By Haig Boyadjian
Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary and Ferrahian High School of Encino–CA is among 12,000 schools in the country benefiting from Channel One News – a daily televised 10-minute newscast beamed via satellite during the school year to various junior and high schools in the US. Ferrahian has been with Channel One since 1991–only a year after the network made its debut.
After viewing special segmen’s on the Jewish Holocaust and the atrocities committed in Rwanda and Bosnia–Ferrahian students decided to contact Channel One so that the Armenian Genocide would also be presented in a subsequent edition. This year’s April 24th broadcast featured a special on the Armenian Genocide–and reached over 8 million students in the country.
Derrick Shore of Channel One News presented an in-depth report on the Genocide. After defining what constitutes genocide–he mentioned how Armenia’s commemorate the Genocide of 1915 on April 24th of every year. He also noted Armenian efforts at boosting awareness of the crime–which is rarely mentioned. Horrific images of starvation–execution and death were shown from the period.
Dr. Richard Hovanissian–Professor of History at UCLA–presented an overview of the Genocide–and the factors that led to the great tragedy. Channel One explained how Armenian deman’s for increased rights during World War I were met with drastic Turkish responses.
Ferrahian senior Nareg Minissian was interviewed–along with his 102-year-old great uncle Sarkis Poladian–who survived the Genocide after being deported to the Syrian deserts–where many of his siblings died. When asked if shocked at the denial of the Genocide–Nareg replied–"I’m more angered than shocked–angered at the fact that no one knows about the Genocide–while others deny it."
Another survivor–Samuel Kadorian–was also interviewed by Derrick Shore. Kadorian described how his village was rounded up and deported. He was 7-years-old during the Genocide–when his father was killed.
The systematic denial of the present Turkish government was also addressed in the Channel One special. Derrick Shore was denied an interview by the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles. Instead–he was referred to Turkish-American community leader Ergun Kirikovali–who was said to have studied that time in history.
Kirikovali said that wartime atrocities did exist–and that both Turks and Armenia’s were killed. When asked why Armenian villages were deported to the deserts of Syria–Kirikovali said that the Armenia’s were relocated to non-war zones of the empire–because they could not be trusted. He went on by saying–"The Turkish government tried protecting these guys." Shore asked how being sent to the desert with no food or water can be considered protection. Kirikovali’s response was–"What we are saying is – wartime suffering?yes–wartime tragedies?yes–killings and murder?yes–but on both sides. That’s where we differ–and it’s not genocide."
The Armenian Genocide segment concluded with footage from young and old Armenia’s during a demonstration–demanding Turkish acknowledgment and international recognition of the Genocide. A pop quiz on Armenia’s location on a map was included after the Genocide report.
Derrick Shore mentioned Ferrahian’s recent trip to Armenia. A rundown of the trip–written by senior Karnig Dukmejian–is featured on the Channel One website at www.channelonenews.com/special/armenian_homeland/
The award-winning Channel One News–which has become the number-one news source for America’s teenagers–should be commended for including the Armenian Genocide in its coverage of world affairs and social issues. Ferrahian students also deserve applause in their efforts at bringing more awareness of the Genocide–especially among fellow American teenagers.