DETROIT, Mich. – Representatives from the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Michigan met with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) on Wednesday to discuss Azerbaijan’s genocidal blockade of Artsakh.
Azerbaijan has instituted a blockade of the Republic of Artsakh for over 38 days, holding 120,000 indigenous Armenians hostage as part of their decades-long campaign of ethnic cleansing. This blockade has suppressed Artsakh and its people for more than a month, the ramifications of which have cut off Artsakh from the outside world, electricity and gas amidst below freezing temperatures, internet, as well as a shortage of food, medication and other life-sustaining products and services.
The meeting was hosted by activist Roger Basmajian with support from ANC of Michigan. Members of various Michigan Armenian American organizations and churches were present, including Father Hrant Kevorkian from St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church, Father Armash Bagdasarian from St. John Armenian Apostolic Church, Pastor Hagop Haroutiunian from the Armenian Congregational Church and John Jamian from the Armenian Assembly of America.
Senator Peters expressed his concern during his remarks. “Here we are talking about another potential genocide after we’ve been trying to make sure the other genocide is recognized by the world. Now it’s happening all over again. Acts of aggression, acts of murderous attacks against civilians should never be tolerated, and we all need to stand firm against it. I will work to continue to highlight this issue, and I will take it to the highest level,” said Senator Peters.
Basmajian commented, “Although it was short notice due to the Senator’s schedule, I am proud to say that the meeting was attended by over 35 people representing a dozen Armenian political, cultural and educational organizations, as well as all clergy. The Senator was sincerely engaged and understands the gravity of the humanitarian crisis at hand in Artsakh. I believe he was open to our suggestions on how to overcome the blockade. He will also be investigating why Section 907 is not being enforced in light of Azeri aggression. Given the task at hand, I believe this will be the first of many fruitful discussions to come with the Senator and our community.”
Senator Peters’ constituents outlined the Armenian community’s policy priorities, including supporting an urgent need for a humanitarian airlift to Artsakh and an end to all US security assistance to Azerbaijan. The community clearly conveyed Azerbaijan’s genocidal intentions to the Senator.
“The Detroit Armenian community members from different organizations relayed a unified message to Senator Peters about the need for the US government to break its silence and hold Azerbaijan accountable. Sending military aid to an oil rich country with a genocidal dictator is not acceptable,” said ANCA Board member Dzovinar Hamakorzian. “Senator Peters has always been a supporter of the Armenian community in Michigan, and we know he will take concrete steps to work towards ending the blockade in Artsakh.”