Indiana Becomes 48th U.S. State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

— Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb Declares November 6-12, 2017 “Armenia Awareness Week”

(er.anca.org) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a powerful proclamation memorializing the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s centrally-planned and executed annihilation of close to three million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Syriacs, making the Hoosier State the 48th U.S. state to properly recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Eastern Region (ANCA-ER).

Governor Holcomb also declared November 6-12, 2017 as “Armenia Awareness Week” and invited the citizens of Indiana to “duly note this occasion.”

“We welcome this proclamation by Governor Holcomb, making Indiana the 48th state in the union to officially re-affirm this international crime against humanity,” said ANCA-ER Community Outreach and Communications Director Artur Martirosyan. “This proclamation serves as a reminder not only for the citizens of Indiana, but also for the denialist government of Turkey, which — for over a century — has been trying to hold truth hostage. Such policy is doomed to failure as we stand even stronger today with the people of good conscience in Turkey as well as our coalition partners, who have made this and other similar resolutions and proclamations a reality.”

“The Armenian community in Indiana is small, but mighty,” said ANC of Indiana Chairperson Seda Arzumanyan. “Armenians have called Indiana home for several generations and have made noteworthy contributions to the development of our great state. We are glad to see the Hoosier State join the rest of the nation in properly memorializing and condemning this horrific atrocity and look forward to celebrating our culture and heritage with our fellow Indianans during the week of November 6-12 and beyond.”

Iraqi Christian Relief Council Board Member Denise Bubeck said, “I am so very thankful Indiana has joined in remembering the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, past and present genocide; preserving the historic memory and ensuring that these atrocities will never occur again.”

Noting that the Ottoman Turkish government’s crime “still requires justice,” Gov. Holcomb’s proclamation cites Hoosier State’s active participation in the Near East Relief, an example of outpouring of generosity by the American people from the onset of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) and for 15 subsequent years in rescuing and providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who were victims of the genocide. The document recounts the cycle of subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries, specifically mentioning the Islamic State’s genocide against Middle East Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities. It concludes with the assertion that by “recognizing, consistently remembering, and educating about the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny.”

The full text of the Indiana proclamation is provided below.

Alabama and Mississippi are the last two U.S. states that have not yet officially memorialized and condemned the Armenian Genocide.

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State of Indiana
Executive Department
Indianapolis
Executive Order

PROCLAMATION

To All To Whom There Presents May Come, Greetings:

WHEREAS, from 1915-1923 during the Armenian Genocide, one and one-half million ethnic Armenian men, women and children as well as over one million Greeks, Assyrians, Syriacs and others were massacred as part of the planned complete eradication of those indigenous communities by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the first modern genocide that still requires justice; and

WHEREAS, the Hoosier State was a staunch supporter of Near East Relief (NER), the American-led campaign to help rescue victims of the Armenian Genocide from 1915 to 1930 ; and

WHEREAS, other cases of genocide include the Holocaust, killings in Cambodia in 1975, the massacres in Bosnia in 1992, the slaughter in Rwanda in 1994 and now in the 21st century, the displacements and deaths in Darfur as well as targeting of religious minorities by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East; and

WHEREAS, by recognizing and consistently remembering, and educating about the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Eric J. Holcomb, Governor of the State of Indiana, do hereby proclaim November 6th-12th, 2017 as

ARMENIA AWARENESS WEEK

in the State of Indiana, and invite all citizens to duly note this occasion.

In Testimony Whereof, Thereto
set my hand and cause to be affixed the
Great Seal of State. Done at the
City of Indianapolis, this 1st
day of November the year of our
Lord 2017 and of the Independence
of the United States 242.

BY THE GOVERNOR: [SIGNED]

European Court Finds Catholicosate’s Suit Inadmissible; And Could Not Be Appealed

(asbarez.com) The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia (headquartered in Antelias, Lebanon) filed a lawsuit on April 25, 2015, against the government of Turkey seeking the return of its historic seat in Sis (present-day Kozan district of the Adana Province) which was confiscated in 1921.

The first of its kind lawsuit was filed in the Constitutional Court of the Turkish Republic because the claim raised issues of property rights that lower courts would not have jurisdiction to overturn the maze of laws adopted by Turkey in 1915 and succeeding years. At the recommendation of the Justice Ministry of Turkey, the Constitutional Court referred the Armenian Church lawsuit to the lower courts. The lawyers for the Catholicosate of Cilicia, however, decided to appeal the case directly to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, on December 8, 2016.

The issue of sidestepping submission of the Catholicosate’s lawsuit to a lower court in Turkey is critical in view of the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights that before any case is brought to the ECHR, all local legal remedies must first be exhausted, starting with the lowest court and ending with the highest court of the country being sued.

On October 19, 2017, addressing the conference of the Armenian Cause in the European Parliament in Brussels, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia criticized the single judge from ECHR who had rejected the Armenian Church’s lawsuit finding it inadmissible. Until this announcement, there was no news about the status of the lawsuit. I contacted the ECHR headquarters in Strasbourg inquiring about the Armenian Church’s claim. I was informed that a single judge indeed has the authority to reject any lawsuit, which in this case was not first submitted to a lower court in Turkey in order to exhaust all local remedies, and that the letter of rejection was sent to the Catholicosate in March 2017. More ominously, I was told by ECHR that the judge’s decision could not be appealed!

