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White House Won’t Lend Smithsonian a 1925 Rug Woven by Armenian Genocide Orphans

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A special book launch event at the Smithsonian has been cancelled due to the White House’s refusal to lend out the Armenian Orphan Rug, according to the Washington Post. The book, “President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug,” by Dr. Hapog Martin Deranian, looks at the history surrounding the creation of the rug and the Near East Foundation — a U.S.-sponsored program to help orphans of the 1915 genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire. The efforts of the Near East Relief Organization raised over $100 million between 1915 and 1930, and saved over one million refugees, including 100,000 orphans.

The October 20th release of the book was meant to include the Smithsonian event and the display of the rug — woven by refugee orphans who were aided by the United States. The rug was presented to President Calvin Coolidge at the White House in 1925.

It remains there, in storage, though no explanation has been provided as to why the White House curators are refusing to lend it out for the occasion. In a statement they offered little insight into the decision: “The Ghazir rug is a reminder of the close relationship between the peoples of Armenia and the United States. We regret that it is not possible to loan it out at this time.”

— Meredith Caraher

(Image: Detail from the cover of “President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug.”)

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  1. by Jazmin Moreno Stuart

    Shame on the white house. Shame on Turkey.

    The Armenian Genocide needs to be taught in schools and this rug is a very important part of our common history!

  2. Mistakes are done by many countries and history proved it. In the beginning of the 20th century Turkey, with the help of Germany and Lenin helped them as well from Russia, committed a Genocide and not only Armenians but also many Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians and other Christians were killed. Denying it will not help anyone. The White House has more serious problems to solve those days and what a shame that they are refusing to provide a peace of art to Smithsonian, instead of concentrating on more serious issues that USA is facing today.

  3. This is about RACIAL Profiling by our White House and media!!! This is not the first time the word “Armenian” is being omitted from any POSITIVE context!

    OUR CHILDREN CAN RECREATE THE RUG AND MAKE A NEW RUG, TO SHOW WE HAVE SURVIVED AND… WE ARE HERE!!! After we showcase both rugs, then we can donate it to our Genuine White house, and %#!? the Turkish Regime!!

    This is RACIAL Profiling, has nothing to do with our Holocaust

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