Canada Responds to the “Call”

 Staff

Aram Adjemian introduced his "The Call from Armenia" to the Toronto Armenian community at a Feb. 21 book launch sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee and the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education. About 75 people attended the gathering at the Toronto Armenian Centre.

The 256-page "The Call from Armenia" is Adjemian's first book based on his 2007 MA thesis which took him three-and-a-half years to prepare and one very intense year to fashion it into a book form. He is parliamentary research assistant to Senator Serge Joyal. Adjemian, has a BA in political science and an MA in history (comparative genocide and human rights studies). The book (Corridor Books Les Livres Corridor, 2015)–was published by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada and was funded by the Bastermajian Family.

 Staff

Aram Adjemian introduced his "The Call from Armenia" to the Toronto Armenian community at a Feb. 21 book launch sponsored by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee and the Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education. About 75 people attended the gathering at the Toronto Armenian Centre.

The 256-page "The Call from Armenia" is Adjemian's first book based on his 2007 MA thesis which took him three-and-a-half years to prepare and one very intense year to fashion it into a book form. He is parliamentary research assistant to Senator Serge Joyal. Adjemian, has a BA in political science and an MA in history (comparative genocide and human rights studies). The book (Corridor Books Les Livres Corridor, 2015)–was published by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada and was funded by the Bastermajian Family.

After describing the social gospel movements and humanitarian aid in 19th century Canada, the book describes the Armenian Genocide, the call from Armenia for help, the efforts of the Canadian religious lobby for Armenia (1920) and the Canadian response. In addition, the book talks about the Canadian government's reaction to Armenia's post-WWI predicament. It then delves into the subject of an Armenian mandate for Canada and its shelving.

In his bilingual presentation, Adjemian said the aim of the book is to make it available to the general public "not only to researchers." He added that the book is also the story of Canadians who went to Armenia to provide assistance. As well, Adjemian talked about the Canadian reaction to the Hamidian massacres (1895), to the years following those blood-curdling events and to the Genocide from 1915 to 1923.  "The manuscript creates strong links between Canada and Armenia," said the author and pointed out that hundreds of articles were published in Canadian newspapers about the Hamidian massacres.

The first three chapters of the book cover Canadian fundraising campaigns on behalf of Armenians going back to the Van earthquake of 1880. The book also talks about Genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian's filmed autobiography which was screened in Toronto and was seen by 100,000 moviegoers during its four-week showing in the city. Another topic is the raising of money by "The Globe" newspaper of Toronto to purchase a hospital in Turkey to take care of Armenian survivors. Then and in its current incarnation–"The Globe and Mail"–the newspaper is considered to be one of the top dailies in the country.

Adjemian said he considered chapter five the most important chapter. That chapter talks about Canadian government's communication with the British government about the Armenians and Canadian letter-writing campaign addressed to the 10 Downing Street that stressed "Armenia should not go back to Turkish control." The next chapter calls for a Canadian Mandate for Armenia Mandate following the US Congress' refusal of an American Mandate. "No one wanted to assume a mandate of Armenia because Armenia did not have resources. However, Canada did consider a mandate," said Adjemian. Chapter seven is about the betrayal of Armenians and the forgetting Turkey's crimes.

Sara Corning Genocide Education Centre plans to use the book as a launching pad for educating Ontario High Schoolers about Canada's response to the genocide. They are in the process of preparing a teacher's education guide.

There are plans underway to present the book in Ottawa and in Vancouver. Adjemian has already presented the book in Montreal and in Cambridge, Ontario. He was introduced by Raffi Sarkissian. The book launch concluded with a Q & A session.

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