Monday, June 29, 2015
"After 100 years of what the Armenians endured at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, today the world is witnessing the same barbaric acts being implemented in the same Middle East."
"We urge the Canadian government to go a step farther and use its world stature and to pressure the Turkish government to stop training and arming extremists and helping them infiltrate Syria and Iraq."
"Furthermore, we should stop Turkey from acting as middle man which facilitates the financing of the fanatics by purchasing the looted Syrian and Iraqi oil and historic treasures and export them to world markets."
A Canadian cabinet minister, two MPs, a Toronto councilor, a former judge, a newly-elected Kurdish MP from Bingöl, Turkey, an evangelist preacher, the European representative of the ‘Kurdish Rojave Cantons Regional Government’ in Syria, and Syrian-Kurdish spokesman took part in the Canadian Conference on the Kurdish Humanitarian Crisis on June 21 in Toronto.
While the gathering’s name focused on the Kurdish tragedy, the speakers also addressed the plight of the other Syrian and Iraqi minorities victimized by the so-called Islamic State and other terrorists. About 250 people attended the conference. ....Read more >>
Aris Speech at the Kurdish Community Events
June 21 2015
Honored Guests and Friends,
I am here today in solidarity with you and with the other persecuted minorities of the Middle East. As a representative of a nation which was the target of the same ideology currently sweeping the region, I know what it means to be victimized by a policy bent on eliminating anyone who does not share that racist and vile ideology. An ideology bent on destroying and eradicating not only people and religions but also thousands of years of civilizations.
After 100 years of what the Armenians endured at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, today the world is witnessing the same barbaric acts being implemented in the same Middle East. The neo-Ottomans in Turkey are once again the core enablers of the atrocities committed against the Kurds, Alawites, Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, the Druz, the Yazidis, and other minorities.
As Armenians commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide this year, the international community is once again watching--mostly in silence--the horrors which are being perpetrated in the same area by Ottoman Turkey. The Canadian government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister Harper and Minister Jason Kenney, are the exception to the silence. Their principled stand and moral fortitude are the only bright hope in these dark days. Our soldiers' participation in the attack on the ISIS terrorists in Syria and in Iraq, providing the largest per capital safe haven of Syrian refugees in Canada (over 10,000 in two years), the financial assistance to the refugees in the camps are unprecedented contribution. These humane and courageous acts should be duplicated by other world leaders.
Regrettably, our opposition party leaders are living in a fantasy land. They believe ISIS, Jabhat Al Nousra, and Al-Qaida fanatics are Boy Scouts. They think that treating these terrorists with kid gloves will make the butchers act reasonably. In the next election we need to send to Ottawa resolute leaders who have a proven track in international relations and know how to deal with terrorists. A leadership that has stood by Canadian people’s values and has demonstrated that these values should not be shunted by political opportunism and electoral considerations.
We are grateful to Canada’s leadership in this regard and what it has contributed so far. We urge the Canadian government to go a step farther and use its world stature and to pressure the Turkish government to stop training and arming extremists and helping them infiltrate Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, we should stop Turkey from acting as middle man which facilitates the financing of the fanatics by purchasing the looted Syrian and Iraqi oil and historic treasures and export them to world markets.
I ask the Canadian government and our allies to implement measures to protect Middle East minorities and provide direct humanitarian aid to them while eliminating the barbaric ISIS and allied terror gangs. The upheavals in Syria and in Iraq have caused untold misery to millions of innocent people. We have reached the 11th hour in reversing the massive tragedy.
Let's act decisively and promptly to end the plight of Syrians and Iraqis.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Book "The Call from Armenia: Canada's Response to the Armenian Genocide" Discussed in the Canadian Senate
Hon. Serge Joyal: Honourable senators, as we continue to reflect on the impact of the First World War and its commemoration, let us remember that April 24 of this year marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
I would like to bring to the attention of honourable senators a new book recently launched to coincide with the centennial commemorations of the Armenian genocide, which details Canada's specific response to that genocide in 1915-16.
The book is titled The Call from Armenia: Canada's Response to the Armenian Genocide, and it is written by Aram Adjemian, who is, as it happens, also a research assistant in my office. The book is illustrated with hundreds of archival documents, illustrations, photographs, advertisements, newspaper articles and editorial cartoons to enhance the reading experience. The book also presents new research regarding Canada's specific reaction to atrocities perpetrated on the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire from the late 19th century to the 1920s.
It is appalling that roughly 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. That represents 22 per cent of all civilian victims of the First World War.
At that moment, Canadians' reaction to the Armenian genocide was substantial, although information about it has been forgotten over time. Canadians were most engaged following the First World War. Large-scale fundraising drives for Armenian relief and well-organized letter-writing campaigns motivated the Canadian government, aware of its increasing international influence, to write a series of official communiques to Great Britain on the issue.
Let us not forget that the Ottoman Empire was allied with the German Kaiser against Canada and the Allies during the War. Here is a brief excerpt of a letter sent by the Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs under Prime Minister Robert Borden's Union government, Newton W. Rowell, which outlined Canada's position as the Peace Treaty with Turkey was being deliberated on February 20, 1920:
. . . the undersigned suggests that the Canadian Government should place itself on record as absolutely opposed to the return of any of the Armenian provinces of Turkey to Turkish rule and that this view should be communicated at once to His Majesty's Government.
Allow me to read part of the testimonials on the back of the book, which include one from our former colleague, Senator Roméo Dallaire:
This interesting work sheds new light on one of modern history's forgotten catastrophes and serves as further evidence of Canadians' enduring concern for human suffering around the world.
I believe this book fills a void in the scholarship relating to the Canadian reaction to the Armenian genocide. It should be particularly useful for those who have an interest in the topics of genocide and human rights studies, Canadian missionary involvement abroad and religious movements in Canada, and the early years of Canada's international capacity on the world stage.
Yes, honourable senators, Canada was on the right side of history.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.