DC Community Holds Silent Vigil as Pro-Ankara Protesters Celebrate Genocide

Armenian Americans host silent Easter vigil in memory of victims of the Armenian Genocide

WASHINGTON–More than 300 Armenian Americans gathered at the Turkish Embassy on Easter Sunday holding a silent vigil in memory of 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and calling attention to Turkey’s ongoing denial of that crime against humanity.

The annual observance, organized by the Washington Armenian Youth Federation Ani Chapter, took place after Sunday services held at the local Soorp Khatch and St. Mary’s Armenian churches, where parishioners participated in Resurrection and Redemption: National Day of Prayer, in memory of the victims of the Genocide and celebration of Easter.

In a statement issued in the weeks prior to the April 24th protest, the AYF explained its call for a silent vigil. “Our silence on April 24th will speak volumes — calling attention to Turkey’s gag- rule on Genocide affirmation, while sending a powerful message that the Armenian people will remain vigilant until Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide and makes reparations to the Armenian nation.”

Vigil participants wore red tape over their mouths – a scene made particularly poignant given President Obama’s “Armenian Remembrance Day” statement issued one day earlier, where he once again succumbed to Turkey’s threats and pressure, refraining to from properly characterizing the Armenian massacres as genocide.

A gleeful pro-Ankara protester thanks President Obama for continuing U.S. complicity in Armenian Genocide denia

The Armenian American observance was met with pro-genocide denial protesters, who blasted Turkish music, yelled obscenities and made gestures reminiscent of Turkey’s ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves party in a shameful celebration of the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians.  Gleeful protesters held up signs thanking the U.S. government for its complicity in genocide denial.  Video of the pro-Ankara protesters can be viewed here.

Police monitoring the counter-protesters stopped several cars donning Turkish and Azerbaijani flags, including one car where protesters with an Azerbaijani flag had brought a baseball bat with them.  The exchange with police was caught on video and can be viewed here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eBdwugDXkQ

Following their disgraceful performance, Turkish protesters were welcomed into the Turkish Embassy compound.  The Washington Turkish scene came in stark contrast to images from Istanbul, Turkey where a growing number of scholars held solemn vigil commemorating the Armenian Genocide and calling for justice for this crime.

“Seeing the pro-Ankara protesters shamelessly celebrating the murder of 1.5 million Armenians on April 24th only strengthens our community resolve to secure justice for  his crime against all humanity,” said AYF Ani Chapter president Arpa Vartanian.  “By kowtowing to Turkish Government pressure and failing to honor his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, President Obama is emboldening denial while undermining efforts by human rights activists in Turkey who risk their lives to speak truthfully about this issue.”

Following the demonstration, Armenian Americans gathered at the Armenian Embassy to hold a Requiem Service in memory of the Genocide victims, presided by Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Church and Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan of St. Mary Armenian Church.  His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia Tatoul Markarian and Nagorno Karabakh Representative Robert Avetisyan offered remarks as Washington Homenetmen Scouts stood at attention.  Following the service, attendees gathered at Soorp Khatch Armenian Church for an expanded Requiem service and Madagh, prepared by the Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Ladies Guild.


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  1. Tony said:

    In a sad way this is good for Armenians. Why? We can show the world people celebrating genocide!
    We can show the true nature of Turkish nationalists. No regard for human life!! This is like Germans celebrating the Holocaust. If you are Armenian in DC, record this next time and send it to every news organiztion out there!

  2. craig said:

    This video of pro-Turk demostrators should serve as a warning to us all.
    This action should unnerve and shake Armenians everywhere from their dormant apathy and serve as a wake-up call to many to start becoming pro-active in Hai-Tahd!

  3. Christo said:

    If my ancestors killed millions of natives brutally, kept their posessions and their land, I would be celebrating too. This is our fault as a community, that we have been lectured by apathetic, Birkenstock wearing, peace loving, protocol advocate, spineless neo-liberal armenians that lecture that, some in our community are radicals, ultra nationalists. Well, you all know who you are, thank you very much! I hope the next genocide you will be taken care of first, I am under the impression that these individuals who have usurped our “leadership” are the one who betryed their neighbors, their friends in order to escape the massacres and genocide.
    It’s too bad the camera didn’t swing on the Armenians holding a vigil. I could just imagine, a bunch of Armenians holding candles, wearing t shirts that read NEVER AGAIN, singing around a guy playing a guitar.
    I wished that a few of those turks would have crossed that line and kicked some Armenian butt, and maybe we as a community will finally understand that the genocide is STILL ONGOING. This “new” generation of turks, however, they are several generations down the line, they are just as guilty as their ancestors. Even, in the most primitive country on this planet, anyone, who aids, abets, a criminal is just as guilty.THIS NOTION OF “GOOD TURK”, THE NEW AND IMPROVED “TURK” IS A MYTH. WAKE UP.
    There you have it, my Armenian azk, you didn’t think they would be arriving at our shores.

  4. manooshag said:

    Well, President Obama, all the world has now seen the Turkic ‘performances’ against the memorial
    of the Armenians in Washington DC – April 24, 2011- observing our 96th year since the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation. And too, the stance of an American president… whose stance against the ending of the crimes of Genocides – contributes to the ongoing/unending cycle of Genocides… latest in Darfur… who next??

  5. Christo said:

    Can someone correct, isn’t there a protocol for the American flag being flown higher than any other flag?

  6. Osmanoglu said:

    You armenians want nothing else then money, thats obvious. Poor country.

  7. stepan said:

    In an ironic way, these Turks with their crude and vile display are very good publicists for our cause. This ridiculous display of their fabricated reality only helps third parties in this battle for the world stage embrace the truth of the genocide. They have lived in a web of lies and deceipt for so long that they don’t even realize how absurb they appear. Let their conduct speak for itself.

  8. Fred said:

    To all nations who have not ratified the bill of the Armenian Genicide. And have not championed a Hague case to undo a wrong that was done in 1915. Your actions have percipitated a nation of young Turks who can stand there in broad daylight and celibrate the slaughter of 1.5 million innocent people leaving on their land. I hope you realise that your denile actions are not protecting status quo. They are fermenting a hating generation of Turks. I only hope you are prepared to deal with them.

  9. bigmoustache said:

    i call for a “million man march” to washington on the 100th aniversery if it isnt recognized by then.
    and we camp out there as long as possible to attract media attention

  10. Istambul_Chick said:

    Makes me wish I had a terminal disease. I’d just walk up and unload as many rounds from my Saur rifle into that crowd of turkish twats and c*nts as I could.

    And I’m not even Armenian. Just an idiot ex-libtard that learned the hard way that not all people and cultures are equal. 5 years of living among those apes dissolved all liberal idiocy I had been indoctrinated with.

    They really are an arrogant, narcissistic yet completely lazy and ignorant people. Useless. Even the “educated” ones. Their attitudes are very much like those of nazis. Absolutely disgusting behaviour in the videos (but very typically turkish) and my equally disgusting government tells me I’m racist for saying so.

  11. keccehayastan said:

    Istambul_Chick: Good that you saw the truth. Not so good that you wouldn’t understand it before moving to Istanbul. Most Westerners will never go there, and thus, they will never understand what kind of savages we Armenians have been “blessed” with as our neighbours.

    Turk suratlarinin igrenc guluslerini ben silecegim.