Armenian students commemorate past genocide

The California Aggie Online
April 26 2004

Armenian students commemorate past genocide

Aggie Staff Writer

The vigil took place when the sun was still out Friday evening, but
candles were lit nonetheless in remembrance of the 1.5 million
victims of the Armenian genocide, which took place from 1915 to 1923.
The massacre was backed by the Ottoman Turk government, and is known
as the first genocide of the 20th century.

The commemoration event concluded Armenian Genocide Awareness Week,
and featured speeches and poems from UC Davis students and members of
the Armenian community. The event was put on by the Armenian Student

“It’s not the people they want to erase, it’s our history,” said
Karen Sarkissian, a UCD alumna. Sarkissian told the story of her
grandfather, who was one of many Armenians exiled to Syria. During
his stays in various German-run camps, he learned the German
language. His knowledge of Armenian and German led him to eventually
become a translator for the German army and survived the genocide.

Once the largest minority group in Turkey, millions of Armenians were
executed, starved and died of disease while forced to march into
Syria. The events occurred when the new leadership in Turkey – a
group called the Young Turks – was trying to establish itself as a
World War I power.

Close to a century later, Turkey – a close U.S. ally – continues to
deny the events.

The United States also does not recognize the incident as genocide.
In the last eight annual speeches commemorating Armenian Genocide
Week, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did not use the term
“genocide.” Bush called the events a “great calamity” in his 2003
commemoration speech.

“Every election we get a president who promises to get the genocide
recognized.but they always ignore it immediately,” said Taline
Gulesserian, a UCD law student.

The U.S. Congress has also heard several bills that recognize the
event but have never reached a vote. However, 33 states, including
California, have issued proclamations acknowledging the genocide.

Gulesserian said she was pleased that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
included the term “genocide” in his commemoration speech at the state
Capitol on Saturday.

“Denial is killing them twice,” said sophomore Garo Manjikian, ASA

The Canadian government formally recognized the Armenian genocide on
Wednesday, according an Armenian National Committee of America press
release. Canada joins France and Greece as countries recognizing the

During the week of tabling on campus, Gulesserian said she was
surprised at the number of non-Armenians who have heard about the
incident. Aside from members speaking to students, ASA also showed a
documentary on denial and recognition.

Participants at the vigil were also concerned about the number of
Turkish-endowed scholars teaching in the U.S. Beginning in the late
1990s, the Turkish government has been pushing to endow Turkish
studies programs in major universities in the U.S. with donations up
to $1 million.

According to reports in their campus newspapers, UCLA and UC Berkeley
have both since rejected such endowments.

At the end of the vigil, students recited the Lord’s Prayer in
Armenian and observed a moment of silence.

“Recognition can help ensure the lesson’s learned and can be used to
prevent further atrocities against Armenians and other groups,” said
speaker Christine Vahramian.

CSUF: The Forgotten Genocide

FOCUS: The Forgotten Genocide
By Virginia Terzian
For the Titan

April 22, 2004 Cal State Fullerton – The Daily Titan

Sylvie Tertzakian is an adjunct professor at Chapman University and
the daughter of a survivor of the Armenian genocide. She remembers the
stories her father, Khoren Aharonian, told her of his struggle to
survive. Ahoronian was only 11 years old when the Young Turks began
deporting Armenians from his village. He and his family marched into
the Syrian Desert for months with no food or water.

`My paternal uncle and my father were the only survivors in our
family,’ Tertzakian explained.

She spoke of how her father had to witness his mother’s death in the
desert. She said, `The survivors did not get counseling to deal with
their tragedy, instead they carried that baggage with them and handed
it down to their children. ‘

For Tertzakian and many other Armenians who are the children or
grandchildren of the Armenian genocide, the `baggage’ holds a special
meaning to them.

`The trauma that they go through as children – they cannot share it
with others,’ Tertzakian said.

The two brothers were separated in the desert during the genocide;
Tertzakian’ s father went to Jerusalem and his brother ended up in

For the few survivors of the genocide, these separations were quite

Finding lost family members was an extremely rare occurrence; most
were left to start all over again – alone, with nothing but memories
and the hope that it would never happen again.

It has been 89 years since the Armenian genocide began. Some Armenians
believe the greatest tragedy is not that so many were killed in the
first case of ethnic cleansing during the 20th century, but rather
that its occurrence is still denied to this day by its perpetrators
and forgotten by much of the world.

To fully understand the significance of the Armenian genocide it is
important to examine when, where and why this event took place.

