Truth • Justice • Recognition

THE CRIMSON DAWN
Վարդահեղեղ Արշալոյս 

fire

Ու անհամբեր հեռո՜ւն, հեռո՜ւն ակնապիշ
Պիտի սպասեն վարդահեղեղ գալուստին
Արշալոյսի մ’Արշալոյսի մը՝ որուն
(Հաւատացէք ինձ, Մայրեր)
Ես ոտնաձայնը կառնեմ…
    Դանիէլ Վարուժան

     1884-1915

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Mr. Zaven Khanjian delivering his message, “The Crimson Dawn” at Times Square, NYC, April 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Anahid Kaprielian

How I wish I could stand before you today and share the joyful news of the arrival of the ‘crimson dawn” as sung by the literary genius, Taniel Varoujan, sickled and silenced by evil hands at the turn of the last century.

Alas, the crimson dawn, the footsteps of which Varoujan assured the mothers of our innocent genocide victims to have heard, still lies in our future.

For 50 years after the Genocide, we struggled to stand up, recover and heal from our physical wounds. A generation of orphans lost their precious childhood for another generation to enjoy. And by the grace of God, thanks to God loving and God fearing people around the world, we rose back from the ashes and survived.

1965 brought us an awakening that burst into the open both in the Homeland, from behind the Iron Curtain and all around the Diaspora. Having survived, we took the road to quest for justice and collectively did a fairly good job. By the Centennial of the Genocide last year we confidently claimed a degree of reward and victory raising our national struggle to an unprecedented plateau of universal awareness, respect and recognition worthy of the cause and powerful in its impact.

I indeed realize that it is absurd to compare human pain and suffering. But the fact is that the crime committed against my people a century ago not only resulted in the ‘murder of a nation’ but in the uprooting of an indigenous race peacefully toiling on the lands they called home for many millennia. This fact should not fall victim to ‘absurdity’ and should never be forgotten. It deepens the pain and raises the magnitude of the crime reminding us of the prophet Elijah who took the Lord’s message to King Ahab saying “Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too?” «Մեռցուցիր ու կը ժառանգե՞ս ալ:» I Kings 21:19

Lives are priceless and can never be brought back.  But there is also a wealth of tangible and intangible loot that needs to be recovered and a crime that needs to be brought to justice.

Despite all of our many achievements we have not gained much on the road of reparations, restitution and recognition from the heirs of the perpetrators. All recognition, sympathy and acknowledgement in the civilized world have come with impunity and with no legal muscle. And the perpetrators themselves are in a coma of self-denial. Adding insult to injury, the same civilized world, with total acquiescence, turns a blind eye to the crime committed today by the same perpetrator in Syria or by a cousin in Nagorno Karabagh.

We can only depend on our selfless and sacrificial devotion and commitment to an iron ladle. I have an unwavering confidence in a new ‘miracle’ generation, regiments of professionals, excelling in the arts and sciences, education and business, journalism and public service, literature and technology and that is our way to go.

God incarnate advocated for the poor and the oppressed, challenged unjust behavior and confronted arrogance, promoted justice and condemned bigotry. Jesus Christ lashed out at the self-promoters at the temple. We will trust the Lord and struggle for justice all alone, today, tomorrow, for 50 more years or a hundred if need be. We will acquire the iron ladle in our pursuit of justice and together with immortal Varoujan

Impatiently and attentively staring afar
Will await the arrival of the crimson dawn
A dawn,
The footsteps of which,
-Believe me mothers-
I DO HEAR!

Zaven Khanjian
April 24, 2016
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Still Remembering, Still Demanding

Armenian Martyrs’ Day Article by Rev. L. Nishan Bakalian

Isn’t a hundred years long enough to hold on to this? Can’t you Armenians just put this behind you?

glassPeople may wonder why the Armenian Genocide has to be a topic for discussion 101 years after the fact. Each year on April 24th, Armenians throughout the world continue to hold commemorations. Even the UCC includes this date in its calendar. But why is it so important?

No serious scholar contests the fact that the Ottoman Turkish government and its successors carried out a premeditated plan of race extermination against its Christian minorities (Armenian, Assyrian, Greek) from 1915-1923. But today’s Turkish government spares no effort to cast doubts on it, steadfastly refusing to allow any recognition of the Armenian Genocide as a crime committed in its borders, and therefore allowing no restoration or reparation to be made. It remains a blight on the Turkish soul, as well as a wound on the Armenian soul, preventing much-needed healing to take place. Click here to to read full PDF article

 

Latest From Syria: April, 2016

The conflict in Syria and the exodus of a few million Syrians to neighboring countries is now in its fifth year. The length of this conflict tragically reminds us of the lives lost, as well as Syrian refugee and host-community children and adolescents who lack educational opportunities, who face serious social tensions and suffer from unfulfilled potentials and productivity. The Syrian people are experiencing a variety of hardships including isolation and insecurity, psychological distress, extended disruptions of education and exploitative employment.

