Daily Bruin: University of California - Los Angeles
January 30, 2014 Thursday

UCLA students protest to draw attention to Armenian Genocide

Fiona Kirby Janet Nguyen Ariana Ricarte


By Fiona Kirby, Janet Nguyen and Ariana Ricarte

Their mouths covered with bands of bright orange tape, about 15
students stood in a straight line in front of Kerckhoff Hall on
Thursday to protest and educate students about the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Students' Association at UCLA organized the silent
protest, which occurred from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event was part of a movement organized by the All-Amernian
Students Association called "Stain of Denial." Armenian students'
associations from several campuses across California protested the
Armenian Genocide and its denial by countries such as the United
States on the same day.

UC Berkeley, Occidental College and USC are among the other colleges
participating in the movement.

The Armenian Genocide is traditionally dated from 1915 to 1923, when
Turkish authorities in the collapsing Ottoman Empire killed about 1.5
million Armenians, according to the New York Times.

Some nations, such as Turkey, deny that the genocide happened.
Currently, it is not formally recognized by the United States,
according to the New York Times.

Students at UCLA held signs that read "Stop the Cycle of Genocide" and
"In Memory of the 1.5 Million Armenians Massacred by the Ottoman
Turks, 1915-1923." Other students stood by tables along Bruin Walk,
handing out informational flyers to passing students.

The Armenian Students' Association's main concern is getting the
genocide explicitly recognized, said Natalie Kalbakian, the vice
president of the Armenian Students' Association.

"Genocide is a human issue, and denying it or not even caring about it
is perpetuating genocide," she said.

Kalbakian said she is a grandchild of genocide survivors and grew up
listening to their firsthand accounts.

"People who want to politicize (the genocide) tell us to move on. But
that doesn't change the fact that it happened," said Kalbakian, a
second-year political science student. "We're great-grandchildren of
genocide survivors. We still have open wounds."

Kalbakian said some of the genocide survivors in her family rarely
talked about their experiences because they still have emotional scars
and have not had any closure.

Mane Khachatryan, a third-year English student and social chair of the
Armenian Students' Association, said she hopes UCLA student groups
will band together to push legislation to get the Armenian Genocide
recognized.

Angel Abajian, a member of the Armenian Students' Association, said
she hopes the Armenian genocide will become as commonly recognized as
the Holocaust.

More than 300 students stopped by the protest, Kalbakian said.

Some of the passersby said they had never heard of the Armenian
Genocide before Thursday's protest.

Sean Yancey, a fourth-year history student, said that after speaking
to the association's members, he plans to research more about the
oppression that the Armenian population had experienced.

Contributing reports by Hee Jae Choi, Bruin contributor.


From: Baghdasarian