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05/05/2006
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1) ANCA Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Remembrance Draws 40 Members of
Congress
2) Prominent Leaders Mobilize in Support of the Armenian Cause
3) Government Approves Aid to Plane Crash Victims' Families
4) Turks Lobby against French Bill Prohibiting Genocide Denial
5) ANCA-WR Takes Part in California Democratic Party Convention
6) Armenian President Awards German Author
7) ANCA Helps Raise Awareness on Southland Campuses
8) Families of Migrant Workers Stunned by Sudden Loss
9) Prelate Expresses Condolences for Lives Lost in Armavia Plane Crash
10) AYF Offers Condolences to Friends And Family of Crash Victims
11) Schiff Names Seta Simonian 'Woman of the Year' for California's 29th
District
12) Chamlian Students Bring Home Awards
13) ATP Plants Trees in 75 Armenian Communities This Spring
14) Restitution of Armenian Rights Is The Foundation of Genocide Recognition:
By Seto Boyadjian, Esq.
15) We're All Immigrants: By Garen Yegparian
16) System Of A Down Press for Armenian Genocide Recognition During Three-Day
Washington, DC Advocacy Tour

1) ANCA Capitol Hill Armenian Genocide Remembrance Draws 40 Members of
Congress

--Record Audience on Hand as System Of A Down is Recognized for
Ground-breaking
Genocide Recognition Efforts

WASHINGTON, DC--Forty members of the US Senate and House of Representatives
joined with over 500 Armenian Americans from across the country last week, at
the Armenian National Committee of America's (ANCA) annual observance of the
Armenian genocide, in a powerful display of bipartisan support for American
recognition of the Armenian genocide.
"Armenian Americans join with Armenians around the world in expressing our
appreciation to each of our Congressional friends who took part in this solemn
remembrance of the Armenian genocide," said ANCA Executive Director Aram
Hamparian. "We join with them in recommitting ourselves to ending the
denial of
this crime--first in America and then in Turkey--and, ultimately to ending the
longstanding denial of justice to the Armenian nation."
In addition to the strong Congressional turnout, the program featured the
diplomatic representatives of Armenia and Karabagh, Armenian Church leaders,
leading figures in the Washington, DC foreign policy community, and a broad
range of ethnic and human rights activists.

Broad Bipartisan Participation Marks 12th Annual Capitol Hill Observance of
Armenian Genocide

The two-hour Capitol Hill Observance of the Armenian genocide featured the
participation of a diverse group of Congressional leaders from across the
country. New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg (D) and Robert Menendez (D)
joined perennial attendee, Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) in marking
the
occasion with moving speeches commending Armenian American activism on this
key
human rights concern.
Among the members of the Congressional leadership taking part in the program
were House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA) and Mike Pence,
Chairman of the powerful Republican Study Committee. Chief Deputy Majority
Whip
Eric Cantor (R-VA) met with a group of over 25 Richmond ANC members during the
day, but could not attend the observance. Also taking part were John Larson,
Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, and Joe Crowley (D-NY), the Chief
Deputy Minority Whip.
Featured prominently in the program were the authors of Armenian genocide
legislation--George Radanovich (R-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA). The Armenian
Caucus was represented by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who founded the
158-member body more than a decade ago. Carolyn Maloney, the Co-Chairwoman of
the Hellenic Caucus was on hand as well and offered powerful words of
remembrance.
Members of the International Relations Committee who participated in the
observance were Eliot Engel (D-NY), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Betty McCollum
(D-MN),
Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Brad Sherman, and Diane Watson
(D-CA). Representative Ben Cardin, who serves as the Ranking Member on the
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the US Helsinki Commission),
also took part.
Members of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, the panel that writes the
foreign aid bill, that took part were Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), Mark
Kirk (R-IL), John Sweeney (R-NY), and Steve Rothman (D-NJ).
Additional participants included Representatives Howard Coble (R-NC), Jim
Costa (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Sue
Kelly (R-NY) , James Langevin (D-RI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Edward Markey
(D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), James Moran (D-VA), Joe Schwarz (R-MI), Mark
Souder (R-IN), John Tierney (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Zach Wamp (R-TN),
and Curt Weldon (R-PA).
Attendees also included several key Armenian American officials including
John
Jamian, the Department of Transportation's Action Maritime Administrator, Joe
Bogosian, the Federation Aviation Administration's Assistant Administrator for
International Aviation; and Rolling Hills Estates, CA Councilman Frank
Zerunyan; as well as Alecko Eskandarian, the star forward for the DC United
soccer team, and David Alpay, the star of Atom Egoyan's film "Ararat."

System Of A Down Receives ANCA 'Voice of Justice' Award

Among the most moving elements of the program was the presentation of the
ANCA's 'Voice of Justice' Award to Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan of the
Grammy
Award-winning band System Of A Down. Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan, took part
in the observance on the final evening of their three-day advocacy tour of
Washington, DC. They also participated in an April 24 rally outside the
Turkish
Embassy, the April 25 Capitol Hill screening of excerpts from Carla
Garapedian's powerful new film "Screamers," and a series of Congressional
meetings and media interviews.
In accepting the award on behalf of System Of A Down, drummer John Dolmayan
noted that, "This is a very personal cause for us. We are honored to be
here to
represent Armenians and also United States citizens. We consider ourselves
very
fortunate to bring this cause forward to people who may not necessarily have
had a chance to understand or learn anything about the Armenian genocide. We
also feel it's important to bring up issues that are taking place right now,
such as the Darfur genocide. As Armenians, I would like to challenge you to do
what you can to help these poor people that are suffering the way we did
almost
a hundred years ago."

Armenian Ambassador; MKR Representative; Clergy Join Armenian American
leaders
in Urging World Recognition of Armenian Genocide

Master of Ceremonies, Glendale, California City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian,
opened the observance by inviting His Eminence Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of
the
Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern US, to offer a prayer and opening
remarks. The Archbishop noted that, "We gather today with survivors and
members
of Congress to remember the truth, because increasingly truth is being
violated
by falsehood. To this day the Genocide of the Armenians is denied not only by
the perpetrators, but also by our own government here in Washington. The same
government in whose archives are thousands upon thousands of documents that
attest to the annihilation of the Armenians. The denial of our government is
the most difficult for us to comprehend and fills our hearts with grief
because
denial is another assault, another genocide. The words of Martin Luther King,
Jr. resonate in our souls--'In the end we will remember not the word of our
enemies, but the silence of our friends.'"
Kassakhian then introduced each of the twenty-eight members of Congress who
offered remarks, as well as honored speakers, including Armenia's
Ambassador to
the United States Tatoul Markarian, Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR)
Representative in the US Vardan Barseghian, and ANCA Chairman Ken
Hachikian. He
also introduced ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, who made the 'Voice of
Justice' award presentation to System Of A Down.
In his remarks, Ambassador Markarian stressed that, "Recognition of the
Armenian genocide cannot be negotiated away, delayed, or conveniently
forgotten. . . . The recognition of the Armenian genocide remains, and will
remain, on our foreign policy agenda. We will advance it vigorously and with a
conviction that this will also help to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations,
and bring more security and stability to our region. We will continue to work
with our friends and partners towards this goal in Europe, and in
particular in
the United States."
Vardan Barseghian, on behalf of the government of the Mountainous Karabagh
Republic, vowed to "educate the world about what happened to us. We will rally
support and we will seek justice, until the perpetrators and deniers are
condemned and held responsible. And most importantly we will do everything in
our power to insure that similar tragedies do not befall Armenians or any
other
nation." He added that, "Turkey's irresponsible denial of genocidal facts
paves
way to new atrocities and crimes against humanity."
ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian, in his remarks, urged the Armenian American
community to greater levels of activism, specifically asking all in attendance
to insist that the Administration demand that Turkey acknowledge its
responsibility for the Armenian genocide, fully repent, and restore to the
Armenian nation the fruits of its crime.
In his closing remarks, Kassakhian reminded those in attendance that, "Today,
in these very halls of Congress, our friends have spoken loud and clear. They
have said in one voice, that there will be no silence until there is justice.
They have told their colleagues by being here today--in front of us--that we
will never forget and their will never be silence until there is justice."