In present day Eastern Turkey, when the Young Turks, a political
faction of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, decided that they wanted to
create a new Turkish state they saw the Armenian minority as an
obstacle to realizing their goal.

On April 24, 1915 some 200 of the Armenian community leaders were
taken from their homes by the Young Turks and murdered, beginning the
three-year genocide that would eventually take the lives of about 1.5
million Armenians, or half of their population.

`The Turks attacked these communities, Armenians were put on death
marches. Others in tiny villages were just massacred. The Turks were
trying to create a Turkish nation with no minorities,’ said Cal State
Fullerton Professor Touraj Daryaee.

The Armenians were driven out of their homes to march into the Syrian
Desert. Adolf Hitler later used similar death marches during the
Holocaust. Cora Granata, professor of German history at CSUF said,
`Nazi policy makes explicitly references to the Armenian genocide in
their plans.`

According to the Web site , when Hitler
invaded Poland he was quoted as telling his associates that a Jewish
holocaust would be tolerated by the West by stating that `Who, after
all, speaks todayof the annihilation of the Armenians?’

As a Web site dedicated to educating the world about past genocides,
gives an account of the Armenian genocide: `the
adult and teenage males were separated from the deportation caravans
and killed underthe direction of Young Turk functionaries. Women and
children were driven for months over mountains and desert, often
raped, tortured and mutilated. Deprived of food and water and often
stripped of cloths, they fell by the hundreds of thousands along the
routes to the desert.’

The Turkish government states that the Armenian people of Eastern
Turkey were attempting to separate from the Ottoman Empire and form
their own country and that the Ottoman Turks were simply attempting to
hold the country together. Turkey has claimed that only a few
thousands Armenians perished in a civil war that took place between
the Armenians and the Ottoman Turks.

In a lecture given at Harvard University in April of 2001, Professor
Vahakn Dadrian said, `For about seven weeks, Mazhar Inquiry Commission
secured from many provinces of Ottoman Turkey authentic, official
Ottoman documents.’

These documents allegedly proved that it was the Turkish
government’s intention to massacre the Armenian people.

Although the international community condemned the actions of the
Turkish government, no actions were made to force the postwar Turkish
government to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.

Today, nearly nine decades later, the Turkish government still refuses
to admit genocide occurred. Instead, Turkey still refers to it as the
`so-called Armenian genocide.’

In an article from the Turkish Press dated March 4, 2004, Prime
Minister Abdullah Gul said `those who are living a comfortable life
outside Armenia do not contribute to improvement of relations between
Turkey and Armenia with their attitude. Historians should deal with
events of the past. The Ottoman Empire had never perpetrated any
massacre or assimilated intentionally.’

Armenians seeking acknowledgement of their people’s tragic history may
be faced with large obstacles, but simply giving up and trying to
forget is not a possibility.

`The genocide lives with us, not just in April, but all the time,’
said Tertzakian, referring to April 24, the day recognized by many as
the commemoration of the Armenian genocide. `It’s something we should
never forget. Never again.’

Taner Akcam, a Turkish scholar currently teaching at Minneapolis
University, is one of the few people from his home country to openly
recognize the Young Turks’ actions towards the Armenians as an act of
genocide. Akcam believes that Turkey has to deal with the past in
order to improve the future for these two neighboring countries. With
work like his from other Turkish people, perhaps there will eventually
be an open border between Turkey and Armenia.

In the U.S., 31 states already acknowledge the Armenian genocide –
including California – yet the U.S. government is still unwilling to
call it genocide. ` You would be surprised how many Americans know
about the Armenian genocide,’ said Tertzakian.

As of March 2004, 15 countries including Switzerland, France and
Russia have agreed to label the 1915-1918 killings of the Armenian
people as genocide.

It is the hope of many Armenians that once the genocide is finally
acknowledged throughout the world, it can help prevent other genocides
fromtaking place.

`The Armenian Genocide should be taught at schools and universitiesto
make people aware of man’s inhumanity to man.’ said Tertzakian.

As art is an expression of life, young Armenian artists are expressing
their peoples’ pain through their art.

In an interview for MTV News, Serj Tankian of the band System of a
Down said, `My family tree goes up to my grandfather and his memories,
from there on, it’ s cut off.’

Tankian’s band is well known, especially in the Armenian community,for
their work towards the acknowledgement of the Armenian
genocide. System of a Down will be having a concert on April 24 at the
Greek theater to raise awareness of the Armenian genocide.

The Armenian movie `Ararat’ is another artful expression ofthe

Already in the 20th century we have seen genocide in the Ukraine,
Cambodia, Rwanda, Germany and in areas inhabited by the Kurds.

