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Shoulder to shoulder Armenians, Tibetans band together in solidarity

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  • Shoulder to shoulder Armenians, Tibetans band together in solidarity

    Phayul, Tibet
    March 22 2004

    Shoulder to shoulder Armenians and Tibetans band together in

    WTN[Monday, March 22, 2004 10:37]
    By Anna Sarkissian

    Armenians and Tibetans, two peoples who "share the same fate," banded
    together last Friday in a gesture of solidarity.

    "The noble Tibetan people are also victims of injustice and a
    cultural genocide to this day, while the rest of the world looks on,"
    said Azad Chichmanian, a member of the Ad Hoc Armenian Committee in
    Support of Tibet-China Negotiations. Like Armenia, Tibet is a "small
    but proud nation, working hard to gain recognition for crimes against
    humanity," he added.

    Chichmanian said that a group of Armenians "saw an opportunity to
    contribute in a positive way and help." The Ad Hoc Committee joined
    forces with Armenian student associations from Concordia, McGill and
    Université de Montréal to host an information night at UdeM.

    "It means so much to the Tibetan community," said Thubten Samdup,
    national president of the Canada-Tibet Committee. "It has been played
    up on the Tibetan radio, in the newspapers. We feel like we're not

    Addressing the small crowd, Samdup said pressuring the Prime
    Minister's office to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a key
    issue. He will be visiting the nation's capital on April 24, which
    happens to coincide with the day Armenians will be commemorating the
    Armenian Genocide.

    The Canada-Tibet Committee is not asking the federal government to
    take a firm position on the matter, but simply to broker dialogue
    between the leaders, Samdup said.

    "We're not going to beg for a photo-op with the Dalai Lama, we want
    something tangible," he explained. Human rights are the cornerstone
    of Canadian policy, he said, and our nation is in a unique position
    to take this leadership role.

    For Samdup, it is a matter of preserving Tibet's identity. "I
    definitely don't want to sit back and be a witness to my culture and
    people being wiped out."

    Following the Canada Tibet Connittee president's address, the Ad Hoc
    group encouraged audience members to sign letters for their MPs,
    asking them to support Canada-Tibet negotiations. "The message is, we
    don't want this repeated. We'll stand shoulder to shoulder [with
    Tibetans]," Viken Attarian, a member of the Armenian group, said.

    As of yet, 137 of 298 members of parliament have signed on and
    expressed support for the initiative. Samdup contends that if a
    majority of representatives are sympathetic to their cause, Prime
    Minister Paul Martin will have to consider taking action. "If China's
    going to listen to anyone, it might be Canada."