I then contacted Payam Akhavan, a member of the Catholicosate’s legal team and Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, inquiring why no announcement was made earlier by the Catholicosate regarding the rejection of the lawsuit six months ago. Prof. Akhavan explained that the ECHR judge had sent the letter to the wrong address! The Catholicosate then wrote to that judge “expressing serious concern on miscarriage of justice; that a single judge could throw out what was clearly a well-argued case, and waited until recently for a standard response that there is no appeal, and the decision is final.”

In his Brussels speech on Oct. 19, 2017, Catholicos Aram the First harshly condemned the ECHR for rejecting the Church’s lawsuit: “Why would the European Court of Human Rights so easily reject our case knowing that no lawyer would dare to bring such a case before the Turkish courts? How could a single judge throw out a 900-page Application, historically and legally well substantiated by some of the best international lawyers? Why was our legal team not given a chance for a hearing? Is everybody now afraid to confront Turkey’s appalling record of human rights violations? We are astonished and, in fact, deeply disappointed at this miscarriage of justice, particularly at this crucial juncture of modern history when Europe is expected, in faithfulness to its values and principles, to consider justice above geopolitical interests…. Europe is essentially a community of values, not merely political and economic interests. Therefore, I still hope that the European Court of Human Rights will reconsider the admissibility of the case on the basis of justice and human rights. In spite of the denial of justice, the Armenian people will continue to struggle for justice.”

Prof. Akhavan called the ECHR judge’s decision “scandalous.” He then added in his email to me: “By the measure of several highly experienced ECHR lawyers, this decision is totally unacceptable. It shouldn’t be forgotten that our counsel was Tim Eicke QC [Queen’s Counsel], who is now the British judge on the ECHR. He of course is conflicted from involvement in the case, but there is a sense among many that the Court is too afraid of confronting post-coup Turkey with such controversial cases.”

Prof. Akhavan also stated that the next steps for this lawsuit “are either to re-submit the case with some new facts such as the impossibility of going back to the Turkish courts under current circumstances, or to go back to the Turkish courts, waste a lot of resources, and come back to the ECHR once again. It is a ludicrous decision because everybody knows that is exactly what will happen. It is a hot potato the ECHR doesn’t want to handle….”

In conclusion, I would suggest that the Catholicosate of Cilicia make public the complete files of its lawsuit, including the 600-page submission to the Turkish Constitutional Court and its response, and the 900-page filing to the European Court of Human Rights and its response. After all, this is not a private lawsuit, but one dealing with the Armenian nation’s property demands from Turkey!

Harut Sassounian

The Armenian Genocide in Feature Films

(armenianweekly.com) With the recent release on DVD of the major motion picture “The Promise,” greater numbers of people will be able to gain insights into aspects of the Armenian Genocide. The film, starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Charlotte Le Bon, was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Terry George, who had been involved in the production of “Hotel Rwanda,” about the 1990s genocide in Africa.

“The Promise” was an unorthodox production in several ways: financing ($100 million provided by Armenian-American Kirk Krikorian); massive numbers of pre-film release reviews that were either extremely negative or highly praising; and significant challenges and even genocide denialist-imposed obstacles in distribution.

“The Promise” is the most recent in almost a century of efforts to portray in feature films the horrors of genocide. Most of these films have appeared in recent decades and all are attempts to “describe the indescribable.”

Among the more notable of the feature films that deal with the Armenian Genocide are “Ravished Armenia/Auction of Souls” (1919), “America, America” (1963), “Nahapet” (1977), “Forty Days of Musa Dagh” (1982), “Mayrig” (1991), “Ararat” (2002), “Lark Farm” (2007), “The Cut” (2014), “1915” (2015), and most recently “The Promise” (2016). Often, those films are based on survivor memoirs or historical novels.

What is little known publicly today is that a pioneering Hollywood film from the silent-film era dealt with the Armenian Genocide. “Ravished Armenia/Auction of Souls” is the biographical account of a young orphan girl, Arshaluys Mardigian (later renamed Aurora Mardiganian), who, having witnessed most of her family being killed, managed to flee the massacres and later immigrated as a teenager to the United States. Her biography, titled Ravished Armenia: The Story of Aurora Mardiganian: The Christian Girl Who Lived Through the Great Massacres, was first serialized in the Hearst newspapers and later published as a book in 1918. The memoir was then turned into a film.

The historical 85-minute movie was a silent film (with subtitles). It portrayed the mass deportations, rapes, and massacres of Armenians. It had Aurora Mardiganian herself as the lead character. Remarkably, the movie also featured in actual person Henry Morgenthau, the former US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. The film was shot in California in 1918 with a cast of thousands of extras. Initially titled “Ravished Armenia,” the movie was renamed “Auction of Souls.” It was, in all likelihood, the first major Hollywood picture to portray genocide. In a number of ways, it was a pioneering film. To cast a genocide survivor as the lead actress is rare. As a post-WWI film, it certainly challenged conventional mores regarding violence, rape, and nudity. It also raised the censorship issue, both morally and politically. Turkish opposition in later years reinforced the latter.

The U.S. film premieres took place in Los Angeles and New York in 1919. Although film screenings were initially numerous and well-attended, the frequency of airings diminished. Over time, copies of the film were lost or destroyed, or they deteriorated. No known remaining full copy exists today. The history books on the early silent film era have mostly ignored the movie “Ravished Armenia/Auction of Souls.” What had been an often seen and cited movie that helped to raise crucial humanitarian relief funds for Near East Relief was now mostly ignored either by accident, bias, or malevolent design.

The Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan has an important section of its exhibition devoted to Aurora Mardiganian, her memoirs, and the film. For some, Aurora Mardiganian is the “Anne Frank of the Armenian Genocide.”

