Armenians gather in memory and respect at Alex Theatre

Armineh Aslanan spent Tuesday running from Montebello to Los Angeles and back to her hometown of Glendale as she tried to attend as many Armenian Genocide Commemoration events as she could.

“I feel that it’s something that every Armenian should do, they should at least attend one of the events,” Aslanan said. “To remember. To give respect.”

Aslanan was one of nearly 1,400 people who packed the Alex Theatre Tuesday night at a city-sponsored event commemorating the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which began in 1915 when the Ottoman Empire massacred roughly 1.5 million Armenians.

Missing from the audience, though, was Kim Kardashian, who was personally invited by Councilman Ara Najarian last week after news circulated that she planned to take the Glendale mayoral seat within five years.

Najarian said Kardashian sent her regrets and created a video to present during the event, but the file was incompatible with the theater technology. The video described the general importance of remembering the genocide, Najarian said.

Kardashian tweeted similar sentiments earlier Tuesday..

“Today lets all stand together & remember the 1.5 million people who were massacred in the Armenian Genocide. April 24th, 1915. #NEVERFORGET,” she tweeted.

However, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) flew in from Washington to attend several genocide commemoration events, including a march throughout Hollywood that flooded the streets with thousands of people and clogged traffic for hours.

“It’s a very solemn moment,” he said, before speaking at the Alex Theatre event.

City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian made the opposite commute. On Wednesday he plans to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Capitol Hill observance of the Armenian Genocide.

The Glendale event included speeches by Canadian parliamentary member Jim Karygiannis and filmmaker Eric Nazarian, whose recent work features a musician searching for a family heirloom lost during the genocide.

Najarian and Councilman Rafi Manoukian said the commemoration symbolized the fight for recognition.

Years ago, Armenians would remember the genocide once a year, but lately Armenians around the world have been talking about the event on a daily basis in an attempt to get it recognized by all nations, Najarian said.

The United States and Turkey have yet to recognize the mass slaughter and death marches as genocide.

“Instead of getting weaker and weaker over time, our cause is getting stronger,” Najarian said.

Manoukian, Schiff and others at the commemoration said they were upset that in a statement released by the White House, President Obama called for a “just acknowledgement of the facts” but did not use the word genocide when describing the massacre.

“It was very disappointing,” Manoukian said.

Although some were upset, others said they didn’t think much of it.

“We weren’t expecting anything,” said Glendale resident Aline Miskjian.

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