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The American Genocide of 1915 featuring Dr. Richard Hovannisian

On Monday, April 4th, we went to the Tinkham Veale University Center at CWRU for a program about the American Genocide of 1915 which featured as guest lecturer, Dr. Richard Hovannisian who is, asIMG_9771 stated in the biography, "Professor Emeritus of Armenian and Near Eastern History at UCLA and is a world-renowned speaker. He has written 35 books, including five volumes on the Armenian Genocide and 13 volumes on historic Armenian cities and provinces in the Ottoman Empire."

Dr. Hovannisian gave a powerful presentation in which he covered the circumstances that lead up to what happened and the horrors of the atrocities committed by the Turks. He also explored why very little was done by the rest of the world to prevent it and why it took so long for historians and the rest of the world to acknowledge this crime against humanity.

Moreover, he examined the true meaning of genocide which, as Merriam-Webster said, is "the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political or cultural group" and the need for the international community be aware of the past and to be ever-vigilant so that incidents of such magnitude can be prevented and/or obtain justice for the victims. Overall, he seemed to indicate that there still is a lot to be done but, nevertheless, he believed that "we are better than we were a hundred years ago."IMG_9772

He concluded by saying that it was "the struggle of memories against forgetting" and thus the challenge was "to forget or to remember."

Dr. Hovannisian's own father at age 13 was the only survivor of his family and the entire village from where he came. He eventually immigrated to the United States when he was 19 years and settled in California where Dr. Hovannisian was born. During the Q and A, several audience members came forward and talked about how their own families were victims too.

This program was introduced by Professor Peter Knox, Director of the Baker-Nord Center of the Humanities at CWRU. It was part of the 2016 Cleveland Humanities Festival whose theme this year is "Remembering War." Professor Knox said that perhaps 20 different cultural institutions in Cleveland had come together to make these events (which take place all through April) possible and we should all IMG_9783be proud to be living in such a community that can work together this way.

We certainly saw quite a few people that we knew including Mr. Kevan Asadorian, Chairman of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio and his wife, Susie; Mr. Ara Bagdasarian who is also heavily involved with the committee; Ms. Astri Seidenfeld who is a good friend of our Ms. Rose Wong; and Ms. Anita Kazarian who brought many beautifully crafted letter openers back with her from a recent trip to the Armenian region. Before the program started, one of these was placed on each seat and Ms. Kazarian gave us a couple to take back to Ms. Margaret W. Wong and her family.


Michael Patterson  Community Liaison, Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.