Genocide Commemoration to Be Held April 21 in Times Square

NEW YORK—A large throng is expected to participate in the 98th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Times Square (43rd St. and Broadway) on Sun., April 21 from 2-4 p.m. The organizers invite people of all backgrounds to join together to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and subsequent genocides during Genocide Awareness Month, and to speak out against this horrendous crime against humanity.

The theme of the commemoration is “Turkey Is Guilty of Genocide: Denying the Undeniable Is Criminal,” and will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred by the Young Turk government and to the millions of victims of subsequent genocides worldwide. Speakers will include civic, religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural leaders, and performing artists. This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, immediate past National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan and founding director of the Armenian Research Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Dr. Mary A. Papazian, president of Southern Connecticut State University, will preside over the ceremonies.

“Recent momentous events encourage me to believe that the long vigil of the Armenian people waiting for recognition of their genocide by the Turkish government may be coming to a positive conclusion,” says Papazian. “An influential Kurdish leader in Turkey, a member of parliament, and vice-president of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress, Ahmet Turk, admitted that the Kurdish people played a significant role in the ‘torture and massacre of Armenians, Assyrians and Yezidis’ during the Armenian Genocide and apologized to the Armenian people. He said, ‘Our grandfathers and fathers were used in the injustices perpetrated against Armenians, Assyrians, and Yezidis. There is blood on their hands. With the blood of these peoples they bloodied their own hands. Thus, as their children and grandchildren, we apologize.’”

Papazian continues, “A second momentous event was the publication of a book in Turkey entitled The Armenian Genocide by Hasan Cemal, the grandson of Cemal Pasha, one of the three main authors of the Armenian Genocide. Hasan Cemal, a member of the Turkish establishment and a newspaper columnist, began his inquiry into the Armenian Genocide following the killing of Turkish diplomats by a group of young Armenians who went by the name of ASALA. At first, Cemal supported the official government point of view, and as he became more knowledgeable, finally concluded that indeed there was a genocide of the Armenians perpetrated by the Young Turk Party, which controlled the Ottoman government in 1915-23. The book has inspired many members of the Turkish elites to reevaluate their denial of the Armenian Genocide.”

Papazian adds, “Itzak Alaton, the owner of one of the largest corporations in Turkey, urged the Turkish Socio-Economic Research Center to pursue the Turkish recognition of the Armenian Genocide. ‘April 24, 1915 is just around the corner,’ stated Alaton, ‘let us change our denialist policies. I am tired of the fear to face our past. Let us raise our voices to our deputies in Ankara and those deputies should raise their voices to their political parties and leaders in order for us to open our skeleton-fill closets.’”

“These three significant events, which took place without any reprisal from the Turkish government, imply that a positive change may be in the air,” Papazian says.

The 98th commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of the Knights and Daughters of Vartan, an international Armenian fraternal organization headquartered in the United States, and co-sponsored by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Armenian Council of America, and the Armenian Democratic League-Ramgavars.

Participating organizations include the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for U.S. and Canada, the Mid-Atlantic Armenian Church Youth Organization of America, Armenian Youth Federation, Armenian youth organizations, and Armenian university and college clubs.

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