`We are still going through the trauma of the genocide,’ Tertzakian

Because the Armenian genocide is still denied, the pain of the
Armenian people has been forgotten by the world, but not by those who
are connected to it.

Info maybe for a box

The Armenian Genocide has directly affected the author’s family. Her
great-grandfather, who was just five years old when the genocide
began, wastaken by a Turkish soldier and raised as his son. When he
was 14 he learned the truth about his past and the past of his people
by a few of the surviving Armenians in Turkey. He then ran away to
Syria where he heard other Armenians were living. At the age of 19,
in a chance meeting, he found his uncle and learned about his family.

The genocide is commemorated everywhere in the world that Armenians
are located, with monuments, memorials and protests, in attempts to
make the rest of the world to be aware and acknowledge the Armenian
genocide. Those interested in becoming involved at a presentation
should go to for locations of events near them.

Locally the 40 martyrs Armenian apostolic Church of orange in Santa
Anna’s commemoration Ceremony and virgule with a key note speaker on
the 25th at 7:30pm the event is open to the public and everyone is
welcome for more information contact them at (714) 839-7836.

Also in Hollywood on the April 24th there will be a march in `little
Armenia’ at 10:00am to acknowledge the genocide. If you are
interesting in being a part of this remembrance event go to
for more information.

Young Nationalists Demanding for Honor

A1 Plus | 13:13:31 | 24-04-2004 | Social |


Armenian Nationalist Youth Bloc has today held a protest action near Great
Britain Embassy against Ambassador Thorda Abbott-Watt over her statement
denying the fact of the Armenian Genocide.

“We demand the Ambassador for honor to have insulted dignity of our people.
She must apologize to the Armenian people for her statement. Each Armenian
has the right to demand for explanation”, Bloc Vice-Chair Roman Gevorgyan

The protestors conveyed a letter to the Embassy and are now expecting for
the answer of the Ambassador. “Being nationalists we will press for it”,
Bloc Vice-Chair added.

Why shouldn’t MPs acknowledge genocide?

The Globe And Mail

Why shouldn’t MPs acknowledge genocide?
Saturday, April 24, 2004 – Page A22


The House of Commons has caused a furor by acknowledging, in a free
vote this week, that Armenians were victims of genocide in 1915. The
furor is more telling than the acknowledgment. Realpolitik apparently
dictates that truth does not exist, that each generation lives in a
historical vacuum, and that pondering such issues is a matter best
reserved for artists and historians rather than mere legislators. To
challenge these dictates is to reveal oneself as naive and too
immature for real leadership.

Yet the legislators, who voted 153-68 in favour of a private member’s
bill from the Bloc Québécois, were merely stating a historical
fact. They were not committing Canada to monetary payments. They were
not apologizing on behalf of another generation. They were engaging in
a simple act of memory on behalf of victims who have descendants
living in Canada, an act that is controversial only because of the
Turkish government’s offensive 89-year-long denial.

The genocide of as many as 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey was
the first attempt to murder an entire nation in a century riven with
them. It was a blueprint for Hitler. So appalled were Canadians at
the time that they bent their rigid immigration rules and permitted
100 Armenian orphans to come to Georgetown, Ont., and live with farm
families. This uncharacteristic generosity toward allegedly inferior
peoples was dubbed “Canada’s Noble Experiment.” The Georgetown Boys,
as they were known, grew up and became good Canadians who raised
families, paid taxes and voted in elections.

Today’s Canada is a different kind of experiment. It is one in which
all peoples are welcome, not so much for noble reasons as from
enlightened self-interest: Give us your educated, your upwardly
mobile, your ambitious. In such a country, the hard choices of
realpolitik become more difficult than ever. Why? Because Canada, if
it is to succeed as an experiment, must be based on respect for human
rights. And if this diverse country stresses human rights on the
domestic scene, it can hardly deny their value in the larger world.

Prime Minister Paul Martin, in trying to give more power to backbench
MPs, is allowing free votes where confidence in the government is not
at issue. With this freedom comes responsibility. It may be that, in
future, MPs will attempt to go further afield, in ways that might
affect Canada’s legitimate foreign-policy interests.

But in this case, it is hard to see what was irresponsible in this
statement of principle. Genocide is a current issue for a world that
just commemorated the 10th anniversary of the attempted annihilation
of the Tutsi people in Rwanda. Canada has obligations beyond its
borders. It was instrumental in the creation two years ago of the
International Criminal Court.