Franz Viktor Werfel wrote the novel “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” which dealt with the siege of the villages of Musa Dagh during the Armenian Genocide. The novel tells the story of one of the few examples of armed resistance by the Armenians to the deportations and killings by the Young Turk regime. The episode is also one of the few historical examples of foreign power humanitarian assistance arriving in timely fashion. French naval ships in the Mediterranean saw the besieged civilians and escorted them to safety in British-controlled Egypt. Efforts by the major Hollywood studio MGM to make a film version of the novel between the 1930s and 1970s were all unsuccessful—largely as a consequence of significant foreign pressure and interference by the Turkish government, supported by the U.S. State Department. Decades later, a lower-budget version directed by Sarky Mouradian was filmed in 1982, but achieved very little distribution.

The Greek-American Elia Kazan penned an autobiographical book about the suffering of his extended family, along with fellow Greeks and Armenians, under Turkish rule. In 1963, he turned the book into the epic film “America, America.”

“Nahapet” (1977) (Patriarch, also released as “Love Triumphs” ) is a Soviet-era film based on a novel by Hrachya Kochar and describes how a genocide survivor (Nahapet) attempts to rebuild his life amid the rugged mountains of Soviet Armenia. One of the recurring scenes in the film directed by Henrik Malyan involves scores of red apples falling from a tree, rolling into a river, and floating en masse downstream. The scene is a painful symbolic reminder of the multitude of Armenian bodies thrown into the Euphrates by the Young Turk regime during the genocide.

“Mayrig” (Mother) is the title of a 1985 semiautobiographical French-language novel by Henri Verneuil (born Ashod Malakian,) a French-Armenian author and filmmaker. The story is about a multigenerational family’s efforts to survive post-genocide exile and is a powerful account of the lingering intergenerational effects of genocide, even decades later.

“Ararat” (2002) by Atom Egoyan is a multilayered, complex drama. Egoyan’s actual film portrays a fictional director making an historical drama about the heroic Armenian people’s resistance to the Turkish military siege of the city of Van in 1915. A young Armenian boy and his beloved mother endured dreadful conditions during the bombardment and siege. She later dies as a refugee, and the young boy eventually emigrates to the United States, changes his name, and becomes the prominent artist Arshile Gorky. His melancholy twin paintings “The Artist and His Mother” are iconic and play a key role in the film. “Ararat” dwells on these works of art to convey the anguish and grieving for a deceased mother and a fractured family life. Among the reoccurring threads woven into film are the enormous impact of genocide, intergenerational transmission of trauma, and the continuing pain of ongoing Turkish denial. The closing hymn “Oor es, mayr eem/Mother, where are you?” sung by international soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian, is heart-breaking.

The novel “Skylark Farm” by Italian-Armenian writer Antonia Arslan was made into a film under the title “The Lark Farm” (Italian: “La masseria delle allodole“) (2007) by directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. A multi-country co-production, with a cast that included Arsinee Khanjian, the film describes intergenerational transmission of traumatic memories of the author’s extended family. It portrays a diaspora Armenian living in Italy who hopes to reunite with his Armenian family in Anatolia. But with the onset of WWI, the Young Turk dictatorship closed the border, with Ottoman Armenian civilians trapped inside to face mass deportations and slaughter. A great many perished, but some Armenian family members survived the long and perilous death marches into the Syrian Desert and eventually reached safety in Italy.

“The Cut” (2014) by Fatih Akin follows the painful odyssey of a young Armenian man who is conscripted, along with fellow Armenians, to do forced road labor, and barely survives the Turkish cutting of the throats of the unarmed Armenian workers. Now mute from the cut, this lonely survivor endures further hardship and danger and gives up hope that any in his family is still alive. He travels from one place of exile after another, eventually ending up in the United States, where to his surprise he reunites with part of his surviving family.

Garin Hovannisian’s and Alex Mouhibian’s film “1915” was released on the 100th memorial year of 2015, and the story is based on a director’s and his actress wife’s staging a play in Los Angeles about the Armenian Genocide. The historical play draws protest demonstrations outside and mysterious incidents and apparitions inside. The ghosts of the genocide from the past press powerfully onto the present in this hauntingly powerful film.

Terry George’s “The Promise” (2016) tells the story of an American reporter who befriends two young Armenians, and the three form a complex love triangle. With the onset of WWI and increasing dictatorial rule by the ultranationalist Young Turk military regime, the foreign journalist bears witness to the mass deportations and massacres of Armenians. Among the scenes portrayed is the self-defense resistance at Musa Dagh. Unlike the fate of most of their fellow Armenians, many of those inhabitants survive with the help and rescue of nearby French naval ships.

In this contemporary video-oriented era, feature films remain an important means to convey the deep and enduring impact of genocide. They can shed some light on an exceedingly dark era, but ultimately they are attempts to “describe the indescribable.”

Alan Whitehorn*

Photo: A still from Terry George’s “The Promise” (2016) (Photo: Survival Pictures)

Note: Portions of this article draw from several entries from Alan Whitehorn, ed., The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide (Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO Press, 2015).

*Alan Whitehorn is an emeritus professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada and author of a several books on the Armenian Genocide, including “Just Poems: Reflections on the Armenian Genocide.” He is also the editor of “The Armenian Genocide: The Essential Reference Guide.”

Armenian Legal Center Announces Property Documentation Database Project

ALC Executive Director Kate Nahapetian outlines road to reparations at ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference in Pasadena, Calif.