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Today we still experience a war that has been raging in our beloved Syria for the last five years. The conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond Syria’s borders.

Concerning the situation in the city of Aleppo, we can say that life is becoming increasingly expensive and very difficult to cope with and add to this the constant lack of necessities. Normal electricity was something people had forgotten about since fifteen days. Water is also a problem.

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Unfortunately, at this time and since four long years there is a major security threat to all citizens of Aleppo. The sound of shells and grenades can be heard any time of the day and night and could target any place at any time.

A week ago, on April 8, Sbidag Azad Ghazarian, a Kamishli-Armenian serving in the Syrian Army was killed in action. Two days earlier, another ethnic-Armenian service man in the Syrian Armed Forces from Aleppo, Raffi Kazezian, was killed in action in Damascus.

Sbitag

Over the last few days, Aleppo’s Armenian-populated Nor Kyugh and Villat districts was attacked by missiles on April 14. The attack came from militant opposition groups breaking the ceasefire early in the morning. Some people sustained injuries and many buildings, including homes and stores, suffered extensive damage. Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsood district has also been the target of missile attacks and at least one missile struck the vicinity of the Karen Jeppe Armenian School [Jemaran] of Aleppo. Syrian Army Forces are making attempts to gain control of the targeted areas of the city. These latest attacks came a day after Syria’s Parliamentary Elections, which the Armenian community actively participated in.

The latest development in Aleppo City is also that the Syrian Air Force and Syrian Arab Army units continued targeting terrorist organizations on Wednesday, 13th of April 2016, destroying a position for Jabhat al-Nusra leaders in Daraa province and killing many terrorists in Aleppo, Homs, and Hama. Army units with a cover from the Syrian Air force targeted dens and gatherings of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations, which breached the cessation of hostilities in Aleppo countryside.

Army units backed by Syrian aircrafts carried out on Wednesday a series of intensive strikes against positions and gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations in Bans village, Hadieh and al-Eis hills and ICARDA area.

Air strikes destroyed many positions and gatherings for terrorists as well as vehicles equipped with various machine guns, arms, and ammunition.

Army units launched strikes on hotbeds, gatherings, and vehicles of terrorist organizations in al-Rashideen1 and four and Bani Zaid neighborhoods and destroyed them. An army unit eliminated the terrorist gatherings in Souran village near Azaaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

In the eastern countryside of Aleppo, dens and vehicles equipped with various machine guns for ISIS terrorists were destroyed in the area surrounding the Air force academy, al-Areemeh and Abad villages, Deir Hafer town and al-Bab city.

Despite of all above mentioned challenges, our people will continue to work for peace and safety. They will continue preparing for a good future for their children. Syria was in the past a beacon of light and we have great hopes that it will once more be one in the future as well with continuous co-existence, which has been one of the pillars of our nation. We, as the Armenian Community in Syria, will remain faithful and will keep our houses, churches, and organizations alive.

Being in the midst of the storm and yet at the same time having the grace and the power of Jesus Christ as such a reality in our lives where we can say, “The storms may rage, but through the power of God, they can’t destroy us.

We will stand with firm belief and will always be upfront in assessing the needs of our community and act accountably. We will continue to pray that violent conflict comes to end, and reconciliation processes begin.

Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President
Armenian Protestant Community in Syria

One Journey. One Voice From the Karabagh Trenches to the Syrian Golgotha.

United We Stand Tall

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Boys wounded in shelling during clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces, receive medical treatment in Stepanakert, Capital of Nagorno-Karabagh, April 4, 2016 (Karen Minasayan/AFP)


Five years ago an urgent appeal was transmitted from Syria and the AMAA responded.  A monumental and collective effort has been maintained since then, and the need continues to grow.  Even as news of a ceasefire caused many to breath a small sign of relief, our brothers and sisters in Syria need us now more than ever.

Our commitment remains to those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods, and who have been uprooted from their homes.  Our relief efforts, for the past six years, affects a generation of children and youth who have had opportunities taken from their grasps.  Our collective voice is a ray of light rising from among scattered ashes, which continue to smolder.

