Genocide Memorial Placed in Twin Falls Park


TWIN FALLS, Idaho (Times-News) — Liyah Babayan envisioned an Armenian Genocide Memorial in Twin Falls to serve as a permanent tribute to those who died in what has become known as the Armenian Holocaust and to honor Armenian refugees who now contribute to the community.
The 26-year-old Babayan, who came to Twin Falls from Armenia with her family when she was 11, spent much of this year lobbying and raising money for the granite memorial that was placed at Twin Falls City Park on Saturday. Armenian refugees planted a flowering pear tree beside the granite stone.

The memorial is a permanent reminder that the Turks killed between one-million and 1.5-million Armenians between 1915 and 1918 that were living in what was then the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey).

“It really means a lot to my parents and my grandparents,” said Babayan, now a US citizen who witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union as a child in Armenia.

Now pregnant and expecting a baby in December, Babayan said she knows her child will not experience atrocities as an American.

“We have rooted ourselves in this community. I grew up here. We own a business in Twin Falls,” Babayan said, adding that many other Armenians who came to Twin Falls as refugees are today United States citizens and contribute to the community.

“The Armenian-American community in Twin Falls donated the tree and plaque,” she said.

Babayan approached Twin Falls Mayor Lance Clow early this year with a petition requesting the memorial.

“He let me know that it might be an obstacle to place this type of plaque and memorial on city property,” Babayan said, explaining that the city wants plaques to commemorate events that have direct historic ties to the Twin Falls community.

The Twin Falls City Council approved the memorial in September by a 4-3 vote after considerable debate.