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Aroutin Hartounian: We Renew Our Commitment to Our Cause and Remember September 11

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Thursday, 11 September 2014 11:36

AroutinFor over a decade, Unified Young Armenians (UYA) has been a one-of-a-kind organization which has championed the causes of human rights, justice and truth. Year on year, we have expanded the breadth and multiplied the number of our programs and events.

At the dawn of the 21st century, UYA embarked on a journey to mobilize the youth in an attempt to bring about positive change and instill hope among thousands and thousands of people. While "change" and "hope" are ambiguous terms at best, our actions were not. By relying on a caring and dedicated community, UYA managed to organize the largest Armenian Genocide commemoration event outside the Republic of Armenia. The annual April 24th "March for Justice" in Hollywood soon became the focal point of the public's struggle for a long overdue recognition and just reparations for the Armenian Genocide. With the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide fast approaching, we pledge to do and to achieve more.

We also established one of the few if not only Armenian educational institutions where each and every single Armenian child can learn his or her mother tongue free of charge. Throughout the years, over 400 children have benefited from this program.

And should we organize the largest of events, and should we provide thousands of children with free education, yet not translate the above-mentioned into quantifiable political and social change, we will be failing as an Organization and as a society. Our struggle of many years came into fruition when California recognized Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic's independence. This inseparable Armenian homeland which serves as a beacon of hope and democracy in face of Azerbaijan's threats of war and aggression, found the 5th patron of its right to freedom and independence amongst the US states.

Today, more than ever, our community is united, organized, and willing to go the extra mile for the sake of its past, and for a promise of a brighter future. A testament to such unity is the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee, a coalition of over twenty major Armenian-American organizations who have come together to organize and coordinate the events commemorating this important national milestone. While a number of naysayers have played down the role and importance of Centennial Committee for various non-altruistic reasons, the Committee will be making important strides. Thus far, a united march and a landmark are two of the many projects which the Centennial Committee has committed to. It is also important to note that many of the organizations forming this coalition have tens or hundreds of other events organized and programs implemented independently. Therefore, the coalition is yet another responsibility for the respective organizations and their membership which they have bravely undertaken. And as such, they should certainly be commended for it. For many of them, activism is not a hobby or a past time, but a way of life.

Unified Young Armenians continues to remain an independent organization and stays true to its core values. As the years past, we will continue to organize our events independently while exploring new venues of cooperation with various Armenian and non-Armenian organizations and entities.

We have boundless confidence in the righteousness of our Cause, as well as in our ability to carry through on our promise. Soon, many changes will improve and enhance UYA's capacity to operate and extend its reach. And as always, our unwavering commitment to the Cause will eternally remain the same.

Last but not least, on this day, we pause to remember and pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack of September 11. We will never forget those we have lost and the join our fellow Americans in saying NEVER AGAIN.

Aroutin Hartounian, Esq., is the president and chairman of the board of directors of Unified Young Armenians. 

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Buenos Aires City Legislature discards project to name a “Republic of Azerbaijan” square

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Thursday, 11 September 2014 10:49

Buenos-Aires-Legislative-CouncilThe legislative council of Buenos Aires, Argentina, decided to discard a draft project to name a square in the neighborhood of Colegiales as "Republic of Azerbaijan" on Wednesday 10 September, Prensa Armenia reports.

The bill drew a lot of criticism within the Armenian community, as the grounds of the project said that Azerbaijan's early years of independence "were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Armenia," while, in recent years, "Azerbaijan had not only succeeded in pacifying the region but also is making great efforts to open up to the world as part of various international organizations, achieving economic and political stability for its people."

Carolina Karagueuzian, director of the Armenian National Committee of South America in Buenos Aires, was the first to raise her voice: "Within the apparent neutrality of the project there is a broader strategy hidden by the Azerbaijani authorities, who seek to clean up their image and conceal their constant violations of human rights. Azerbaijan's embassy in Argentina was specifically opened to confront Argentine citizens of Armenian descent, who maintain an active struggle against impunity of crimes against humanity for nearly 100 years".

"The project said that Azerbaijan managed to pacify the region, when in factAzerbaijan authorities boycott the mediations in the Karabakh issue and its president continuously threatens to resume the war. Moreover, Azerbaijani President declared on September 3 that Turkey and Azerbaijan will work together to 'dispel the myth of the Armenian Genocide' in 2015, the centenary of the Genocide. It is unacceptable for the City of Buenos Aires to grant a space for the Azeri lobby to continue disseminating their denialist propaganda, just when the city prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this crime against humanity", added Karagueuzian.

Furthermore, Karagueuzian recalled that "the Azeri diplomacy attempted to carry out a similar project in Mexico City two years ago. Additionally, in 2010, through the action of the Armenian community the Buenos Aires City Government canceled the installation of a statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk."

After the news broke out, Deputy Alejandra Caballero, author of the project, made it clear that she would not submit it in the Legislature: "I feel very close to the beloved Armenian community, I accompany them in their pain, in living memory and the constant claim of the cruel Armenian Genocide 99 years ago," said Caballero. "I signed the project mistakenly, among many, to name public spaces for other countries. I am sorry and I apologize to those who may have been affected and felt offended by my mistake and deeply thank my friends who alerted me of my carelessness," she added.

   

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