(armenianweekly.com) PASADENA, Calif.—Kate Nahapetian, executive director of the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights (ALC), announced the ALC’s Property Documentation Database Project while discussing several of ALC’s initiatives and the path to reparations at the Armenian National Committee of America—Western Region (ANCA-WR) Grassroots Conference on Oct. 7.

The Armenian Legal Center announced its project, a database documenting stolen, confiscated, or lost property during the Armenian Genocide, such as homes, orchards, land, bank accounts, insurance policies, bonds, art, jewelry, and other properties.

During the talk, Nahapetian noted that a collection of this information is vital to our efforts to realize reparations, and can act as a reliable source of data that will strengthen the Diaspora’s ability to advocate for justice in the political and legal spheres, as well as future diplomatic discussions or arbitration with Turkey.

Because of the mass violence and destruction associated with the Genocide that resulted in the loss of documentation of properties, the ALC will not only collect physical documentation but also testimonies on properties from survivors or their descendants, which the ALC hopes can eventually be compared with Turkey’s own records.

In a talk co-sponsored by the ALC earlier this year at the George Washington School of Law, Dr. Ümit Kurt, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, spoke on the issue of Turkey’s property records, noting that they are well-organized and can provide a detailed history to Armenian heirs. Dr. Kurt noted that despite plans in 2005 to make land records public, they still are not because of Turkey’s National Security Committee’s intervention. The abandoned properties and liquidation commissions set up to confiscate Armenian properties also kept meticulous records, he said.

The ANCA-WR conference panel, titled Road to Reparations, included UCLA Law professors Asli Bali and Jessica Peake, who are, respectively, the faculty director and the assistant director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights. Nahapetian noted ALC’s partnerships with law schools, including UCLA Law and University of Southern California’s Human Rights Clinic. Through such partnerships with pro bono attorneys and students, the ALC is examining novel approaches to reparations and the best venues to pursue claims.

The ALC fights to redress human rights violations emanating from the Armenian Genocide that continue to this day and undermine stability in a region that has for far too long been marred by policies founded on genocide, not human rights and justice. ALC promotes scholarship on the legal avenues for addressing the challenges emanating from the Armenian Genocide, in addition to pursuing litigation, while promoting the protection of Armenian cultural heritage through the return of stolen properties and artifacts.

To submit documentation concerning stolen or lost properties from the Armenian Genocide, please visit: https://armenianlegal.org/document-preservation-form/.

The Armenian Legal Center can be contacted with questions or inquiries by emailing kate@armenianlegal.org or calling +1 (202) 742-8702.

Photo: Kate Nahapetian, executive director of the Armenian Legal Center, announces Property Documentation Database Project at the ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference

Iowa Becomes 47th State to Officially Recognize the Armenian Genocide

Governor Kim Reynolds Declares Oct. 2017 ‘Armenia Awareness Month’ During Official Signing Ceremony with ANCA Eastern Region, Human Rights Coalition Leaders, and Clergy

(armenianweekly.com) DES MOINES, Iowa—Moments ago, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation memorializing the Armenian Genocide and declaring Oct. 2017 as “Armenia Awareness Month” in the Hawkeye State. Iowa is now the 47th U.S. state to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The signing was attended by members of the Armenian community, including Father Tadeos Barseghyan of the St. Sahag Armenian Church of Minnesota, and Armen Sahakyan of the Armenian National Committee of America—Eastern Region (ANCA-ER). St. Sahag is the closest Armenian church serving the Armenian-American community of Iowa.

“Iowa’s commemoration and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide strikes a powerful blow against the hatred and intolerance which contribute to the ongoing vicious cycle of genocide plaguing society to this day,” said Sahakyan, an ANCA-ER Board Member. Sahakyan spent a portion of his youth living in Iowa. “We would like to thank Governor Reynolds, Representative Art Staed, and all of our coalition partners for their principled stance in ensuring that truth prevails against international attempts to subvert justice for this and all other crimes against humanity,” he added.

The Philos Project Executive Director Robert Nicholson noted, “The Ottoman genocide of the Armenian people was one of the most brutal acts in history and clear evidence that evil still moves in the world. To deny the genocide is to ignore that evil, and to ignore that evil is to betray our values as Americans. By recognizing the genocide, the people of Iowa are declaring their willingness to defend human life, protect minority communities, and preserve our national heritage. We at The Philos Project thank and congratulate Governor Reynolds for her boldness and moral clarity. She epitomizes the kind of principled leader we need more of today.”

Iraqi Christian Relief Council Board Member Denise Bubeck said, “This is an important step in standing up for the many Christians who have lost their lives by injustice. As a Christian, I believe that every life deserves dignity and respect just as God values every human life so this proclamation gives me an opportunity again to speak for the value of every life no matter their faith.”

“Mankind must seek justice for those whose lives are brutally altered for all of history,” said President of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and the Senior Fellow for the Philos Project Juliana Taimoorazy. “This marks a historic step forward towards this sacred endeavor.”

Coordinator for the Iowans for Armenia Charles Crawley said, “As a civilized humanity, we all should care about the Armenian Genocide and all other crimes against humanity. ‘Iowans for Armenia’ is proud to continue the relationship created between the American and Armenian people that stretches back to the humanitarian assistance provided by the missionaries and people of good conscience of our great state through the Near East Relief. Today’s signing of the proclamation was an important step in securing some measure of justice for the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek people.”

Noting that the Ottoman Turkish government’s crime “still requires justice,” Gov. Reynolds’ proclamation cited Adolf Hitler’s ominous reference to the murder of the Armenian people just days prior to his invasion of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust, which claimed the lives of over 6 million Jews and resulted in the decimation of other targeted racial and religious minorities. The document recounts the cycle of subsequent genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries, specifically citing the 2016 Congressional condemnation of the Islamic State genocide against Middle East Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities. It concludes with the assertion that by “recognizing and consistently remembering the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny.”

