The Federal Member for Bennelong, John Alexander OAM, MP, has delivered a powerful speech on the Armenian community in Parliament, the Armenian National Committee of Australia reports.
During this statement, Alexander praised the life of Mr. Jacques Baran, an Armenian-Australian who was awarded City of Ryde Citizen of the Year in recognition of his years of service to the Bennelong community. In recounting the life of Mr. Baran, Alexander recounted the impact that the Armenian Genocide had on Mr. Baran.
He said: “The acts of genocide committed against the Armenian people in the early 20th century caused them to scatter across the globe, creating many obstacles in the perpetuation of their unique culture.”
ANC Australia Executive Director, Vache Kahramanian praised the comments and thanked Alexander for again raising this important issue.
“It is a sad reality that Armenian’s fled their ancestral homelands due to the genocide. Mr. Baran’s story is all too common amongst our community. Mr. Alexander has been a strong advocate on all issues of importance to the Armenian-Australian community and we thank him for his ongoing support,” Kahramanian said.
ANC Australia extends its warm wishes and congratulations to Mr. Jacques Baran for his achievements.
The text of Mr. Alexander’s speech can be read below:
I rise to commend the extraordinary lifeof Mr Jacques Baran, who was recently awarded City of Ryde Citizen of the Yearin recognition of his generous contribution to the Bennelong community. I was delighted to join Jacques and Helen Crouch from North Ryde Community Aid for this presentation, and I am a proud local representative to stand here and tell you Jacques’s story.
In the aftermath of World War II Jacques Baran was born in Syria from Armenian heritage. Following the death of his father Jacques became the family breadwinner, when he was just 17. He also undertook a political science and business administration degree, followed by a PhD. Jacques volunteered at Homenetmen, Aleppo, a distinguished Armenian cultural and sports organisation. However, civil unrest caused him to migrate to the United Arab Emirates with his wife and young daughter. Here he established an Armenian school, bringing together volunteers to teach Armenian children to speak, read and write their ancient language.
It is important to outline the historical context of this work, to emphasise its importance. The acts of genocide committed against the Armenian people in the early 20th century caused them to scatter across the globe, creating many obstacles in the perpetuation of their unique culture. It is true that with the schooling of the next generation in their distinctive language, by people like Jacques Baran, these obstacles are overcome and the connection to their heritage is retained. In 1985, Jacques migrated to Australia with his family, forging a successful career in management, embracing his new home, while also celebrating his Armenian background.
In 2011 Jacques joined the North Ryde Community Aid and Information Centre as a volunteer, assisting disabled and aged clients with their transport emergency needs, and providing his specialist language skills for Armenian seniors to interact with the wider community. Legend has it that Adolf Hitler justified his final solution policy against the Jewish community by remarking, ‘No one remembers the Armenians.’ It is fitting that nearly 100 years after the Armenian genocide we can stand up on the other side of the world and applaud the efforts of people like Jacques Baran and proclaim that we remember the Armenians and we celebrate their enduring language, culture and heritage. As we turn our attention to the Armenian Christian minority currently being targeted in Aleppo, in Syria, we pray that common sense and global leadership will help these proud people prevail once more.