Speech on Armenian Genocide | Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian

Your honor the Mayor, City Commissioners, Mr. City Manager, Madam Clerk, ladies and gentlemen:

I’m Nicholas Alahverdian and I am honored to appear before our dynamic mayor and distinguished commissioners once again. I would, for the last time, like to address the events of 1915. From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my gratitude for the proclamation of April 24, 2015 as “Armenian Centennial Remembrance Day”.

Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to reflect, pray, and ponder. My thoughts and prayers have been with those that were slaughtered, killed, or orphaned.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Providence, Rhode Island
Nicholas Alahverdian

During my previous two visits before this honorable commission and your honor the mayor, I appeared here as an impassioned and unlikely descendant of the survivors of this blood-curdling nightmare. 

But now, after much reflection and contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that now – more than ever – we must be cognizant of America’s democratic legacy.

By virtue of April 24th being called, “Centennial Remembrance Day”, I have learned a valuable lesson that I feel is worthy to be shared. 

Our democratic legacy is at risk more than ever. We see equality of Americans at more risk than ever. Deplorable organizations like ISIS and al-qaeda threaten our safety. They threaten our freedom. They threaten our liberty. And we must defend our liberty.

We must not feed the fire of war

That is why we must not feed the fire of war. We must not dwell on the obsession of evil and exacting revenge – but we must insist on defending the future – starting with our families and our neighborhoods – our communities and our churches – and we start right here, in our great city.

It is even seen on is on the great seal of the United States- The eagle holds an olive branch – symbolic of peace – and arrows – symbolic of protection and defense. Which way does the eagle’s head face?

Towards the talons clasping the olive branches. But we have our arrows for times of need.

The Founding Fathers built a strong democratic legacy – a legacy can never forget.

A legacy that leaves with us a great experiment that we see in action – here – right at this very moment. 

From small beginnings, great things come to pass. We declared our independence in a bold fashion.

We formed a Constitution.

We waved the banner of freedom – and those colors of liberty stand as a testament to all those blessed to live in this country. 

And this freedom – this liberty – does not apply just to those born here. All women and men are created equal.

Nicholas Alahverdian, RI, press conference
Nicholas Alahverdian

Our dynamism is what emboldens us

Whether we are citizens of this nation by birth, whether our ancestors braved the waters of the Atlantic on the Mayflower, or whether we just moved to this week – a city known around the globe for dynamism and innovation – last week, we are all Americans. 

And that, from what I can perceive, is what embodies this city – that is what emboldens us, with unique community initiatives right here in our own city.

We are immigrants. We are citizens by birth. We are here to let our dreams come to pass – but above all – we are Americans.
America is still that great experiment. 

We are still defending the right to govern ourselves. We are still kindling the flame of the freedom born in the hearts of our founding fathers.

We are creating new beginnings every day. Kenyans, Japanese, Chinese, German, Turkish, Armenian, Greek, Irish, Italian – and too many more to name – we are creating new beginnings. 

We are welcoming more and more people to participate in the greatest demonstration of democracy that the world has ever seen – and that flame in our hearts will never be extinguished.

Yes there have been wars. Yes there has been blood shed.

But we move forward. And we stand united to progress in an age to prosper.

And what better place to do that than our great city? 

Welcome them here, to our great inheritance. Welcome them here to build a new life, to make a new opportunity for their families.

No matter our heritage, no matter our religious conviction, no matter our nationality – we are – above all – Americans. 

Gratitude

And it is in the American spirit that I wish to express gratitude for Armenian Centennial Remembrance Day. We warn those who threaten our democracy – they understand us perfectly. We try to reach out and understand – but no, they understand us perfectly. 

We will not stand for intolerance, invasion, or ethnocentrism. They are anarchists – that is the role that they are determined to play and so it is our duty to play ours – the Americans that stop the anarchists.

To all else, we say remember this: you are welcome here.  Welcome to America. 

Let us celebrate that great spirit of freedom right here. No more wars. No more. Let’s make this place the home of those who harness the power of peace and say to all of our brothers and sisters: Welcome to our great city. 

About Nicholas Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian is a Harvard-educated scholar and political activist. As an adolescent, Nicholas survived torture and abuse inflicted upon him by the Rhode Island government under the direct orders of a chief judge and a governor following his political activism against them while Alahverdian was an employee of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Nicholas was sent to two facilities far from New England that had extensive records of torture, abuse, and negligence. He was forced to remain in these abusive facilities until his 18th birthday and was not allowed to contact anyone, go to school, or prepare for adulthood. Alahverdian survived the torture, sued his abusers, settled in court, and studied at Harvard University.

