GLENDALE–In an effort to continue the momentum created by last month’s deliberation and subsequent "killing" of the Armenian Genocide resolution in Congress–the Armenian Youth Federation Western America Central Executive organized a Genocide recognition rally at St. Mary’s Church–where more than 300 youth and community members gathered to add their voice to the continued efforts for the international recognition of the Genocide.
The program–which began with welcoming remarks by AYF CE member Christopher Guldjian–included a videotape segment about the Armenian Genocide–excerpted from ABC News’ acclaimed "The Century" series.
Three speaker provided perspectives on the meaning of recognition–the future of Genocide recognition efforts and the events leading up to the Oct. 19 decision by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) to pull the Genocide resolution from consideration.
In his remarks–noted Genocide historian from Florence University Hilmar Kaiser pointed out that the recognition of the Genocide did not stop at legislative measures acknowledging the historic injustice.
Kaiser explained that with such recognition–the international community–especially Turkey–will be faced with issues of reparation and restoration. This–he said–was not an easy matter to grapple with for Turkey and other governmen’s that have continually denied the Genocide.
He added that efforts to garner international recognition for the Genocide should also be geared toward the aforementioned end–adding that the Turkish government has–thus far–lied about the availability of information in its archives. Kaiser recounted his personal experience of being expelled from the Turkish archives during a research trip to Turkey.
Enthusiastic remarks were also made by Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-43)–who during his tenure in the State legislature has attended AYF-organized protests at the Turkish consulate and has been an outspoken advocate for Genocide recognition in the State of California.
Wildman praised the community for its involvement in the matter and encouraged the AYF–and the Armenian youth to further the cause of justice.
In his remarks–Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian–presented an overview of the events leading to and including the 11th-hour actions by Speaker Hastert to derail the Genocide resolution in Congress last month.
Khachatourian praised the community for its participation in the Genocide resolution effort and urged the community to remain vigilant and increase its activism.
Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Board member Steve Dadaian–Esq. provided encouraging scenarios for the future of the Genocide recognition issue in this country.
He stressed that the youth must lead the Genocide recognition effort in this country–since it represents the future of the Armenian nation and the Armenian Cause.
In conclusion–the attendees signed petitions directed to the organizers of a symposium on Genocide–scheduled to be held in England in the near future–urging them to include speakers and discussion of the Armenian Genocide within the program.