Below is footage of the signing ceremony, which took place at the Iowa State Assembly. The ANCA-ER webcast the signing ceremony live from Governor Reynolds’ formal office.

Iowa’s recognition comes a little more than three months after the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 191, titled “Recognizing the Armenian Genocide,” on May 19, and becoming the 46th state in the U.S. to officially classify and commemorate the 1915-1923 annihilation of Ottoman Turkey’s indigenous Armenian community as genocide.

The State of Iowa proclamation can be read in its entirety, below.

***
State of Iowa
Executive Department
In The Name and By The Authority of The State of Iowa

PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, from 1915-1923 during the Armenian Genocide, one and one-half million ethnic Armenian men, women and children as well as over one million Greeks, Assyrians, Syriacs and others were massacred as part of the planned complete eradication of those indigenous communities by the Ottoman Turkish Empire during the first modern genocide that still requires justice; and
WHEREAS, prior to the implementation of the Holocaust, in order to garner support from his followers, Adolf Hitler asked, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”; and
WHEREAS, the Holocaust was the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945 – six million Jews were murdered; Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities and Poles were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic or national reasons; and millions more, including homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents, also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny; and
WHEREAS, other cases of genocide include the killings in Cambodia in 1975, the massacres in Bosnia in 1992, the slaughter in Rwanda in 1994 and now in the 21st century, the displacements and deaths in Darfur as well as targeting of religious minorities by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East; and
WHEREAS, the United States House of Representatives has adopted H.Con.Res. 75, declaring the atrocities perpetrated by the ISIL against Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; and
WHEREAS, by recognizing and consistently remembering the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and all cases of past and ongoing genocide, we help protect historic memory, ensure that similar atrocities do not occur again and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution and tyranny:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kim Reynolds, Governor of the State of Iowa, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 2017 as
ARMENIA AWARENESS MONTH

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I HAVE
HEREUNTO SUBSCRIBED MY NAME AND
CAUSED THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF
IOWA TO BE AFFIXED. DONE AT DES
MOINES THIS 24TH DAY OF AUGUST IN THE YEAR
OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND SEVENTEEN.
__________________________________
KIM REYNOLDS
GOVERNOR OF IOWA
ATTEST:
__________________________________
PAUL D. PATE
SECRETARY OF STATE

Victorian Young Labor Conference passes motion recognising Armenian Genocide

(ANC-AU) MELBOURNE: On 19-20 August, Victorian Young Labor held its Annual Conference at the Victorian Trades Hall in Melbourne, where delegates gathered for lively debate and passed various motions including a motion to recognise the Armenian Genocide, which was adopted without dissent.

The motion noted: “Raphael Lemkin invented the word genocide, based on defining the Armenian Genocide, in order to describe the systematic and brutal murder of an ethnic and religious minority… in 2017, a first major Hollywood film set during the events of the Armenian Genocide was aired to audiences around the world titled ‘The Promise’, further raising mass awareness of the issue.”

“Victorian Young Labor condemns the genocide of over one and a half million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance.”

The motion called for the Victorian State and Commonwealth governments to officially recognise the Armenian Genocide.

Victorian Young Labor Conference delegate Ariel Zohar, who moved the motion, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Victorian Young Labor, the largest democratic youth political body in Victoria, unanimously supported the motion and committed to raise awareness about the Armenian Genocide.”

“Hopefully this motion contributes to the increasing global pressure for the Turkish state to pay reparations to the descendants of the victims and to the Armenian community for whom justice has still not yet been received.”

“With the South Australian and NSW Parliaments already passing similar motions of support, it is now up to the Victorian and Australian parliaments to follow suit,” Zohar added.

Armenian National Committee of Australia – Melbourne (ANC-AU Melbourne) chairperson, Asbed Boymoushakian congratulated and thanked Victorian Young Labor for their unanimous support and strength in standing up for truth and justice.

“This is motion is part of the tidal wave of growing pressure with countries and organisations around the world having already adopted similar motions calling for recognition,” he said.

“I call on all political parties and their youth wings to adopt the same stance, educate their members about the Armenian Genocide and stand shoulder to shoulder with many of the victims’ families and descendants, many of whom are fortunate to now call Australia home.”

See full text below:

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

Preamble

The Armenian Genocide (1915-1923) was the first genocide of the 20th century. Historian Raphael Lemkin invented the word genocide, based on defining the Armenian Genocide in order to describe the systematic and brutal murder of an ethnic and religious minority. The Armenian Genocide victims were subjected to mass deportations, mass killings, forced starvation, exhaustion, and epidemics which ravaged the forced areas in which people lived in terrible conditions.

In 2017, a first major Hollywood film to set during the events of the Armenian Genocide was aired to audience all around the world, The Promise, further raising mass awareness of this issue. Over 100 years on the successor state to the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) still denies these events ever occurred despite 29 countries around the world today, as well as 46 states of the United States, recognising the Armenian Genocide. In Australia the New South Wales and South Australian Parliaments have officially recognised the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide.

Platform:

1. Victorian Young Labor joins the members of the Armenian-Australian community in honouring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who were victims of Armenian Genocide between 1915-1923 by formally recognising the tragic horrors of the Armenian Genocide.

2. Victorian Young Labor condemns the genocide of over one and a half million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Pontian Greeks at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance.

