Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sassounian: Turkish Denialists Fail to Block Genocide Speech at Australian Parliament

The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Australia had invited this writer to speak at commemorative events in Sydney and Melbourne, and to deliver a formal address at the New South Wales Parliament during the week of April 24.
On April 27, the Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance sent a three-page letter to all parliament members urging them to boycott my presentation. A parliament member forwarded a copy of the letter to the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Australia in advance of my talk on April 29. The cleverly worded letter, most likely written by the Turkish Embassy’s professional lobbyists, made several false claims and defamatory accusations.
The Turkish denialist group sought to import Ankara’s human rights restrictions to a democratic country like Australia by trying to muzzle not only this speaker’s right to free speech, but also the parliament’s right to invite whomever it chose. Calling me a “propagandist” who “benefits from conflict and hatred,” the Turkish letter “strongly” advised parliament members not to attend my talk.
Gunes Gungor, the executive director of the Australian Turkish Alliance, falsely reported that I am “related” to Hampig Sassounian, simply because I shared his last name. Hampig was convicted of assassinating the consul general of Turkey in Los Angeles in 1982. While the life of any human being is precious, Gungor sheds crocodile tears over the death of a single Turkish diplomat, ignoring the wholesale killings of 1.5 million innocent Armenians! How would Gunes Gungor like it if I were to accuse him of being related to several criminals I found on the internet, just because they shared the same last name?
Gungor in his letter also badmouthed the distinguished jurist Raphael Lemkin who coined the term “genocide” based on his detailed studies of the extermination of Armenians by the Ottoman-Turkish government. In a desperate search for any reason to tarnish Lemkin’s impeccable reputation, Gungor claimed that “towards the end of the meetings because of his aggressive comments he [Lemkin] was asked to leave the room.” Gungor did not even know how to spell Lemkin’s first name.
The Turkish propagandist finally attempted to draw a distinction between the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. After pretending to be an expert on the Armenian Genocide, Gungor confessed his ignorance by stating that “much about the late Ottoman Empire has yet to be learned and many conclusions have yet to be drawn.”
Despite Gungor’s attempts to undermine my address, parliament members and guests, including scholars, elected officials, and Jewish community leaders, gave me a standing ovation. Surprisingly, Gungor showed up at the parliament to hear me speak, not trusting his own ability to have the event canceled. While members of the audience were given ample time to ask any question they wished, Gungor and his two Turkish colleagues did not ask a single question. More surprisingly, as the three Turks were leaving the parliament hall, one of Gungor’s colleagues was overheard saying, “On nights like these, I wonder what we are doing here!”
My other talks took place with packed audiences without disruption. According to the ANC of Australia, more than 1,100 people attended my first talk on April 24 in Sydney. I gave a second talk the next night in the same city. I then spoke at a similar event on April 27 in Melbourne in the presence of around 500 guests.
The only sour note during my journey was Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s message to the Sydney commemoration. Taking a page from President Obama’s playbook, Abbott used every other word (horror, tragedy, terrible events, lost lives) except for genocide in his brief message. Vache Kahramanian, the executive director of the ANC of Australia, wrote to the prime minister, telling him that his message would not be read to the audience because it is “of great insult to the Armenian-Australian community with its blatant omission of the Genocide word.” Kahramanian reminded the prime minister of his previous year’s message while he was the opposition leader, in which he had properly characterized the Armenian Genocide. In contrast to the prime minister, Australia’s treasurer, Joe Hockey, the country’s most senior government minister, issued a formal statement clearly acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.
I left Australia greatly impressed with the political activism of the Armenian community of 50,000, which runs circles around the much larger Turkish community of over 200,000.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Genocide Education Project of RI Spreads Awareness

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—During the month of April, the Rhode Island (RI) branch of the Genocide Education Project participated in several events of significance. Co-chairs Pauline Getzoyan and Esther Kalajian were honored to be a part of the National History Day in Rhode Island, as well as in Armenian Youth Day, for the first time this year. They also presented the Genocide Educator of the Year Award 2014 at the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee of RI commemorative.
The students taking part in the presentation
The students taking part in the presentation
National History Day in RI is presented annually by the Graduate Program in History at Providence College and the RI Social Studies Association. This year, Getzoyan and Kalajian were invited to participate as independent judges of those projects based on the subject of genocide. The theme of National History Day 2014 was “Rights and Responsibilities in History,” which lent itself to the study of genocide throughout history. After viewing 12 exhibits, documentaries, and websites based on the theme and subject of genocide, 2 clear winners emerged on judging day, April 5. As independent judges, Getzoyan and Kalajian voted to award two prizes, instead of the one originally planned: one for a junior division entry (middle school) and one for a senior division entry (high school). Both entries were extremely well done.
The junior division winner was Kristina Davtian, an eighth grade student at St. Peter School in Warwick, whose project was a website entitled, “Immigration: Rights and Responsibilities.” Davtian’s website clearly outlined immigration as it pertained to human rights violations and times of war, and included an entire section on the Armenian Genocide and how it impacted immigration to the United States. The senior division winner was Amanda Carberry, a ninth grade student at Narragansett High School in Narragansett. Carberry’s project was an outstanding documentary entitled, “Exterminate the Cockroaches: The Rwandan Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect.” On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan Genocide, Carberry’s project was both timely and effective. Getzoyan and Kalajian presented the winners with their awards, which included an autographed copy of Chris Bohjalian’s The Sandcastle Girls and $50 cash, at the award ceremony on Mon., April 7, at Winman Jr. High School in Warwick.
As the month progressed, Getzoyan and Kalajian were asked by the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee of RI to conduct a presentation with the young students at Armenian Youth Day on Tues., April 22 on the subject of genocide, primarily the meaning of the word “genocide.” Given the age span of 7-14, Getzoyan and Kalajian were faced with the dilemma of how to address this topic in an interesting and active fashion with all the students. Ultimately, the approach focused on the definition of genocide, as well as some of the stages of genocide and their relation not only to the students’ everyday experiences, but also the Armenian Genocide. Getzoyan and Kalajian discussed classification, the issue of identity, and the idea of “us vs. them.”
The students filled out identity charts with their names and interests, which they then shared with each other to understand the concept of how they may be viewed by others versus how they see themselves. This led to the second stage of genocide—symbolization—which included showing the students images of different symbols, such as sports logos, fraternity letters, and finally swastikas, the yellow Star of David, and gang graffiti. The students clearly understood the difference between the symbols and what they meant, especially since some of them had siblings who were in fraternities and some were wearing sports logos.
An activity that drove the point of the fifth stage of genocide—polarization—home to the students included randomly passing out blue and green paint chips. After passing out the chips, Getzoyan and Kalajian began a casual conversation about blue being their favorite color. They then had the students with the blue chips come up since they had the favorite color and had them all partake of a donut snack. After all the “blue” students took their snacks, the “green” students were asked how they felt about being excluded. This activity clearly demonstrated the feeling of polarization, which some of the students had experienced through bullying themselves. This led to a related discussion of bullying and how to react when being bullied or witnessing bullying. Of course, all the students were given the snacks at the end of this activity.
To conclude the presentation, Getzoyan and Kalajian introduced the final stage of genocide, denial, in relation to taking responsibility for one’s actions, and leading to being upstanders versus bystanders. The students were fully engaged in the presentation and happily posed for a picture with their teachers.
To conclude the month, the RI Branch of the Genocide Education Project once again presented the Genocide Educator of the Year Award during the commemorative program held on Sun., April 27, by the Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Committee (AMMC) of RI at the monument at North Burial Ground in Providence. The award, which includes a framed certificate along with a $500 stipend, is made possible through the generosity of the AMMC and the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of RI. This year’s recipient was Lisa DerManouelian, a teacher of literature and religion at St. Peter School in Warwick. DerManouelian was selected for several reasons, the most important being her ability and motivation to include genocide education in her curriculum, even though she is not a social studies or history teacher. And she does this as a teacher at the middle school level with grades six through eight. In fact, DerManouelian is the first middle school teacher to receive this award since its inception seven years ago. According to Joan Sickinger, the principal of St. Peter School, DerManouelian is very technology-oriented and has brought many technological advances to the school. Along these lines, Sickinger shared that not only does DerManouelian freely share her knowledge of technology with both students and faculty, but two of her students were winners this year for their websites at the Rhode Island History Day event, and they will be travelling to the National History Day event in Washington, D.C.
Recently, Middle School students went to see “The Diary of Anne Frank”at Ocean State Theatre Company in Warwick, thus continuing their genocide education experience. As part of her curriculum this year, DerManouelian has incorporated the Armenian Genocide and is having her eighth grade students read and study The Road from Home by David Kherdian. DerManouelian is always eager to learn more about her subject areas and technology, and attends many workshops to this end. With that in mind, another reason for her selection is her efforts at spreading the word about genocide education and the Genocide Education Project RI Branch amongst her colleagues. It was through her introduction to the RI History Day coordinators that Kalajian and Getzoyan were able to participate and offer awards to the outstanding students. DerManouelian graciously accepted the award following Getzoyan’s introduction and presentation.

Sassounian: Turkey, US Conspire to Issue April 24 Statements

While it is not surprising to learn that Turkey and the United States coordinated their official declarations on the Armenian Genocide, recent revelations have confirmed their shameful behind-the-scenes schemes.
In a speech delivered in Australia late last year, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans revealed for the first time that the State Department regularly conferred with the Turkish Embassy in Washington on the content of the U.S. president’s annual April 24 statement on the Armenian Genocide.
This clearly reflects the degree of collaboration between Turkey and the United States on the genocide issue, and even more appalling, American officials’ succumbing to the gag rule imposed by a denialist regime.
The American-Turkish collusion on the Armenian Genocide issue was recently corroborated by Deniz Kahraman in the Aydinlik Turkish newspaper, revealing that the two governments jointly drafted the statement that Prime Minister Erdogan issued on April 23, 2014. He offered condolences to Armenians, Turks, and others who died from various causes during World War I, thus equating the deaths of Turkish soldiers with Armenian Genocide victims.
Basing his information on unnamed diplomatic sources, Kahraman wrote that the White House had been fully aware of the content of Erdogan’s statement in advance of its release. In fact, the Turkish prime minister’s text was prepared with U.S. input and finalized by officials in both countries. It appears that the initial text was prepared by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, after which the White House made some modifications, “based on U.S. sensitivities” on this issue. On April 21, the Turkish Foreign Ministry forwarded the final text to Erdogan’s office, which released it to the public on April 23.
Kahraman also revealed that in return for accepting U.S. modifications of Erdogan’s statement, Washington offered to block the pending Armenian Genocide Resolution in the Senate, after its adoption by the Foreign Relations Committee in early April.
Aydinlik reported that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has personally been following the Armenian Diaspora’s preparations for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Turkey is reportedly evaluating its countermoves, which include convincing the Armenian government to revive the comatose Armenian-Turkish protocols, while simultaneously energizing the mediating efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the Karabagh (Artsakh) conflict through public diplomacy.
According to Aydinlik, Ankara is evaluating its plans on how best to counter Armenians who are pursuing their demands from Turkey through three separate channels: “legal, political, and public opinion.” Kahraman reported that a serious political rift emerged last June between Turkey and the U.S., after which Washington started pressuring Turkey to take more resolute steps on the Armenian Genocide issue and normalize relations with Israel. To appease the United States, the Turkish prime minister issued a statement on April 23, on the eve of the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Aydinlik also reported that the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in favor of Turkish denialist Dogu Perincek had strengthened Ankara’s hand in international circles. However, Washington wanted Turkey to be more accommodating on the Armenian Genocide issue. That is why Turkish and U.S. officials orchestrated the release of a public statement by Erdogan on April 23, right before Obama’s own statement on April 24.
It is therefore not surprising that State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had high praise for Erdogan’s April 23 statement, describing it as a positive step that would pave the way for improved relations between Armenia and Turkey. Unbeknownst to the public, the State Department was in fact praising a statement that it had helped draft.
While Turkey and the United States are playing a dishonest game of publicly supporting each other’s privately orchestrated statements on the Armenian Genocide, Davutoglu let the cat out of the bag by announcing in Parliament that Erdogan’s April 23 message of condolences was part of the Turkish campaign to undermine Armenian efforts to commemorate the Centennial of the genocide.
Finally, I wish to remind all those who have wrongly claimed that Erdogan’s April 23 message was an unprecedented pronouncement by a Turkish leader, that almost 90 years ago, on June 22, 1926, Turkish President Kemal Ataturk made a truly bold statement in an interview with the Los Angeles Examiner: “These leftovers of the Young Turk Party who should have been made to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred…”

Monday, June 9, 2014

Turkey and Genocide Recognition: A Candid Assessment

Here we are within one year of an historic milestone in our quest for justice. It is now 99 years since the Ottoman-Turkish government unleashed the genocide that slaughtered some 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women, and children. A genocide that uprooted another 500,000 from their ancestral lands and saw tens of thousands of our young women and children taken in servitude and denied their birthright to grow up as Armenians.
The purpose of the genocide was simple enough: to empty the historic provinces of Western Armenia of its people and to plunder their wealth. Complicit in this politically motivated crime were the government leaders of England, France, and the United States by their acceptance of the horrendous slaughter that was taking place with their full knowledge, notwithstanding what amounted to their meaningless protestations. Compounding this tragedy, England, as the principal architect of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), welcomed Kemal Ataturk, who was no less responsible for the anguish visited upon the Armenian people, and the newly formed Republic of Turkey into the community of nations absolved of all responsibility for the genocide.
The new Turkey was given the blood-soaked historic lands of Western Armenia emptied of its people by a genocide that subjected its victims to the most inhumane and barbaric methods imaginable. These supposed bastions of democracy saw fit to ignore this heinous crime against the Armenians. The personal and community property plundered from the victims was gifted to Ataturk in the Treaty of Lausanne. The government of the United States, by its inaction, was as culpable as England and France in allowing this transgression against the Armenian people to go unpunished.
The year 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the genocide that sought to wipe us from the face of the earth. A genocide that has continued unabated in the decades that followed to destroy physical evidence that Turkey occupies lands that were settled by our people for millennia—lands that still, legally and morally, belong to the Armenian nation. Today we are no closer to the justice that is rightfully ours than we were during those years immediately following the genocide, when our nation faced an improbable future against seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Now here is the rub. Turkish intellectuals stress the importance for Turkey to “acknowledge its past”; bravo to them. When foreign leaders say that Turkey should face its past especially during official visits to Turkey, we become euphoric when it is reported in the Armenian press. Similarly when Turkish citizens demonstrate in remembrance of the tragic assassination of Hrant Dink or proclaim that “We are all Hrant Dink,” we are encouraged to believe that we are moving ever closer to the justice we seek. We want to believe that a wave of sympathy, like a tsunami, is slowing building and when it finally crashes on the Turkish shore, government leaders will be forced to acknowledge the country’s past. I don’t believe so. However, given the volatility of the domestic political environment within Turkey, no one can say with certainty what may happen in the future.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a prelude to the 100th anniversary of the modern era’s first genocide, continues the official policy of denial that every Turkish government has followed. He refers to the common pain that Armenians and Turks endured and the need for historians to make a judgment as to what actually happened during the years from 1915 to 1923. His hypocrisy can be understood, but how can one say the same for President Barak Obama when his April 24th message is once again filled with platitudes; when fails to use the word genocide; and when he suggests that a “full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests.” Who is he addressing with this banal suggestion?
Mr. President, the slaughter of 1.5 million innocent Armenian men, women, and children between 1915 to 1923 is an historic fact that has been thoroughly documented and evaluated by unbiased, credentialed scholars—not politicians—who have unanimously agreed that it was genocide. Yes, it would be “in all of our interests” if you would remind your friends in Ankara, as well as yourself, to acknowledge the facts.
Our naiveté in believing that the pressure is mounting on Ankara to accept its past is frightening. As part of the Turkish response to 2015, Erdogan has once again invited Armenia and the (Diasporan) Armenians to join Turkey so that we may “…wipe away the tears, push prejudice to one side, and reveal historic truths…in an objective manner.” Looking north across the Black Sea, Erdogan must be emboldened by President Vladimir Putin denying what the world was witnessing in real time—his occupation and annexation of Crimea from a sovereign neighboring state without fatal repercussions.
With all of his internal problems, the government of Prime Minister Erdogan is not about to collapse anytime soon. For us to believe that Turkey will implode for our benefit is an old saw that has been played since I was a youngster. Will it never end? Whether we like it or not, Turkey has assumed even greater strategic importance as the Southern Gas Corridor, as Western Europe seeks to shift its dependence on Russian oil and gas imports to the energy resources of the Caspian Sea Basin.
To bolster our belief that the political climate for recognition is improving, we conveniently overlook the possibility that the demonstrations for Hrant Dink (as well as the Taksim Square/Gezi Park demonstration that quickly spread to other major Turkish cities) may simply have served as the vehicle for urban and educated Turkish citizens to vent their frustration with the policies of Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), rather than actively supporting recognition—notably, his shift from the policies of Ataturk, especially the shift from a secular society to one that places significantly greater emphasis on the ultraconservative values of the Islamic faith. This has placed increased restrictions on individual rights and the movement toward an open society. Given this legitimate concern of these citizens, we cannot gauge the depth of their sympathy for our cause until it runs up against their loyalty and love for Turkey. However, it is extremely gratifying that the Human Rights Association of Turkey has come out forcefully not only for recognition, but for indemnification. It is not surprising that boundary rectification was not mentioned.
Yet, to be fair in our assessment we cannot summarily discount the fact that there are Turkish citizens sincere in their protestations who cringe at the suffering that the genocide has wrought upon the Armenian people. These Turks may or may not be in the vanguard of a people who are tired and ashamed of the guilt their intransigent leaders have forced them to bear.
A factor we seem to overlook is the response of those sympathetic Turkish citizens once they realize that there is a difference between advocating the need for the nation to face its past and actually acknowledging its past. Acknowledgement is the moment when they must come to terms with the hideous crime of genocide carried out by their forebears. Recognition carries a heavy emotional, moral, psychological, and economic burden. There are significant groups within Turkey, at least a majority, that would never willingly accept recognition. The culturally conservative rural population would have the most to lose with recognition. They are settled on land that belongs to the victims of the genocide. Of the 77 percent of the population that is classified as urban, it is safe to say that a majority are or lean toward being culturally conservative as well. The military may have been weakened by Erdogan, but it still remains a powerful force in support of a secular state and against recognition. Then there are those who for various reasons would object to any accommodation with our legitimate demands.
Unfortunately there are any number of foreign leaders, including those who have supported recognition, who would eagerly accept any proffered recognition by Erdogan or his successors as being sufficient to put the genocide issue to rest forever. It is not a pleasant thought to consider. And solely for the sake of argument, should recognition be achieved, there is no guarantee whatsoever that indemnification and boundary rectification would follow. Can you name one nation, other than Russia possibly, that would vigorously support our legitimate claims against Turkey for either indemnification or boundary rectification?
One final comment. The spate of reports coming from Diyarbakir is uplifting. The rehabilitation of the Sourp Giragos Armenian Church was a singular event in what might be called a sort of rapprochement between Armenians and the Kurdish people of Diyarbakir. Much credit should go to the people of the city and their officials, Abdullah Demirbas and Osman Baydemir. However, does the rehabilitation of a long-neglected Armenian church serve to expiate the transgressions of their Kurdish ancestors who participated in the genocide? It reminds me of the practice by the powerful and wealthy during centuries past who would have a church built or perhaps rehabilitated or adorned as a way to ease their entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Does this rapprochement include encouraging the progeny of those young Armenian women and children taken during the genocide to become acquainted with their Armenian roots?
We may not want to accept it, but these “lost” or Islamized Armenians, however diluted their blood may have become through the generations, are still our people. How we respond and develop this relationship has significant ramifications for Hai Tahd. This is not suggesting that we proselytize, but simply take the opportunity to develop a dialog, perhaps with the assistance of our recently contrite Kurdish friends. It is something for our leaders to actively expand upon.
It is interesting to note that at the recent commemoration of the genocide in Diyarbakir (reported in the Armenian press) the Kurdish speakers referred to the shared pain that Kurds and Armenians suffered. One would think that the purpose of the genocide was to eliminate both Armenians and Kurds; that Kurds had no role in what happened; or that they did not benefit from the wealth that was plundered. Kurds continue to suffer under the brutal yoke of Turkish oppression, but let them not deflect their participation in the genocide by implying that they were also victims.
We should keep in mind what Talleyrand, the foreign minister to Napoleon, once remarked: that nations do not have friends, they only have interests. It would be surprising if we had any friends (with the possible exception of Russia) who would vigorously support our quest for justice against Turkey. For nearly a century Turkish leaders have been determined not to accept responsibility for the genocide. Although our cause is just, that alone will not bring us victory. Aiding Turkey as an unyielding enemy of Hai Tahd is the passage of time. After nearly a century we have yet to develop and implement a comprehensive coordinated plan that vigorously attacks Turkey’s numerous vulnerabilities. Our efforts have been and continue to be sporadic, disconnected, and diffused. We face a formidable enemy. Unfortunately, we do not have forever to achieve our purpose.

Friday, June 6, 2014


WATERVLIET >> The Arsenal City will become the Festival City with both the annual St. Peter Armenian Festival and the first St. Ann Church Food Festival scheduled for this weekend.
The Armenian Festival, known throughout the region for its authentic Armenian food will have barbecued shish kebab, losh kebab (ground lamb and beef mixture), and the “Hye Burger,” which is a traditionally-seasoned burger that debuted last year and became an instant classic.
“I would love to sell out. I just want people to get the chance to have one before we run out,” said Bill Nevins, creator of the “Hye Burger.”
But traditional favorites will also be available for purchase — rice pilaf, lahmajune (Armenian pizza), yalanchi (grape leaves), hummus, baba ghanoush, cheese beoreg (a phyllo dough pastry filled with cheese), and of course paklava. If American food is more your thing, they will be serving chicken kebabs, pork kebabs, hot dogs, brownies and more.
“I’m a picky eater, but the food is delicious,” Rafi Topalian, deacon and choir director of St. Peter Armenian Church and owner of Top Custom Jewelers Inc/, said. “Everything is homemade with love and centuries of soul. This continues our traditions and that’s what makes it a celebration.”
And back by popular demand this year is The John Berberian Ensemble, who will perform live Armenian music throughout the two-day event at the church, which is located at 100 Troy-Schenectady Road.
“They will be playing traditional Armenian music on traditional instruments, “ Topalian said. “The music tells the stories of our ancestors, and it will make everyone feel Armenian that day.”
The Armenian Festival will also be filled with cooking demonstrations, Armenian dancing, carnival games, bounce rides and a special “Apple” raffle where participants can enter for only $10 a ticket, in chance to win things like cash, a gift card to Top Custom Jewelers, an Apple iPod or even a Apple MacBook Laptop.
All the money raised by the event will go to the church.
The event will be open from noon-8 p.m. on Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, there will be covered seating available and take-out options.
“Come and enjoy with us, and learn about our culture as we celebrate our heritages roots right here in the Capital Region,” Topalian said proudly.
The St. Ann Church Food Festival will feature Lebanese food made in-house. Among the specialities will be taboulee, pilaf rice, hummus, chicken kebabs, beef kebabs, spinach pies, baklawa and fried dough with some American specialities.
This is the first Food Festival for St. Ann’s Church since it moved to Watervliet about a year and a half ago. They have been planning this event since February and are hoping to see 150 to 200 people at Hudson Shore Park, just off Exit 8 on I-787.
“We are hoping to introduce our ethic Lebanese food, culture and raise awareness of their new Catholic Church, where we have Maronite Rite,” Betty Karrat, chairwoman of the Food Festival, said. “The event is at a park, so bring the whole family. All our food is fresh and everybody loves it!”
The Children’s Dance Troop will perform Lebanese dances during the event to enhance the cultural experience and give people a chance to see the art of Lebanese song and dance.
Parking and admission are free for the event, which will be held rain or shine 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday under the pavilion. Take-out options will be available.
All money raised will go to finishing the restoration the new church.
“We are also doing this to fill the hole from the demolition of St. Patrick’s Church,” Karrat said. “Food is something that everybody loves, and everybody loves Lebanese food. This is the best Lebanese food you will ever have!”