Excerpts of Congressional Speeches offered at the annual Capitol Hill
Armenian
Genocide Observance follow:

Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD): "I come every year because I think that the
issue you place on the national and international agenda is of great
importance... If there should be any question raised about the occurrence of
this genocide, it is beyond my understanding... If other nations can speak the
truth then our nation must speak the truth on this issue... The Senate
[Armenian genocide] resolution has my strongest support."

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ): "There are those who argue that Turkey is an
ally, and maybe it is. But, at the end of the day, even an ally should permit
us to have our own policy to recognize what history says happened?that 1.5
million Armenians perished. That should be the reality we take as a position
for the country. When Hitler asked "who remembers the Armenians?" I answer
that
we remember the Armenians, the next generation of the Armenians, and all of us
who believe in human rights. And this country remembers the Armenians, and
that
is why we are here today."

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): "We have to remember that genocide was
originally discovered in those years [1915-1923]... and make sure to support
legislation to recognize the Genocide, making sure that it is known as an
Armenian event and do everything we can to get it passed."

Representative David Dreier (R-CA): "We are strongly committed to doing
everything we can to making sure there is clear recognition of the Armenian
genocide--and that is exactly what I've said to two Turkish Prime Ministers."

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ): "It is so important for you to be here
and to show up. The only way a message is going to be sent is if more and more
people come out and show up... The effort to deny the Genocide continues and
that's why it's so important to be out there in large numbers to counter their
actions."

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA): "I long for the day when we not only come
to commemorate the Genocide, but to celebrate the passage of Genocide
resolutions... Let's not let any of our Armenian parents, grandparents, aunts,
and uncles down... let's recognize the Armenian genocide now!"

Representative George Radanovich (R-CA): "It's particularly exasperating this
year--we have a bill out of committee ready to go to the floor, yet we are
finding it difficult to move it further and I think after 12 years I wonder
and
I tire but I know you have been waiting 91 years and it gives me hope we will
soon be recognizing the Genocide. Keep working and have faith and America will
recognize it."

Representative John Sweeney (R-NY): "Without a full acceptance, we have
denial, and with denial we perpetuate terrible episodes in history,
threatening
humanity and mankind, and impede on the march of freedom and liberty. I don't
intend on allowing that to happen! I pledge and vow to you as one of your own
to keep the fight up and keep on working hard."

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ): "The truth has curative power and
reconciliation powers and we thank you for that effort of getting the truth
out."

Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL): "When we learn the lesson of the Armenian
genocide, we say 'never again,' which is very easy to say in a speech in
Washington. But I've been there [as a US soldier serving in Bosnia] when we've
meant 'never again,' where we took action as the only superpower on the planet
to stop a crime. So now when we look at what's happening today, we have a
powerful moral lesson that we have learned from the people of Armeniathe one
that we have to carry into the classrooms and television sets."

Representative James Langevin (D-RI): "If we do not recognize the Armenian
genocide it will happen again and again and again."

Representative John Larson (D-CT): "I'm often amazed at the ceremonies and
annual pilgrimages people make on behalf of their beliefs and their cause. And
for those that seek to remember or understand Armenia all you have to do is
look around this room it's written on your faces, it's carried in your
hearts."

Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): "It is time for the American
government
to officially recognize what happened 91 years ago and join the other
countries
of the world with official recognition... We must always stand up and speak
the
truth to counter any denial."

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA): "It is extraordinary given what the
Armenian people were subjected to, given the fight that still goes on, given
the unfair obstacles still put in the way of Armenia, given the importance of
reminding the world of this genocide, that you have compassion, wisdom, and
commitment to universal values that lead you to your efforts for stopping the
atrocities taking place in Darfur."

Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL): "If you look at all the members who have
spoken here and those who are still waiting to speak this is a very unique
situation. On any other day these Members may have nothing in common, but this
is what happens when you come together for truth... You have done a great job
in bringing this to everyone's attention in this country and I commend you and
urge you to keep it up."

Representative Edward Markey (D-MA): "It's time for President Bush to adhere
to his campaign promise and tear down that wall of denial and recognize and
honor the Armenian genocide."

Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI): "We must pierce the myth of this
indispensable relationship [between the US and Turkey]... No relations can be
built upon a lie... If we are going to have friends and allies in the world
that the United states can depend on, there must be honesty both within our
relationship and in the United States itself."

Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ): "What is going on now--because your
movement is getting stronger, your voices are getting louder, your issues are
being heard--there is a disinformation, it's always been there but now it's
more organized... So now we have to keep the pressure on keep the fight on.
Genocide anywhere is wrong."

Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ): "What is the harm in denying the truth?
Is there any harm in denying the truth? As human beings we know that this does
cause a physical destruction to the body when one denies the truth. Just as I
believe that applies to individuals, I believe that it applies to countries
and
humanity. And so when the world denied the Armenian genocide and continues to
deny it, not only did that lead to the Holocaust but it has contributed to the
atmosphere in which the world has witnessed the deaths of 400,000 in Darfur.
You notice that there are some similarities in the way the Ottoman Empire
persecuted the Armenian population and what is going on in Darfur? The forced
exile, the systematic deprivation of food and water, and murder through
starvation... Denying the truth about genocide is really a second killing, a
double genocide. We as Americans cannot stand by when the truth continues
to be
denied."

Representative Sue Kelly (R-NY): "It makes no sense that we cannot officially
recognize the Genocide, acknowledge it, ask for an apology and go beyond the
issue, allowing the whole region to move together. This cannot happen unless
there is an apology!"

Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA): "When will Turkey be part of the modern
world if it does not recognize the past? Where would Germany be if it denied
the Holocaust? Where would America be if we said slavery didn't exist and the
native America tribes just drifted away peacefully. Every country needs to
recognizes its past in order to move forward to the future. And that is why I
have co-sponsored every resolution in the last ten years in the House of
Representatives to recognize the first genocide of the last century. But we
have seen it again and again. Our International Relations committee passes the
resolution--we reformulate the resolution and get it through the Judiciary
committee instead. We move that bill through that Committee and then the House
leadership won't let it come up to a vote. It's time to raise our voices to
even higher levels and say its time for this to come up for a vote. Why is the
Congress hiding from its responsibilities?"

