Assembly’s Statement on Anniversary of Sumgait Pogrom

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the Sumgait pogrom that deliberately targeted and brutally attacked the Armenian population of the seaside Azerbaijani town from February 26, 1988 until March 1, 1988. This unprovoked onslaught against Armenians was a precursor to additional pogroms against Armenians in then-Soviet Azerbaijan. Over the course of the following years, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced to flee the massacres and abandon their properties and belongings.

The pogroms were in response to the exercise of free speech and constitutional rights to reverse a Stalinist decision in the face of the historic elimination of the Armenian people from their indigenous land, even after the World War I-era Armenian Genocide. Many prominent human rights advocates of the 1980s, including Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov, called for Artsakh’s self-determination to protect the Christian Armenians. The Sumgait pogrom, however, was followed by the Baku pogrom, which were both widely reported at the time and are widely ignored today.

Thirty-three years have passed since the slaughter in Sumgait and nothing has changed in the behavior of the Azerbaijani government. It continues its violence and hostilities against the Armenian people.  The 44-day war launched last Fall by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Artsakh – with the full and open support of Turkey – magnified scores of human rights abuses as the two despotic countries, Azerbaijan and Turkey, pounded the Armenian civilian population and defense forces with internationally banned cluster munitions, lethal drones, and white phosphorus bombs.

Azerbaijan is also engaged in a vicious distortion of history. Its government has retained public relations firms to establish “Azerbaijani Day” in the United States on February 26 – the exact date of the Sumgait pogrom – in an outrageous falsification of facts. The Azerbaijani government’s desire to rewrite history and engage in efforts of historical whitewashing replicates Turkey’s ongoing and inexcusable denial of the Armenian Genocide. The patterns of persecution, massacre, and denial are all too clear. The absence of international condemnation of this pattern is the source of the impunity with which the Erdogan and Aliyev regimes continue to suppress human rights in their own countries and wage wars against their neighbors.

Today we remember the lives lost during the tragic anniversary of Sumgait as we condemn the ongoing brutality that Azerbaijan commits daily against Armenians in Artsakh. We call on the U.S. Congress to send emergency humanitarian aid to Armenia – a necessary safeguard for the victims of the 44-day war launched by Azerbaijan and backed by Turkey – and to respond to their human rights abuses.

To take action now and urge the U.S. Congress to honor the victims of the Sumgait pogrom, please click here.

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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NR #2021-12

Assembly Exceeds $100,000 Fundraising Goal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) is pleased to report that thanks to a special $50,000 matching pledge by Armenian Assembly Life Trustees Dr. Leon and Elizabeth Kircik, the Assembly raised over $100,000 from the end of December 2020 through January 2021.

“With so much work ahead of us in the aftermath of the 44-day war last Fall, on behalf of the Assembly Board, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Life Trustees Dr. Leon and Elizabeth Kircik for their generosity,” stated long-time Board Member and past Chair, Annie Simonian Totah.  “Through this special match, we were able to generate additional support and I am delighted that we surpassed our goal,” Simonian Totah continued.

“Now more than ever it is important to mobilize and continue our impactful work together,” added Simonian Totah.

The Armenian Assembly continues to advance key priorities in the new Congress, including U.S. humanitarian assistance to help the Armenian people and strongly backed an Armenian Caucus letter to the Administration calling for a stronger relationship between the United States and Armenia. The letter, which was sent on Friday, February 19, 2021, had the support of over 100 Members of Congress.

We express our gratitude to the following individuals who contributed to the Assembly during this special matching campaign period:

