Genocide Addressed in Lebanese Parliament

BEIRUT (Aztag)–The Armenian bloc in the Lebanese parliament–during a legislative session Wednesday–voiced its concerns about several issues of interest to the Lebanese-Armenian community–among them declaring April 24 a national day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.

Speaking on behalf of the bloc–member of parliament George Kassardji urged the parliament to declare April 24 a national day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide–thus signaling to the Armenian community that it is an equal and important component of Lebanese society.

Kassardji voiced his dissatisfaction with the government’s unwillingness to appoint Armenia’s in important governmental posts.

"We have to use a magnifying glass to find officials representing that [the Armenian] community," said Kassardji–who argued that although the accords which ended the Lebanese civil war categorized Armenia’s as the 7th largest entities living in Lebanon–their absence from government did not reflect that declaration.

Furthermore–Kassardji criticized the government over its recent abolition of a law recognizing the Armenian language as the third state language–and urged the government to revisit that issue. In his remarks Kassardji also discussed several issues of local importance to the Lebanese-Armenian community–including government’s failure to allocate funds to city municipalities following devastating floods which damaged numerous buildings and dwellings in Lebanon.

Also speaking on behalf of the bloc were Abraham Dedeian and attorney Jaques Tchukhadarian–both of whom discussed the state budget. In his remarks–however–Tchukhadarian reiterated Kassardji’s concerns about government appointmen’s.

"Until when do we have to feel like second-class citizens?" Tchukhadarian asked rhetorically. "We have been born in this country. We have given all to this country; and will continue to do so. Why do we not show the Armenian community by making April 24 an official holiday in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide? Why doesn’t the Armenian language become incorporated into the national educational curriculum as the country’s third language," continued Tchukhadarian in his remarks at parliament.

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