Kim Kardashian’s rep doesn’t want you reading too much into her latest vacay.
Sure, the reality TV star’s trip to Armenia this week comes days before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, in which the Ottoman government exterminated more than 1 million souls during and after World War I. But Kardashian’s representative says the visit doesn’t have anything to do with the official commemoration, telling TMZ that her client just wants to get in touch with her Armenian roots. The rep issued a similar denial in January, when the trip was announced.
But an organizer of the trip and Armenia’s own prime minister are pushing a different line. “Kim Kardashian, her daughter, husband, and sisters want to visit Armenia to commemorate victims of the…genocide,” the organizer told AFP, adding that the star is also planning a documentary about the slaughter and is set to visit the genocide memorial in Yerevan.
And when Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan personally received her and her family after their arrival in the country, he praised her for aiding in the “international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide.”
Whatever the reason for the trip, it’s no secret that Kardashian, whose paternal ancestors immigrated to the United States from Armenia in the late 19th century, really cares about people recognizing and remembering the Armenian Genocide.
“For all the flak people give Kim Kardashian, I could say that with her yearly commemorations of the Armenian genocide and spreading that word, she’s been valuable—she’s been great,” Serj Tankian, frontman of the Armenian-American rock band System of a Down, told Rolling Stone.
In 2011, Kardashian blogged about the slaughter, slamming the Turkish government for continuing to deny it was genocide. “It happened before Rwanda, Darfur, and the Holocaust,” she wrote. “Maybe none of those other genocides would have happened if more nations had condemned the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians were massacred.”
And here’s her public service announcement from 2012:
“The fact that [Kim has] chosen this time to go out there—and the fact that President Obama may potentially recognize the genocide this year—is it really a coincidence?” Phil Walotsky, spokesman for Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America, told The Daily Beast. “If so, it’s a very happy coincidence. And it’s one we welcome, because it brings awareness to the issue.”
Armenian activists, he added, have been “extremely appreciative of all that Kim has done” to support genocide recognition over the years.
“I’m confident that as the genocide centennial gets closer, you can expect the Kardashian family, much as they have in the past, to make their voices heard about this important issue,” Walotsky added.
Kim Kardashian’s other recent political activity has included siding with the Democrats in the last midterm elections and fumbling into an online debate over the Syrian civil war. There was also that one time she traveled to Bahrain and ended up generating positive press for a regime that was still taking flak for its bloody crackdown on dissidents.
At least with her efforts on Armenian genocide awareness, she finds herself on the same side as countless scholars, historians, and human-rights activists.