Representative John Tierney (D-MA): " All of you do us a great service in
reminding us the issues that are important to the Armenian community and
for us
to attend to those issues. Truth about what happened 91 years ago and the
fairness of the issues for which you fight are things we need to continually
remember. The truth is that it was 'genocide.' We have to end man's inhumanity
to man, and we can only do that by acknowledging what has happened in the
past,
and swearing that we should never remain silent as it happens now in Darfur."

Representative Mark Souder (R-IN): "I commend you for your efforts to keep
this alive and I hope you get a hard vote."

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): "The lesson of the Armenian genocide
is that evil things are not just done by the bad people who perpetuate the
crimes, but in a way are allowed to happen by the good people who are not
taking the necessary action. The failure of the United States Congress to pass
an Armenian Genocide Resolution sends exactly the wrong signal to people
around
the world about accountability. We have to send the signal that we are
going to
hold people accountable and the failure to do that has been a stain on the
conscious of Congress and the United States."

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA): "I understand it is a responsibility of
mine in Congress to stand for your people and for the plight of your nation...
I told the President of Azerbaijan that we wanted to be friends with
Azerbaijan
but that we will not do it at the expense of Armenia and the Armenian
community. We want the dignity of Armenia to shine strong in the Caspian
region. You have our support and bipartisan support by members of Congress to
make sure we never forget the terrible atrocities that occurred 91 years ago
and that we never forget the plight of the Armenian people."

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA): "A country is only as great as its ability
to recognize its past, recognize its mistakes, apologize and move on. The
diaspora isn't looking for blood and vengeance, I believe you are looking for
reconciliation and recognition so that we can all move forward in this
world to
insure that future acts of genocide shall cease."

Representative Joe Schwarz (R-MI): "I am a student of history and have been
interested in Armenian history for many years. One of the goals for Congress
and for American foreign policy should be a strong and independent Armenia
within the community of the Transcaucasus. We should not let the Azeris, the
Georgians, the Russians, the Turks impinge on the bright and prosperous future
of Armenia... The United States must recognize the Armenian genocide so
that we
can get on with the healing."

Representative Diane Watson (D-CA): "I come to support you and join with my
colleagues in saying that California already has a resolution supporting the
Genocide of the Armenians, so we are already ahead of the game. And we want it
to spread across this nation, all 50 states, that they then will correct the
people out there that would like to deny. Let them know that history speaks
for
itself, and that the genocide is real... We are going to try to convince our
colleagues, regardless of the Turkish influence that appears in these halls,
and win out in the end."

2) Prominent Leaders Mobilize in Support of the Armenian Cause

--Major Guests to Join ANCA Telethon Broadcast

WASHINGTON, DC--Prominent leaders are joining forces with the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA) to mobilize the widespread support for
the
Armenian Cause. Supporters are coming together for the ANCA Telethon on May
21, sharing the belief that it is time to push the community's advocacy
efforts
to a new level. Scheduled to appear during the Telethon are an unprecedented
number of public officials from city and state governments. Also appearing
will be members of Congress from across the country in addition to leaders
from
the Republic of Armenia. Representatives of ANCA chapters around the nation
will show the results of their grassroots advocacy during the broadcast with
in-depth documentaries about the many different areas of activities
surrounding
Armenian issues in every community.
"During the six-hour Telethon broadcast, our aim is to give viewers a
complete
picture and understanding of the amazing strides and progress we are making
for
the Armenian Cause thanks to our grassroots supporters," said Zanku Armenian,
spokesperson for the ANCA Telethon. "However, this Telethon will also make it
abundantly clear to viewers that the time to invest the necessary financial
resources is now so that we may expand our work and meet the challenges facing
our cause from a position of strength and power."
The goal of the telethon is to raise financial resources that will be used to
broaden many of the ANCA's successful programs. Funding would go toward
initiatives such as working with school systems to institute Genocide
education
in curriculums; media relations and outreach initiatives; government relations
on the city, state, and federal levels; and professional development and
training programs for university students to assist them with careers in areas
important to the community and Armenian issues.
The Telethon will demonstrate the broad base of institutional support for the
Armenian Cause that the ANCA has developed over the years with government
leaders on all levels, the media, other American civic organizations, and the
community at large. Many representatives from all of these areas will be
making appearances during the Telethon to show their support for the community
and Armenian issues and to emphasize how important it is continue developing
and nurturing the relationships that will continue to drive the tremendous
progress on Armenian issues.
To make a donation in advance of the May 21 ANCA Telethon or for more
information, please call (866) 402-2622 (ANCA) or go to www.anca.org and click
on the Telethon logo to make a donation online.

3) Government Approves Aid to Plane Crash Victims' Families

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)--Armenia's Government allocated Thursday 129
million
drams ($290,000) in financial assistance to the families of all Armenian
nationals killed in Wednesday's plane crash in southern Russia.
Minister for Local Government Hovik Abrahamian said the money will fully
cover
the cost of the transportation of the victims' bodies to Armenia and the
funeral expenses of their bereaved relatives.
A plane carrying 26 bodies arrived at the airport in Yerevan on Friday after
an initial delay, apparently due to a lack of coffins.
Abrahamian said each of the 85 families will receive 1.5 million drams
($3,400) in cash from the state in addition to $20,000 compensations promised
by Armavia Airlines, operators of the ill-fated flight.
"Also, some businessmen wanted the government to open a special bank account
so that they can provide financial assistance to the families of the dead," he
told reporters. "We accepted the proposal."
The account (90 00 13 01 70 26) was opened Friday in the treasury of the
Armenian Finance and Economy Ministry.
Abrahamian also said that families of the more than 20 ethnic Armenian
victims
that had Russian passports will get similar assistance from the Russian
Government.
Meanwhile, grieving relatives in Russia cast flowers into the Black Sea on
Friday at the spot where the jet plunged into the waters.
Nearby, dozens of vessels and helicopters continued efforts to recover from
the sea the black box flight recorders that might help establish why the plane
crashed.
A signal from one of the black was detected at a depth of 680 meters where
the
rescuers found a great number of debris of the plane.
Until the black boxes are found, investigators are blaming the crash on bad
weather.
Russia, whose investigators are being helped by experts from France, is
seeking assistance from other foreign countries to raise the black boxes since
its Black Sea fleet is not fully equipped for the task.
A bathyscaphe submersible vehicle would have to be sent down to the site to
ascertain whether the signals that have been picked up are really coming
from a
section of the plane.
On board the plane were 85 Armenian citizens, 26 Russians, one Georgian and
one Ukrainian, according to a list published at Yerevan airport. Six children
are thought to be among the 113 killed in the crash.
The plane disappeared from radar screens at 2:15 AM on Wednesday (2215 GMT
Tuesday) as it attempted a second landing at Adler airport near Sochi,
Armenian
and Russian officials said. The pilot had begun returning to Yerevan after
aborting a first landing attempt, but wheeled round again after being informed
that heavy rains had cleared.

4) Turks Lobby against French Bill Prohibiting Genocide Denial

(Combined Sources)--Several Turkish organizations published an open letter in
French newspapers Friday calling on Parliament not to back a bill that would
make it a punishable offense to deny "the existence of the 1915 Armenian
genocide."
Proposed by members of the opposition Socialist Party (PS), the bill will
first be read before Parliament on May 18.
If approved, it would authorize a maximum five years in prison and a fine of
45,000 Euros for anyone who denies the Armenians genocide.
The same punishment already applies to those who deny that the Holocaust took
place.
"If it were to be adopted, such a law would forbid any ulterior debate among
historians wanting to shed light on the responsibilities of the parties to
these tragic events," the Turkish organizations--including unions and business
groups--said in their letter.
The bill follows a 2001 French law which officially recognized the Genocide.
According to the new bill's sponsor PS Deputy Didier Migaud, the original law
was insufficient because it did not include any way of punishing deniers.
Meanwhile in Turkey, a Turkish civil group began a boycott of French products
and services in an attempt to hurt the French economy and lead to rejection of
the bill.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan said that approval of the
bill
would cause irreversible damage to Turkish-French ties.
Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc sent a letter to his French
counterpart on Monday telling him that judging history should be left to
historians, not Parliaments. Arinc said that the French bill stifles
freedom of
expression and freedom of thought.

5) ANCA-WR Takes Part in California Democratic Party Convention

SACRAMENTO--Representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America -
Western Region (ANCA-WR) joined officials, delegates, and activists from
across
California to take part in the California Democratic Party Convention in
Sacramento, California April 28-30.
ANCA-WR Staff Haig Hovsepian and Lerna Kayserian, along with ANCA Glendale
Chapter Executive Director Alina Azizian, and Armenian Youth Federation
Central
Executive Member Saro Shirinian, met with numerous candidates and government
officials who visited the ANCA-WR exhibitor table there.
Visitors included State Treasurer Phil Angelides and State Controller Steve
Westley, who are both pursuing the Democratic Party candidacy for California
Governor. Westley expressed his gratitude to the ANCA-WR for its activities
and
pledged his commitment to working with the Armenian American community in the
future.
Treasurer Angelides, who received the 2003 ANCA-WR "California Public
Official
of the Year" award, has been a champion for human rights and Genocide issues
for years. In 1997, he questioned the California Public Employees Retirement
System about its investments in the Republic of Turkey, citing the country's
gross human rights abuses and military dominance in the region. In October
2000, he wrote to President Bill Clinton imploring the president to properly
acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
California State Senator Jackie Speier also stopped-by at the ANCA-WR
table. A
longtime advocate of issues important to Armenian Americans, Senator Speier
recently co-authored, along with Senator Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno), SB1524,
legislation that would grant Armenian genocide victims and their descendants
access to California Courts to recover bank deposits and looted possessions
from commercial entities that have wrongfully withheld them since the
Genocide.
The Senators had a few years back authored similar legislation that gave
authority to recover Genocide era life insurance proceeds in California
Courts.
Another victory was the 2005 Senate bill permanently designating April 24 the
"California Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide." Senator Speier is a
candidate for California Lieutenant Governor, and recently served as Mistress
of Ceremonies during April 24 commemorations at the Montebello Martyr's
monument.
Other officials and candidates visiting the ANCA-WR table included California
Assembly candidates James Bufford, candidate for the 25th California Assembly
District, Paul Lucas, candidate for the 68th Assembly District, and Roxana
Folescu, candidate for the 74th Assembly District. Each received the
endorsement of the convention along with Anthony Portantino, who is running
for
the 44th Assembly District seat, and Geraldine Guzman, candidate for the 58th
Assembly District.
Portantino, a seven year city councilmember and two-time mayor of La
Canada-Flintridge, has worked alongside ANCA-WR on numerous occasions and is
endorsed by the ANC-Political Action Committee (ANC-PAC). Montebello City
Treasurer Guzman, was honored by the ANCA San Gabriel Valley Chapter in 2004
for her public service.
While most officials briefly visited to express their support and gratitude
for the ANCA, others stopped by to discuss pressing issues. Assemblymember
Jerome Horton, who delivered a stirring address at this year's
commemoration at
the Montebello Armenian Martyr's Monument, spoke at length with Azizian and
thanked the ANCA for its continued support. Horton is a candidate for the
California State Board of Equalization. He also commended the ANCA for its
tireless pursuit of justice for the Armenian genocide and efforts to confront
the ongoing genocide in Darfur. These sentiments were echoed by Assemblymember
Paul Koretz, who expressed his appreciation for ANCA community activists on
this issue.
"Each year, the ANCA welcomes this opportunity to ensure our issues are
appropriately included in the general conscious of the party," said Haig
Hovsepian. "It was a pleasure connecting with so many Californian officials
and
activists, and we look to expand these relationships in the coming months."

The ANCA is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots
political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices,
chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated
organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the
Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

6) Armenian President Awards German Author

YEREVAN (Yerkir)--President Robert Kocharian presented a prize Friday to
German
author Edgar Hilsenrat for his significant contribution to the process of
Armenian genocide recognition.
The prize, awarded by a presidential decree on April 15, is for Hilsenrat's
novel "The Tale of the Last Thought."

7) ANCA Helps Raise Awareness on Southland Campuses

LOS ANGELES--In various student-organized events commemorating the Armenian
genocide, the ANCA joined southland Armenian Student Associations (ASA) to
provide historical background on the issue and brief students about ongoing
efforts of Armenian genocide recognition, the importance of activism, as well
as Turkey's ongoing campaign of denial.

California State University, Northridge

On Thursday, April 22, ANC Professional Network Executive Committee member
Boghos Patatian, spoke at the annual candlelight vigil organized by the
California State University, Northridge ASA. His message highlighted the duty
of the college youth in seizing every opportunity to advance the Armenian
community and the community-at-large.
"This tremendous collection of young people should be commended for their
achievements. It is both overwhelming and satisfying that these youth are not
indifferent to the Armenian Cause. It is an honor to those who were denied an
education because they perished during the Genocide, and the ANCA is proud to
be able to help facilitate this through its direction and resources," noted
Patatian.
"I appreciated his emphasis that April 24 is not just one day, but that the
Armenian Cause must be pursued every day of the year," remarked Terenig
Topjian
about Patatian's address.
Topjian, an officer and event organizer with the CSUN ASA, explained that
when
fellow students approach him asking about the Genocide, his confidence in the
impact and importance of such events is simply reaffirmed. He pointed out that
the event received coverage by both the CSUN daily newspaper the "Sundial,"
and
local television network KTLA.

All Armenian Student Association

ANCA Western Region board member Raffi Hamparian, delivered the keynote
address at the annual All-Armenian Student Association commemoration on April
22. Organized by over a dozen ASAs throughout southern California colleges,
the
event, with the theme "A Call to Action," was the subject of a lengthy article
in Monday's edition of the UCLA Daily Bruin student newspaper.

University of Southern California

In addition to many community-wide events on April 24, the ANCA also joined
the University of Southern California (USC) for its annual campus
commemoration
at Tommy Trojan, which featured ANCA Western Region board chairman Steve
Dadaian.
"Mr. Dadaian highlighted the Republic of Turkey's continued campaign of
denial
that not only targets our government, but our campuses as well," noted USC ASA
officer Ruzan Antossyan, who was the day's emcee.
The USC event featured exhibits covering the history of the Genocide as well
as ANCA prepared petitions to key members of US House of Representative
calling
on a vote on pending Armenian genocide legislation. "We reached out to a broad
campus audience."
Fellow USC ASA officer Mercedes Aline Arslanian enthusiastically said that
nearly 300 petitions were signed. "When I see people genuinely interested in
the program, and expressing increased interest about the Genocide and what
they
can do, I know we are succeeding."

