DENVER CO – In an official proclamation, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared December 6, 2015 as the 10th Anniversary of Djulfa Destruction – joining global commemorations of Azerbaijan’s genocidal destruction of 2,000 Djulfa (Jugha) khachkars, reported Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR).
Gov. Hickenlooper’s proclamation memorializes “the deliberate destruction of the world’s largest collection of medieval khachkars at Djulfa; [which] has been documented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.” The proclamation further mentions that “the State of Colorado commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this year by unveiling a Capitol khachkar memorial, a replica of one of Djulfa’s 2,000 destroyed monuments” and that “Coloradans are encouraged to visit the State Capitol and view the replica Djulfa khachkar.”
“Colorado once again demonstrated its unwavering commitment to human rights,” remarked ANCA WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan. “Governor Hickenlooper’s authorization and unveiling of the Colorado State Capitol Khachkar on April 24 was a staunch expression of support to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide as well as an unprecedented tangible action to restore a piece of medieval Armenian culture lost in a genocidal destruction. We are so proud that Colorado’s Armenian community has become such a vibrant voice in their state’s democratic process and are grateful to Governor Hickenlooper for his strong leadership and commitment to issues important to our community and human rights advocates worldwide.”
The Proclamation will be read by Colorado’s Douglas County Public Defender and Djulfa descendant Ara Ohanian later today at the Shine a Light on All Genocides candlelight vigil and program in Denver, organized by Armenians of Colorado (AOC) in partnership with ANCA-Colorado, the Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness & Action, and the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles.
December 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Turkic Azerbaijan’s genocidal destruction of 2,000 medieval khachkars, when the army of Azerbaijan utilized heavy technology to conduct an operation against helpless cultural monuments. Despite the fact that the destruction was caught on tape and further documented with satellite evidence, Azerbaijan continues to deny the existence of and the destruction of Djulfa. The destruction of Djulfa was the final step of carefully-planned and executed wipeout of Nakhichevan’s indigenous Christian heritage in line with official historiography in Azerbaijan that claims Armenians did not live in that region until the 19th century. This is often seen as a continuation of Turkey’s pan-Turkic genocidal policy against indigenous Armenians, which started with discrimination then organized massacres and ethnic cleansing, followed by denial and destruction of physical evidence, and is one of the reasons why the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) has argued that any rule by Azerbaijan over it would be tantamount to genocide. For more information on the Djulfa destruction, visit www.djulfa.com.
The Armenian National Committee of America-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 ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues. For more information, visit www.ancawr.org. ###
The complete text of the proclamation is presented below:
State of Colorado
WHEREAS, December 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the deliberate destruction of the world’s largest collection of medieval khachkars at Djulfa; and
WHEREAS, this destruction has been documented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and
WHEREAS, the State of Colorado commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this year by unveiling a Capitol khachkar memorial, a replica of one of Djulfa’s 2,000 destroyed monuments; and s
WHEREAS, Coloradans highly value cultural preservation and tolerance; and
WHERESA, deliberate targeting of cultural monuments continues to pose a threat to our global heritage; and
WHEREAS, Coloradans are encouraged to visit the State Capitol and view the replica Djulfa khachkar;
Therefore, I, John W. Hickenlooper, Governor of the entire State of Colorado, do hereby proclaim, forever after, December 6, 2015 as THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF DJULFA DESTRUCTION DAY in the State of Colorado.
GIVEN under my hand and the Executive Seal of the State of Colorado, this sixth day of December, 2015
John W. Hickenlooper
Photos by Kevo Hedeshian: Governor Hickenlooper at April 24, 2015 unveiling of Colorado State Capitol Khachkar