduled to visit parishes
in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and
Washington D.C.

##