University of California Irvine

ANC Orange County member Ara Malazian delivered the keynote address at the
University of California Irvine (UCI) ASA's annual candlelight vigil that
featured Genocide survivor Yeghsapet Garabedian, and drew numerous
non-Armenian
students. Malazian highlighted the importance of keeping the issue of justice
for the Armenian genocide at the forefront of the community's thoughts and
actions.
Though the event was disrupted by a few Turkish students shouting vulgar
comments and waving the Turkish flag, campus police readily maintained order.
"It means we are making a difference and raising awareness when they have to
stoop to such levels," said UCI ASA Vice President Sarkis Abajian.
Pointing to Malazian's address that emphasized Turkey's failure in attempting
to destroy Armenians, Abajian said, "Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that
we did survive and now thrive." And as a result, he explained that Armenians
have made progress in pursuing justice for the Armenian genocide. "There was
more discussion and awareness about the Genocide on campus this year. There
were a lot of non-Armenian students who participated in the vigil. We are
pushing forward."

Not confined to college campuses, the ANCA also participated in a number of
commemorations at local high schools and youth organizations including Grant
HS, Calabasas HS, Ferrahian HS, and at the Homenetmen Glendale "Ararat"
chapter's assembly.

8) Families of Migrant Workers Stunned by Sudden Loss

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)--Sochi may be known as Russia's most popular seaside resort,
but most of the mainly Armenian passengers of the fatal flight to the Black
Sea
city were far from holiday travelers.
At least 80 of them were citizens of Armenia. Some were well-to-do
individuals
that used to hold senior government positions and planned to enjoy themselves
at Sochi's beaches and hotels. But the vast majority of others were economic
migrants that work in Russia on a seasonal or permanent basis.
Much of the large-scale labor migration from Armenia to Russia has a seasonal
character and usually takes places in the spring.
Mesrop Piliposian, a 24 year old resident of the southern town of Armavir,
was
due to make a journey familiar to tens of thousands of unemployed Armenians
for
the first time in his life. His elder brother already worked in southern
Russia
and promised to find him a job there.
His family hoped that he will get married soon. All they want now is to find
his body and bring it home. Piliposian's brother and uncle, also in Sochi,
began late Wednesday the grim task of trying to identify his body, but have
not
been successful so far.
"Losing him is such a huge pain," the young man's sobbing aunt said as she
stood outside his ramshackle Armavir house with several friends and
relatives.
Hamlet Abgarian, another Armavir resident, traveled to Russia for the same
reason. "He hoped to earn some money and come back," said Khoren, a friend of
the 36 year old father of two. "He had some friends there. They invited him."
Abgarian boarded the Armavia plane bound for Sochi with his 21-year-old
neighbor, Vram. The latter had just finished his military service and could
not
find a job in Armavir. "Vram had one goal: to earn some money and create his
own family," said one of his relatives. "It's very hard to do that here."
The tragic fate of these and other victims of the plane crash is unlikely to
keep other people from various parts of Armenia from traveling to Russia for
seasonal or permanent work. Dozens of such people, most of them residents of a
village in northwestern Armenia, waited for a delayed Armavia flight to Moscow
at Yerevan's Zvartnots on Thursday. Many admitted fearing for their lives
after
Wednesday's crash but said they have no other choice.
We are leaving with fear in our hearts," said one middle-aged man. "But we
have to go."
"Whether or not you are scared, you have to support your family," argued one
of his companions.
Another group of men, from Armenia's second largest city of Gyumri, were
traveling to Moscow en route to the remote eastern Siberian region of Yakutia.
"My mother, father and wife were begging me to stay at home," said one of
them.
"But how can I support them live if I stay here?"

9) Prelate Expresses Condolences for Lives Lost in Armavia Plane Crash

His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, expressed his
condolences with heartfelt sympathy to Gagik Giragossian, Consul General of
Armenia, for the lives lost in the tragic plane crash of Wednesday's Armavia
Airlines flight on its way to Sochi, Russia.
On behalf of the Prelacy Religious and Executive Councils, the Prelate also
sent a letter of condolence to President Robert Kocharian, and announced that
special requiem services would take place in all Prelacy churches on Sunday,
May 7.
At noon on Friday, special requiem services were conducted at St. Mary's
Church in Glendale for the souls of the victims of the plane crash.
Representing the Prelate, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian delivered a message to
the faithful and urged them to have a moment of silence at 2:15 PM, the
time of
the crash, to remember the victims.
Following the service, Rev. Razmig Khatchadourian and Peklar Pilavjian,
representing the Religious and Executive Councils of our Prelacy respectively,
visited the Armenian Consulate and personally expressed condolences on behalf
of the Prelacy to the Consul General and the Consulate staff.

10) AYF Offers Condolences to Friends And Family of Crash Victims

The Armenian Youth Federation was saddened to hear about the tragic crash of
Armavia Airlines. The loss of our brothers and sisters weighs heavily on all
our hearts. The members of the AYF Western Region express their
condolences to
the family and friends of all those who perished in the May 3, 2006 Armavia
Airline tragedy.

--Armenian Youth Federation - Western Region, Central Executive

11) Schiff Names Seta Simonian 'Woman of the Year' for California's 29th
District

WASHINGTON, DC--Congressman Adam Schiff named Seta Simonian "Woman of the
Year"
for California's 29th District at a luncheon on Tuesday, March 21, 2006. Each
year, in honor of Women's History Month, Congressman Schiff pays special
tribute to the contributions made by outstanding women in our community.
"There are few professions more deserving of recognition than that of
teacher,
and it is a real pleasure to honor Seta for her years of service in Glendale,"
said Schiff. "She has inspired so many, especially with her devotion to art
and
music and to promoting and preserving the treasures and the beauty of Armenian
culture and heritage."
Simonian was born in Aleppo, Syria and at age 11 moved to Beirut, Lebanon.
After graduating from the American University of Beirut at the age of 22, she
married Hratch Simonian. The Simonians lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for 8
years, then moved to California in 1985. Since 1987, Seta, her husband, and
their 2 children, Karin and Sebouh, have resided in Glendale.
Soon after moving to California, Simonian cofounded and chaired the
Hamazkayin
Educational and Cultural Society of Pasadena. She is a current member of
Arvest
and Artee Cultural Groups of Hamazkayin, and since 1994, has been the chair of
the Hamazkayin Music Committee, which collaborates with artists in Armenia and
releases authentic CDs and classical Armenian music. She is currently an
assistant for the Hamazkayin Student Forum held in Armenia every summer.
Simonian was also an anchor at Horizon Armenian TV in Glendale for 3 years. A
cofounder of the Committee of Armenian Students in the Public Schools, she is
also a member of the Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Educational
Foundation, Armenian International Women's Association, the National Education
Association, and the California and Glendale Teachers' Associations.
Simonian received her Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the American
University of Beirut, and a Master's in Education Administration from
California State University Los Angeles. She has a teaching diploma, a
bilingual teaching certificate, and has completed an Armenian Studies
program.
A wonderful role model for her students, Simonian has been a teacher for over
30 years and is currently teaching math at Wilson Middle School in Glendale.
Congressman Schiff represents California's 29th Congressional District, which
includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East
San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena
and
Temple City.