In spite of scaremongering from some high-powered businesses, it
strains credulity to think that Canadian firms will lose big contracts
or that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s relationship with
Turkey will suffer over the resolution. Should the Canada that risked
its relationship with its closest ally when it spurned the United
States’ call to war in Iraq develop amnesia to avoid reprisals from
Turkey? For the record, the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien said
in 1999 that the tragedy of 1915 “was committed with the intent to
destroy a national group . . .” That is the very definition of
genocide. And Canada’s relationship with Turkey survived.

Human beings are capable of the worst atrocities, but there are always
some who do not forget. No foreign country, ally or not, can deny
Canada the right to bear witness.

HH Aram I praises Canada Parl. for acknowledging The Arm. Genocide

Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]

PO Box 70 317




Antelias, Lebanon – We were informed by our Prelate Archbishop Khajag
Hagopian that the House of Commons of Canada has adopted a motion
recognizing the Armenian Genocide. This courageous act of the
representatives of the people of Canada is the victory of truth over denial
and the restoration of justice for the Armenian people.

As the Spiritual Head of the people who have lived the experience of
Genocide in 1915; and now dispersed all over the world, and as the
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, I know the profound significance
of such an important decision.

This resolution of the House of Commons was conveyed to us during an
international conference on “Genocide, Impunity and Justice” organized by
our church (22-23 April 2004) in Antelias, Lebanon. At this conference we
stated that any such crime against humanity must not remain unpunished. I
believe that other countries will also follow your example in a world where
peace with justice and meaningful dialogue could be established only when
human rights are fully respected.

On behalf of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia and its worldwide
Dioceses -including that of Canada – our clergy, community leaderships and
people, we would like to express our deep appreciation to the honorable
members of the House of Commons for their courageous decision.





The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the history and
the mission of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.

UCLA: Armenian Genocide Reveals Lessons for Today

The Daily Bruin
April 21, 2004

Armenian Genocide Reveals Lessons for Today
By Garin Hovannisian
Daily Bruin Columnist
[email protected]

On April 24, Armenians around the world will commemorate the darkest
period in their history. Through organized deportations and massacres
of 1.5 million people, over half of the Armenian population was
forcibly removed from its home of 3,000 years.

The crimes began on April 24, 1915 and were continued by successive
Turkish governments until 1923, when the ethnic cleansing of Armenians
in the region was virtually complete.

Today, the Armenian Student Association will join in the commemoration
of these crimes with a silent march across the campus to Bruin
Plaza. There, the group will open an hour-long ceremony, including
poetry, music, recitations and addresses to spread awareness of the
first genocide of the 20th century.

For most participants, the day will be filled with memories of
ancestors and relatives who either died or miraculously survived but
remained scarred for life. Yet the dominant emotion will be a deep
resentment toward the Turkish government and others that continue to
deny the reality of the Armenian Genocide.

The commemoration today and this column are not meant to garner pity
for the suffering of the Armenian people. Even the most sinister of
historic tragedies lose much of their poignancy and impact over
time. What is crucial is that people understand the magnitude and
historic legacy of this precedent-setting event – especially when
their own government does not.

Like most cases of deliberate violence against members of a society,
the Armenian Genocide was executed by the government itself.

On April 24, 1915, several hundred Armenian civic leaders and
intellectuals were arrested in Istanbul, and subsequently exiled and
murdered. While the world was preoccupied with the Great War, the
so-called Young Turk government created its own blueprint of genocide.
First, the young men were drafted and placed into unarmed labor
battalions, where most would be killed. Then, the populations of all
Armenian towns and villages were forced to relinquish any weapons in
brutal arms searches. After the religious and political leaders had
been led away to meet a bloody end, the remaining population – largely
women and children – were placed in caravans of death leading to the
desert wasteland of inner Syria. En route, the caravans practically
melted away under the scorching sun. As women were raped and
tormented, children were kidnapped and forcibly converted as the
elderly died of starvation and dehydration.

The relatively few people who somehow made it to the final
destination, the desert of Deir-el-Zor, were murdered there or burned
alive in their cave-shelters.

In the end, the Armenian nation lost its homeland to a xenophobic
regime that used genocide to achieve its vision of a new regional
order based on one people, one religion, one language and one

To this day, the Turkish government denies an Armenian Genocide ever
happened. Other governments, including the United States, are
complicit in the cover-up for economic, political and military
reasons. These deniers dismiss a historic happening that stripped an
entire people of its rights, properties and homeland.

They fail to acknowledge the need to face history and engage in acts
of redemption that may lead to reconciliation, or at least
conciliation. They spurn the eminent importance of truth.