3. Victorian Young Labor recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated.

4. Victorian Young Labor acknowledges the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of Victoria to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Action:

1. Victoria Young Labor will write to the Premier and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs calling for the Victorian State and Commonwealth Government to officially recognise and The Armenian Genocide.

2. Victorian Young Labor will raise awareness, calling for Recognition, through a targeted campaign centred around April 24, the International Day for The Armenian Genocide Commemoration.

3. Victorian Young Labor will host a screening of The Promise coinciding ith April 24th to better educate it’s members on the significance of this dark chapter of human history.

Moved: Ariel Zohar
Seconded: Sam Roberts

Texas Becomes 46th U.S. State to Recognize Armenian Genocide

(ancawr.org) Austin, TX — The Texas House of Representatives passed House Resolution 191, titled “Recognizing the Armenian genocide,” today, thus making The Lone Star State the 46th state in the USA to officially classify and commemorate the 1915-1923 annihilation of Ottoman Turkey’s indigenous Christian Armenian community as genocide.

“We are grateful to the Texas House of Representatives for standing on the right side of history by making their dynamic state the latest member of our Union to unequivocally and vociferously honor the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide despite overwhelming Turkish opposition,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian.

Texas State Representative Scott Sanford, a longtime advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness, gives remarks at the ANCA-Dallas ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala after accepting the Advocate of Justice award on April 2, 2016.
Texas State Representative Scott Sanford, a longtime advocate for Armenian Genocide awareness, gives remarks at the ANCA-Dallas ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala after accepting the Advocate of Justice award on April 2, 2016.

“This incredible victory, which achieves universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Western Region’s 19 states, was possible because of the outstanding unity and activism demonstrated by the diverse Armenian community of Texas, the unflinching leadership of State Representative Scott Sanford and his fellow lawmakers, as well as the dedication and persistent work of our grassroots – ANCA-Houston and ANCA-Dallas – and staff. While many Texan Armenians and community groups were instrumental in the passage of and building ground for HR191, I would like to specifically recognize the former ANCA-Dallas founding chair Lucia Nazarian for initiating Texas’ recognition of the Armenian Genocide, as well as Focused Advocacy President Brandon Todd Aghamalian and University of Texas Austin Professor and Armenian Church of Austin representative Mihran Aroian for their leadership in bringing the Armenian community together to make this important recognition a reality,” continued Hovsepian.

The resolution, which had over 50 original bipartisan cosponsors and passed unanimously, declares, in part, that “During World War I, the crumbling Ottoman Empire began a systematic campaign to eradicate its Armenian population, which then numbered more than two million; and… as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished and today, only 3 million live in Armenia, a country that covers no more than 10 percent of the ancient Armenian homeland, while the Armenian diaspora numbers 8 to 10 million in countries around the world, including the United States,” concluding with the resolved clause “That the House of Representatives of the 85th Texas Legislature hereby recognize the Armenian genocide.”

The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Texas follows renewed activism in The Lone Star State, including the 2015 defeat of anti-Armenian resolutions as well as adoption of HR 1541, which recognized Texans’ contributions to the Near East Relief that saved 132,000 orphans of the Armenian Genocide. The latter humanitarian effort was recognized by ANCA-Dallas during its April 2, 2016 ‘Texas We Thank You’ Gala, at which Rep. Sanford received the ANCA-Dallas Advocate of Justice award for his long-time support for Armenian Genocide awareness.

HR 191 was introduced by Rep. Sanford on January 26, followed by a public hearing in the International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs committee on April 24, during which ANCA-WR Chief Legislative Consultant Haig Baghdassarian joined a large group of Armenian Americans as well as representatives from the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and Houston’s Holocaust Museum in testifying in support of HR 191. Following the testimony, ANCA-WR called its online activists in Texas to action, as a result of which hundreds of letters were emailed to state legislators. Many more phone calls were made through joint efforts of the Armenian community in a strong demonstration of unity and grassroots activism.

Texas’ passage of HR 191 follows the Wyoming Governor’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide in April 2017, thus completing universal recognition in the ANCA-Western Region, which consists of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. An interactive map of all US states’ official record on the Armenian Genocide is available on https://anca.org/us-genocide-recognition/.

The full text of the Texas House resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide is available on ftp://ftp.legis.state.tx.us/bills/85R/billtext/html/house_resolutions/HR00100_HR00199/HR00191I.htm.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

85R6921 BPG-D

By: Sanford H.R. No. 191

R E S O L U T I O N
WHEREAS, During World War I, the crumbling Ottoman Empire
began a systematic campaign to eradicate its Armenian population,
which then numbered more than two million; and
WHEREAS, Armenians and other minority populations had
contributed to the prosperity of the once-mighty empire for
centuries, but as its borders shrank and its influence diminished,
ethnic tensions flared; after the Ottomans entered World War I,
their armies suffered heavy losses to Russian forces in the
Caucasus, and Armenians in the region were accused of aiding the
Russian victory; on April 24, 1915, the government arrested several
hundred Armenian intellectuals, who were later executed; Armenian
soldiers were disarmed and transferred to labor battalions, in
which they were worked to death or killed outright; and
WHEREAS, In the spring and summer of 1915, under the guise of
“resettlement,” Armenians were driven from their homes in Armenia
and Anatolia and herded through the Syrian desert to concentration
camps; many of the deportees died along the way from hunger, thirst,
and exhaustion, while others were massacred; by 1918, an estimated
one million Armenians had lost their lives, and survivors endured
tremendous hardships as refugees; and
WHEREAS, The end of the war brought a temporary respite, but
in 1920, the atrocities resumed until the ultimate collapse of the
empire and formation of the Republic of Turkey; as many as 1.5
million Armenians perished and today, only 3 million live in
Armenia, a country that covers no more than 10 percent of the
ancient Armenian homeland, while the Armenian diaspora numbers 8 to
10 million in countries around the world, including the United
States; and
WHEREAS, In 1915, the governments of France, Great Britain,
and Russia decried the slaughter of Armenians as “a crime against
humanity”; American ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who led the
humanitarian response, characterized the imperial deportation
orders as “the death warrant to a whole race”; the persecution is
considered genocide by most historians and has been officially
acknowledged as such by numerous countries, among them France,
Argentina, Greece, and Russia; this horrific event is a dark
chapter in modern history, and the world must never forget the
suffering of the Armenian people; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 85th Texas
Legislature hereby recognize the Armenian genocide.

