Last year, for the first time since the Genocide, Easter and April 24th fell on the same day.
The ANCA’s approach to this historic occurrence is yet another reason why you should support the Telethon on Sunday.
In the lead up to this convergence, there was a mini crisis of identity in our community. People wanted to know if we should mourn the ancestors we lost in one of the most horrific events of our history, or if we should celebrate the resurrection of Christ, one of the most defining events in the history of mankind.
Rather than seeing this as an either/or proposition and following the lead of our collective religious leaders (Prelacy, Diocese, Catholic and Protestant), the ANCA amplified the message that Christ’s resurrection has a special significance for the Armenian Nation. Just as Christ was resurrected, our community would be reborn from the ashes of the Genocide.
It was a powerful idea. Within weeks of spreading this message, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches called on their members to pray with Armenians for all victims of the Genocide including Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Pontians, and Greeks.
As the message spread, it marked a new chapter in our community’s approach to the Genocide. This international campaign moved us from recognition to resurrection and rebirth.
As a starting point, it meant that for the Armenian Nation to be reborn in Western Armenia, Turkey needed to return the Churches that it stole. This is exactly the message the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent by an overwhelming 43-1 margin in July of last year. Even the most ardent, long time Turkish supporters on the Committee voted for it!
In December of last year, the full House voted to support the Howard Berman-Ed Royce resolution calling on Turkey to return all the confiscated Church properties. In March of this year, a Senate version was introduced by Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. All of these calls for reparations came less than one year after the ANCA amplified the message of resurrection and recognition.
The ANCA’s impact did not end with the Congressional resolutions. Its message continues to reverberate in Washington and in Ankara with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledging to pressure Turkey to return the confiscated Churches. While Obama refuses to use the word Genocide, his Administration seems to understand the significance of these Churches to the first Christian Nation in the world.
This is the kind of result the ANCA can deliver when it has the support of the community and the financial wherewithal to take the fight to the Turks, the Azeris and all the associated interests that suck up to those two countries.
With your support, the ANCA will continue to push for the return of Armenian Churches. It will also continue to work on many other important fronts – from creating jobs in the U.S. and Armenia by expanding trade ties to ensuring that Azerbaijan does not launch a dangerous war against Artsakh to registering voters to exercise their most fundamentally American right – the right to vote.
We can do this together because we are all the ANCA. Please donate generously and watch the telethon on Sunday to see all the great work the ANCA does.
The resurrection and rebirth of our Nation begins with each and every one of us.