American Kurds and Armenians recently met at a gathering at the Hollywood Armenian Center to learn more about the history they share and strengthen ties between the two nations.
There, they entered into discussions regarding Kurdish –Armenian relations and suggested strategies whereby they could cooperate more closely with one another.
Dr. Amir Sharifi is the Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group and also a linguistics lecturer at California State University, spoke about historical Kurdish-Armenian relations and the current Kurdish politics in Turkey.
Sharifi stated that "Armenians and Kurds share intertwined histories and present-day experiences." Edvin Minassian, Chairperson of the Organization of Istanbul Armenians, was present at the gathering to discuss Armenian-Kurdish solidarity in the HDP and other political structures in Turkey.
Sayat Tekir is an activist and spokesperson for the Istanbul-based "Nor Zartonk" movement. He was not able to be there, but discussed the organization's activities in working with Kurds in Turkey, via Skype.
"Nor Zartonk" means "New Renaissance", and their mandate is to contribute to development within the social and cultural societies. They also hope to assist in finally achieving peace and welfare. They support projects which are directed at helping others to understand their society and be aware of equality, justice, peace , and democracy, recognizing them as fundamental values.
Ardishir Rashidi is the Founder and President of the Kurdish-American Society and believes that, once the unity of the Kurdish people frees their homeland, Armenia will have empathy to be able to relate, accept, understand, and also recognize their interdependence as an independent people. He also mentioned that in this year, the Armenian Genocide which was brought on by the Turks, is now being recognized by governmental, NGO's and religious institutions.
He feels that 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 about a free and peaceful. His discussion was an important step in that direction.
Sharifi also shared his views at numerous presentations this year to explore Armenian culture and history at the "I am Armenian" series which was held to mark the 100thanniversary of the Armenian genocide.
In April earlier this year approximately 60,000 protestors attended a rally outside the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles in commemoration of the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Many Kurds were among these protestors, displaying signs which declared their solidarity with Armenians.