Czech Chamber of Deputies recognises the Armenian Genocide

(orer.eu) Prague-This evening, the Czech Republic’s Lower House of Parliament adopted a resolution, by which it recognised the Armenian Genocide.

Czech Chamber of Deputies Approves Armenian Genocide Resolution (FOTO: ČTK)
Czech Chamber of Deputies Approves Armenian Genocide Resolution (FOTO: ČTK)

The resolution partly states: “The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic condemns the crimes against humanity committed against the Jews, Roma and Slavs in the territories conquered by the Nazis during the Second World War; condemns the Armenian Genocide and genocides of other ethnic and religious minorities which took place within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, as well as genocidal acts committed in other parts of the globe, and calls on the international community to effectively halt human and civilian rights violations in the world as well as resolve disputes through peaceful means…”

In reality, this is the first time that members of the Chamber of Deputies have used the word genocide. The resolution was presented by a member of the Social Democrat Party, the Head of the Czech-Armenian Friendship Group, Robin Bohnisch.

As orer.eu was informed through its parliamentary sources, 104 voted for, and none against (Vote No. 414).

A resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide had earlier been passed by the International Relations Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, on 14th April 2015.

Usnesení No. 413

Poslanecká sněmovna Parlamentu České republiky odsuzuje zločiny proti lidskosti prováděné nacisty v letech 2. světové války na židovském, romském a slovanském obyvatelstvu ovládnutých území, genocidu Arménů a dalších národnostních a náboženských menšin na území Osmanské říše v období 1. světové války, jakož i další genocidní násilí kdekoli na Zemi, a vyzývá mezinárodní společenství k účinné prevenci porušování lidských a občanských práv ve světě a k řešení sporů mírovými prostředky.

Wyoming Becomes 45th US State to Recognize the Armenian Genocide

(ANCA WR) Cheyenne, WY — In a letter dated April 21, 2017 and addressed to the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region (ANCA-WR), Wyoming Governor Matthew H. Mead has recognized the Armenian Genocide and praised the work of Armenian American grassroots.

“The atrocities of both the Armenian and Jewish Holocausts were unimaginable,” reads Governor Mead’s letter, “but it is important for all to remember – history must not repeat itself.” The letter also recalls a meeting with senior ANCA-WR staff earlier this year, when Executive Director Elen Asatryan and Community Development Coordinator Simon Maghakyan visited Cheyenne, adding that “The work of the Armenian National Committee is inspiring.” Referencing the upcoming April 23 commemoration in Denver, Governor Mead concludes his letter with, “My thoughts are with you as you gather for the Colorado State Capitol Armenian Genocide Commemoration.” The full letter is here.

“We thank the Governor of the Great State of Wyoming for standing on the right side of history and adding his voice to the ongoing need to recognize and commemorate the Armenian Genocide,” remarked ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian. “This recognition is a tribute to the memory of our ancestors and a celebration of the brave work of many Wyomingites who supported the national Near East Relief effort of building and operating 400 orphanages for over 132,000 Armenian children who survived the genocide. Last but not least, this recognition is a testament to the tireless work of our grassroots activists and dedicated staff,” continued Hovsepian.

The news of Wyoming’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide also received praise by elected officials and activists in the Equality State. “I congratulate the Governor for his courageous stance on this moral issue amid lavish anti-Armenian lobbying in Wyoming, which has included all-inclusive junkets to the dictatorship of Azerbaijan by legislators across our nation, who should know better than hobnobbing with bloody dictators that behead Christian Armenians and destroy ancient Armenian churches and Djulfa cross-stones,” remarked Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard. “The Armenian Genocide is an unpunished crime that needs to be recognized and accounted for; Turkey’s ongoing denial of this grave crime, illegal blockade of Armenia and support for Azerbaijan’s genocidal policies against Armenia and Artsakh must end,” continued Sen. Bouchard.

Local ANCA activist Ani Gasparyan, a resident of Larimie, Wyoming, also praised the Governor for recognizing the Armenian Genocide: “As our community recalls the murder of 1.5 million people and the loss of the majority of our homeland, it warms our hearts to know that Governor Mead is recognizing the Armenian Genocide on its 102nd anniversary.”

Today’s victory comes after the ANCA-Western Region team drove down from Denver Colorado to the Equality State on the 29th of January and spent the day meeting with senators and representatives to educate them about the Armenian Genocide, Artsakh, the Armenian community, and discuss Armenian-American priorities. During the visit, Senator Bouchard, who during his recent election campaign connected with the ANCA-WR about his opponent’s junket to Azerbaijan and spoke forcefully against these dirty tactics on the campaign trail, welcomed the ANCA-WR team by connecting them to the Governor’s office and other elected officials. Before the sun rose the next morning, joined by the Chair of the State Revenue Committee Ray Peterson, the ANCA-WR met with the Governor and discussed, among other topics, the heroic efforts of Wyomingites during the Genocide, Turkey’s continued denial of the mass murder of 1.5 million Christian Armenians and the need for proper recognition, restitution and reparations against this unpunished crime against humanity.

