Gov. Pataki Honors 102 Year Old Genocide Survivor

Presents powerfully worded proclamation to Lucy Derderian at moving ceremony in his Manhattan Executive Offices

NEW YORK–NY–In an emotional tribute to the Armenian Genocide–New York Governor George E. Pataki presented his annual Armenian Genocide proclamation to Lucy Derderian–a 102 year-old survivor of the Armenian Genocide–during an April 25th ceremony at his Manhattan offices–reported the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of New York.

Speaking to an intimate gathering–Governor Pataki recalled the suffering of the Armenian people at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government and called for recognizing the Genocide for what it was–"genocide."

The Governor’s powerfully worded proclamation stated that–"the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 was an organized extermination campaign employed by the Ottoman Turkish authorities."

The proclamation further noted that–"the final result of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 was the near extermination of the Armenian people–the loss of the majority of their ancestral lands and the dispersing into many areas of the world the scarred survivors of this extreme crime against people."

Condemning the Turkish Government’s denial of this great crime against humanity–the Governor’s proclamation explained–"[this denial] is an abomination that occupies no proper place in debates carried out by New Yorkers–who represent some of the most intellectual and also the most morally certain people anywhere; as the movement toward full recognition of the Genocide follows its steady pace–every human being wanting to be counted as an Armenian Genocide recognition supporter can be considered a citizen of New York or an honorary citizen of New York."

"We want to thank Governor Pataki for his leadership in the fight for full recognition of the Armenian Genocide" commented Alex Sarafian–chairman of the ANC of New York. "We appreciate the Governor’s continued dedication and personal involvement in this cause–as illustrated today by his presentation of his proclamation to Mrs. Derderian during a very moving ceremony."

"Speaking to the Governor today–I can see why New York’s Armenian community–- from Erie to Albany to New York City – sees in him a friend who cares deeply about the Armenian Genocide and understands what is at stake – for Armenia’s and for all people – in allowing Turkey to continue denying this crime against humanity," added Sarafian.

Opening the meeting and making introductions was Antovk Pidedjian–Esq.–who has served as master of ceremonies for several of the Governor’s Armenian Genocide observances–including a program in April of 1998 featuring presentations by Vartan Gregorian–President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York–and Peter Balakian–renowned writer–college professor–and author of "The Black Dog of Fate."

In May of last year Governor Pataki issued a proclamation naming June 17th as the Empire State’s Armenian Apostolic Church Recognition Day–in recognition of the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity as its state religion.

As in years past–Governor Pataki was assisted in arranging this program by James Barcia–who coordinates his outreach to New York’s diverse ethnic communities.

Participating in the gathering along with Mrs. Derderian were Aggie Ellian of the New York Armenian Home in Flushing–New York and Alex Sarafian and David Attarian representing the ANC of New York. Also taking part was the pastor of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral–Very Rev. Father Muron Aznikian–who also represented the Armenian Prelacy. Accompanying him were Gilda Kupelian from the Armenian National Education Council–Deacon Shant Kazanjian–and Christine Karamanian.

Among the media covering the program were Tony Barsamian–owner of the Queens Gazette–Ardzagang Armenian Television–Associated Press photographer Harry Kundakjian–the Armenian Weekly–and journalist Florence Avakian.

The Armenian National Committee is the largest Armenian American grassroots political organization in New York and nationwide.

The ANC actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.

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