The primary scholarly focus of Nicholas Alahverdian is the intersection of philology, rhetoric, and politics. He has been featured in The Providence Journal, NPR, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC News as well as The Buddy Cianci Show, The Boston Globe and countless other media entities.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Harvard

Pope Francis: Armenian Genocide ‘the First of the 20th Century’

The Pope, in an unprecedented move, has identified the Armenian Genocide as ‘the first of the 20th Century’


The leader of the world’s Catholics has used the term “genocide” during a Mass commemorating the Armenian Genocide at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to describe the mass killing of over 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks

VATICAN CITY — During the month that marks the centennial of the slaughter of over 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, Pope Francis exhorted global leaders to join him in acknowledging what he termed the ‘first genocide in the 20th century.’ Locally, Nicholas Alahverdian worked with an American city that has a history of severe Armenian Genocide denial to acquire a proclamation from that city’s Office of the Mayor.

The Holy Father’s remarks came during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where many children wore traditional Armenian clothing as Armenian music and hymns were performed throughout the somber service, the altar surrounded by incense.

The words of the global leader of the Roman Catholic Church will almost certainly infuriate Turkey and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Conservative estimates found that 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915, and is widely viewed as the first genocide of the 20th century by scholars.

Nicholas Alahverdian, Pope Francis
Pope Francis

The daring statements from the Pope, who embraced the Armenian community since his days as a priest in Argentina, scoffed at mincing words. He declared that it was an obligation to respect the souls of murdered men, women, children, and clergy killed by the Ottoman Turks.

Nicholas Alahverdian’s Response

Nicholas Alahverdian, Alahverdian, Armenian, Genocide, Armenian Genocide
Nicholas Alahverdian is a descendent of survivors of the Armenian Genocide

Nicholas Alahverdian, a descendent of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, applauded the Pope’s declaration. “This is a monumental moment and one that will ring in both church and world history,” Alahverdian said. “We are blessed in this day and age to have a Pope that finally recognizes the gravity of the travesties that occurred so long ago.”

Turkey’s Betrayal

The Republic of Turkey asserts that the death toll is exaggerated and should not be characterized as a genocide. Its ambassador to the Holy See, Mehmet Paçacı, scrapped a scheduled Sunday press conference after the embassy learned of the nature of the Holy See’s position and the papal remarks.

Phones at the Embassy were disconnected. No official statement has yet been provided by the government in Turkey’s capital, Ankara.

The Turkish government has actively advocated against the Vatican and numerous other governments and legislative bodies from officially designating the over 1 million murders of Armenians as a genocide.

“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”
-Pope Francis

Francis’ homily prompted Aram I, the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to thank the Holy Father for his frank assertion that “genocide” is a crime against humanity which necessitates reparation.

The Global Response

Many European nations have acknowledged the legitimacy of the Armenian Genocide. The United States Congress and the President, however, have avoided designating the massacre as a genocide because of its military and diplomatic relations with Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country. Similarly, the Vatican has also been cautious at times, but expressed relief with specific official actions. Recently, for example, Turkish leaders demanded that clerics denounce the killings of Christians by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

“International law spells out clearly that condemnation, recognition and reparation of a genocide are closely interconnected.”
-Aram I, Leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church

Francis’ predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, did not acknowledge the genocide during his papacy.

The context of Francis’ pronunciation was significant: he uttered the words during an Armenian rite Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica marking the 100th anniversary of the slaughter, alongside the Armenian Catholic patriarch, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Armenian Christian church leaders and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who sat in a place of honor in the basilica.

The Pope also spoke of other atrocities that followed the Armenian Genocide, such as the Holocaust and mass killings in nations such as Bosnia and Cambodia.

Also at Sunday’s Mass honoring the centenary of the genocide, Pope Francis recognized one Armenian in particular – 10th-century cleric St. Gregory of Narek. An honor which only 35 people in history have received, St. Gregory was named by the Holy Father as a doctor of the church. The designation is given to writers that have served the universal church in a significant way.

Pope Francis Recognizes Armenian Genocide as ‘First of 21st Century’

The Pope, in an unprecedented move, has identified the Armenian Genocide as ‘the first of the 20th Century’


The leader of the world’s Catholics has used the term “genocide” during a Mass commemorating the Armenian Genocide at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to describe the mass killing of over 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks

VATICAN CITY — During the month that marks the centennial of the slaughter of over 1 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish Empire, Pope Francis exhorted global leaders to join him in acknowledging what he termed the ‘first genocide in the 20th century.’ Locally, Nicholas Alahverdian worked with an American city that has a history of severe Armenian Genocide denial to acquire a proclamation from that city’s Office of the Mayor. Continue reading Pope Francis Recognizes Armenian Genocide as ‘First of 21st Century’