LOS ANGELES—Hagop and Knar Manjikian, Armenian authors and activists, met with Congressman Adam Schiff at his district office in Burbank on April 5 to introduce him to the Armenian Genocide Library Collection of books they have been publishing since 2005 and to speak to him about the tragic attack on Kessab, Syria, on March 21.
The congressman said he would be proud to introduce the Armenian Genocide Library Collection into the Congressional Record. The collection consists of 5 memoirs of Genocide survivors written in the years immediately after the events of 1915, in which the Turks ordered the deportation and massacre of the Armenian population within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. The Manjikians had the memoirs translated to English and self-published them.
The fifth and latest book in the series, “Defying Fate,” contains the memoirs of Knar Manjikian’s parents, who as orphaned children during the Genocide were taken in by Arabs in the Syrian desert. After 13 years they broke out on their and went to Aleppo, where they got married. Schiff said it was very important to preserve these stories for future generations, saying that with a crime of the magnitude of the Genocide it’s more effective to talk about a single family and how the Genocide affected that family. “It brings it home in a personal way,” he said.
Schiff spoke about his own family lineage from Lithuania and trying to help a cousin track down ancestors that had been lost during the Holocaust.
The Manjikians’ appointment with Schiff had been made before the Turkish-aided bombing of Kessab, Syria, that forced the population of Kessab and surrounding towns and villages to flee their homes and live as refugees in the Syrian city of Lattakia. Coincidentally, Hagop Manjikian is from Kessab, and Knar Avedian Manjikian from Aleppo, Syria.
The congressman listened with compassion as Hagop Manjikian told him, “Among the 1,600 plus Armenians who were moved from their homes by ferocious gunfire from Turkey are my own brother, his son and wife with their children, and many close relatives. We respectfully request that you continue the noble task you have taken very recently, bringing this sad situation to the attention of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, and finding a humane solution.”
Schiff said he would address the Kessab situation at a joint press conference in Washington, D.C., with Congressman Brad Sherman on Tuesday, April 8, which he did. He told the Manjikians that Congress would be in recess the weeks of April 14 and 21 and that he would not be able to introduce the Armenian Genocide Library Collection into the Congressional Record until after April 28.