Armenian Orphan Rug Released For Viewing - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Araksya Karapetyan

Armenian Orphan Rug Released For Viewing

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. - A rug made by orphans of the Armenian Genocide will finally be displaced publicly for the first time.

The rug had been in the center of controversy for some time, after the Obama administration refused to allow it to be released for a planned exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute.

Although the reason for this decision was never made public, many critics have pointed to Turkey, saying it was out of sensitivity to the country, a NATO ally. . From 1915-1923 an estimated 1.5 million Armenians died, in what has been called
the first genocide of the 20th century. To this day, the Turkish government refuses to take responsibility and claims those deaths were simply the result of war.

The nearly century-old rug was made for and delivered to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925, as a thank-you gift to the United States. Orphans who survived the Armenian Genocide worked on the rug for 10 months.  The rug is extremely detailed;
it is made up of more than 4 million individual knots.

The 19-by-12-foot rug was passed down in the family until it was presented again to the White House in the 80s. The rug was pulled from storage in 1984 and 1995, but only for private viewing.

This rug in a way has become a symbol of the tension and division between the Armenian diaspora and the desire for both the American and Turkish governments to recognize the genocide. Both governments refuse to call it a “genocide.”
U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was among the individuals and groups who worked hard to convince the White House to release the rug. Congressman Schiff is the lead sponsor of the Armenian genocide resolution in the House.

It isn’t clear if the rug will appear at the Smithsonian or someplace else. But now many will have an opportunity to view the piece.
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