Glen Rock, NJ – ANC of New Jersey representatives coordinated a visit between Armenian refugees who fled their ancestral homeland of Artsakh during the 2020 Artsakh War – an unprovoked Azerbaijani attack against the Armenians of Artsakh that began in September of 2020 – and Representative Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) on Sunday, February 13, 2022.
“This week, I met with Armenian refugees of the 44 Day War. After hearing their stories and meeting their children, it’s clear that we must do more to acknowledge the atrocities that happened and to hold Azerbaijan accountable. As a Jewish American, the targeting of ethnic minorities is deeply personal for me. The U.S. must do more to stand with Armenians, including expanding aid to Artsakh deportees and cutting aid to Azerbaijan,” said Representative Gottheimer in a Tweet today.
The Avanesyan family – Vigen & Shushan, their daughters Flora and Nare, and sister-in-law Anna-Marie – welcomed the Representative and ANCA teams into their home where they shared a story of survival – theirs and Artsakh’s – with the Representative. They recounted their eye-witness testimony of the devastating Azerbaijani and Turkish attacks which led to the ethnic cleansing of over 100,000 indigenous Armenians. They too were forced from their home and homeland. They have found refuge in the Representative’s district and are bringing the delicacies of Artsakh to New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District through their home-based business Anush Lini through which they prepare traditional Artsakh jengyalov hatz and baklava.
The Avanesyans and Rep. Gottheimer were joined by representatives of the Armenian National Committee of New Jersey – ANC of NJ including James Sahagian, Nairi Diratsouian and Alex Sarafian, as well as ANCA‘s Government Relations Director Tereza Yerimyan.
Sarafian, who owns Aran Wines, continued to shed light on the on-going implications of the attack – including the loss of his vineyards in Artsakh, which are currently occupied by Azerbaijan following the disastrous November 9th ceasefire. The team urged Rep. Gottheimer to continue his efforts to zero-out military aid to Azerbaijan and expanded aid to Artsakh.
“We welcome Rep. Gottheimer’s efforts to learn – first-hand – about the devastating effect of Azerbaijan and Turkey’s attacks on Artsakh – which forced the Avanesyan family from their ancestral home and resulted in Aliyev’s take-over of the Sarafian family’s vineyards in Hadrut,” stated ANCA Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan. “Azerbaijan must be held accountable for its ethnic-cleansing, and zeroing out all military aid to the oil-rich Aliyev regime would be a good start.”
The ANC of New Jersey joins the 31 states in the ANCA Eastern Region in demanding action for the people of Artsakh – for the Avanesyans – and for all the families whose lives have been impacted by the continuation of genocide.
“The ANC of New Jersey thanks Congressman Josh Gottheimer for his continuous support on issues of concern to the Armenian Nation,” explained the ANC-NJ’s James Sahagian. “He has always been an advocate for a free, independent and prosperous Armenia and Artsakh, and has earned an A+ on the last several ANCA report cards. His meeting with the Avanesyan family, who reside in his district, demonstrates his concern for refugee families displaced by the vicious war waged by Azerbaijan and its enablers. We thank Congressman Gottheimer for his friendship and principled leadership.”