Mr. & Mrs. Stuart E. Aaron, Mr. & Mrs. Stephen S. Abedian, Dr. Shagen Abovyan, Dr. Aram S. Adourian, Ms. Bela Agabalyan, Ms. Alice Alajajian, Mr. Bruce S. Albright, Mrs. Arlene Saryan R. Alexander, Mr. Stephen C. Alexander, Ms. Adrienne G. Alexanian, Mrs. Patricia R. Amboian, Mr. Artin Ananighian, The Ararat Foundation, Mr. Berc Araz, Mr. Armen G. Aroyan, Mr. Archie Arpiarian, Mr. Haroutioun Artine, Mr. Ovagim Ashikian, Mr. & Mrs. Howard P. Atesian, Mr. Barkef Avakian, Mr. Michael A. Azarian Jr., Ms. Leslie N. Aznoian, Mrs. Alice Aznavourian, Mr. Gregory T. Arzoomanian, Mr. Albert Ayvazyan, Ms. Elizabeth P. Babaian, Dr. William L. Babaian, Mr. Oksen E. Babakhanian, Mr. Vartan Babayan, Ms. Linda S. Babikian, Mr. & Mrs. Avedis† and Arsho Baghsarian, Mrs. Shake Balekjian, Mrs. Anoush Y. Balian LLC, Ms. Lily Ring Balian, The Vartkess & Rita Balian Family Foundation, Mr. Charles Barsam, Mr. Haig Bazoian, Mr. & Mrs. Sarkis and Ruth Bedevian, Mr. Vahe Bedian, Ms. Anna Bedirian, Ms. Lucy A. Bedirian, Mr. George Bedrosian, Mr. Viken B. Bedrossian, Bestway Rent-A-Car, Dr. Paul G. Bogosian, Mr. Jacob David Bournazian, Mr. Abraham Bouyadjian, Mr. & Mrs. Avedis Stepan Boyamian, Prof./Dame Joy Renjilian-Burgy, Mr. Robert E. Cannuscio, Mr. Jason P. Capizzi, Mr. Haig Robert Casparian, Ms. Lita Chadrjian, Mr. Harry Chakarian, Dr. Zaven H. Chakmakjian, Mr. Yervant Chekijian, Mr. Harry S. Cherken, Jr., Esq., Mrs. Ellen Sarkisian Chesnut, Mrs. Aroussiag Christianian, Mrs. Anahid T. Crecelius, Mr. Zaven A. Dadekian, Dr. Nazareth E. and Dr. Ani B. Darakjian, Mr. Zaven Ken Darian, Mr. Gregory Derderian, Mr. James G. Derian, Dr. George Dermksian, Mr. & Mrs. Nishan DerSimonian, Professor Emeritus Daniel V. Der Vartanian, Mrs. Gloria M. Deukmejian, Mrs. Margaret A. Dildilian, Mrs. Marguerite Dilimetin, Mr. Onnik Dinkjian, Ms. Donna Margaret Dorian, Mr. Arthur Ehramjian, Mr. John Ehramjian, Mrs. Sirvart Endrigian, Mr. Armen Enkababian, Mr. Edward S. Eranosian, Mr. Craig E. Eranosian, Mrs. Silva Ficici, Mr. Simon Gabriel, Dr. & Mrs. Charles Garabedian, Ms. Elizabeth K. Garabedian, Ms. Roxy Garabedian, Mr. Richard H. Gavoor, Mr. Kaspar Haik Gazarian, Dr. Levon H. Gazarian, Ms. Marion A. George, Mr. & Mrs. Kevin C. Giragosian, Mr. Vanig Godoshian, Mr. Richard G. Green, Mrs. Juliet J. Gregorio, Mr. Stephen H. Gurahian, Mr. Sarkis Gurunian, Mrs. Barbara Hagopian, Ms. Ellen J. Hagopian, Ms. Suzanne Hagopian, Armen Hampar Family Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Edward L. Haroutunian, Mrs. June D. Hatfield, Mr. & Mrs. John D. Haytaian, Mr. Garabed M. Hoplamazian, Dr. Dikran S. Horoupian, Ms. Marguerite Hougasian, Mr. Herman Hovagimyan, Dr. Michael M. Hovsepian, Mr. & Mrs. John J. Hyland, Ms. Angeline Jamjamian, Mr. Edvard Jeamgocian, Mrs. Seta Jessourian, Yn. Anahid Kalayjian, Mr. Haig Kalfaian, Dr. Albert A. Kalustian, Mr. Varujan Kalustian, Mr. Harry K. Kantarian, Mrs. Catherine Kapikian, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Kaprelian, Mr. & Mrs. Peter