Colorado Armenian commemoration features Mark Geragos

State legislature passes ninth annual Genocide resolution

Published: Thursday April 29, 2010

Left to right: Igor Petrosyan (Director of Armenians of Colorado board) and his wife Nune Hovannisyan (member of Armenian Professional Network of Colorado), Kim Christianian (President of Armenians of Colorado board), Mark Geragos (keynote speaker), Simon Maghakyan (Secretary of Armenians of Colorado board), Hasmik Nikoghosyan (Co-chair of Armenian Professional Network of Colorado), Susanna Avagyan (Armenian-American artist and mother of Simon), Diane Brown (Director of Armenians of Colorado board) and Ken Allikian (Chair of Genocide Commemoration Committee).

Denver - Celebrated Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos spoke about "Reparations: Beyond Recognition" speech as part of the Armenian Genocide remembrance events that also included a resolution on the Genocide passed by the state's legilslature.

Geragos spoke to an engaged gathering at the Waring Theatre of Arapahoe Community College. He was one of the lead lawyers in a pair of groundbreaking federal class action lawsuits against New York Life Insurance and AXA for insurance policies issued in the early twentieth century during the time of the Armenian Genocide.

These two cases settled for over $37.5 million in 2004 and 2005.

"The statistical data about the case that Mr. Geragos shared was amazingly powerful confirmation of the genocidal process of the Armenian people and the crowd really appreciated his lecture in Denver" said Kim Christianian, president of AOC. The lecture was sponsored by Armenians of Colorado Inc. with support from Sigma Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action, and Facing History And Ourselves.

On Friday April 23, 2010, the Colorado General Assembly unanimously passed the 9th annual Armenian Genocide Resolution designating April 24 as Colorado Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The resolution was sponsored by long time supporter State Senator Lois Tochtrop and State Representative Su Ryden.

"Unlike previous years, there were no reservations given by the legislators in passing the resolution", stated Ken Allikian, chair of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration committee which coordinates the resolution every year as well as securing gubernatorial and Mayoral proclamations.

Armenians of Colorado (AOC) organized the annual commemoration ceremony the following day at the Armenian Garden, located on the State Capitol grounds, where there is a memorial headstone dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the first genocide of the 20th century. Over 100 people gathered for the ceremony.

Speakers included State Senator Lois Tochtrop, Kim Christianian, AOC president and former co-chair of the Armenians Genocide commemoration committee (GCC), Ken Allikian, chair of the GCC, and Simon Maghakyan, secretary of AOC and former co-chair of the GCC. Rosemary Rodriguez, state director for Senator Michael Bennet read a letter from the Senator.

The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Turks during and after WWI. It resulted in the near complete annihilation and extermination of modern Turkey's indigenous Armenian population, and in the disappearance of Armenian cultural artifacts dating back thousands of years.

Turkish Government to this day denies that the Armenian Genocide ever happened despite scholars', historians', and most western governments' published reports and archives affirming the facts of the genocide. The term "genocide" was coined in 1944 (by Raphael Lemkin) to describe, in part, what happened to Armenians during World War I.

Below is the text of the 2010 Colorado state resolution.

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

STATE OF COLORADO

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION

CONCERNING REMEMBRANCE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE ON APRIL

24, 2010, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, DESIGNATING EVERY APRIL 24 HEREAFTER AS "COLORADO DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE".

WHEREAS, This year marks the 95th anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million men, women, and children of Armenian descent were victims of a brutal genocide perpetrated by the Turkish Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 and, as a result, there are fewer than 75,000 indigenous Armenians living within the borders of modern Turkey; and

WHEREAS, The former United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, Sr., stated, "Whatever crimes the most perverted instincts of the human mind can devise, and whatever refinements of persecutions and injustice the most debased imagination can conceive, became the daily misfortunes of this devoted people."; and

WHEREAS, The killing of the Armenian people was followed by the systematic destruction of churches, schools, libraries, treasures of art, and cultural monuments that continues to this day in an attempt to eliminate all traces of a noble civilization with a history of more than 3,000 years; and

WHEREAS, The New York Times recently reported a newly exposed official Ottoman document revealing that 972,000 Armenians disappeared from population records within one year; and

WHEREAS, Despite overwhelming evidence, modern Turkey continues to deny and distort the facts of the genocide, honor the perpetrators of that crime against humanity as national heroes, and persecute its citizens who acknowledge or even allude to the Armenian Genocide; and

WHEREAS, Each April, Armenians throughout the world honor their martyrs, and all the world's people should commemorate the Armenian Genocide and condemn any attempt to deny its historical truth or mischaracterize it as anything less than genocide, a term coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 referencing the Armenian extermination as a seminal example of genocide; and

WHEREAS, We must all fight against current injustices, such as the ongoing first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur that is being denied by the Turkish government, an ally of the Sudanese regime, which demonstrates how the cycle of genocide continues; and

WHEREAS, We commend Armenians of Colorado, Inc., for organizing the April 2010 genocide commemoration events, which include a keynote speech by attorney Mark Geragos entitled "Reparations: Beyond Recognition", held April 17th at Arapahoe Community College;

and

WHEREAS, We commend the growing number of Turkish citizens, including academics, writers, and journalists, who challenge their government's official account of history amid threats of prosecution and imprisonment under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which forbids denigration of the Turkish nation and the Turkish government;

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