Two City Council Candidates Celebrate After U.S. Senate Hands Armenian Americans an Early Christmas Gift

Published : Monday, December 16, 2019 | 5:08 AM

Two candidates for Pasadena City Council praised Congress for passing a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, meanwhile two local members of Congress returned home to attend a celebration in Glendale honoring the long-awaited recognition.

District 4 Candidate Joe Baghdadlian and District 2 Candidate Boghos Patatian said the recognition was indeed a long time coming.

On Dec. 12, the U.S. Senate adopted SR 150 in a rare bipartisan vote, rarer still because it was a rebuke to a key ally and because Republican Senators defied a Republican President.

The resolution is identical to a measure adopted just weeks ago 405 to 11 in the U.S. House.

The White House reportedly had directed several senators, including Lindsay Graham, to block the bill.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the White House this fall and held an unusual meeting with Trump and Republican senators, temporarily delaying the Senate’s actions against Turkey.

“As an Armenian American and a proud U.S. citizen I could not be more proud of my country of citizenship and my home for standing on the right side of justice and properly recognizing the atrocities that happened in 1915 during the Armenian Genocide,” said Patatian.

Patatian is running against Felicia Williams, Tricia Keane, and Kevin Litwin to replace retiring City Councilmember Margaret McAustin.

Meanwhile, Baghdadlian is running against incumbent Gene Masuda and candidates Charlotte Bland and Kevin Wheeler.

“My father had never seen his dad,” Baghdadlian said. “They took him away and then he never came back, and got killed. I’ve never seen my grandpa. I am 72 years old now. I am a forgiver more than anything. It’s about time. It’s something, a very special day for me to hear this happening, the world has to recognize completely to see what happened so it never happens again.”

On Saturday a Glendale celebration by area Armenian Americans saw Representatives Adam Schiff and Judy Chu fly back from Washington, D.C. to attend, in the midst of impeachment activities.

For 19 years Schiff (D-Burbank) fought to get the U.S. to officially recognize the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923 in what has come to be known as the Armenian Genocide, despite the objections of the Turkish government.

However, after Turkey’s recent invasion of Syria, where American ally the Kurds were attacked, support for the resolution grew in both houses in Congress.

During the 2008 campaign eventual President Barack Obama promised to acknowledge the event, but he never did during his presidency.

After he left office top Obama aides said the administration failed by not officially declaring that the mass slaughter constituted genocide.

Reacting to the votes by both houses of Congress, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said his country could responding by shutting down its Incirlik airbase, a vital strategic facility which the U.S. has used to conduct operations throughout the Middle East for decades.