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Dear Friends,

Today, April 24, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, planned and perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks, against our people, under the cover of WWI.

Since God our Lord led Noah’s ark to safety, many many centuries ago, “…and the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat,” (Genesis 8, 4), our people toiled the land, tilted it with sweat and blood, created art and music, song and dance, conceived a genius who gifted the nation its unique identity, and went on to build a remarkable and glowing civilization overcoming persecution and occupation.

The 20th Century begot the nation a rendezvous with evil, with the cruel and brutal sickling of an indigenous people peacefully residing in an over four millennium homeland. The abominable fate of a million and a half innocent victims, uprooted from an ancestral home and led to their extinction by the sword, starvation, sickness and the desert sand is beyond any human imagination.

The most tormenting subject on my psyche, the inner turmoil and agony of my mind, caused by the immeasurable and unconscionable pain and suffering of my forebears was caused by a heinous cabal, unabashedly recognized as the state government of Ottoman Turkey, at the turn of the 20th Century.

Furthermore, our collective reckoning of the unconscionable thousands who were forced and are still condemned into a society and faith foreign to their indigenous forebears, does not just fit the Centennial of the Genocide, but asserts the undeniable reality of a Century of Genocide.

Today, as we jubilantly praise God and hail the resurrection of the nation from the ashes of the heinous crime against humanity, we bow to the memory of the victims who perished for anchoring their existence in their ethnicity and Christian faith. We also vow to overcome evil with more song and dance, hope and prayer, smile and joy, all for the Glory of God, who remained loyal to His Covenant not to forsake us. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 12:5)

Zaven Khanjian

Executive Director/CEO

Colordivider

Սիրելի Բարեկամներ,        armenia-genocide-memorial

Այսօր, Ապրիլ 24, 2015-ին, կը նշենք Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան հարիւրամեակը, որ քօղարկուած Համաշխարհային Առաջին Պատերազմին ներքեւ, ծրագրուեցաւ եւ իրագործուեցաւ մեր ժողովուրդին դէմ, Օսմանեան Թուրք Պետութեան կողմէ։

Դարե՜ր առաջ եւ այն օրէն իվեր երբ Աստուած Նոյ Նահապէտը առաջնորդեց ապահով տարածք մը «……եւ տապանը Արարատ լեռներուն վրայ նստաւ,» (Ծննդոց 8: 4), հայ ժողովուրդը տքնեցաւ հողին վրայ, արիւնով եւ քրտինքով որոգեց զայն, արուեստ եւ մշակոյթ ստեղծեց, յղացաւ հանճար մը որ նուիրեց ազգին իր եզակի ինքնութիւնը ու շարունակեց ստեղծել ճառագայթող քաղաքակրթութիւն մը, յաղթահարելով հաճախակի հալածանքներն ու ասպատակումները:

20րդ դարու սեմին հայը անհիւրընկալ ժամադրութեան փոռձարութիւն մը ապրեցաւ խաւարին հետ: Հազարաւոր տարիներ իր հայրենի օրրանին վրայ ապրող ժողովուրդ մը, վայրագօրէն եւ գազանային մոլուցքով, հնձուեցաւ իր պապենական հողին իսկ վրայ: Դժնդակ ճակատագիրը 1.5 միլիոն անմեղ ազգակիցներուս, արմատախիլ եղած դարաւոր պապենական տունէն եւ բնաջնջման առաջնորդուած սուրով, սովամահ կամ հիւանդութեամբ՝ տարագրուած անապատի կիզիչ աւազներուն վրայ, հեռու է մարդկային ամէն երեւակայութենէ:

Աւելին՝ այսօր մեր հաւաքական գիտակցութեան կորիզն են այն անգիտակից բիւր հազարաւոր զոհերը որոնք բռնութեամբ դատապարտուեցան ապրիլ ընկերութեան մը մէջ եւ զգենուլ կրօնք մը որ խորթ էր իրենց բնիկ նախնիներուն, երեւոյթ մը որ ոչ միայն ցեղասպանութեան հարիւրամեակի յիշատակին արժանի է, այլ եւ փաստն է դարէ մը իվեր շարունակուող ցեղասպանութեան ոճիռին:

