The Smithsonian event would also include a book launch for Hagop Martin Deranian's “President Calvin Coolidge and the Armenian Orphan Rug”.
“We have been working, even the minor details have been considered. On September 12 we received a letter from the Smithsonian Foundation stating that the White House refused to loan the rug to exhibit and the process was frozen”, Ara Ghazarians, Curator of Armenian Cultural Foundation (Arlington, US) said.
The White House never brought any reasons for their refusal. Press publications often bring forward a political cause: fear of negative reaction from Turkey.
The rug was woven by orphans in the 1920s and presented to US President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 as a sign of gratitude for the US people's support to Armenian orphans at the times of Genocide. “Ghazir” rug has images of 144 animals on it and is supposed to represent the Garden of Eden.
Vice President of Armenian Rugs Society Levon Der Bedrossian noted that they were ready to support the exhibition, but the process was frozen. “This rug is a unique cultural, humanitarian work. The political aspect came forward later”, Der Bedrossian said.
Ghazarians noted that Armenian National Committee of America urged the Congressmen to influence the White House decision. A petition has been initiated: about 100 thousand signatures should be collected before November 24 for the White House to consider the issue.
On November 13, 12:00 PM the Media Center hosted a press conference held by Levon Der Bedrossian, Vice President of the Armenian Rugs Society (California, USA) and Ara Ghazarians, curator of Armenian Cultural Foundation (Arlington, USA). The speakers focused on the Ghazir Rug woven by Armenian orphans in the 1920s and the White House’s refusal to loan it out to exhibit.