P. Karabashian, Mr. Levon Karageuzian, Mr. & Mrs. Raffi Karahisar, Mr. Vartkes K. Karaian, Mr. Artin Karakayan, Mr. Ara Karian, Mr. Stephen Karoghlanian, Mr. James Kashian, Mr. Brett Armen Kassabian, Mrs. Janice A. Kechijian, Mr. James Keledjian, Mrs. Edna Keleshian, Mr. John Ardash Kemhadjian, Mr. Albert A. Keshgegian, Mr. & Mrs. Armen Keshishian, Dr. Gregory Ketabgian, Mr. & Mrs. Krikor Khorozian, Ms. Mari Kibritian, Ms. Agnes Killabian, Ms. Nancy R. Kolligian, Mrs. Tamara Kirkjan, Ms. Nazenig Nancy Kolenick, Mr. Nazaret Koroglu, Mrs. Sonig Kradjian, Ms. Nancy Kricorian, Dr. Arlene Alice Krouzian, Mr. Alex A. Kuiumdjian, Mrs. Naomi Kuzoian, Mr. Zare D. Makasjian, Mr. Richard D. Maloian, Mr. Kevork Marachelian, Mr. & Mrs. Garo Mardirossian Esq., Mrs. Diane Markarian, Mr. Zareh Y. Maserejian, Dr. Kourken Matossian, Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Mekenian, Mr. Andre Melikian, Mr. & Mrs. James and Connie Melikian, Ms. Madeline Melkonian, Ms. Susan Merguerian, Mr. & Mrs. David and Margaret Mgrublian, Dr. Richard E. Mikaelian, Ms. Sona H. Minakian, Mr. & Mrs. Levon Minnetyan, Ms. Carolyn G. Mugar, Ms. Mary M. Mukhtarian, Dr. & Mrs. Arsham Nalbandian, Mr. Carl K. Narsasian, Mr. Matthew P. Natcharian, Mr. Gregory V. Nazarian, Mrs. Lucille Noraian, Mr. Armen J. Oganessian, Dr. Joan Hintlian O’Mara, Mrs. Anne A. Shirinian-Orlando, Ozcan Company, Mr. Samuel Laurice Panossian, Dr. Dennis R. Papazian, Mrs. Sylvia Lee Parsons, Mrs. Kathleen Paul, Stephen Philibosian Foundation, Mrs. Audrey Pilibosian, Mr. Leo Pilibosian, Mrs. Ann Barsamian Polasek, The Hon. Justice & Mrs. Charles and Deborah Poochigian, Ms. Charlene Prestopino, Mr. Daniel D. Sahakian, Mr. Harold A. Sakayan, Ms. Rose Samarian, Ms. Gloria L. Sands, Mr. Alan H. Sarkisian, Ms. Narine Sarkissian, Mr. Jack Seferian, Mr. & Mrs. Harry Semerjian, Dr. Hratch G. Semerjian, Mr. & Mrs. Zakar Shahverdian, Mr. Toros Shamlian Jr., Mrs. Lucy R. Simonian, Dr. Simon J. and Mrs. Arpi Simonian, Mrs. Sona Simsarian, Mr. Robert Jan Sislian, Mrs. Takouhy Soultanian, Mr. M. Robert Stepanian, Ms. Florence Thomasian Speck, Mr. Nelson Tabirian, Mr. Donald P. Tafjen, Ms. Nancy A. Talanian, Ms. Sylvia Tarbell, Mr. & Mrs. Arshag Tarpinian, Mr. Agop Tashchian, Ms. Mariam Tatosian, Dr. Aida Khatchadourian Tchobanian, Mr. Richard Terzian, Mr. David Terzibashian, Mr. Serge Tomassian, Mrs. Annie Simonian Totah, Mr. & Mrs. Alec Toumayan, Mr. & Mrs. Ralph and Savey Tufenkian, Mr. Thomas J. Tusan Esq., Mrs. Zabelle Vartanian, Mr. Jack T. Vosbikian, Mr. Richard Lee Weil Jr., Mrs. Marilyn J. Woloohojian, Mr. Robert Mugar Yacubian, Mrs. Lilit Yaghoubian, Mr. & Mrs. Fraij Yapoujian, Mr. & Mrs. Greg Krikor and Marlene Yerevanian, Mr. Maurice Yotnegparian, Mr. & Mrs. Albert and Barbara Zakarian, Ms. Magdalen A. Ziver, Mrs. Gale M. Zorian, Mrs. Mary Zoryan, and Anonymous (2).

Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.

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NR# 2021-11