Our impact in Syria reaches back and reminds us of our common bond, back to that fateful day in 1915.  A 101 year old journey, which touches those far beyond Syria.  We stand tall on the journeys of our brothers and sisters, passed from generation to generation.   It is 2016 and our adversaries continue to place hurdles before us. From the “emergency expropriation” decision to confiscate the recently restored St. Giragos (Surp Giragos) Church in the Diyarbakir region of present-day Turkey, among a range of other religious sites to the current Azeri assault on the Nagorno-Karabagh border, we stand united to overcome and persevere.

Existing under a fragile cease-fire since 1994, violated regularly by sniper-fire, the “frozen conflict” between Nagorno-Karabagh and Azerbaijan erupted into a full-scale attack by the Azeris on April 2nd.  The AMAA commits resources for humanitarian aid to the families of casualties, the countless number of those injured, and relief supplies to volunteer servicemen and defenders of the border.

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President Serzh Sarkisian visits a military hospital in Yerevan where Armenian soldiers wounded in Nagorno-Karabagh receive treatment.

We stand firm on our position and ask those with the ability, to stop the suffering.  We will continue to take action to provide sustained access to immediate relief, resources and avenues of support to our people.  We ask that you continue to stand with us and help us continue our efforts.

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Nagorno-Karabagh: A house in the village of Talish seriously damaged by shelling from Azerbaijani army positions, April 6, 2016

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Support AMAA Syria and Nagorno-Karabagh Relief efforts

Inspirational March Update from Rev. Haroutune Selimian

President of the Armenian Evangelical Community of Syria
Christ is risen indeed…though the crucifixion hours turned into years in the case of Syria.
God has granted us many blessings and great mercies in the person of the risen Lord. We pray that God may save us from violence, discord, and confusion; and from every evil way.
Today…the next day of Easter. We are still experiencing the war that has been raging in our beloved Syria for the last five years. For over five years, we have not been able to take anything for granted. However, it does make us appreciate the small, small things of life, and rejoice that we are still alive.

Unfortunately, a week before the date, when all the news agencies were promoting the ceasefire there was a major security threat to Aleppo. A mortar bomb has hit the most Armenian populated are in Nor kugh and damaged buildings and burned cars and shops.

As a result of the missiles targeting the above-mentioned area, two Armenian citizens lost their lives (Nvart Fourounjian-Asadourian, b. 1955) and (Kevork Apraham Mgrditchian, b. 1994).

The latest development in Aleppo City is that electricity has returned for the first time since the war inflamed Syria, on the 4th of March for 3 hours a day.  Water is also a serious problem, which did not find its way to us so far.

In spite of all challenges our churches are still functioning just like before, mainly thanks to the support of AMAA and all our schools are up and running normally with over 1000 students and 135 teachers. The nine churches of the Armenian Evangelical Community in Syria, which are the Armenian Evangelical Bethel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church, the Armenian Evangelical Martyrs’ Church, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Christ, the Syriac Evangelical Church as well as the four Armenian Evangelical Churches in Kessab are actively responding to the needs of their communities with the limited resources and means at hand.
Despite these difficulties, we are continuing to help our families as well as individuals who are around us in the church and in our institutions. We are preparing food parcels for them, providing milk for their children, providing more scholarship aid for the Armenian students, while giving medical assistance for the sick. In addition, we try to secure housing rent for those who have lost their homes and keep on providing the families with clothes, mattresses and other household essentials.

One of our great services in this time of war is “Bethel Polyclinic” Ministry, which serves the Syrian people regardless of denominational affiliation by assisting those in need of medical care and helping patients with chronic diseases in need of long-time medical assistance.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the AMAA. We feel extremely humbled and yet so happy to have brothers and sisters in the AMAA who have never ever let us down. At the time of our greatest need, you were right there beside us. You did everything to contact us and listen to our sorrows, our struggles, our ‘not-knowing-what-to-do’ and you stood up for us and you were there in person closer than a brother and sister.
Your support and compassion have gone far beyond words and as a representative of the suffering people of Aleppo I can tell you that you have lived up to your reputation as a life-giving organization! You’ve made the people of Aleppo know that Christian Charity is for real!
Peace to you, our brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all of those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

“Every Armenian Has a Martyr in His Soul” -Dr. Herand M. Markarian

AMAA Presents Dr. Markarian’s Book The Martyred Armenian Writers At APC in Paramus, NJ

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By Taleen Kupelian

With the 101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide quickly approaching, now is a more poignant time than ever to celebrate the Armenian culture rather than mourn its loss.  Accomplished author, scientist, professor, playwright, poet, translator, actor, literary and theater critic, and director, Dr. Herand M. Markarian does just that with his latest publication, an anthology titled “The Martyred Armenian Writers (1915-1922).”

