DETROIT — On April 21, the Detroit United Committee, composed of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Tekeyan Cultural Association, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Knights of Vartan, Daughters of Vartan, Detroit Armenian Women’s Club, University of Michigan (Dearborn) Armenian Research Center, and Wayne State University Society of Armenian Students, held an Armenian Genocide centennial commemoration at the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School in Southfield.
Dr. Hosep Torossian, the high school principal, opened the program with remarks in both Armenian and English. He reminded the large audience that the attention of much of the world was on Armenia and the Armenian Genocide, due in large part to the prominence and comments of Pope Francis and Kim Kardashian, both of whose names Dr. Torossian, in his own words, “dared to mention in the same breath,” eliciting laughter.
St. John Armenian Church Choir Director Rubik Mailian beautifully rendered the American and Armenian National Anthems. He was accompanied by pianist Margaret Lafian.
The emcee for the program was Oakland County Judge Lisa Assadoorian. She presented a moving video by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), and acknowledged the presence of arepresentative for junior Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). A Proclamation signed by State of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was read, declaring April 24 Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Other state and local political figures had sent their representatives, as well.
Writer, literary critic, and political commentator Edmond Azadian noted in his remarks that even though there is much discussion these days about the righteous Turks who saved the lives of some Armenian survivors, we should not lose sight of the collective guilt regarding the colossal crime committed against the Armenian people and the responsibility of the Turkish government to properly acknowledge the crime and deal with the issues of territorial and monetary reparations.
As a musical interlude, Yerevan-born cellist Lusine Petrosyan played two well- known folk pieces, Groong and Hov Arek, by Gomidas Vartabed. Manoogian High School Senior Nikole Davtyan read the familiar excerpt from William Saroyan’s “The Armenian and the Armenian.”