“We extend our deep gratitude to Governor Mead, Senators Bouchard and Peterson, and the elected leaders for their leadership, taking the time to learn about Armenian American issues and supporting the Armenian community of Wyoming and the entire United States, as well as standing by the world’s first Christian nation as it continues to address the ongoing security and economic consequences of the Armenian Genocide,” remarked Executive Director Elen Asatryan.

For a complete list of the 45 states that have recognized the Armenian Genocide, visit: https://anca.org/us-genocide-recognition/

To learn more about the ANCA-WR visit www.ancawr.org.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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Danish Parliament Passes Questionable Bill Regarding Armenian Genocide

Bill Challenges Turkey’s Restrictions on Armenian Genocide Speech

(armenianweekly.com) COPENHAGEN, Denmark—The Danish Parliament (Folketing) adopted a new resolution regarding the Armenian Genocide on Jan. 26, which recognizes the “tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923,” and states that the best way for reconciliation is through open dialogue on the basis of a “free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period.”

While the bill criticizes Turkey and the fact that the term “genocide” cannot freely be used by its citizens and media, it does not specifically label the Armenian Genocide as such—except for in its title. The bill also states that the Parliament “maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events.”

After over two hours of discussion on the document brought to the Folketing agenda by Parliamentarians Nick Hækkerup, Søren Espersen, Michael Aastrup Jensen, Henrik Dahl, Martin Lidegaard, and Naser Khader, the Danish Parliament voted 89 to 9 with 11 abstentions to pass the measure.

“The Parliament confirms its decision no. V 54 of 19 May 2015 on the tragic and bloody events that took place in eastern Anatolia in the period 1915-1923. The Danish Parliament finds that the best path to reconciliation will be an open dialogue about the story on the basis of a free and uncensored history research, including the release of all official documents from the period. The Parliament regrets that Turkish law prohibits citizens and media to use the term ‘genocide’ about the events, and considers this to be an unreasonable restriction of both academic freedom as freedom of expression relates to the use of this term. Parliament maintains its parliamentary tradition not to issue judgments about historical events,” reads the adopted bill.

In 2015, the Danish Parliament adopted a measure, which recognized the “deportations, massacres and other atrocities” that had been committed against the Armenian population Anatolia in 1915-1923. In that bill, the Parliament expressed hope that there can be “reconciliation and normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey,” and called on both governments to work towards that.

In 2008, then Danish Foreign Affairs Minister Per Stig Møller has said in a written parliamentary answer that in the Danish government’s opinion, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is a “historical question that should be left up to the historians,” indicating that Denmark would not recognize the genocide.

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Forslag til vedtagelse V 26 Om det armenske folkedrab.

Af Nick Hækkerup (S) , Søren Espersen (DF) , Michael Aastrup Jensen (V) , Henrik Dahl (LA) , Martin Lidegaard (RV) , Naser Khader (KF)

Samling: 2016-17
Status: Vedtaget

Om forslag til vedtagelse

Sagsgang

Fremsat 19-01-2017

Ministerområde

Forslag til vedtagelse
Folketinget bekræfter sin vedtagelse nr. V 54 af 19. maj 2015 vedrørende de tragiske og blodige begivenheder, som udspillede sig i det østlige Anatolien i perioden 1915-1923. Folketinget finder, at den bedste vej til forsoning vil være en åben dialog om historien på grundlag af en fri og ucensureret historieforskning, herunder frigivelse af alle officielle dokumenter fra perioden. Folketinget beklager, at tyrkisk lovgivning forbyder borgere og medier at bruge betegnelsen »folkedrab« om begivenhederne, og finder, at dette udgør en urimelig begrænsning af såvel forskningsfriheden som ytringsfriheden uden hermed at forholde sig til anvendelsen af denne benævnelse. Folketinget fastholder dermed sin parlamentariske tradition for ikke at udstede domme over historiske begivenheder.

Vedtaget 89 stemmer for forslaget (S, DF, V, LA, RV, KF) 9 stemmer imod forslaget (EL) 11 stemmer hverken for eller imod forslaget (ALT, Zenia Stampe (RV), SF). Zenia Stampe (RV) stemte ved en fejl hverken for eller imod forslaget.

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Forslag til vedtagelse V 54 Om det armenske folkedrab.

Af Jacob Lund (S) , Lone Loklindt (RV) , Holger K. Nielsen (SF) , Lars Barfoed (KF)

Samling: 2014-15 (1. samling)
Status: Vedtaget

Om forslag til vedtagelse

Sagsgang

Fremsat 12-05-2015

Ministerområde

Forslag til vedtagelse
I anledning af 100-året for de tvangsdeportationer, massakrer og andre overgreb på armeniere, der udspillede sig i det østlige Anatolien i perioden 1915-23, understreger Folketinget vigtigheden af at respektere alle nationale, etniske og religiøse mindretals rettigheder i regionen. Folketinget udtrykker håb om, at der kan ske en forsoning og en normalisering af forholdet mellem Armenien og Tyrkiet, opfordrer begge landes regeringer til at arbejde herfor og noterer sig, at en fortsat forbedring af Tyrkiets respekt for landets etniske, religiøse og nationale mindretal vil kunne bidrage hertil.