Paris demonstrators (photo Jean Eckian)

France Honors 1,500,000 Armenians Exterminated in 1915

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PARIS – On Saturday April 24, 2021, around 4,000 French Armenians came to listen to leading public figures of the French Republic, such as the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, the president of the Ile de France region Valérie Pécresse and the spokesperson of the French government Gabriel Attal.

From left, Mourad Papazian, Emmanuel Macron and Ara Toranian (photo Jean Eckian)

Each of these dignitaries brought strong support to the Armenian cause and against denial. In the morning French President Emmanuel Macron came in front of the Armenian Genocide Memorial, in front of the statue of Reverend Komitas, where he gathered alongside the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, the Ambassador of Armenia Hasmik Tolmajian, as well as the co-chairs of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France, Ara Toranian and Mourad Papazian.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris (photo Jean Eckian)

President Macron said: “On April 24, the Armenian Genocide commemoration day, we are not forgetting. We will fight together against negationism, hatred, violence. The French people and the Armenian people are forever linked.

Gabriel Attal speaking (photo Jean Eckian)

Government spokesperson Attal declared: “On April 24, we commemorate the Armenian Genocide, a national day inscribed on the republican calendar by Emmanuel Macron. Let us be in thought with those and those who maintain the memory and fight against denial.

Gabriel Attal (photo Jean Eckian)

“As the war has once again marred the Caucasian soil, we know how fragile the situation is. France’s position is invariable, inflexible: it is and will remain alongside the Armenians in their desire for peace. We will be there to help and ensure it.

Some of the demonstrators (photo Jean Eckian)

“Some believed they could silence the Armenian Genocide, stifle the cry of the innocent.

Demonstrators with placards (photo Jean Eckian)

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“They failed. France, for 20 years, has recognized it in its texts, and Emmanuel Macron has kept his commitment to include the commemoration of April 24 in the Republican calendar.

Dignitaries listening to the speeches (photo Jean Eckian)

“Education today is the mother of battles. We must lead it, firmly, resolutely, without making the slightest concession to those who, for political reasons, try to manipulate the minds of the younger generations to lessen or deny the scope of this genocide.

“We will be there to help the Armenian people to support their heritage. We will be there to help the Armenians find theirs.”

Ambassador of Armenia to France Hasmik Tolmajian (photo Jean Eckian)

Mayor Hidalgo stated: “On April 24, in front of the statue of Father Komitas, we honor the memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide perpetrated 106 years ago. Never forget.” She continued, “This commemoration is very special since it follows a war. The goal of this war: the eradication of any Armenian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, even an invasion of Armenia itself.” She denounced this and announced that a square in Paris will bear the name Armenia.

President of the Ile de France region Valérie Pécresse (photo Jean Eckian)

Pécresse exclaimed: “This April 24, 2021 is not an anniversary like any other: the United States recognizes the Armenian genocide, 20 years after France, thanks to Jacques Chirac. It is up to us to continue to protect Armenia from the attacks of its enemies, because an unbreakable bond binds us!”

Ara Toranian (photo Jean Eckian)

Ara Toranian, co-president of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France, said: “100 years after the genocide of 1915, the ideological model which led to the worst is still there, with its cocktail of pan-Turkism and jihadism which constitutes the political matrix of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] of Mr. Erdogan and his epigones in power in Baku.”

Mourad Papazian (photo Jean Eckian)

Mourad Papazian, co-president of the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations in France, said he was sad: “because the hardships we experienced between September 27 and November 9 have shown that in 2020, we can leave a people behind, to be massacred.”

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