Campus Events to Commemorate Armenian Genocide

Michael Konigsberg and Mark Zabala

The Armenian Student Association has lined up a series of on-campus events this month to commemorate the 86th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

On Tuesday, the ASA will present an excerpt from the play “Let the Rocks Speak” in Plaza Vaquero from noon to 1 p.m. Written by Lilit Thomassian, the play features three actors dressed entirely in black who tell the story of the genocide. Thomassian’s daughter, GCC student Anais Thomassian, will be joined by other cast members in this lunchtime performance.

Tanya Gregorian, the ASA student adviser and chair of the ASA genocide committee, decided to bring the play to campus after seeing a performance last November at Hoover High School. “It was beautiful in its simplicity,” she said.

Artwork from the Roslin Art Gallery at 111 W. California Ave. in Glendale will be on display in the plaza during the performance. The gallery is named for the 13th century Armenian artist Toros Roslin, who painted illuminated manuscripts, but artwork from other artists are featured as well. Bookmarks and other items have been donated to the ASA by the gallery and will be sold during the performance as a fund-raiser.

As an additional fund-raiser, a traditional Armenian dish known as “harissa,” or “halim” to Iranian-Armenians, will be served and sold in the plaza during the performance. It is made up of barley and chicken with a thick consistency “like oatmeal,” according to Sarkis Nazaryan, vice president of ASA.

The money raised from these events will mostly go toward paying the airfare and hotel expenses of the renowned genocide scholar Hilmar Kaiser, who will discuss the Armenian genocide in Krieder Hall (SR 138) on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. Although Kaiser has agreed to speak for free, his airfare alone amounts to about $450, but ASGCC has subsidized ASA with $400.

ASA president Ronny Hovanessian and his colleagues have been interested in bringing a genocide lecturer on campus since their election, but they wanted to invite a speaker who would discuss the Armenian genocide as objectively as possible. Nazaryan suggested the speaker since Kaiser, a non-Armenian, would not only be able to bring a mostly unbiased perspective on the genocide, but he would be more likely to appeal to all students — not just the Armenian student population.

Kaiser, who has researched many genocides, will present students with the opportunity to hear the opposing Armenian and Turkish sides of the genocide story along with his own conclusions and documentation.

The ASA invites all students to attend these events and show their support for genocide recognition regardless of their ethnic background.

For more information, students can go to gccasa.com or e-mail Hovanessian at [email protected]