12) Chamlian Students Bring Home Awards

LA CRESCENTA--Competing against nine other Armenian schools, Chamlian students
won the first prize at the Ararat home Quiz Bowl on Armenian History on April
2, 2006. The Chamlian team, composed of Talar Alexanian, Sophia Keshishian,
Talar Kossakian, and Daniel Akai, had been training for several weeks with
teachers Arax Zarzavatjian and Ani Berberian. This is the fourth time that
Chamlian is winning the first prize.
"We are really proud of our students "said Teacher Arax Zarzavatjian. "They
have worked very hard to bring the trophy home" she added.
On the same day, another group of Chamlian students were busy competing with
several other Armenian students in the Science Olympiad of AESA (Armenian
Engineers and Scientists of America). The finals took place at the Grand Salon
on the California State University, Northridge campus. The following Chamlian
students won prizes for their work: Garen Arabian and John Azizian (first and
third place, respectively, in Physics), Krikor Bornazyan (second place in
Biology), and Dveen Babayan (second place in Engineering).

13) ATP Plants Trees in 75 Armenian Communities This Spring

YEREVAN--Since the early 1990s, Armenia Tree Project (ATP) has been
successfully collaborating with local communities and institutions to plant
hundreds of thousands of trees through its Community Tree Planting (CTP)
program.
The CTP program begins by surveying prospective sites and communities wishing
to receive trees. The program uses criteria such as the availability of
irrigation water, soil quality, caretakers, and residents' enthusiasm for
planting and growing trees. With this flagship program, ATP has collaborated
with people at over 500 sites in Yerevan and every region throughout Armenia,
including Artsakh.
On a daily basis, three ATP monitors--Navasard Dadyan, Arthur Harutunyan, and
Seyran Hovhannisyan--evaluate potential planting sites and visit sites that
were planted in previous years to check growth rates and provide technical
assistance. By the end of March, ATP selected 77 community sites that were
eligible to receive seedlings, and had begun the process of helping residents
plant nearly 25,000 new trees at schools, senior centers, orphanages,
hospitals, kindergartens, and other non-profit institutions.
To ensure a high survival rate at CTP sites, ATP publishes training material
on tree planting and tree care. Prior to planting, ATP distributes this
information to local residents and trains them on topics such as the proper
depth for planting new seedlings, how often to irrigate seedlings, and how to
monitor the growth of the trees. ATP also distributes hoses, shovels, and
other
supplies and equipment as needed.
Sites in eight regions of Armenia--Armavir, Aragatsotn, Vayots Dzor, Shirak,
Ararat, Kotayk, Syunik, and Lori--received fruit and decorative trees from ATP
for village orchards, backyards, gardens, and common spaces.
"In a few years, the people in these villages will be able to reap fruitful
harvests and be in a position to receive great benefits from these trees,"
emphasized CTP Program Manager Anahit Gharibyan. Last year alone, ATP's trees
in various communities had a harvest of over 250,000 pounds of apricots,
apples, peaches, plums, and cherries.
ATP's nurseries in the refugee villages of Karin and Khachpar produce all of
the seedlings that are planted by the CTP program each year. Some of the
neighborhoods in Yerevan that received trees include Malatia, Sebastia,
Davitashen, Achapniak, and Zeytun Kanaker. ATP also planted trees at the State
Medical University, European Regional Academy, and Genocide Memorial Park. The
CTP program is planning to plant an additional 125,000 seedlings from one of
ATP's other nurseries this spring.
ATP was founded in 1994 with the vision of securing Armenia's future by
protecting its environment and restoring its degraded forests. ATP advances
Armenia's socio-economic development by mobilizing resources for large-scale
reforestation, community-based tree planting, environmental education and
advocacy, and rural development through job creation. ATP uses trees to
improve
the standard of living of Armenians, promoting self-sufficiency and aiding
those with fewest resources first.
Over the past 12 years, ATP has planted and rejuvenated over 750,000 trees.
With the establishment of the new Mirak Family reforestation nursery in
Margahovit and expansion of the backyard nursery program in the Getik River
Valley, ATP's Rural and Mountainous Development (RMD) program is working
toward
the goal of planting over one million trees in 2006. For additional
information
about the RMD program and to support ATP, visit their website at
<http://www.armeniatree.org/>www.armeniat ree.org.

14) Restitution of Armenian Rights Is The Foundation of Genocide Recognition

By Seto Boyadjian, Esq.

The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has penned an article,
"Turkey's Historic Journey," in "The World in 2006" annual issue of the
English
weekly magazine The Economist. Drumming up the significance of his country's
membership in the European Union, Mr. Erdogan writes: "Since its foundation,
the Republic of Turkey has always sought to become a constructive and
responsible member of the international community, working to promote an
environment of peace and prosperity."
Reading this self-serving statement, we immediately resort to our routine
reaction. How can the successor state to the empire that committed the first
genocide of the twentieth century become a constructive and responsible member
of the international community, when it has--ever since its
foundation--constantly refused to acknowledge the act of genocide perpetrated
by its predecessor against the Armenian people? How can Turkey have the
audacity to claim that it has promoted world peace and prosperity, when it has
steadfastly pursued a policy of denial against the Armenian genocide?
These seemingly normal reactions are exclusively based on the recognition of
the Armenian genocide. It has become commonplace for us to view the issues
relating to Turkey from the prism of Genocide recognition. Based on this
reasoning, we must emphasize the familiar fact that, at present our claims
against Turkey are overwhelmingly based on the Genocide recognition. We have
started developing a mindset that the act of Genocide acknowledgment
constitutes the objective of our political work targeting Turkey.
Needless to say, we should not underestimate the importance of Genocide
acknowledgment and the works undertaken toward that end. Yet, at the same
time,
we cannot ignore the fact that our understanding of the Armenian Cause is not
limited to the recognition of the Armenian genocide. The Armenian Cause has
its
comprehensive definition, wherein the fundamental objective is to obtain
complete human, territorial, political, economic and legal restitution for the
Armenian people. In this sense, restitution forms the foundational premise for
the acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide.
Perhaps there is a need to refresh our memory about the development of the
work for our political cause. From the beginning the issue of territorial,
material, and human restitution has been at the core of the definition of the
Armenian Cause and its objective. At the time when Armenia was under Soviet
totalitarian rule and the survivors of the genocide, scattered around the
world, were occupied with the immediate organization of the diaspora
communities, the work for the Armenian Cause fell on the political leadership
of the diaspora.
During this time, we had not yet achieved the level of popular participation
in our political works. People had confined themselves to the commemorative
ceremonies of the Genocide and had entrusted the political leadership with the
task of pursuing our political claims. However, both the people and the
leadership had no doubt that the objective of the Armenian Cause was to
achieve
territorial, material, and human restitution for the Armenian people. Based on
this, for decades the Armenian political leadership pleaded international
organizations and major powers through diplomatic relations and memorandums,
demanding territorial, material, and human restitution for the Armenian
people.

