April 17, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ani Garabedian
tel: (818) 500-1918

Members of Congress Remember Genocide Survivor

Washington, D.C. – On April 2, 2008, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and Congresswoman Barbara Lee paid tribute on the House floor in memory of Armenian Genocide survivor Hayganoush Markarian who passed away on March 13, 2008. Markarian lived in San Francisco, and was one of the few remaining survivors of the Armenian Genocide.

Both Statements read in parts, “Much has been said about the facts and numbers and statistics. We know that in Turkey between 1915 and 1921, 1.5 million Armenians died — 80 percent of the population. But it is women like Hayganoush who put a human face on the Armenian Genocide and remind us that we are talking about actual people whose lives were lost or whose homes and families were destroyed.”

Last October, Hayganoush’s story of survival was presented by Rep. Lynn Woolsey to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) during the mark up of H. Res. 106 (the Armenian Genocide resolution). Rep. Woolsey displayed Hayganoush’s photograph to committee members prior to the resolution being passed. It now awaits a full House vote.

The full text of the statements is included below.

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.

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HONORING THE LIFE OF HAYGANOUSH MARKARIAN

HON. LYNN C. WOOLSEY OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 Ms. WOOLSEY. Madam Speaker, I rise with sadness and respect today, along with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, to honor Hayganoush Markarian, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, who passed away recently at the age of 105. Hayganoush was one of the few survivors of the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century, so it further saddens me that she died without the government of Turkey, from where she fled, or the government of the U.S., where she found refuge, officially recognizing that Genocide. Much has been said about the facts and numbers and statistics. We know that in Turkey between 1915 and 1921, 1.5 million Armenians died—80 percent of the population. But it is women like Hayganoush who put a human face on the Armenian Genocide and remind us that we are talking about actual people whose lives were lost or whose homes and families were destroyed. Hayganoush Markarian was born on January 24, 1902, in the historic Armenian city of Kharpert, which suffered huge losses in the Armenian Genocide. She lived with her parents, older brother, and four sisters. When the Turks came after her father and brother, both went into hiding—her brother dressed as a girl in order to safely cross dangerous areas and her father initially hid in the well at their home and later with Kurdish friends. Her mother somehow saved the family from the deportations and massacres and re-united with her husband briefly after World War I, before he died as a result of the damp conditions in the wells he had hidden in for such long periods. In 1923, the remainder of the family made their way to Syria, where Hayganoush married Markar Markarian in 1925. The Markarians later moved to Lebanon and eventually the United States. In both Syria and Lebanon, Hayganoush was an active member of the Armenian Relief Society, the oldest Armenian women’s organization operating in the world. Hayganoush resided in Oakland until her death in March of this year at the age of 105. She had prayed she would live to see the day when she and other victims of the Armenian Genocide would see the Genocide officially recognized both here and in Turkey. Madam Speaker, although Hayganoush’s prayer was not granted, she did see such a resolution pass the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives last fall. I am proud to be a cosponsor of that resolution, and I look forward to the day when the U.S. government officially recognizes the Genocide. Hayganoush Markarian’s story will serve as a reminder to us of the sanctity of human life in Armenia and around the world. HONORING THE LIFE OF HAYGANOUSH MARKARIAN

HON. BARBARA LEE OF CALIFORNIA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 Ms. LEE. Madam Speaker, I rise with sadness and respect today, along with Congresswoman Lynn C. Woolsey, to honor Hayganoush Markarian, a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, who passed away recently at the age of 105. Hayganoush was one of the few survivors of the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century, so it further saddens me that she died without the government of Turkey, from where she fled, or the government of the United States, where she found refuge, officially recognizing that Genocide. Much has been said about the facts and numbers and statistics. We know that in Turkey between 1915 and 1921, 1.5 million Armenians died—80 percent of the population. But it is women like Hayganoush who put a human face on the Armenian Genocide and remind us that we are talking about actual people whose lives were lost or whose homes and families were destroyed. Hayganoush Markarian was born on January 24, 1902, in the historic Armenian city of Kharpert, which suffered huge losses in the Armenian Genocide. She lived with her parents, older brother, and four sisters. When the Turks came after her father and brother, both went into hiding—her brother dressed as a girl in order to safely cross dangerous areas and her father initially hid in the well at their home and later with Kurdish friends. Her mother somehow saved the family from the deportations and massacres and re-united with her husband briefly after World War I, before he died as a result of the damp conditions in the wells he had hidden in for such long periods. In 1923, the remainder of the family made their way to Syria, where Hayganoush married Markar Markarian in 1925. The Markarians later moved to Lebanon and eventually the United States. In both Syria and Lebanon, Hayganoush was an active member of the Armenian Relief Society, the oldest Armenian women’s organization operating in the world. Hayganoush resided in Oakland until her death in March of this year at the age of 105. She had prayed she would live to see the day when she and other victims of the Armenian Genocide would see the Genocide officially recognized both here and in Turkey. Madam Speaker, although Hayganoush’s prayer was not granted, she did see such a resolution pass the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives last fall. I am proud to be a cosponsor of that resolution, and I look forward to the day when the U.S. government officially recognizes the Genocide. Hayganoush Markarian’s story will serve as a reminder to us of the sanctity of human life in Armenia and around the world.