Հոգիս անյատնում չարչարող եւ մտքի տուայտանք եւ ցաւ պատճառող, նախնիքներուս անչափելի տառապանքն եւ անգութ ճակատագիրը, հնարքն էր անպատիժ մնացած հրէշային խմբակի մը որ անխպնելիօրէն ճանչցուած է որպէս Օսմանեան կայսրութեան պետութիւն՝ քսաներորդ դարու մուտքին:

Այսօր՝ ոճիռէն հարիւրամեակ մը ետք, երբ ցնծագին փառք կ’ու տանք Աստուծոյ եւ կ’ողջունենք մարդկութեան դէմ գործուած ոճիռի մը զոհ ազգիս՝ մոխիրէն հրաշքով յառնող իրականութիւնը, կ’ու գանք խոնարհիլ իրենց հաւատքն ու ինքնութիւնը ամուռ պահած ըլլալնուն համար նահատակուող մեր անմեղ զոհերու յիշատակին առջեւ: Եւ տակաւին կ’ուխտենք յաղթահարել ոճիռը կենսանորոգ ոգիով, յաւելեալ երգով ու պարով, յոյսով եւ հրճուանքով, ժպիտով եւ աղօթքով, իմացական վաստակի յուռթի ստեղծագործութեամբ եւ արդարութեան համար անմար պայքարի մը զսպանակուած կամքով եւ յանձնառութեամբ:

Խաղաղութի՛ւն մեր սրբազան նահատակներուն եւ փա՛ռք յառուցեալ մեր ժողովուրդի կենսանորոգ ոգիին:

Զաւէն Խանճեան

Գործադիր Տնօրէն

          In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the AMAA joins the AEUNA to extend you an invitation to attend a Memorial Service and a Concert presented by New Hope Singers.

          Please see the lyer for more details.

Hope Singers flyer

GUZELIAN

THE YOUTH HOME OF ISTANBUL: A Story of the Remnants’ Homecoming. to order please visit AMAA’s

BOOKSTORE

on AMAA’s website or Call AMAA at 201.265.2607

By Elise Kalfayan

     The Youth Home of Istanbul: A Story of the Remnants’ Homecoming release in English on the cusp of the Armenian Genocide Centennial fittingly honors author Hrant Guzelian’s battle against the last stages of Genocide. Guzelian rescued hundreds of Armenian youth decades after the genocide, including a young protégé Hrant Dink, who became a fearless journalist in Turkey.

The book’s publication by the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) was made possible by a donation from Dr. H Steven and Julie Aharonian and Dr. Vicken and Sossy Aharonian, in loving memory of their father Rev. Dr. Hovhannes Aharonian, who was a staunch supporter of Hrant Guzelian’s mission and Godfather to the name “Youth Home of Istanbul.”

“Reading this book in 2007, I was convinced that there was an obligation to share it beyond an Armenian readership,” said Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA. “Scholars and historians should read Guzelian’s eye-witness account of cultural destruction in the countryside of Western Armenia, encounters with inhumane Turkish officials bent on denial and oppression, and conviction and action in countering an existential threat.”

The Joint Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of the AMAA and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North American launched the English translation of the book in a program attended by close to 200 people, held at The Armenian Society of Los Angeles April 7. Hasmig Baran, Ed.D., served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.

The speakers

The Speakers of the Program Edwin Minassian, Esq., Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian and Zaven Khanjian

The program’s speakers stressed three themes: ACT, PACT, and IMPACT. ACT, covered by Edwin Minassian, Esq., Chair of the Istanbul Armenians Board of Trustees and Executive Board Member of the Armenian Bar Association, set the scene for Guzelian’s work. Turkey in the 1940s and 50s oppressed minorities with high taxes, property seizures, and police state surveillance. “Right after pogroms targeting Armenians and Greeks in the mid-50s, Guzelian launched his mission, despite the environment. He had resolve, and strong faith that his mission was essential. He knew that this was an existential struggle.” Minassian noted, “There’s a lot in the book about how Guzelian dealt with his arrest in 1980, and about Hrant Dink.”

