NOTE: Noted human rights attorney Karnig Kerkonian delivered a keynote address on April 22 at the Montebello Martyrs Monument during an Armenian Genocide commemoration event organized by the Los Angeles-based United Armenian Council for the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, known as the UACLA. Kerkonian presented similar remarks in Fresno and Cupertino, Calif. during commemorations events in those communities on April 23 and 24.

Below is the transcript of his powerful remarks, which we present in its entirety.


Thank you for your kind introduction. And thank you to the committee for the warm invitation to speak here today. Hokevor Hayrer. Distinguished guests. Sireli hayrenagitsner.

Some of what I am going to talk about today will be difficult to hear. Some of it may be difficult to digest. Some of it may be difficult even to believe.

But, if there is one thing that I can assure each of you, it is that everything we are going to discuss today is true. It’s painfully true. Disgustingly true.

This is unquestionably one of the most dire moments in recent Armenian history—a moment of existential threat, of torment and trauma, of injustice and indignity. It’s a moment that delivers us back to a collective memory of unresolved injustice and, at the same time, pushes us forward into a sea of ominous uncertainty.

And the depravity is cemented. It’s cemented in my mind. And it’s cemented in many of your minds too. I’m absolutely certain of it.

The images of an old Armenian man struggling on his back in the grass and weeds, as his head is being sawed off with a serrated-edged military dagger. Armenian captives, crawling on their hands and knees, being prodded like animals by Azerbaijani soldiers with metal pipes.

A stamp issued by an actual government depicting an exterminator in a hazmat suit “cleansing” Nagorno-Karabakh of Armenians. A military trophy park in Baku showcasing the helmets of fallen Armenian soldiers, gruesome and bloody mannequins of Armenians, displayed in a public park, for Azerbaijani children to mock and degrade.

The president of a state, in this century, a century after the Genocide, referring to Armenians—to many of us—as dogs.

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