Los Angeles Community Honors Dink Legacy

Mouradian Receives First Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (A.W.)—Hundreds gathered in Los Angeles on Jan. 19 to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Hrant Dink’s murder.

Hundreds gathered in LA to honor Dink's legacy

Hundreds gathered in LA to honor Dink’s legacy

The event, held at the Organization of Istanbul Armenians (OIA) Krikor and Aved Kurkcuoglu Hall, brought together representatives of Armenian churches and organizations and a cross section of the community.

Dr. Ohannes Kulak Avedikyan, trustee and chairperson of the OIA Cultural Committee, delivered opening remarks and introduced master of ceremonies Edvin Minassian, who is chairman of OIA Board of Trustees and chairman ex-officio of the Armenian Bar Association (ABA).

Mouradian receives medal

Mouradian receives medal

Minassian’s welcoming remarks were followed by a presentation by Ayda Erbal, who teaches Middle Eastern politics and democratic theory as adjunct professor of politics at NYU. Erbal’s talk focused on the situation in Turkey of minorities in general, and Armenians in particular, in light of recent developments.

The keynote speaker of the evening was Khatchig Mouradian, whose illustrated presentation, titled “Unearthing Western Armenia in Turkey,” dealt with the challenges facing hidden Armenians and cultural heritage in historic Armenian cities and villages in Turkey, and the lessons—and implications—they have for Armenia, Artsakh, and the diaspora.

Following his presentation, the OIA presented Mouradian with the first Hrant Dink Spirit of Freedom and Justice Medal. Mouradian is the editor of the Armenian Weekly and the coordinator of the Armenian Genocide Project at Rutgers University. He teaches at Rutgers University and Worcester State University as adjunct professor. Mouradian is a PhD Candidate at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University, currently writing his dissertation on the Armenian Genocide.

The event brought together representatives of Armenian churches and organizations and a cross section of the community.

The event brought together representatives of Armenian churches and organizations and a cross section of the community.

The speakers

The speakers: (L-R) Ghazarian, Minassian, Mouradian, Erbal, Avedikyan, and Eginli

Following the presentation of the medal, Alec Eginli spoke on behalf of the youth. Armenia opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian (Heritage Party) and Chairman of ABA and Co-chair of the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide Committee (Western) Garo Ghazarian, and church leaders delivered brief remarks and shared their reflections during the evening.

The program included musical performances.

13 Comments on Los Angeles Community Honors Dink Legacy

  1. In the last years of his life, Hrant Dink had become Turkey’s most prominent Armenian voice, and despite all those death threats against him, he refused to remain silent. He criticized Turkey’s foul treatment of Armenians. He spoke out against Turkey’s extreme lack of democratic values. He addressed the issues of free speech, minority rights, civil rights, and issues pertaining to the Armenians in Turkey. He was a very important peace activist. He always said that one of his objectives was to improve the extremely difficult relationship between Armenians and Turks. In the public speeches that he made in Turkey, which were often intensely emotional, he always used the word, genocide, when speaking about the Armenian Genocide, despite the fact that it’s forbidden by law, under Article 301, of the Turkish penal code. He defended his beleaguered people better than he defended himself, and did everything possible to try and elevate their status within Turkish society. This was the meaning of Dr. Dink to his people. When you think about it, he really was the Armenian version of Martin Luther King. May Hrant Dink’s legacy live on forever!

  2. This sort of fake reconciliation reminds me of TARC,it will never lead us anywhere,medals or no medals.

  3. This sort of reconciliation on the anniversary of Hrant Dink’s death, should be done every year in all Armenian communities throughout the diaspora, as well as in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh. It’s important for all Armenians to remember Dr. Dink, and what he stood for.

  4. Hrant Dik’s views about Armenian-Turkish relations are not as much publically known nor seriously discussed in my view.

    Not knowing him as well also, the following are my views about him: I remain under the impression that he advocated outright and unconditional dialogue with Turks. He was someone who did not see any contradiction between being a good Armenian by birth and upbringing and a good Turk by citizenship. Past Turkish atrocities did not cloud his views about the present day Turkish society. He advocated coming to terms with Turkish history as a good Turkish citizen as much as an Armenian. He positioned himself against the infamous Turkish article 301 as a Turk as much as an Armenian. He appreciated the good in both.

    In upholding his memory, I remain under the impression that we are more content perpetuating the memory of the horrid reality of his assassination as the modern day 1500001th Genocide Victim more so than analyzing the merits of what he stood for.

  5. Reconciliation talks and such touchy-feely things lead us away from Hye Tahd. That can be unwise and dangerous.

    • With reconciliation its implied that this can only take place after recognition and reparations. And don’t knock reconciliation unless you have a far superior suggestion. And based on the fact that its been 99 years and Turkey still has success in its denialism suggests that maybe you guys should be open to new strategies. What would be unwise is doing the same things over and over again, hoping for different results, and getting frustrated when things don’t go your way. But if you wish to play into Turkey’s hands, by all means, don’t even consider change.

  6. Hey guys, the reconciliation I was talking about in my previous post, has nothing to do with Armenians and Turks. On the subject of reconciliation, I was talking about the reconciliation among Armenians on the anniversary of Hrant Dink’s death. In other words, I was referring to the gathering together of Armenians as a united group on January 19th, to honor Dr. Dink’s legacy.

    In terms of Armenian-Turkish reconciliation, that cannot possibly happen until the Turkish nation recognizes the Armenian Genocide, and then proceeds to return back the stolen lands and properties to the Armenian people.

  7. It is funny that RVDV suggests the fake reconciliation route just as it is being fully and openly backed by Western nations and energy companies that are out to weaken Armenia, Artsakh and the Armenian Cause.

    If “reconciliation” was such a normal phenomenon, how come it didn’t naturally start right after the Genocide or in the 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s?

  8. You didn’t answer my question. Enough with the red herrings.

    If “reconciliation” was such a normal phenomenon and not at all tied to grants and access to power, how come it didn’t naturally start right after the Genocide or in the 60s or 70s or 80s or 90s?

    • Well first of all, who said reconciliation is natural? You. Not me or anyone else. You did. My answer: its not. Nothing is natural because genocide is not a natural thing. And like I said, before we can even talk of reconciliation there needs to be recognition and reparations. How can you “reconcile” without even trying to right a wrong (if genocide is even something that can be righted)? I’m guessing that’s why reconciliation hasn’t been tried until now, and its why it won’t work now either unless things change. I was never advocating a “shared pains” fake reconciliation without addressing the main issue.

  9. My question:
    What exactly does “reconciliation” mean in the context of Armenians and Turks? People want to know.

  10. Vartan has a very valid point.
    RVDV your comments are so weak in substance.

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