99th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide to be Held in Times Square Sunday, April 27, 2014

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2014 — On Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 2-4 pm, thousands of devoted Armenian-Americans and their friends and supporters will gather in Times Square (43rd St. & Broadway) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th Century, The Armenian Genocide (Medz Yeghern). 

The theme of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration is “Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime.” This historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire and to the millions of victims of subsequent genocides worldwide. Speakers will include civic, religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural leaders, as well as performing artists. This event is free and open to the public. Dr. Mary A. Papazian, President of Southern Connecticut State University and Attorney R. Armen McOmber will preside over the ceremonies.

Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, past National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan and Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn discusses the Armenian Genocide. “These killings, which were labeled crimes against humanity and civilization at the time, exactly fit the definition of the word genocide, which was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer in 1943,” comments Papazian. “It is only proper to bring the terminology up to date and apply the international laws for genocide to the Armenian case.”

Papazian headed the Armenian Assembly of America in 1975, when a non-binding resolution recognizing the mass killings as genocide, passed through Congress. On April 22, 1981, then-President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation #4838 that summoned Americans to commemorate the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. The proclamation stated, “Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it—and like too many other persecutions of too many other peoples—the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”

Papazian further discusses that President Barack Obama used the Armenian phrase Medz Yeghern, which is the equivalent of the phrase genocide in the Armenian language, in a statement issued to commemorate Armenian Remembrance Day on April 24, 2013. “But still the U.S. position is still kept ambiguous about using the word genocide because our country fears alienating Turkey, an important country in the Middle East,” he adds.

“In the long run, Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide is critical, since Turkey is the responsible successive government of the Ottoman Empire,” stresses Papazian. “In recent years there have been some positive developments among progressive Turkish intellectuals, including the grandson of one of the chief perpetrators; therefore, it is within the realm of possibility that Turkey itself will recognize the Armenian Genocide on the one hundredth anniversary of its beginning,” he concludes.

The 99th Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights & Daughters of Vartan (www.kofv.org), an international Armenian fraternal organization headquartered in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (www.agbu.org), the Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.org), the Armenian National Committee of America (www.anca.org), the Armenian Council of America and the Armenian Democratic League (Ramgavar Party).

Participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for U.S. and Canada, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF), several Armenian youth organizations, and university and college Armenian clubs.

For more information please visit, www.kofv.org,www.april24nyc.orgwww.armenianradionj.net,www.theforgotten.orgwww.armenian-genocide.org,www.twentyvoices.com.

Knights of Vartan Armenian Genocide Essay Contest Now Open

Armenian Genocide Commemoration Essay Contest for High School

and College Students

Co-Sponsored by The Knights & Daughters of Vartan and

Facing History and Ourselves

 

WHAT

High School and College students are invited to participate in an essay contest to actively support the 99th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide that will be held in Times Square (46th St/Broadway)on Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 2-4 pm.  Co-sponsors of the contest include the Knights & Daughters of Vartan, www.kofv.org , an international Armenian fraternal organization with headquarters in the U.S. and Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org, an international educational and professional development organization.

One winner and two runner-ups will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges.  First place winner will receive $300, second place runner-up will receive $200 and third place runner-up will receive $100.  The winners will also be recognized at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square on Sunday, April 27, 2014 and depending on time constraints, may read their essays.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Monday, March 31, 2014

QUESTION TO ADDRESS IN ESSAY:  On the Threshold of the 100th Anniversary, How Should the World Recognize the Armenian Genocide?

 (800 words maximum, double-spaced 12 point Arial type: Please include student’s full name, age, teacher’s full name and subject area, name of high school or college, year in school, hometown/state, phone #, and email address at the top of each page of the essay.)

ANNOUNCEMENT OF WINNERS

The three winners will be contacted directly and announced to the mainstream and Armenian media the week of Monday, April 8, 2014.

PLEASE SUBMIT ESSAYS VIA EMAIL BY Monday, March 31, 2014  TO:
Taleen via email at april24nyc@gmail.com

About the Armenian Genocide Commemoration IN Times Square

Founded in 1985 by the late Sam Azadian, former Brooklyn, NY resident, who lost four siblings during the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square has honored the 1.5+ million Armenian lives lost during the horrific events of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire. This internationally-recognized annual event draws thousands of Armenians and non-Armenian participants to commemorate the solemn occasion.  The event features speeches and tributes delivered by prominent political figures and civic leaders, officials of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, representatives of major Armenian-American organizations, distinguished scholars and educators as well as high-ranking Armenian and non-Armenian clergy.

