Tribute to the last Genocide survivor at Ontario Parliament

The Ontario Legislative Assembly paid tribute to the late Sirvard Kurdian, the last Canadian survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Zaven Kurdian and Ani Kurdian, the children of Sirvard and Vasken Altounian and Ani Altounian, grandchild and daughter-in-law were in the Chamber when the tribute took place.

Aris Babikian MPP: I rise this afternoon to commemorate the memory of Sirvard Kurdian, who passed away on October 27 at the age of 106.

Born in 1912, she was only three years old when the Armenian genocide and the systematic mass killings under the Young Turk regime struck her family. Her father was rounded up and viciously murdered alongside 1.5 million other Armenians. Those who were lucky to survive lived with the trauma and the consequences.

The Ontario Legislative Assembly paid tribute to the late Sirvard Kurdian, the last Canadian survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Zaven Kurdian and Ani Kurdian, the children of Sirvard and Vasken Altounian and Ani Altounian, grandchild and daughter-in-law were in the Chamber when the tribute took place.

Aris Babikian MPP: I rise this afternoon to commemorate the memory of Sirvard Kurdian, who passed away on October 27 at the age of 106.

Born in 1912, she was only three years old when the Armenian genocide and the systematic mass killings under the Young Turk regime struck her family. Her father was rounded up and viciously murdered alongside 1.5 million other Armenians. Those who were lucky to survive lived with the trauma and the consequences.

Sirvard and her only surviving sister, alongside their newly widowed mother, were forced into exile from their home and made the long, treacherous journey alongside thousands of Armenians, Assyrians, Syriac, Chaldeans and Greeks to Mosul in what is now Iraq. However, finding harsh living conditions and miserable refugee camps not a place for young children, her mother had to make the unimaginable decision to send her daughters to an orphanage in what is now Syria.

After a long life in Syria, she married another survivor of the Armenian genocide. She finally moved to Canada in 1991.

The passing of Sirvard is not only a loss for her family; rather, it is a loss for the entire Canadian Armenian community. Sirvard was the last direct connection to the genocide that almost decimated Armenians. She was a testament to the resilience of those who survived. Despite the lack of atonement from the perpetrators, the survivors helped the Armenian diaspora flourish.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I hope that one day soon the perpetrators of these crimes come forward and acknowledge their crimes. The Armenian nation needs to heal. The denial of the genocide after 103 years is victimizing the third and fourth generations of descendants. Without the acknowledgement and repentance of these crimes, there is no reconciliation.

7 comments
  1. Misleading information!

    It was a great speech in the Assembly. However it's misleading, probably inadevertently.
     
    I know at least two persons who are more than 103 years old and live in Toronto. Surely there might be others in Montreal and other provinces in Canada.
     
    These other survivors and their families might find it insulting when you claim that Ms. Kurdian was the last genocide survivor when they are still alive and well.
     
    In the coming years, when these other survivors pass-away and someone claims that they were a genocide survivor, the people in the Assembly will remember Aris's speech and someone will lose credibility – are Armenians calling every old person a genocide survivor to push forward their genocide claim??
     
    It would've been more accurate and fair to those who are still alive by stating "one of the last survivors".
  2. Tribute to the last Genocide survivor at Ontario Parliament

    My mother, Sirvard Kurdian, was not the last survivor of the Genocide. Mrs. Kokorian is one that I know. She's a resident of Toronto. She was born in 1915. There may be others across Canada and that's something that has to be looked into seriously. If Mr. Babikian had contacted us before he took the initiative, that mistake would have been avoided.

    1. Honest mistake

      Dear Hasmig,

      I believe this is an honest mistake by MP Babikian and he had all the good intentions. I wish we can be forgiving. None of the MPs will remember the details, unless it is pointed out to them.

      However, it would be worth to remind Aris Babikian to pay more attention for the details and add some research to his passion.

      Your mother's memory will always shine among us. Her wisdom is reflected through her children and grand children.

      May God bless her soul.

      1. Look at the Big Picture

        I don't understand people who rather than thank MPP Babikian for standing up in the Ontario Legislature and bringing up the subject of the Genocide of Armenians carp that the person mentioned wasn't the last survivor. If there was a competition about the identity of the last survivor, I wasn't aware of it.

        In the big picture, meaning our national interest, what matters is continuing the pressure on denialist Turkey rather than argue among ourselves as to the identity of the last survivor. MPP Babikian has done that and not for the first time.

        Before making a big production about his mistake, consider that our aim is to remind the world of our tragedy while Turkey enjoys impunity.

        By the way, considering that Armenians are spread all over the globe and the deplorable record-keeping of the Ottomans, I doubt that anyone will know who last survivor will be.

      2. Genocide Survivor

        In no way do I underestimate the initiative that Mr. Babikian took. On the contrary, I have, in various outlets, expressed my and my family's appreciation and gratitude. My mother, by the way, was a supporter of his continued efforts and she would have been proud of him if she'd known about it…

  3. Thank you, Aris

    Thank you, Aris, for taking every opportunity to stand up in the House and remind Members of the atrocities of the Armenian Genocide. In remembering  Sirvard Kurdian,  you remembered all those who somehow survived, as well as all those who did not.

  4. Other survivors

    I like to mention that my mother Eugeny Kokorian Yerganian and her co-survivor Arsho Dakessian are alive and well at age 103 and living in Toronto.

    Sincerely,

    Jirair (Jerry) Kokorian

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