Baran

Dr. Hasmig Baran, the Mistress of the Ceremonies.

PACT, explained by Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian, AEUNA representative on the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund and Member of the AEUNA Armenian Heritage Committee, describes an interaction between two parties. “Hrant Guzelian entered a pact of grace with God. He knew he was the weaker party, and faith is the most elemental aspect of this kind of pact. Guzelian countered the ‘Turkification’ of Armenian youth; he was fighting against the forcible transfer of children away from their ethnic identity [defined in Article 2 of the Geneva Convention as a genocidal act]. He went to search for the lost and the hopeless, paralleling the gospel story.”

Ekmekjian told the audience that his short encounter with Guzelian, in Yerevan in 2006, had “a magnificent psychological and emotional impact on me. Even before my encounter with him, my reading of his book in Armenian was a blessing, and I had encountered many people who had been blessed and served by his ministry.”

Zaven Khanjian summarized Guzelian’s IMPACT. He recited a passage in the memoir:

“The state has been unfair, evil, oppressive, unfeeling and biased. Envying our mores, instead of following with virtuous jealousy, learning and attaining high level, the Turk wanted to annihilate us, usurping, appropriating, insulting, and depriving us of our most basic rights, the language, the faith, the culture…I thought, what can I do in some measure to do my share and be useful to the remnants of my nation?”

“Useful, he was!” said Khanjian. “The impact this man had was tremendous, not only on the life of a few thousand Armenian youngsters who passed through the gates of The Youth Home of Istanbul, but on Turkish society and politics, the reverberations of which will continue for times unknown.” Khanjian noted that Guzelian took Hrant Dink, whose parents were divorced and whose father’s whereabouts were unknown, into the Gedik Pasha Armenian Evangelical School’s Youth Home of Istanbul at the age of seven. For twenty years, 1961-1981, Dink was under the patronage of Guzelian, and for five additional years, he carried the torch of the church and the mission. Dink became editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos; advocated for human and minority rights in Turkey; and criticized Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. His assassination in 2007 in Istanbul outraged many Turkish citizens, caused widespread protests, and brought world-wide attention to continuing persecution of minorities in Turkey.

Of the book, Khanjian noted, “Narrated by Guzelian in simple language and a humble Christian spirit, it is not literary nor is it written in glowing style.” These limitations are more than balanced out by the power of Guzelian’s memories. He captures the Catch-22 tenor of confrontations with intolerant officials, inspires the reader with frequent references to scripture as his primary guide to action, and shows great insight on ways to “fly under the radar” in a hostile political environment.

The AMAA was a long-standing supporter of The Youth Home of Istanbul, and in the book Guzelian credits its leaders, as well as leaders of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, for their faithful and generous support of the Home and of the summer camp he established in Tuzla.

The Joint Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee celebrates the life and work of a worthy, unsung Armenian Evangelical hero with the publication of this book in English and has succeeded in bringing the story of his fight against the genocidal crimes of Turkey to the attention of the world.

The East Coast launching of the book will take place on June 12, 2015 at the Armenian

Presbyterian Church, 140 Forest Avenue, Paramus, NJ. Details to follow.

The Audience

The Audiance

Avedisian School at DzidzernagaperIn preparation and observance of the upcoming the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, The Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School attended the Dzidzernagapert Genocide Monument on April 18th in Yerevan. A large crowd of teachers, students and parents gathered at the bottom of the hill leading up to the Monument. Flowers in hand and led by a group of boys carrying a large reef, the school began the ascent up.

