Asbarez, 10 September 2009
Asbarez, 10 September 2009
Following Hasserjian’s presentation, the floor was opened to questions. The questions and comments were generally reflective of the genuine worry of Toronto Armenians about the policies of the current Armenian administration in pursuing relations with the Republic of Turkey and the price that the Armenian people would pay for these decisions.
In order to ensure that the concerns of Toronto Armenians were presented to the Armenian authorities, it was decided that a formal protest declaration should be prepared by the attendees of the gathering and formally presented to the government of Armenia. After much discussion, the attendees agreed on the following declaration:
“Provisions in the Protocols indicate preconditions set forth by Turkey and conflict with the interests of Armenia and Armenians on the whole. The project obviously tends to prevent the restoration of historical rights and rupture Armenians. Ratification of the Protocols by the countries’ parliaments will be a deterrent for Armenians to claim their ancestral land as well as recognition of the Armenian Genocide (at that all achievements on the international level will be jeopardized). In addition, the possibilities of Armenia to negotiate on Karabakh peace process will be limited.
This project arising out of its authors’ interests is full of dangerous consequences for the centuries-long struggle of Armenians for independence. We, participants of the meeting call Armenian Authorities, National Assembly and Armenian nation to reject the project will all preconditions and pursue the policy of preconditions’ exclusion in normalization of bilateral relations.”
The attendees also promised to keep abreast of further developments regarding the protocols and to stand firm against any attempts by the government of Armenia to imperil the future of the Armenian people.
They came in droves. On foot; with buses, and by car to join in the protest rally organized the Social-Democratic Hunchakian Party, Armenian Democratic Liberal Organization-Ramkavar Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and the Unified Young Armenians.
Chanting “No Concessions to Turkey” and “No to Protocols,” the crowd overwhelmingly cheered calls to put an end to the process, which sets unacceptable preconditions on Armenia and, if enacted, would endanger Armenia’s national security and halt the aspirations of future generations of Armenians.
The mood of the crowd was decisive. As the deficiencies and dangers of the protocols were articulated by the slate of speakers, the crowd’s calls on the government to take appropriate action grew louder and more resolute.
Opening remarks were made by Melina Mayilyan in Armenian and Caspar Jivalagian in English after which representatives of each political party and organization made their statements to the crowd.
Minas Kojayan presented the Ramkavar party’s message
and Avedik Izmirlian presented the message on behalf of the ARF.
In closing Hovan Tashjian, on behalf of the organizing committee, rallied the crowd to, once again, express its opposition to the protocols and read out loud a resolution on behalf of the participants of the protest rally [See Below]. The crowd’s loud roar indicated its approval of the resolution, which among other provisions called for an immediate end to the rapprochement process under the current stipulations.
Another resolution–read in English by Jivalagian and in Armenian by Mayilyan–called on Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee of Foreign Relations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Adam Schiff and George Radanovich to immediately schedule a vote on H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress.
“We call upon our friend, Congressman Howard Berman, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to immediately set a date, in the coming weeks, for a vote of his panel on the Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.252,” the resolution emphasized.
“We encourage all the members of the powerful California Congressional delegation, most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Berman, and the lead authors of this legislation, Adam Schiff and George Radanovich, to ensure that this genocide-prevention measure is adopted by the full U.S. House of Representatives,” concluded the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the protest participants.
At the conclusion of the rally, singers Armen Movsesian and Razmik Mansourian performed patriotic songs to further highlight the crowd’s resolute stance on the matter. At the beginning of the program, Narine Ojakhyan performed the US and Armenian national anthems.
Whereas, the veracity of the Armenian Genocide is an irrefutable fact. We find unacceptable that within the context of “implementing dialogue on the historical dimension” any examination of “historical records and archives” by a commission or sub-commission on any level. Such an examination not only will irrevocably halt the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also completely diminishes the Armenian people’s achievements resulting from decades of immense and continuous efforts, as well as reality of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by numerous countries.
Whereas, as members of the United Nations and other international organizations, Armenia and Turkey have already agreed to, under acceptable international norms, to acknowledge each other’s borders. To reaffirm this through a separate agreement and the Republic of Armenia’s official recognition of Turkey’s current borders is a concession of our people’s historic, territorial, moral and legal rights, in the name of establishing inequitable and unjust relation.
Whereas, the principle of the nations’ right to self-determination, on which hinges the just resolution of the Artsakh Question is visibly absence from the documents, which contain other irrelevant specifics.
Whereas, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the pursuit of the Armenian Cause (Hai Tahd) are the sole responsibility of the Armenian people, be they in Armenia or the Diaspora. This is not an issue of our ancestors or our generation, but rather it is an issue of the rights of the Armenian people’s future generation. The Armenian authorities do not have the legal right, in the name of the Armenian people, to bargain during negotiations with Turkey, the just right of the Armenian people, especially the issues of the Armenian Genocide, our occupied historical territories and reparations.
We, the participants of the public rally, by expressing our opposition and protest, reject any pre-conditions for the establishment of relations between Armenia and Turkey; and find the announced protocols, in their current form, unacceptable and dangerous. The signing of such defeatist protocols by the Armenian government is fraught with irreversible and heavy consequences. Thus, we demand from the Armenian government to immediately end all efforts and activities for the signing and approval of both protocols. Otherwise, the president of Armenia will bare sole responsibility for future events and will be treated accordingly by the Armenian people and history.