In 1965, the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Armenian genocide marked the
beginning of the popular claims for restitution. The Armenian people in
Armenia
and the diaspora not only commemorated the event together, but also
appealed in
unity to the world for the restoration of its usurped national and territorial
rights. The objective of this demand was very clear. From the homeland to the
most remote communities of the Diaspora, the Armenian people demanded their
lands. For the Armenian people, recognition of the Armenian genocide could not
possibly satisfy its claim for rights. The Armenian Cause could only be
resolved justly with the complete reestablishment of the usurped rights of the
Armenian people--with the return of the occupied Armenian homeland to its
rightful owners.
The popular struggle to regain our ancestral lands had its natural evolution.
Demonstrative activities led to the politicization of the Armenian people. The
awareness of conflicting interests became a part of popular political
reasoning. In turn, this awareness expanded the quality and reach of our
political work. We prepared with the expectation for an extended struggle,
where we encountered an unperturbed Turkey and its supporting cast of major
powers. Soon, walls of silence were erected against Armenian claims. To break
down these walls, young Armenians were compelled to resort to our
revolutionary
traditions. They were able to open up cracks in the walls and make the
voice of
Armenian claims heard.
After 1985, somewhere and somehow, the priority of our claim for territorial
restitution was eclipsed. Instead, we began gradually to focus on the
agenda of
Genocide recognition. This development took place without fully examining or
taking into account the negative consequences or ramification to our
territorial demands. We can, of course, reason that the work for Genocide
recognition also implies the restitution of territorial, material, and human
rights for the Armenian people. Yet how much of this reasoning corresponds to
the reality of our efforts for recognition? We have to clarify, emphasize, and
publicize its suggested implication in order to register our and Turkey's
awareness that complete restitution of Armenian territorial, material, and
human rights constitutes the foundation of the Armenian genocide
acknowledgment.
Otherwise, if we leave the impression that genocide recognition is an end in
itself, we will encounter two certain obstacles in the years ahead.
The first concerns our new generation. By separating Genocide recognition
from
its restitutional foundation, our new generation will develop the conviction
that the objective of the Armenian Cause will achieve finality through the
acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide. Should Turkey accept its genocidal
act
and apologize to the Armenian people, it will be very difficult for us to
reeducate and prepare our young generation for the next phase of struggle for
restitution.
The second involves Turkey and other concerned powers. In the political and
legal world, a claim or a complaint is accepted and decided on by its contents
and demands. When our claim lies solely in Genocide recognition, then our
claim
will be viewed in that context and the rendered decision will be limited to
our
demand for recognition only. Thus, in the case where Turkey recognizes and
accepts the Armenian genocide, our subsequent claim for restitution will
become
untenable. Both Turkey and other concerned powers will deny our demands based
on the reasoning that the issue of restitution was not part of the initial
claim for recognition.
We should not pretend to be naive. Not only Turkey, but also many countries
that claim to be friendly to us, prefer to limit the Armenian Cause to the
objective of Genocide recognition. After all, without the prospects of
restitution, the acknowledgment of a criminal act is both harmless and
uneventful. Paraphrasing the old adage, sticks and stones may break our bones,
but words alone will not hurt. Thus, Genocide recognition without
restitutional
consequences is a toothless proposition that may be acceptable to Turkey and
other concerned powers, and sooner rather than later become reality. In that
event, we will face a political fait accompli, where we will be forced to
start
anew our struggle for restitution.
So, if acknowledgment of genocide is not a self-serving objective, then we
have to define and expound its foundational purpose and openly own and
advocate
that purpose. To do this, we have to ask ourselves: What objectives do the
Armenian people intend to achieve through Genocide recognition? The answer is
very short and simple:
First, the objective of Armenian genocide recognition is the return of the
occupied Armenian homeland by Turkey.
Second, Genocide recognition is a means aimed at the reestablishment of
justice and restitution of material and legal rights of the Armenian people.
Third, through Genocide acknowledgment, truth will be established to heal the
collective grief and dignity of the Armenian people.
It has not been and will not be an easy task to pursue and achieve these
foundational targets of the Armenian Cause. But, without the acceptance and
inclusion of these targets, the act of Armenian genocide acknowledgment
will be
rendered aimless. It is very simple, for tactical concerns, for us to separate
these targets from our efforts for Genocide recognition, but we can not
turn it
into a strategy by prolonging that separation over decades.

15) We're All Immigrants

By Garen Yegparian

Unless you're living in Africa and have for hundreds of millennia, you're an
immigrant- that according to the current scientific understanding of where our
species arose. Then we spread from that continent to others, a phenomenon now
described by the words emigration and immigration.
It seems that extremist elements in American society want to "put immigrants
back in their place." How else do you explain the radical/ridiculous bills
floating around both houses of Congress? It's just like trying to shove gays
back in the closet. Both of these along with numerous other issues such as
teaching evolution or gun ownership serve only to rive the body politic. They
serve as so called "wedge issues" to "activate the base" of some political
faction.
Let's face it, human population shifts are a force of nature. You might as
well try to stop a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, or glacial motion.
Think of
the Huns, Turks, or Europeans as economic forces drove them to leave their
native lands seeking hoped-for (not always fulfilled), greener pastures. Or,
for that matter, consider our distant ancestors' departures from Africa. So
the whole "Mexicans are coming" fear-mongering used by the likes of the (new)
Minutemen (what an insult these scum are to the originals in Lexington and
Concord) and some members of the House and Senate is really nothing but the
vilest of pandering to the basest of human inclinations.
Of course this foolishness is given a patina of respectability by cloaking it
in the language of "respect for the law." Wasn't this addressed during the
French Revolution or thereabouts? You know, the whole notion of the law, in
its magnanimous majesty equally forbidding a pauper and rich man from sleeping
under a bridge? To argue that a simple, possibly barely literate peasant, who
needs to feed his family, must to jump through the hoops of American
immigration procedure, to get a minimum wage job, is to argue that living in
destitution is a good and acceptable thing. Where were these minutemen's
law-loving ancestors when the natives of the Americas were slaughtered by the
hundreds of thousands to allow those same ancestors to farm and fish those
stolen lands and waters? Where were they when small-pox laden blankets were
distributed in an early example of biological warfare? Where were they when
the bison were driven to near extinction through slaughter, just to eliminate
the food source of the Plains Indians as another means of Genocide?
This whole issue ought not exist. It's plain ridiculous. But since it is
being driven by the United States' ascendant reactionary forces, we're all
stuck with it. So consider the effect this has on our Armenian community, at
various levels, all quite insidious. When people's fear of "darkies" is
activated, we suffer. When "immigrants" become a target, we take a hit. When
"legality" is an issue, a significant chunk of our community is at risk.
So many of us, just like Central Americans and others, are in the US not just
to support themselves, but also families in the home country. Our
"bantoukhd"-s of yore are back. This time, instead of saving the ancestral
hearth, home, and farm from corrupt Turkish tax officials, it's to save
Armenia
from depopulation as a consequence of the neo-liberal economic policies being
foisted on the developing world by Washington through the World Bank, IMF, and
other agencies and policies. I see precious little difference between the
motivations of these two people: the guy from the Mayan high country
working in
California's agricultural sector at poverty wages because his farming cannot
compete with the mega-agribusiness concerns that sell corn at incredibly
cheap,
government subsidized, rates; the guy from Coomayree (Giumri) working in Los
Angeles' jewelry district, off the books, again a at pathetically low pay
rate.

