HUNGER STRIKERS DEMAND MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE FULFILL ITS PROMISE TO PUT A STANDING EXHIBIT RECOGNIZING THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.
LOS ANGELES–Beginning on April 16–nine members of the Armenian Youth Federation started a hunger strike in front of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles–to demand a permanent exhibition at the museum displaying the history of the Armenian Genocide–the 1915 killing of 1.5 million Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
They have been drinking only water and sleeping in sleeping bags in front of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance.
A display recognizing the first genocide of the 20th century was promised by the museum officials a decade ago–strike organizers said–and still permanent recognition exists.
"It’s just kind of sad that the Museum of Tolerance–which stands for human rights and human justice–that its doing the exact opposite," Shant Baboujian 23 told the Glendale News Press. Baboujian is a member of the Glendale AYF "It’s sad we have to resort to a hunger strike for them to hear us out."
Accompanying their hunger strike is Glendale artist Zareh Megerditchian’s "Turkish Soup Made with Armenian Bones," a work featuring a bloodied plastic skeleton folded into a pool of fake blood in a bucket.
As each day passes–supporters join their nightly vigils and discussions.
The strikers said they are prepared to wait it out and have drafted a letter for the museum’s director. They also have gathered 300 signatures in support of the effort.
"We’re getting by," said Vatche Thomassian–18. "This is very important because the museum’s objective is to educate people and make them understand all crimes against humanity to prevent them from happening again."