All those present at the Armenian Presbyterian Church in Paramus, NJ on March 18th, heard the words of the greats brought to life in a moving performance with help from a number of the community’s youth − Nick Aynilian Jr., Raffi Aynilian, Vatche Demirjian, Richard Hekemian, Anoush Kalachian, Niree Kaprielian, and Melani Salibian.

This special event, titled “The Literary Works of 13 Armenian Martyred Writers,” began with remarks by AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian and included a brief biography of the honored guest. Mr. Khanjian qualified the literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries “as superb, distinct …and deserving to be read, enjoyed and spread.” Dr. Markarian’s enlightening slide show that followed these remarks highlighted the accomplishments of the 13 writers featured in his book.

Dr. Markarian’s anthology is brilliantly segmented into three parts, each one a pertinent background about the time the subject matter was written.  The first part contains general introductions to Western Armenian literature of the 19th century. The second part contains a foundation for understanding the Armenian Genocide. In the final section, the readers are provided with short biographies of 13 of the most beloved Armenian writers of the era along with a bibliography of their writing and excerpts from each author (in English).

While there are certain nuances that may get lost in translation, Dr. Markarian’s anthology is as good as it gets.  Dr. Markarian (with skillful help) has translated the works of the 13 featured authors.  In his book, the author beautifully records the classic and powerful words of the martyred Armenians during the Armenian Genocide proving that whether it’s one or 101 years that have passed, these writings have truly stood the test of time!

The literary program was brought to a moving close by the dynamic aforementioned performance and was followed by a delectable reception graciously organized by Seta Nalbandian, Anita Buchakjian and Berjouhi Gulesserian.

To order Dr. Markarian’s book “The Martyred Armenian Writers,” please visit AMAA’s website at http://www.amaa.org, or contact the AMAA at 201-265-2607 or info@amaa.org.

AMAA Pledging Relief Aid to Artsakh Frontlines

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In order to protect the lives and well-being of the people of Karabagh and Armenia, it is imperative that we support those who are putting their lives on the line for freedom. The AMAA stands in full support of our Homeland and stands side-by-side with those who are defending our nation.

At this time we ask that you support all those who are fighting for a free and independent Karabagh.  Make your donation today to support direct material aid to the Artsakh Defense Forces.

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Message from Republic of Armenia’s Ministry of Diaspora

Սիրելի´հայրենակիցներ.

2016 թվականի ապրիլի 2-ին, հերթական անգամ խախտելով զինադադարը և արհամարհելով հակամարտությունը խաղաղ ճանապարհով լուծելու ԵԱՀԿ Մինսկի խմMinistry of Diasporaբի համանախագահների ջանքերն ու միջազգային հանրության հորդորները, Ադրբեջանը լայնածավալ հարձակման է անցել Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետության սահմանի ողջ երկայնքով: Հակառակորդը օգտագործում է զինուժի գրեթե բոլոր տեսակները, ռմբակոծում օդից և ցամաքից: Զոհերի ու վիրավորների թվում կան խաղաղ բնակիչներ, այդ թվում` կանայք և երեխաներ:

Ադրբեջանի այս հերթական սանձարձակ քայլը, խոսում է այն մասին, որ Բաքուն գնում է իրավիճակի հետևողական սրման ճանապարհով, ինչը հրամայական է դարձնում Ադրբեջանին կարգի հրավիրելու միջազգային հանրության գործնական քայլերի իրականացումը:

Այս պահին անհրաժեշտ է, որ սփյուռքյան կառույցները և կազմակերպությունները հնարավոր բոլոր միջոցներով իրենց բողոքի ձայնը բարձրացնեն բնակության երկրների իշխանությունների առջև, ունենան հանդիպումներ և հորդորեն ու պահանջեն դատապարտել Ադրբեջանի ագրեսիան և սանձել Բաքվի ռազմատենչ նկրտումները:

Զանգվածային լրատվության միջոցներով տեղեկատվություն տարածելիս չափազանց կարևոր է հիմնվել միմիայն ՀՀ ՊՆ և ԱԳՆ պաշտոնական հաղորդագրությունների վրա։

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