All I know is, on Tuesday, the day after the big immigrant marches, I had a
conversation with a compatriot on the bus to work. He asked if I'd worked the
day before, which I had. He'd thought everything in downtown LA was
closed, it
wasn't. The conversation went on. He asked about the proposed laws being
discussed in Congress. When I pointed out that anything passed would apply to
and impact us just as much as any Mexican, you should have seen the worried
look that settled on his face.
What our hateful, petty, and clueless electeds are advocating is, quite
simply, making it a felony to work to feed yourself and your family. Why?
Because somebody decided to draw a line on a map called a "border" that in
today's world is meaningless. Air and water (polluted on one side) along with
all kinds of goods travel across this border unhindered (think NAFTA). Only
when it comes to human beings do our Washington vermin and their yahoo
supporters want to act, arguing that "illegal" immigration costs the country
hundreds of millions of dollars. Note: These are the same people who sit idly
by as invasive species, along with pollution, moved around the world as a
by-product of commerce, cause untold billions of dollars in economic damage.
Invasive shellfish clog water supply lines in the Great Lakes. Water-hogging
plants brought for ornamentation cause huge damage in arid parts of the
country. Pythons in Florida spread unchecked. Hawaii's unique animals are
endangered. These are non-issues, evidently, but decent people, following
economic incentives are to be criminalized.
I sure hope some of us participated in the immigrant demonstrations
somewhere. It's outright shameful that we didn't do so intentionally,
organizedly, and in large numbers. These massive expressions of popular
sentiment and the attendant business closures and boycotts are also
instructive. Those who argue that closing down businesses on April 24 is
pointless should heed the lessons of the last few days. Unless they're
oblivious, they cannot have missed the discussions of how immigrant economic
prowess was manifested.
Let's smarten up and engage. It's not too late.

16) System Of A Down Press for Armenian Genocide Recognition During Three-Day
Washington, DC Advocacy Tour

--Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan Meet Speaker Hastert; Visit with Members of
Congress; Hold Media Interviews; Host Screening of New Genocide Documentary;
and Join Rally at Turkish Embassy

WASHINGTON, DC--Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan of the Grammy Award-winning
band System Of A Down raised awareness, garnered national press attention on
the Armenian genocide, and pressed legislators for action on legislation
condemning this crime during their three-day advocacy tour of the nation's
capital, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Among the highlights of the visit were the following:
* An unscheduled meeting with Speaker Dennis Hastert, during which Serj
reminded the Speaker about the band's past attempts to arrange a meeting to
discuss the Armenian genocide, briefed him about their ongoing positive
meetings with legislators, and pointed out that the fate of Armenian genocide
legislation rested in the Speaker's hands. The Speaker noted that he hadn't
looked at the band's letter yet, but promised to read it.
* A series of strategy meetings with legislators on both the House and Senate
sides of the Capitol. Among those they met with concerning the adoption of
Armenian Genocide legislation were Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA),
Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO); Congressmen George Radanovich (R-CA) and Adam
Schiff (D-CA), the lead authors of Armenian Genocide legislation before the US
House; Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Co-Chairman of the Congressional
Armenian Caucus, and; Representatives Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) and Devin Nunes
(R-CA).
* The opportunity to meet dozens of legislators, including House Rules
Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA), at the ANCA's annual Armenian Genocide
observance on Capitol Hill on April 26. This remembrance, which drew 40
Senators and Representatives, featured the presentation of the ANCA's
'Voice of
Justice' Award to System Of A Down. The band members were joined at this event
by David Alpay, the star of Atom Egoyan's groundbreaking film on the Armenian
genocide, "Ararat."
* The first-ever screening, on April 25, of excerpts from "Screamers," a
powerful and innovative new film by Carla Garapedian about the band's efforts
to secure justice for the Armenian genocide. The film, which was
enthusiastically received by the Capitol Hill audience, was followed by an
extensive question and answer session.
* A series of media interviews, including an April 25 hour-long on-air
discussion about the Armenian genocide on DC-101's "Elliot in the Morning"
show, Washington, DC's leading morning radio program.
* Stories about their advocacy tour appeared in influential publications
across Capitol Hill and around the country, including the Los Angeles Times
and
the Gannett News Service. Congressional Quarterly, the highly regarded weekly
publication, ran a story quoting Serj Tankian stressing that, "for the
government to still deny this historical truth is an absolute travesty." The
Hill, an influential Congressional publication, quoted John Dolmayan as saying
that he would continue his work until Congress recognizes the genocide:
"Even a
blade of grass can break through concrete, and I'd rather be the grass than
the
concrete."
* Serj and John both took part in an April 24 anti-denial rally outside the
Turkish Embassy organized by the ANCA and Armenian Youth Federation. Prominent
among the more than 1,000 participants in the rally was Alecko Eskandarian,
star forward of the DC United soccer team.

Meeting with Speaker Hastert

The unplanned meeting with the Speaker came on the heels of more than seven
months of efforts by System Of A Down to schedule a meeting with him to
discuss
Congressional recognition of the Armenian genocide. Last September, Serj and
John traveled personally to the Speaker's district office in Batavia,
Illinois,
along with hundreds of their fans, to deliver a letter requesting a meeting
about allowing a vote on Armenian genocide legislation that had recently been
overwhelmingly approved by the House International Relations Committee.
Despite these repeated efforts over the course of more than half a year, the
Speaker's office has not scheduled a meeting with SOAD, nor has he responded
positively to a series of meeting requests from the leadership of the Armenian
American community. During this time period, however, Foreign Agent
Registration Act filings at the Justice Department reveal that the Speaker has
met personally with senior Turkish officials and their lobbyist Bob
Livingston,
who is paid close to $2 million a year to oppose American reaffirmation of the
Armenian genocide.
Over 15,000 individual ANCA WebFaxes have been sent from across the United
States urging the Speaker to allow a vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution.

System Of A Down

The members of System Of A Down, Serj Tankian, Daron Malakian, John Dolmayan,
and Shavo Odadjian, who are of Armenian descent, all personally lost family
members and family history to the Armenian genocide. "Because so much of my
family history was lost in the Armenian genocide," said Malakian, "my
grandfather, who was very young at the time, doesn't know his true age. How
many people can say they don't know how old they are?" Tankian, Dolmayan, and
Odadjian all identify their grandparents' memories as the only links they have
to their respective family heritages, as most of their families were
obliterated during the Armenian genocide.
Having won a Grammy Award this year, debuted two #1 Billboard albums in 2005,
and having sold over 16 million records around the world, System Of A Down has
a tremendous nationwide following and loyal fan base, who have heeded their
call to action on social justice issues, including support of legislation
recognizing the Armenian genocide. The band's efforts have gained national
press attention in hundreds of articles appearing in the New York Times, Los
Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, MTV, BBC, VH1, ABC,
FOX, WB, and Rolling Stone.

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From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress