American Kurds and Armenians in Southern California gathered on Sunday to explore the share the history of the two communities and strengthen ties.

 

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At the Hollywood Armenian Center, a group of Los Angeles-based Kurds and Armenians discussed the truths about Kurdish-Armenian relations and planned strategies to cooperate closely.

 

Dr. Amir Sharifi, Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and lecturer of linguistics at California State University, Long Beach, spoke about the history of Kurdish-Armenian relations and the current Kurdish politics in Turkey.

 

“Armenians and Kurds share intertwined histories and present-day experiences; subjugation by the Ottoman Empire [and] loss of statehood and cooperation within the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey,” Sharifi said.

 

Edvin Minassian, Esq., Chairperson of the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, spoke about Armenian-Kurdish solidarity in the HDP and other political structures in Turkey.

 

Sayat Tekir, an activist and spokesperson for the Istanbul-based “Nor Zartonk” movement, spoke via Skype about the organization’s activities in working with Kurds in Turkey.

 

Nor Zartonk’s (New Renaissance) mandate is to contribute to the social and cultural development of society and to play an active role in achieving peace and welfare.

 

The organization supports projects that assist people to understand their society and recognize equality, justice, democracy and peace as fundamental values.

 

Nor Zartonk also contributes to the understanding of Human Rights as a whole.

 

“Once the Kurdish unity frees our homeland, no other neighbor than Armenia will have the empathy to relate, understand, accept, and recognize our interdependence as an independent people,” said Ardishir Rashidi, the founder and President of the Kurdish American Education Society.

 

“This is the year when the Armenian Genocide in the hands of Turks is recognized by [several] governmental, NGOs, and religious institutions,” he added.

 

“We the Kurds have a historic opportunity and responsibility to change the hearts and minds of the public through education about Kurds and Kurdish resolve to bring peace and freedom to Kurdistan. Dr. Sharifi’s talk this evening was a great step in that direction,” Rashidi continued.

 

Sharifi also spoke in a series of events dedicated to exploring Armenian culture and history in the “I am Armenian” series held in the commemoration of the 100thanniversary of the Armenian genocide.

 

In April, an estimated 60,000 protestors rallied before the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles to commemorate the 100+1 anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

 

Kurds were present among the protestors, including Ezidis from Phoenix, holding signs to declare solidarity with Armenians.

 

Kurdistan24