Staff writer Ashley Rose reports:
A candlelight vigil will be held Friday night at Dallas City Hall to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Armenian Americans and others will gather from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the lawn of City Hall Plaza for the peace vigil to raise awareness about the massacre of some 1.5 million people during World War I.
“As we gather together for this candlelight vigil, it is our hope and desire to raise awareness about genocide in general and hold hands with others in an effort to abolish genocide as a global evil,” said Hamlet Sarokhanian, chairman of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of DFW.
In what is known as the first genocide of the 20th century, the Turkish government arrested and executed over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople on April 24, 1915, accusing them of being traitors.
In the following years, thousands of Christian Armenian men, women and children living in the Ottoman Empire were sent on death marches, placed in concentration camps and massacred by death squads.
To this day, the government in Turkey disputes Armenian accounts of the genocide. To this day, discussing the atrocities is taboo in the country.
The vigil will feature guest speakers including Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. Representatives of Rwandan, Ukrainian, Jewish, Russian, Darfurian, Syrian, Assyrian and other ethnic communities touched by genocide will also attend. Some local businesses will also close to mark the occasion.
“Genocide has become a global phenomenon and by promoting understanding, we hope history will not repeat itself,” Sarokhanian said.
The newly established Armenian Heritage Club of UTD is commemorating our 1.5 million by hosting a series of events to raise awareness of the Armenian Genocide and other genocides among its student body and the local community. After the screening of the movie Hotel Rwanda on April 10, the Armenian Heritage Club hosted a lecture on April 13, titled America We Thank You, An Armenian Tribute to Near East Relief with guest speaker Ms. Teresa Yeremyan, government affairs director of ANCA. Both UTD students and St. Sarkis community members attended this very informative lecture. We thank all for encouraging the Armenian Heritage Club of UTD with their presence.
April 16 and 17 were dedicated to the remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust. Dr. David Patterson from the Ackerman Center for Holocaust Studies drew parallels between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust in his lecture titled "Denying Genocide: From Armenia to Auschwitz" and a movie showing of Schindler's List I was scheduled in remembrance of the Holocaust victims.
The Armenian Genocide awareness events at UTD will continue with the movie screening of Ararat on April 23rd at 7:00 PM and will culminate with a Commemoration Service of Candle lighting and a Moment of Silence at the Genocide Memorial on April 24th 12:00 PM at UTD SU Mall (Plinth).
The Month of April has been a month of remembrance, spreading of awareness, mourning of loss and rejoicing in survival for the members of Armenian Heritage Club.
By Maggie Aznavour
The Armenian Heritage Club was proud to be a part of UT Dallas’ annual Passport to the World where attendees experienced the tastes, sights and sounds of the world at International Week’s signature event. This was the first time Armenian culture was represented at the event. Attendees were taught about the culture, history, and geography of Armenia all while tasting different foods. Upon being recognized as St. Sarkis Armenian Church ArmeniaFest dancers by some students, the Armenian students could not refuse their requests for a dance and performed Kochari to their delight.
By Shant Aghyarian