109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide commemorated at the British Columbia Legislature

In a poignant gathering of remembrance and solidarity, the Armenian National Committee of Canada, in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia, orchestrated a solemn commemorative event marking the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Held within the esteemed confines of the BC Legislature building in Victoria on Wednesday, April 24th, the event drew dignitaries, parliamentarians, and members of the local and visiting Armenian communities, gathering to honour the memory of the victims and reflect on the enduring legacy of resilience.

Co-hosted by Premier David Eby and Minister of Health Adrian Dix, the hour-long ceremony unfolded in the illustrious Library Rotunda, where nearly 20 ministers and parliamentarians, alongside 60 community members, convened. Premier Eby’s remarks underscored the profound suffering inflicted by the crime against humanity while lauding the indomitable spirit of the Armenian people in their pursuit of recognition and remembrance. He also paid tribute to the enriching contributions of Armenian Canadians to the cultural tapestry of British Columbia and the nation, singling out the celebrated Egoyan family, including siblings Atom and Eve, hailing from Victoria.

Minister Dix delivered a disturbing narrative, emphasizing that the Armenian Genocide was not an isolated event but a continuum of atrocities perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey. From the massacres of 1894-1896 and 1909 to the harrowing bloodshed spanning 1915-1923, the systematic campaign aimed to uproot Armenians from their ancestral homeland. Shockingly, Minister Dix lamented, recent events have echoed this tragic history, with Azerbaijan, aided by modern-day Turkey, perpetuating atrocities against Armenians, as witnessed in the forced displacement of 150,000 Armenians from Artsakh in September 2023.

In a display of cross-party support, representatives from all three opposition parties echoed solidarity with the Armenian community. MLA Teresa Wat of the official opposition BC United party expressed unwavering support, while MLA Sonia Furstenau, leader of the Green Party of BC, invoked the poetic wisdom of Armenian American legend William Saroyan. MLA Bruce Banman of the Conservative Party of British Columbia recounted his personal connection to the stories shared, rooted in his family’s journey.

Representing our Vancouver Armenian Youth Federation and AYF Juniors, Karni Kochkrian and Aya Chapanian also co host of the Armenian radio hour in Vancouver delivered impactful speeches. Kochkrian lamented global inaction towards suffering, while Chapanian shared her journey of Armenian identity awakening, condemning ongoing genocide cycles.

The commemoration culminated with local musician Yusef Shadian’s evocative keyboard performance of traditional Armenian songs, followed by a reception hosted by Minister Dix. During the subsequent legislative session, Minister Dix and MLA Wat acknowledged Armenian National Committee of Canada’s and United Armenian Committee of BC’s presence and recounted the solemn midday observance.

Before the ceremony, community members bore witness to the official raising of the Armenian flag outside the Legislature building, a symbolic gesture emblematic of remembrance and resilience, sanctioned by the Speaker of the House.

In this collective homage to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the halls of the BC Legislature echoed with the voices of remembrance, resilience, and resolve, serving as a testament to the enduring spirit of a community determined to ensure that the horrors of the past are never forgotten.


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