FRESNO — Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Diocese’s Ecumenical Director and Legate, was among the panelists discussing the Armenian Genocide in an event titled, “Man’s Inhumanity to Man … The Last 100 Years,” presented by the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall on March 18 at The Saroyan Theatre here.
The program, which included Rabbi Kenneth Segel, former rabbi of Fresno’s Temple Beth Israel, Taner Akçam, Professor of History at Clark University and Berj Apkarian, honorary consul for the Republic of Armenia in Fresno, discussed issues of reconciliation and the opportunity for clergy and scholars to reflect on the Armenian Genocide and its effects over the past century.
Before the Town Hall panel, Aykazian, Akçam, Segel and Apkarian were honored at a special dinner at the Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church in Fresno. The panel was created to reflect on the Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Young Turk Party during World War I, as well as discuss issues ranging from reconciliation to contributions to the American culture, arts and sciences for the past century by people who have been subjected to genocide and inhumanities.
Segel talked about the connection between the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, in which six million European Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II. “Both histories are stained with people’s tears and blood,” said Segel. “I want to sow parallels between the Genocide and how we are connected to the Holocaust.” In an interview with the Fresno Bee Aykazian said he joined the panel to discuss two main points, including the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide as well as forgiveness.
Aykazian says he hopes the Town Hall discussion creates a better understanding of Armenians.
“The majority of the Armenian people ready for a peaceful solution,” said Aykazian. “The most important thing is acknowledgment.”