Standing Strong Against Aliyev's Lies in Hawaii -
HONOLULU—The Hawaii legislature on Wednesday publicly debated and then rejected a pair of Azerbaijan-initiated anti-Armenian measures, dealing a high-profile setback to Baku’s well-funded effort to enlist U.S. state legislatures in its increasingly aggressive campaign against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region.
Despite the resources expended on the measure by the Azerbaijani government, the most persuasive voices of the day belonged to three members of the local Armenian American community, including: Arpine Philian Mar, an 82 year-old retiree, Arthur Martirosian, and Ani Martirosian, an active community leader who was instrumental in organizing her fellow citizens to speak out on these measures.
Following the hearing, during which she had delivered a compelling, comprehensive, and persuasive argument before the Committee, Ani Martirosian said, “I’d like this to be an example for all Armenians – and other underrepresented groups – around the world that our voices do matter. We must stay vigilant to recognize the attempts made to falsify our history, and we need to then take peaceful and meaningful action to counter with the truth. Today was a win for not only us Armenians, but others who are in the minority. For the people, by the people – this is the way our legislative process should work. Let the truth prevail.”
Ani Martirosian Menon and fellow Hawaii residents exemplified the power of citizen governance and grassroots activism -- blocking Hawaii House Veterans, Military and International Affairs (VMI) Committee passage of two inaccurate and misleading resolutions promoted by the Azerbaijani government to undermine the independence of Nagorno Karabakh.
See the video here
HR 9 and HR 13, introduced by VMI Committee Chairman Mark Takai and Rep. Rida Cabanilla, were deferred by the Committee following strong testimony by Martirosian Menon, Arpine Philian Mar, Arthur Martirosian and Dr. Alexander Telnov in addition to hundreds of letters and online testimony submitted opposing the measure.
The ANCA Western Region submitted its testimony against the resolutions, copies of which are available at:http://ancawr.org/2014/02/11/anca-wr-...
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued an open letter to all U.S. state legislatures earlier this week urging them to take as stand against foreign interference in American civic life by corrupt Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev. "It is truly a tribute to our great American democratic tradition that even a regime as flagrantly corrupt as Ilham Aliyev's is allowed to operate freely within our open society, " explained Hamparian. "But that does not mean that American citizens need to remain silent in the face of meddling by foreign leaders who neither respect our rights nor share our values -- especially when they try to export their intolerance to our shores."
Honolulu Civil Beat's Nathan Eagle shed light on one possible reason why Hawaii legislators may be interested in promoting pro-Aliyev legislation -- the $8000 trips trips to Baku both Takei and Cabanilla took, at the Aliyev government's expense - in 2013. Read all about it here: