Armenian genocide commemoration events planned in Fresno area

The Fresno BeeApril 18, 2014 

A series of events are planned this week in the Valley to mark the 99th anniversary of the Armenian genocide:

• On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Ararat Cemetery, 1925 W. Belmont Ave. in Fresno, wreaths and flowers can be laid at the monument of the Remains of the Unknown Martyr of the Armenian Genocide. A requiem service will be officiated by Armenian clergy from throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

• At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, there will be a commemoration and flag raising at Fresno City Hall, 2600 Fresno St. Among the speakers will be Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Reps. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and David Valadao, R-Hanford. Special attention will be paid to recent attacks by Syrian rebels on the city of Kessab, where many Armenians were living and have been uprooted in the fighting.

• A commemoration of the genocide will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, 220 Third St. in Fowler. Fresno County Superior Court Judge Debra Kazanjian will be the featured speaker.

• And for the months of April and May, there is a photo exhibition at the UC Merced Center, 550 E. Shaw Ave. in Fresno, called "The Living Martyrs," which shows children who survived the genocide.

Earlier this week, the movie, "Music to Madness: The Story of Komitas," was shown Monday at the Tower Theater. The movie portrays an Armenian boy with a perfect singing voice who becomes a great performer as an adult, but who gets caught up in the genocide and ultimately falls into madness.

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