OTTAWA–More than 2000 members of the various Armenian communities of Quebec and Ontario gathered on April 24 on Parliament Hill to commemorate the 87th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and to demand that the Canadian government finally recognize it officially.
Before the meeting started–a special memorial ceremony took place in the Commons building–with the presence of the diplomatic representatives of Armenia–Greece–Russia–Panama–the Ukraine–Malawi and Uruguay–many Senators and parliament members. After the religious services–Dr. Jirair Basmadjian–President of the Armenian National Committee of Canada–Armenia’s ambassador Ara Babian–members of parliament Raymonde Folco and Eleni Bakopanos addressed the gathering.
The political meeting in front of the Parliament building started at 11:30 with the opening remarks of Sevak Ishak of the ANCC. Parliament members Svend Robinson (NDP)–Antoine Dub (BQ) and Marc Assad (Lib)–as well as Senator Marcel Prud’homme addressed the crowd. Marina Garabetian transmitted the message of the ANCC–while Lori Djanbazian spoke on behalf of the Armenian youth–who was particularly numerous at this year’s commemoration.
After the political meeting–the participants walked through the streets of Ottawa towards the Monument of the Unknown Soldier–where a wrath was laid–and continued on to the Turkish embassy. The ARF YOC had prepared a special protest program which was performed in front of the embassy building–that appeared–as usual–deserted by its occupants.
Below is the address by Armenia’s Ambassador to Canada Ara Babian
The newborn 21st century turned to be no less bloody and brutal than previous centuries. Despite the enormous progress the human race has had in the past several decades–we still do not seem to be able to break free from the vicious circle of violence–terrorism–wars and injustice.
Today–almost the entire world has stood up to fight terrorism. The world no longer agrees to tolerate innocent people being killed and evil go about unpunished. When evil get away with murder–it comes back tomorrow with more.
The Armenian Genocide during the World War I went down the history as a crystal-clear example of unpunished crime that reinvented itself in Nazi extermination of the Jews–the Gypsies and the Slavic peoples. The annihilation of an entire civilization that occurred under the apathetic eye of the world at the turn of the 20th century–ricocheted right into the 21st century with the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. The principle of an ignored crime backfired again. If wiping out almost an entire nation is something you get away with–why not blow up a couple of skyscrapers with thousands of people in them?
Once again history has verified that it was not the Armenian people who were the victims of the 1915 Genocide–but rather the human kind itself. Genocide is a crime against the humanity–hence it is to be punished by the humanity. Just like the denunciation of terrorism is the first step in fighting it–the condemnation of Genocide is the first step towards its prevention. This is why we demand the world nations to officially recognize and condemn the Armenian genocide. No global war on terrorism can be successful without a universal recognition and conviction of the Genocide of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire. Justice is not a privilege for the rich and the powerful. Today–the Armenia’s all over the world join together in grief and pain to mourn the loss of their land. Today–the young independent Armenia pays her homage to 1.5 million victims of the Genocide. But we do not isolate our pain from that of other nations. Human’suffering has no nationality. We feel other peoples’ pain and pray to God to bring peace to their homes. But we hope that others will feel our pain too–condemn the perpetrators of the Genocide of the Armenian people and by doing so will help save the future generations from horrors of reliving a tragedy.