The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region strongly condemns the arrival of the offensively-named Ottoman Military Marching Band and its October 3 visit to Los Angeles. The ANCA-WR likewise questions the irresponsible decision by the City of Los Angeles to grant a permit to a group who claims descent from the notoriously murderous corps of the Ottoman Army known as the janissaries. The nature and planned performance of the band are not only insulting but wholly unacceptable to the Armenian American community.
Just over one mile from the borders of Little Armenia, in Los Angeles, the adoptive home of hundreds of thousands of Armenian Americans – including many whose families were gravely affected by the Armenian Genocide – the Ottoman Military Marching Band will play the anthems of a military credited with exterminating 1.5 million Armenian people and hundreds of thousands of other minorities within the Ottoman Empire. It is a chilling parallel: the Band will again march through the streets of an Armenian neighborhood, recreating the horrific scene of the Ottoman military parading through Armenian towns and villages 100 years ago, before they methodically and brutally murdered the Armenian populace in the first genocide of the 20th century.
The parade’s planning and execution, in a heavily Armenian-populated community, leaves no question that the Ottoman Military Marching Band is brazenly taunting the Armenian American community in a blatant example of hate speech. Despite this flagrant attempt at incitement, we call upon the Armenian American community of Los Angeles to oppose this painful and egregious provocation peacefully.
Further, the ANCA-WR remains committed to pursuing justice for the Armenian Genocide, including recognition by the U.S. and Turkish governments, and to the belief that no entity is allowed to inhumanely terrorize victims of genocide and their descendants. As the largest and most influential Armenian American advocacy organization, the ANCA-WR stands with all individuals and groups ready to civilly oppose this vulgar reenactment of an unforgotten and torturous past.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.