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For the 27th year, thousands of Armenian Americans and their supporters will gather in Times Square (Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets) to commemorate the first genocide of the 20th Century: the Armenian Genocide (1915-23). To be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012 from 2-4 PM, this historic event will pay tribute to the 1.5 million Armenians who were annihilated by the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Empire.
The Commemoration will also celebrate the survival and spirit of the Armenian people, their rich heritage and global contributions. Major political figures will speak as well as civic, humanitarian and educational leaders. This event is free and open to the public.
The theme of the Commemoration is “Turkey Is Guilty of Genocide; Denying the Undeniable Is a Crime.” Most recently, France has strongly reinforced its position on denying the Armenian Genocide. On Monday, January 23, 2012, the French Senate passed a bill in a 127 to 86 vote to criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
The bill is scheduled to be signed within the next few weeks by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose UMP party championed the measure to become law. The new bill will punish anyone who denies the Armenian Genocide with a year in jail and fine of 45,000 euros (around $57,000).
Armenian Genocide experts Dennis R. Papazian, PhD, National Grand Commander of Knights of Vartan, and Dr. Arthur Kubikian, former Chairman of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square (1999 and 2006), are available for media interviews. Armenian Genocide survivors (ages 99+) are also available to discuss their eyewitness accounts as refugees from the Armenian Genocide.
Their painful accounts of the horrendous horrors and mass destruction they witnessed and lived through are critical contributions to world history. Dr. Papazian comments, “There is no question that when genocide goes unpunished, it makes other perpetrators discount the possibility of being punished for their transgressions.
The Turkish government to this day continues to deny the reality of the first genocide of the 20th Century, the Armenian Genocide, which opened the door to all the genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries, including the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. In fact, when Hitler sent his Death Heads troops into Poland at the beginning of World War II, he said, ‘Go. Kill without mercy. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?’”
ISSUES TO EXPLORE WITH EXPERTS:
The 97th Commemoration is organized by the Mid-Atlantic chapters of Knights & Daughters of Vartan, http://www.knightsofvartan.org, http://www.knightsofvartan.ca, an international Armenian fraternal organization, and co-sponsored by Armenian General Benevolent Union, http://www.agbu.org;
Participating Organizations: Diocese of the Armenian Church, Prelacy of the Armenian Church, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Presbyterian Church, Armenian Evangelical Church, Armenian Catholic Eparchy for US and Canada, Mid-Atlantic ACYOA, AYF, and Armenian Youth Organizations.