Before entering inside of the 12 pillars, the boys and the School Principal placed the reef at the base and had a moment of reverence before continuing in along with the rest of the school. The ground had already been covered with flowers of many kinds but students eagerly placed their own in front of the fire pit. Others began to sing a patriotic song about the events 100 years ago. The time came for silence and reflection of the Genocide when the group bowed their heads and stood quietly.

After the brief gathering many people began to speak about the Genocide. Two girls from the school recited a few sentences for an interviewer, urging others to learn about the Genocide and simply look at the facts. Each day and more people are arriving in Yerevan to offer their support to the cause and also echo the same sentiment as these girls, that all should remember and demand recognition of the Genocide.

AMAA Annual Meeting Save the Date

Urgent Appeal to Support AMAA’s Syria Lifeline!

Aleppo3

From the Kardashians to the Vatican,

while the Armenian world is in a swivel of Genocide Centennial

Syrian Armenians are living the Genocide Every Day

“How long, O Lord….. How long!”

Rev. 6: 10

Lisa Stepanian is a voice in the wilderness. And a powerful one indeed! Her article titled ‘When the Rocks Cry Out,’ and published in the Mirror Spectator on March 21, 2015, (follow the link to see the full article on page 15) is an eye opener.

When it comes to Syria and the Syrian Armenians, the collective Armenian conscience seems to have taken off, is on silent mode or on leave of absence. Aleppo5

It is unconscionable to even consider that the Genocide Centennial is of lessor importance. For 100 hundred years, under the deaf ears of the world, “the Rocks Have cried out.” We have had enough. And when the Centennial Anniversary approached, we planned and scheduled such an ear piercing uproar that is blocking our hearing.

Stepanian rightfully states, “we are not ‘living the past,’ the past is alive before us with opportunities to act boldly.”

And yet we haven’t. We are so obsessed (nothing wrong with it) with the memory of the crime our nation faced a century ago, that we don’t see, hear or realize the daily unfolding agony, pain, suffering, death, destruction, horror, melting, collapse and bewilderment of our Syrian Armenian community and specially those living (what a sinister word to describe life in Aleppo) in the post Genocide refuge of the Mother Armenian Diaspora community of Aleppo, Syria.

Since the beginning of the assault on Syria, Armenians worldwide have very generously provided sustenance to the embattled and beleaguered communities. More is needed. But more than mere sustenance, a lifeline is needed.Aleppo4

The Armenian Missionary Association of America is adamant not only to continue its ongoing sustenance assistance to the Syrian Armenians but will continue to be a lifeline for those on the frontlines of the war and the refugees caught in the whirlpool of the unknown.

We call upon you to generously extend a helping hand, share a sustainable idea and/or organize a fundraising event to help save and resolve the most serious crisis our nation has faced since that dreadful crime against humanity our people experienced a century ago.

Lisa Stepanian is a voice in the wilderness. Let us echo her cry out to the world!

Thank you for supporting the Syrian Armenians, May God bless you all.

Zaven Khanjian

Executive Director/CEO

April 18, 2015

Visit AMAA’s website www.amaa.org for further information and to make your donation today.

pope-francisPope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, made history on Sunday, April 12th, by referring to the atrocities committed against Armenians by Ottoman Turkey at the dawn of the 20th century as “Genocide.”

Speaking on Sunday at the St. Peter’s Basilica Mass in Rome to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Pontiff called the crime committed against the Armenian nation in its historic ancestral home as the “first Genocide of the 20th Century.”

Referring to the century old immeasurable and unconscionable pain and suffering of the Armenian people, Pope Francis said “concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”

The Armenian Missionary Association of America welcomes Pope Francis’ moral high ground, salutes the courage of the head of the Catholic Church and prays that all efforts toward international acknowledgement and condemnation of crimes against humanity will lead the world to a safer place and mankind to a peaceful harbor.

Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, said that the organization “hopes that realization of responsibility in past and present human tragedies by world leaders will help extinguish flames of continued agony and pain and end continuing carnages around the world and in particular the intolerable anguish experienced by the various communities making up the ancient human mosaic characterizing the people of Syria.”

Vatican

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