Los Angeles, CA – On July 26, 2007 the Armenian National Committee – Western Region (ANC-WR) participated in a vigil with concerned members Americans in southern California outside of the People’s Republic of China’s Consulate in Los Angeles. The vigil, organized by local groups, including Jewish World Watch, the Olympic Dream for Darfur and the Save Darfur coalition, sought to draw attention to the close relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the central government in Khartoum, Sudan which is committing genocide in Darfur.
The event, which took place during lunch hour in downtown Los Angeles, drew nearly 100 individuals who urged China to use its relationship with Khartoum to help end the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and promote peace in the region. ANC-WR Community Relations Director Haig Hovsepian joined several community representatives in addressing those gathered.
Hovsepian noted that at the outset of the Armenian Genocide, which began under the cover of World War I, the United States was neutral towards Ottoman Turkey and that US diplomatic officials throughout the empire were crucial in letting the world know about the genocide as it occurred.
“Today, China stands at a crossroads. It has a choice to make. Will it go down in history as a country that remained silent in its relationship with Sudan and emboldened the perpetrators of genocide? Or will it follow in the footsteps of U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who confronted the genocidal leaders of Turkey in 1915. China must use its relationship with Khartoum to put an end to the genocide in Darfur today.” remarked Hovsepian.
China is a major consumer of Sudanese oil, the revenues from which the Sudanese government uses to pay for arms, some of which are also purchased from China. These arms have been linked to Janjaweed militia and other forces complicit in the genocide occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan. Furthermore, China has blocked or weakened UN Security Council resolutions addressing the genocide in Darfur and against Khartoum.
Mary Ashdjian, an ANC activist from Glendale attended the vigil with fellow activist Nairie Mirzayan. “When there is an opportunity for a powerful nation to take a stand against genocide, it is their responsibility to do so whether it happened yesterday, today or tomorrow. As Armenian Americans, we especially know how important this is,” said Ashdjian.
The Armenian National Committee – Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANC-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Photo Caption: ANC-WR Community Relations Director, Haig Hovsepian, addresses vigil participants outside the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles.