ANCA-WR Urges Community to Protest Ottoman Military Marching Band Parade

LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region issued a statement Tuesday condemning the forthcoming visit to the City of Los Angeles by the Ottoman Military Marching Band on October 3.

“The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region strongly condemns the arrival of the offensively-named Ottoman Military Marching Band and its October 3 visit to Los Angeles. The ANCA-WR likewise questions the irresponsible decision by the City of Los Angeles to grant a permit to a group who claims descent from the notoriously murderous corps of the Ottoman Army known as the janissaries. The nature and planned performance of the band are not only insulting but wholly unacceptable to the Armenian American community,” said the statement from the ANCA-WR Board of Directors.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Ottoman Military Marching Band arose from the corps of janissaries in the Ottoman Army, which marched in time to music. Janissaries were soldiers who, in their day, were among the most egregious murderers of Armenians and other Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire. They were an elite corps composed of children forcefully taken from their families as part of the “devshirme” tax – where Armenian families sacrificed their sons to the Ottoman army. These children were raised as extremist Muslims.

In 1911, as the Ottoman Empire was beginning to collapse, cultural and military elements successfully revived the tradition of Ottoman Military Marching Bands. By 1953, the tradition had been fully restored as a band of the Turkish Armed Forces. Today, the corps–comprising the Mehter Band and the troops that accompany it–continues to play at state, military and tourist functions in modern Turkey.

The sound of the Ottoman Military Band is characterized by a largely shrill combination of bass drums, horns, and cymbals. Among the lyrics to their anthem is, “Overwhelm the enemies of your motherland, and thus shall those cursed ones suffer abjection.”

And as such, on October 3, the streets of Hollywood will be the stage for the celebration of mass murder, as the Ottoman Military Marching Band proceeds through with its raucous demonstration of its blood-stained history. The Ottoman Military Marching Band will be performing just several blocks away from Little Armenia, which has the highest population density of Armenian American residents living in Southern California. Among these residents are a significant number of elderly, for whom this reenactment will cause a great deal of psychological trauma as they recall the horrors of the Genocide that took place under the banner of this same marching band and their fellow janissaries.

To place this parade in its true historical context, one would need to envision the band marching alongside the hundreds of thousands of Armenian women and children who perished in the Anatolian deserts at the hands of those Ottoman soldiers.

Indeed, this loud and pernicious display of Ottoman-era tradition is an appalling affront to the Armenian American, Greek, Assyrian, and Pontian communities – and to all people of good conscience who stand on the side of justice. It is no different than allowing the Ku Klux Klan to march in the middle of Watts; or having a Nazi military reenactment in the Fairfax district in the vicinity of dozens of synagogues and temples. It is tantamount to hate speech and harassment.

“Despite this flagrant attempt at incitement, we call upon the Armenian American community of Los Angeles to oppose this painful and egregious provocation peacefully,” said the ANCA-WR in its statement.

The ANCA-WR has a long-standing record of fighting for the rights of Armenian Genocide victims and their descendants, and is prepared to challenge this outrageous demonstration of disregard to the rights and concerns of the Armenian American community. The ANCA-WR stands with all individuals and groups ready to civilly oppose this vulgar reenactment of an unforgotten and torturous past. Further, the ANCA-WR remains committed to pursuing justice for the Armenian Genocide, including recognition by the U.S. and Turkish governments, and to the belief that no entity is allowed to inhumanely terrorize victims of genocide and their descendants.

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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  1. HARUT said:


  2. Kirk said:

    To PROTEST?Are you serious ANCA?
    What happened to the word PREVENT?This is a slap to our face and very insulting.
    I am so sorry to say that,even I admire ANCA’s work and achievemnets, the blame goes to ANCA.
    When you claim:” The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States.”.How come you did not DETECT and PREVENT this decision with your influence?
    It’s enough.We swallowed Koby Briant’s pill,which was somehow out of your control.But this one,in California,in Los Angeles,next to LITTLE ARMENIA?Someone should do some explaining.

    • Arman said:

      No need for explaining, just don’t donate any money to them and rather save it for several truly groundshaking projects that are yet to be accomplished. And it is completely the fault of any so called elite or establishment factions in the Armenian Diaspora that these projects haven’t been accomplished.

  3. Stepan said:

    This is outrageous and yet is an opportunity to turn the tables on these neo-Ottomans. I am confident
    that our brothers and sisters in LA will honor their nation with an appropriate public response. Every time the duplicitous Turks attempt to show their “culture” and “tolerance”, it is a greater opportunity for us to allow the truth to prevail.

  4. Edward Demian said:

    Let us give them a traditional American reception fit for the occasion. Not Armenian. American! The Armenian way was to run indoors and bolt the doors. The American way is to bring along all those spoiled tomatoes from the back of the refrigirator. They will come in handy when they pass by. The least we can do for an organization that forcefully took children away from their parents, castrated them in the most crude manner, and then brainwashed the less than 10% survivors into murdering their parents and former neighbors.

  5. zohrab said:

    get rid of whoever granted a permit for that band check his bank account too see how much was he bribed make sure in no uncertain condition they will march

  6. Garo said:

    Dear Armenian brothers of Los Angeles,

    Reading this news made me sad and angry at the same time. I really don’t understand how could these “people” got permission to walk near Armenian homes.
    Thank God i’m not living in LA, because for sure i would be waiting for that day to come, as i would show them what it means to be a grandson of an Armenia survivor.

    This march has to be stopped one way or another.

    Getse Hay jogovourte.

  7. Harut said:

    I don’t think they came all the way from Turkey to rub it in our faces. They came here for the Anatolian Festival which begins Oct. 6th. I do agree that Turkey shouldn’t honor this group–poor taste.

  8. Kevork said:

    I would say let us all go there with loud horns, and when they are playing make constant noise so that their performance will amount to nothing.

  9. zograp said:

    Turks in US and across Europe are building aggressively and coordinate “Turkish Mosques” and Islamic schools. They get all kind of help from “secular” Turkey!

    During and after Armenian Genocide Turks did destroy more than 2000 Armenian churches and other place of worships. The same “modern” and Turks in the past 60 years have build with support of so-called “secular” Turkish government more than 2500 Turkish mosques alone accrues Europe, beside this Turks are engaged in islamization of countries like Germany and Belgium (above all). A part of Societies in Europe have already “integrated” in Turkish culture –

    • said:

      Every year the Turkish embassy celebrates April 24th with Children’s Festival that includes a day of brainwashing for local teachers:

      They search and invite teachers from local public schools who are Muslim and treat them with a day of hatred towards Armenians and some fair-tales about Turkish seamen discovering America (sic!) and settling in Tennessee before the English.

      ANCA-DC of course can’t be bothered with this – they are busy herding the Senate and Congress caucuses prostitutes to another meaningless day of remembrance on the Hill.

  10. Stewie said:

    A word of advice to all of you rabid ARF dashnak Armenians..Be careful! This is a cultural event, nothing more! If ANCA advocates disruption, this WILL ultimately lead to violence, where people may get hurt, or worse! If that occurs, then be readly to accept the repercusive consequences which will rapidly follow, whether it’s here in the US (LA, DC, etc.) or in Turkey!

    To the Editorial board…I wouldn’t be so quick to delete this, if you want to prevent possible loss of life! The ARF will be openning a Pandora’s Box which they’ll never be able to close, if they go through with their plans! Don’t forget that there are right-wing fanatics in Turkey that will target Armenians there if any injuries or deaths occur here! Let reason rule!!!