What does this mean for you and me in the contemporary world? It means
mass murder has been carried out without repercussions. It means that
even now, our right to life – the most basic of rights – is vulnerable
and should never be taken for granted.

The events of 1915 are not antiquated occurrences of a bygone
era. They were repeated throughout the 20th century by Hitler, by the
Khmer Rouge to the Cambodian people, and through slaughters in Burundi
and Rwanda, among others. The 20th century began and ended with
genocide. All of these mass killings shared important aspects in a
historic pattern scholars and human rights activists are trying to
decode and prevent.

The passionate commitment of individuals and the integrity of
governments is required. Only through recognition can this history be
understood and made meaningful to prevent future crimes against

Recognizing, understanding and learning from the Armenian Genocide is
not an end in itself. It is only a means through which we can craft a
free, just and prosperous new century.

On April 24, take a moment to remember the lost Armenians — if not
for the memory of their lives, then for the longevity of our own.

Hovannisian is a first-year history and philosophy student. E-mail him at
[email protected]. Send general comments to
[email protected].

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Russian envoy hails Armenian authorities’ measures to end protests

Russian envoy hails Armenian authorities’ measures to end protests

21 Apr 04


Both the Armenian authorities and protesters should be mutually
polite,” the Russian ambassador to Armenia, Anatoliy Dryukov, told
Arminfo, while commenting on the political situation in the country.

He said that it is the authorities’ constitutional duty to maintain
law and order, but the protesters should observe order as well. I can
comment on the situation in Armenia only as a representative of a
foreign country – without any attempt to interfere in the country’s
internal affairs,” the Russian diplomat said.

The current situation is a blow to the Armenian state, Armenian
statehood and to the economic and social development plans that the
Armenian government has announced, the ambassador said.

The political struggle is a usual and normal occurrence in a
democratic state. However, it is normal if the struggle is being
conducted within the framework of the law and the constitution. He
said that no-one is allowed to interpret the laws and the constitution
in their own manner,” the ambassador noted.

“I think the current situation has developed because some people are
trying to interpret the laws and the constitution in their own
manner,” the ambassador said. All this and the fact that people are
suffering are grave consequences. Dryukov believes that the work the
Prosecutor-General’s Office is doing now is an absolutely correct
reaction by the authorities and it is necessary to wait for the
results of the investigation.

ANKARA: Armenian FM wants normalization of ties with Turkey

Armenian foreign minister wants normalization of ties with Turkey

TRT 2 television, Ankara
24 Apr 04

Armenia wants a dialogue without preconditions with Turkey. Armenian
Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan talked to our correspondent Olcay
Kirac in Yerevan.

He said: We want normal relations with all our neighbours. Also with
Azerbaijan, but especially with Turkey. We are going through a period
when there are no important issues between the two countries. There
are certain historical issues between us. We cannot ignore them but we
must be able to put them aside and engage in a normal dialogue between
the two countries. In order to do that, we need good neighbourly
relations. At this stage, I see no reason why our dialogue with our
neighbour Turkey cannot be normalized. We expect the Turkish
government to lift the conditions it has been positing for the
normalization of our relations. We expect that. Let us leave aside the
preconditions and let us sit at the negotiating table. Let us discuss
our bilateral issues, solve them and normalize our relations.

Russian police say skinheads not involved in Kostroma incident

Russian police say skinheads not involved in Kostroma incident

Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow
24 Apr 04

[Presenter] Skinheads have nothing to do with the incident involving
an Armenian boy in Kostroma. Let us recall that several media reports
earlier this week [22 April] said that the boy had been allegedly
attacked by skinheads. An investigation carried out by the Kostroma
police has shown that this was not the case. So the police say. Yuliya
Kosilova has the details.

[Correspondent] The boy sustained injury over a routine prank and
street roughs have nothing to do with that, the Kostroma police said
following the investigation. In reality this is what has
happened. Several teenagers, the Armenian boy among them, decided to
make a bonfire right in the street. Having done so, one of them poured
gasoline onto the fire. Burning splashes hit the Armenian boy’s
clothes and, as a result, he was slightly burnt.

The teenagers obviously got frightened and decided not to tell
grownups about this. That is why they invented the story about the
attack. The deceit was uncovered few days later, after the parents of
the victim went to doctors. Doctors, in their turn, reported the
accident to police. The police started the investigation. The victim
became nervous and came clean.

[Presenter] Earlier, the boy explained his burns by skinheads
splashing some petrol over him and setting him on fire.