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Throngs Back at Times Square for Commemoration

Throngs Back at Times Square for Commemoration

Menendez noted that Turkey has spent millions of dollars on public relations and political lobbyists to deny the past, while prosecuting, jailing, and even assassinating writers, historians, and journalists who speak the truth.

“Turkey tries to cover up historical facts undermining the fundamental fact of the freedom of speech,” said Menendez, who stated that the only way to overcome the denial is to continue to stand up together in solidarity. “This is a cause I’ve cared about deeply and it’s a cause that’s close to my heart, and I’m proud that even as American leaders and allies remained silent on this issue, I did not.”

Menendez blocked US ambassadorial nominees from their positions because of their refusal to refer to the Armenian Genocide as a genocide, he introduced resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide since he came to the Senate in 2006, and he urged both Democrats and Republicans to acknowledge the truth, despite Turkey’s threats to close military bases.

“I went to the floor of the US Senate time after time and fought my colleagues who would deny the Armenian Genocide and not agree to pass the resolution until I shamed them into admitting it,” said Menendez. “That was a great victory, but our fight is not over. When Turkey continues its campaign of denials and threats, when Azerbaijan launches a war against Artsakh with Turkey’s full backing, resulting in appalling human rights abuses, these threats to the Armenian people cannot go unanswered.”

As Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez vowed to “continue to press this government to make sure they end military assistance to Azerbaijan because we cannot have another genocide.”

“We must fight for the truth even if dictators prefer silence,” said Menendez in closing. “We must hold accountable those committing genocide today even if it takes a lifetime, and if we back up our values ​​with actions and have the courage to stand up for our principles, I believe we will triumph over tyranny.”

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) drew a parallel between the human rights violations occurring in Ukraine and how “attention must also be paid to what is going on in Armenia right now as we speak.”

Congressman Thomas Suozzi

“We cannot have a waiver of a section of the law (Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act), that would hurt the Armenian people even more than they are right now,” said Suozzi. “I want you to know that I will always stand with the Armenian people, and long live (getzeh) Hayasdanand long live (getzeh) Artsakh.”

Senator Thomas Kean, Jr.

Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr., Minority Leader of the New Jersey Senate, stated the “atrocities against the Armenian people are never forgotten.”

“We know from history that intentionally ignoring crimes of humanity only ensures that atrocities like those will be repeated,” he said, highlighting that the Armenian Genocide and the deaths of 1.5 million men, women, and children, have been acknowledged and “universally condemned .”

New York State Sen. John Liu said that the “truth never disappears,” even after a century, and finally the President of the US “called what happened to 1.5 million people beginning in 1915 what it is — a genocide.”

Senator John Liu

“Until people recognize what happened, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again,” said Liu. “Recognition and apologies have to take place so the world makes amends the right way.”

Knights of Vartan Grand Commander Steven Adams

Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan, Steven Adams, reflected on the rich history of the Armenians and their perseverance in overcoming challenges, including the Battle of Vartanantz, which was a fight for their Christian faith.

“We still remember and commemorate this Battle, which took place 1,571 years ago, so to the world and to the Turkish government, let me assure you that we aren’t going away and we will never forget,” he said.

“The wound of denial will never heal on its own,” said Adams. “The historic lands of the Armenians are physically there and we can see them on the map, but the soul of that land is gone.”

Adams urged everyone to continue to speak the truth, noting that “our freedom requires us to proclaim that genocide has been committed and the world will not tolerate it as we ask for justice to those who perished and truth to those who deny.”

In his closing remarks and prayer, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, expressed that the Armenian Genocide is the “root of evil acts” and that even after 107 years, the “perpetrators deny it with arrogance.” Tanielian highlighted the 44-day Artsakh War in the fall of 2020 and the ongoing destruction of Armenian churches and cultural heritage sites.

“We stand with the victims of injustice around the world and we will stand with them until justice prevails,” Archbishop Tanielian concluded.

Singer Elie Berberian

The afternoon’s artistic program featured singer Elie Berberian, accompanied by pianists Paul Malakhanian and Lia Grigoryan, duduk player Vagharshak Aleksanyan, and musician Marco, who performed Komitas’s AnduniBocelli’s The Prayermore Hayer Miatzek, Adanayi Vokhpuh and kedashen.

Other organizations’ speakers included Bryan Ardouny (Armenian Assembly of America), Scott Ohengian (Armenian Bar Association), Alisa Hovagimian Unell (Armenian Council of America), Dr. Shahe Sanentz (Armenian Democratic Liberal Party), Natalie Gabrelian (Armenian General Benevolent Union ), Haig Kherlopian (Armenian Missionary Association of America), Dr. Ara Chalian (Armenian National Committee of America) and Fr. Richard Shakil (Roman Catholic Armenian Eparchy of America and Canada).

The opening prayer was made by Rev. Fr. Tavit Karamyan, representing Bishop Daniel Findikyan, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. Other clergy in attendance included representatives of the Roman Catholic Armenian Eparchy of America and Canada, as well as the Armenian Evangelical Church.

The Astghikner Vocal Ensemble of Brooklyn Armenian School sang the Armenian and American anthems and God Bless Americaunder the leadership of Maria Sahakyan.

Co-MC Nvair Beylerian

Armen McOmber, Esq. Teacher. Nvair Beylerian, and Lucine Beylerian led the program with conviction and passion.

Co-MC Lucine Beylerian

The results of the 2022 Knights and Daughters of Vartan International Armenian Genocide Essay Contest were announced, including first-place winner Gohar Grigoryan and second place recipient Diana Hakobyan. New York City and New York State Proclamations honoring the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide were also presented.

The 107th Armenian Genocide Commemoration in Times Square, New York, was broadcast live on the Armenian Radio Hour of New Jersey and live streamed on the Parev-TV YouTube Channel, thanks to the decades-long service of the Armenian Radio Hour volunteers.

The Knights and Daughters of Vartan have sponsored the Times Square Armenian Genocide Commemoration since 1985, along with the support of a multitude of Armenian-American community organizations. This year the event was co-chaired by Tigran Sahakyan and Ari Minnetyan, under the guidance of Chairman Emeritus Hirant Gulian.

-Taleen Babayan

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