Armenian Genocide Commemoration Essay Contest for High School and College Students Co-Sponsored by The Knights & Daughters of Vartan and Facing History and Ourselves

High School and College students are invited to participate in an essay contest to actively support the 98th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide that will be held in Times Square on Sunday, April 21, 2013 from 2-4 pm.  Co-sponsors of the contest include the Knights & Daughters of Vartan, www.kofv.org , an international Armenian fraternal organization with headquarters in the U.S. and Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org, an international educational and professional development organization.

One winner and two runner-ups will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges. First place winner will receive $300, second place runner-up will receive $200 and third place runner-up will receive $100.  The winners will also be recognized at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square on Sunday, April 21, 2013 and depending on time constraints, may read their essays.

The question to address in this year’s essay is the following: Why is it important for schools nationwide to include the Armenian Genocide in the core curriculum?

The essay should be 800 words maximum, double-spaced 12 point Arial type: Please include student’s full name, age, teacher’s full name and subject area, name of high school or college, year in school, hometown/state, phone #, and email address at the top of each page of the essay.

The three winners will be contacted directly and announced to the mainstream and Armenian media the week of Monday, April 8.

Please submit essays via email by Friday, March 29, 2013 to april24nyc@gmail.com.

Founded in 1985 by the late Sam Azadian, former New Jersey resident, who lost four siblings during the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square has honored the 1.5+ million Armenian lives lost during the horrific events of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire. This internationally-recognized annual event draws thousands of Armenians and non-Armenian participants to commemorate the solemn occasion.  The event features speeches and tributes delivered by prominent political figures and civic leaders, officials of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, representatives of major Armenian-American organizations, distinguished scholars and educators as well as high-ranking Armenian and non-Armenian clergy.

 

New York Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration Defies the Weather

By: Lucine Z. Kinoian

(New York, NY) — Over a thousand Armenians and Armenian Genocide Recognizers alike gathered in an improvised Times Square to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th century on Sunday, April 22.  The commemoration took place in Kavookjian Hall of St. Vartan Cathedral in New York City to avoid the pouring rain which drenched Times Square itself.  The hall was crowded and many observers listened through speakers that were set up across the vestibule and up the marble staircase to the lobby of the building.  An anchor group of volunteers were left in Times Square with the stage and some posters to preserve our permit for future years.

ImageThis annual commemoration, organized by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan under the chairmanship of Mr. Hirant Gulian, drew busloads of people from all over the tri-state area. The event is given support from all major Armenian-American organization in the United States, all Armenian churches from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, as well as local College and University student groups, many of whom were present. Individuals came from as far as away as California, Michigan, and upstate New York.

Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, National Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan and Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Mary A. Papazian, PhD, President of Southern Connecticut State University, presided over the ceremonies.  Armen McOmber, Esq., assisted president Papazian as MC.

Commemoration participants included Armenian Genocide survivors, elected officials; and humanitarian, cultural, religious, educational, and community leaders. Speakers included Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and New York City Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. (D-NY). No other Armenian genocide commemoration the United States, except in the Capitol in Washington DC, attractions as many distinguished political figures.

Special guests included Attorney Mark J. Geragos, who helped lead groundbreaking Federal Class Action lawsuits against New York Life and other insurance companies for policies issued to Armenians living in Turkey prior to the Armenian Genocide; Susan L. Rosenbluth, editor and publisher of The Jewish Voice and Opinion; and others.

Susan Rosenbluth, in a spirited commentary, said that she represented the vast majority of Jews who accepted the reality of the Armenian genocide and were working to convince the Anti-Defamation League and the state of Israel to openly declare their support.

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Genocide Survivors, who were given thunderous applause when introduced, included Arsalos Dadir, 98; Charlette Kechejian, 99; Perouze Kalousdinian, 102; and Azniv Guiragossian, 101.

The commemoration began with a rendition of the American and Armenian National Anthems by Ani Djirdjiryan. Genocide Survivor Charlette Kechejian, 99, clutched a white carnation, proudly joined in the singing, pronouncing each word with distinction.  The message was clear: Despite being strong and proud Armenians, we also have faith and pride in our home country, America, which is our land of security and opportunity.

Despite 43 states in our nation recognizing the atrocities of 1915–1923 against the Armenian people by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire as genocide, the United States government is no longer willing to use the word officially.  Economic reasoning and diplomatic pressure from Turkey has been preventing our nation’s governmental leaders from following in the footsteps of the 21 other counties around the world who legally recognize the events against the Armenians as Genocide.

Acknowledgment was also made of the genocide committed by the Turkish government against our Greek and Assyrian coreligionists at the same time as the Armenian genocide, and fraternal commiseration was offered to our Jewish brothers and sisters on the occasion of Yom HaShoah, the commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust.

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In a spirited address, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (S-NY) stress that “America’s place among the other countries that recognize is long overdue.  Continually calling upon the United States government is critical, and I remain optimistic towards our nation. It is important that there be no lapse in our effort to recognize the Genocide.”

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Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the chief defender of Armenian interest in the US Senate, proclaimed that Armenians’ struggle for recognition is not in vain.  “We must express our concerns that Turkey continues to punish on a criminal level those who dare call the Armenian atrocities a genocide.  The Armenian Genocide is not and should not be an issue for debate; it is a fact… Keep the faith, and [we will] do what we need to do to accurately represent the facts.” Sen. Menendez is working diligently to prevent Armenian genocide deniers from representing the State Department in foreign countries and has put holds on appointing recalcitrance.

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“The one thing as bad as genocide is the denial of genocide,” said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). We should not fail to head the lessons taken from the crimes in the early part of the century.  We owe it to the victims and the survivors.  We are all survivors; if not for someone in our ancestry, we would not be here.  The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not for only for the sake of those victimized or oppressed; it is for us, and all those who have ever suffered such tragedy.

Congressman Pallone (D-NJ), head of the Armenian Caucus of the House of Representatives, stressed the idea that we are making progress in Washington.  “Even though some Congressmen continue to vote against the Armenian Genocide recognition resolution, they no longer deny the reality but only say we do not want to offend ‘our ally Turkey’.”

Any action taken to recognize past genocides also serves as a preventative for future crimes against humanity. “There is no question that when genocide goes unpunished, it makes other perpetrators discount the possibility of being held accountable for their crimes…” said Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, “It was the Armenian Genocide which opened the door to all other genocides of the twentieth century.”

“Of course, the recognition by Turkey is the ultimate goal.  Turkish government must offer recognition and recompense,” stressed Papazian. “It would be a lot easier if the Turkish government would free the Turkish people to do their own investigating, rather than forcing the party-line on a public denied the freedom to investigate and discuss the issue freely without threat of arrest and prosecution under Article 301 of the Turkish criminal code.” Papazian demanded, “Free the Turkish people: let them reach their own conclusions.”

ImageMaral Mouradian, 20, second place winner of the annual Knights of Vartan essay contest, co-sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves, who was recognized by Grand Commander Papazian and Grand Matron of the Daughters of Vartan, Agnes Sahagian, comments on what it might take for recognition to be implemented, “Public opinion can only go so far if politicians do not act on it.  However public opinion can provide political consequences to an official’s lack of action.”  Recognizing Armenian sufferings is pivotal in showing the world that “every race of people has a place on this earth, and no one has a right to change that dynamic.”

ImageThe proceedings were open with an invocation from His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan of the Prelacy and ended with a benediction by The Very Rev. Fr. Vazken Karayan, representing His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of the Diocese.

Special introductions were made of Dr. Allan Whitehorn, prolific author on topics related to the Armenian genocide; Ugor Umit Unger, Turkish scholar who writes effectively on the Armenian genocide; and Margaret Ajamian, whose recent novel on the Genocide has gained wide acclaim. Paul Saryian, a candidate for Congress, was also introduced.

Three representatives of the several cooperating organizations brought greetings, Natalie Gabrielian, AGBU; Alex Karapetian, Armenian assembly; and George Aghjanyan, ANCA.

Rouben Matevosyan aroused the crowd by singing ‘Zartir Lao’ and Raisa Megerdichyan gave an upbeat rendition of ‘Azk Parabantz’.  The commemoration concluded with an echoing rendition of ‘God Bless America’ by Anjha Avsharian.

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Speakers Announced for the Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration, Sunday April 22 at 2 p.m.

“Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime”.

(April 2012) NY, NY— Thousands of Armenians and their friends and supporters will gather in Times Square (42rd St. & Broadway) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th Century, The Armenian Genocide (Medz Yeghern).  In recognition of April being Genocide Awareness Month, Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) will also be commemorated, as well as other notable genocides over the past hundred years.

The theme of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration is “Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime.”  To be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012 from 2-4 PM, this historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were butchered by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire and the millions who were the victims of other genocides, particularly the Holocaust.  This event is free and open to the public.

Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan and Founding Director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Mary A. Papazian, PhD, President of Southern Connecticut State University will preside over the ceremonies.

Commemoration participants will include Armenian Genocide Survivors (ages 98+), elected officials, humanitarian, cultural, religious, educational and community leaders. Presenters include Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, NY City Council Member and Peter F. Vallone Jr. (D-NY).

Special guests will include Attorney Mark J. Geragos, who helped lead groundbreaking Federal class Action Lawsuits against New York Life and other insurance companies for policies issued to Armenian living in Turkey prior to the Armenian Genocide, Susan L. Rosenbluth, editor and publisher of The Jewish Voice and Opinion, and others.

Armenian Genocide Expert, Dr. Dennis Papazian comments, “We welcome the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with our supporters including the Jewish community to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.  The Armenian Genocide was the blueprint for all future genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries. In fact, when Hitler sent his Death Heads troops into Poland at the beginning of World War II, he said, “Go. Kill without mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?”

The 97th Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of Knights & Daughters of

Vartan  an international Armenian fraternal organization with headquarters in the U.S. www.knightsofvartan.org, and co-sponsored by Armenian General Benevolent Union www.agbu.org, Armenian Assembly of America www.aaainc.org, Armenian National Committee of America www.anca.org, Armenian Council of America and ADL-Ramgavars.

Participating Organizations: Diocese of the Armenian Church, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA, AYF, Armenian Youth Organizations, Armenian University and College Clubs.

For more information please visit http://april24timessquare.com, www.April24NYC.orgwww.knightsofvartan.org, www.armenianradionj.com, www.theforgotten.org, www.armenian-genocide.org, www.twentyvoices.com.

Winners Announced for the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Essay Contest

NY, NY (April 2012) — High school and college students nationwide were invited to address the question, “How Can International Recognition of the Armenian Genocide Help Prevent Future Crimes Against Humanity?” in the fifth Annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration Essay Contest co-sponsored by Knights and Daughters of Vartan and Facing History and Ourselves.  A distinguished panel of judges announced first place to David Oganesyan, age 18, resident of North Potomac, MD and student of Thomas Wootton High School, Rockville, MD; second place to Maral Mouradian, age 20, resident of Toms River, NJ and student at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken; and third place to Anna Abalyan, age 22, of Farmington, CT, and student at University of Connecticut in Storrs.

The winners will be recognized in the company of over 2,000 supporters during the Armenian Genocide Commemoration and Holocaust Remembrance Day Recognition in Times Square (42rd and Broadway) on Sunday, April 22 from 2-4 pm. This historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire.  Presenters will include civic, religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural leaders, and performing artists. The theme of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration is “Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime.”  The Commemoration is free and open to the public.

Oganesyan commented on his motivation to enter the essay contest, “As an ethnic Armenian, I feel that no greater service can be done for my heritage than to fight for the recognition of the Genocide.”  In his essay, he wrote, “When Adolf Hitler, in reasoning for the destruction of the Polish people, asked, Who, after all, speak today of the Armenians, the internal community failed to speak up.  Attempting to prevent further genocide without first recognizing that of the Armenian people will prove to be as effective as building a skyscraper without first laying foundation.  Future atrocities can only be prevented if the Armenian Genocide is remembered as such, and that is why recognition is so important.”

The 97th Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of Knights & Daughters of Vartan www.knightsofvartan.org, an international Armenian fraternal organization with headquarters in the U.S. and co-sponsored by Armenian General Benevolent Union www.agbu.org, Armenian Assembly of America www.aaainc.org, Armenian National Committee of America www.anca.org, Armenian Council of America and ADL-Ramgavars.

Participating Organizations: Diocese of the Armenian Church, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA, AYF, Armenian Youth Organizations, Armenian University and College Clubs.

For more information please visit http://april24timessquare.com, http://www.April24NYC.org, www.knightsofvartan.org, www.knightsofvartan.ca, www.armenianradionj.com, www.theforgotten.org, www.armenian-genocide.org, www.twentyvoices.com.

Survivors of the Genocide Recall the Tragedies of Their Past

By: Lucine Z. Kinoian

(March 2012  ̶  Flushing, N.Y.)  ̶  At the New York Armenian Home in Flushing, Queens on Sunday, March 25th, four Armenian Genocide survivors recall their experiences and memories of the early part of their lives.  Arsalos Dadir, 98; Charlette Kechejian, 99; Perouze Kalousdinian, 102; and Azniv Guiragossian, 101, accounted for the atrocities and what it took for them to survive and eventually succeed in America.  In a room of about a dozen people, the majority being reporters representing local New York media organizations, these women told their stories.

Listening to the four survivors recall places, people, and experiences are both chilling and eye-opening. In the presence of these women, you feel like you are looking into the mirror of history.  All the mystique that surrounded the stories of the genocide that you grew up being familiar with disappeared. The Genocide no longer is a tale about our ancestors, all who lived in a time and place much different from ours, but rather it becomes raw, real, and heart-wrenching.

Dadir is the first to speak, although it is clear that just the thought of having to recall such memories to an audience rattles her.  You can hear the despair in her words as she shares her thoughts on the Turks who killed her family and village members. “Until today we are suffering from the same results,” she says, “This is the reality.”   Watching them kill all the men in her village, she is saddened at the thought of Armenian vindication not yet having a permanent effect on the Turks who continue to deny what their ancestors did.

Kechejian begins her story by expressing, “It’s something I hope you never see.”  She talks about walking endlessly through the dessert with no food or water, and how her mother made sure she did not stop despite being weak and overly exhausted. Guiragossian found similar support in her sister after they were uprooted from their home and taken into an orphanage; having her sister by her side felt like protection amongst the tortures, killing, and unknown fates of the people and world surrounding her.  The oldest of the survivors, Kalousdinian, summarized the strength needed to survive by saying when the Turks seized their house, she held her mother’s hand, walked out, and could not look back.  Facing forward and having faith that the atrocities would pass is what allowed these women to witness and endure all that they did.

“We never knew when it was going to end,” recalls Kechejian.  Although referencing the suffering that the Armenians endured, her thoughts ring loud to the contemporary issue of the Armenians Genocide.  Turkey to this day refuses to acknowledge the events on the Armenian people as genocide, so for these four women, the suffering is not over.  Although young at the time, the memories of Dadir, Kechejian, Kalousdinian, and Guiragossian serve as windows into the past.  Their field of view is limited to that of a child, one that has taken great strength to suppress, yet it is powerful and thought evoking.  The fears that embodied them back in the early 20th century still lurk within them now.  The hesitation and strain they show as they express their accounts are nothing less than that of genuine loss and despair.

These interviews were arranged by the Knights and Daughters of Vartan’s Times Square annual genocide commemoration committee, headed by Mr. Hrant Gulian, with the help of Aghavni Ellian, the director of the home, who patiently assures the possible care for aged Armenians. Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, Grand Commander of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan and specialist in Armenian Genocide and history studies provided exhibits and explained the background of the Armenian genocide to the reporters and photographers, and also was available for interview.

97th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide to be Held in Times Square on Sunday, April 22 from 2–4 p.m.

“Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime”

(February, 2012, New York City, NY) — This year marks the 27th year that Armenians and Americans alike will gather in Times Square and commemorate the first genocide of the 20th century: The Armenian Genocide of 1915.  The theme of this year’s Commemoration will be “Turkey is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable is a Crime.”  To be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012 from 2–4 p.m., this historic commemoration will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923.  This event will also pay tribute to celebrate the survival and spirit of the Armenian people, their rich heritage, and global contributions.

Those invited include elected officials such as governors, senators, congresspersons. In attendance will be international scholars and Homenetmen Scouts. Presenters will include civic, religious, humanitarian, academic, and cultural leaders, as well as performing artists.

Bus transportation will be provided from New York and New Jersey churches.

Organized by the Mid-Atlantic Chapters of Knights & Daughters of Vartan (www.knightsofvartan.org); and co-sponsored by Armenian General Benevolent Union (www.agbu.org), Armenian Assembly of America (www.aaainc.com); Armenian National Committee of America (www.anca.org); ADL-Ramgavars, and Armenian Council of America; with the participation of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for U.S. and Canada, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA, AYF, Armenian Youth Organization, and University Armenian Clubs.

Armenian Genocide Essay Contest for High School and College Students

High School and College students are invited to participate in an essay contest to actively support the 97th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in April 2012.  One winner and two runner-ups will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges. First place winner will receive $300, second place runner-up will receive $200, and third place runner-up will receive $100.  The winners will also be recognized at the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Times Square on Sunday, April 22, 2012, which will take place from 2–4pm, and depending on time constraints, may read their essays.

Question to Address in Essay: “How can international recognition of the Armenian Genocide help prevent future crimes against humanity?

Requirements of Essay: Word-document (.doc or .docx compliant), 800 words maximum, double-spaced, 11 point Arial type font, with each page clearly numbered. At the top of each page, please include student’s full name and age, teacher’s full name and subject area, name of high school or college, graduating year in school, hometown and state, phone number, and e-mail address.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, March 30, 2012.

Submissions via e-mail to: Lucine Kinoian at April24NYC@gmail.com

The three winners will be contacted directly and announced to the mainstream and Armenian media the week of Monday, April 9.

Co-sponsors of the contest include the Knights & Daughters of Vartan, http://www.knightsofvartan.org, an Armenian fraternal organization; and Facing History and Ourselves, http://www.facinghistory.org, an international educational and Professional development organization.

Thousands Gather in Times Square to Commemorate 96th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide

On Sunday afternoon, May 1, as thousands of people gathered at the crossroads of America to honor the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide, the message to the world was clear: While almost a century has passed, and Turkish denial is stronger than ever, the Armenian Genocide will not be forgotten and it will remain an important part of history.

Supporting this message in the middle of Times Square on a beautiful, clear day, were some of the country’s most respected politicians, who have continuously and tirelessly fought for U.S. and global recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Citing the Armenian Genocide as “one of the worst genocides in world history,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust were “intrinsically related” and if the world had stopped the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust may not have occurred.

“We are here with a solemn duty, and that is to preserve the truth,” said Schumer, who vowed to continue to fight in the Senate for affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and until “the Armenian community is vindicated.”

Equally instrumental in fighting for Armenian Genocide recognition has been U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who stressed the importance of remembering the Armenian Genocide. “It is our obligation, as citizens of our world, to remember every day,” said Menendez. “Whether it is 96 or 196 years, we must vow to never forget or ever let it happen again.”

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Menendez said it is imperative that the U.S. “avoid euphemisms” of foreign policy and as part of the Armenian Genocide commemoration, “to seek acknowledgement of truth, from Turkey and soon our own government.”

“It was and should be referred to as the Armenian genocide plain and simple,” he concluded.

A long-time supporter and protector of both Armenia’s and Nagorno Karabagh’s interests, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), noted that the deniers of the Armenian Genocide have become “more aggressive” and that Armenians “need to be more aggressive and vigilant as well.” He stated the importance of the U.S. to continue to aid Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh economically and militarily. He said the fight needs to continue and that “we will succeed because we have right on our side.”

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) spoke about the importance of truth and how it is necessary for everyone to know about the “first genocide of the 20th century.” In response to people who say the Armenian Genocide is irrelevant as it occurred almost a century ago, he said, “we remember the Armenian Genocide to learn and to make sure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.”

“What we seek is the truth and we will never let [the martyrs] be forgotten,” he said.

Speaking at the Times Square commemoration since his days as a New York City councilman, John Liu, now New York City’s Comptroller, expressed disbelief that people could still deny the Armenian Genocide. “The history of the Armenian people is one that is undeniable,” said Liu.

Revered historian and scholar Dr. Richard Hovannisian, said that although everyone may know the story of the Armenian Genocide, it is “a story that needs to be repeated and told to each generation.” He astutely noted that genocide does not end with the passing of genocide survivors or the passing of genocide resolutions, because the trauma of genocide continues. For Armenians, the loss of a homeland and the loss of a 3,000 year-old civilization is the “major continuing traumatic aspect.” He stressed the importance of making the Armenian Genocide a part of human history, to ensure it does not become lost. Concluding his remarks, Dr. Hovannisian said it is important to “re-commit ourselves daily to the memory so that it will continue until there is victory.”

By letting the Armenian Genocide go unrecognized, “we will allow the perpetrators one last victory,” said Dr. Rivitz, an associate of the NJ Commission for Holocaust Education. A daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Dr. Rivitz said the world suffered a blow when millions were killed in the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.  She noted the importance of survivors and future generations to “continue in solidarity to remember the dark parts of our parallel histories.”

In his remarks, Dr. Dennis Papazian, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan,

said that there has been progress regarding the acknowledgement and affirmation of the Armenian Genocide around the world. He spoke of Turkish historian Dr. Taner Akcam, who was one of the first Turkish scholars to openly acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. “In the future it will be honest Turkish scholars doing work on the Armenian Genocide,” he said. Furthermore, Dr. Papazian challenged the Turkish government to get rid of Article 301 of the Turkish criminal code and allow the Turkish people to investigate their own history.  “Free the Turkish people, let them decide for themselves,” he said.

Survivors in attendance were recognized, including Perouz Kalousdian, 101, Arsaloys Dadir, 98 and Charlotte Kechejian, 99. The three survivors – who escaped the brutal atrocities of 1915 –  were brought to the front of the crowd to a wave of applause and cheer, holding red carnations and small American flags, representing the country that welcomed them almost a century ago.

Proclamations from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) were read by Dr. Mary Papazian and Armen McOmber, Esq., who served as masters of ceremonies for the commemoration.

Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of Armenian Church of America (Eastern), gave the invocation and the Very Rev. Vazken Karayan, pastor of the Holy Cross Armenian Church in New Jersey, representing Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), delivered the benediction. Other clergy in attendance included Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy and Bishop Manuel Batakian, Primate of the Armenian Catholic Church.

Remarks were made by Meline Ouzounian, Grand Matron of the Daughters of Vartan. Delivering remarks on behalf of the co-sponsors of the commemoration were Natalie Gabrielian (AGBU), Bryan Ardouny (Armenian Assembly), Doug Georgerian (ANCA) and Norair Meguerditchian (ADL).

The winners of the essay contest of the Knights of Vartan were announced at the program: Jeremy Majerovitz, 1st place (Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn resident), Gerald Nelson, 2nd place (Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn, NY resident), Samuel Levine, 3rd place (Stuyvesant High School, Riverdale, NY resident), and Katrice Karanfilian, honorable mention, (Bergen County Academies, Oradell, NJ resident).

The Arekag Children’s Choir of Hamazkayin NJ, under the direction of Vagharshag Ohanyan, sang the national anthems of the United States and Armenia, as well as “God Bless America” among other impressive songs.

The Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey, under the direction of Dr. Vartan Abdo, streamed the event live in video format worldwide for the first time.

The 96th Armenian Genocide commemoration in Times Square was organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, and was co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian National Committee of America, the ADL-Ramgavars, and the Armenian Council of America. Participating organizations included the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Presbyterian Church, the Armenian Evangelical Church, the Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada and numerous Armenian youth organizations, including the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America, the Armenian Youth Federation, the Tekeyan Cultural Association, Homenetmen Scouts, Hamazkayin Cultural Association, Noyan Tapan of Brooklyn, NY, Rutgers University Armenian Club, Fordham University Armenian Club, Columbia University Armenian Club, New York University Armenian Club, Hunter College Armenian Club and the Armenian Students Association.

Hirant Gulian was chairman of the organizing committee, and co-chair was Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, academic advisor. Dr. Mary Papazian, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost of Lehman College, City University of New York and Armen McOmber, New Jersey attorney, served as MCs.

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