Armenian Genocide: 99 Years of Remembrance - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Armenian Genocide: 99 Years of Remembrance

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. - Wednesday April 24th marks the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. That day also marks another year that’s gone by where the Turkish government has not recognized the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan released a statement saying, "Incidents of the First World War are our shared pain,” offering his condolences to the grandchildren of Armenians killed in World War I by the Ottoman soldiers. Erdogan described the events of 1915 as "inhumane" using more appeasing language than has often been the case for Turkish leaders. In fact, one Turkish official said it was the first time a Turkish prime minister had offered such explicit condolences. 

Still, the Turkish government falls short once again. This isn’t enough. It hasn’t been enough. It will not be enough, until the Turkish government recognizes these “incidents” as a genocide. For those who may be unfamiliar with what happened in 1915, it has been a highly contentious topic and relations between Turkey and Armenia remain sour still.

Read more about the Armenian Genocide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide

While Turkey accepts many (many) Armenians died in clashes, it adamantly continues to deny that up to 1.5 million were killed and further, that it constitutes an act of genocide  - the Ottoman Turks systematically massacring large numbers of Armenians, then deporting many more, including women, children and the elderly in terrible conditions, on so-called death marches. If that is not genocide, what is?

The Armenian Genocide was one of the most compelling human rights crises of World War I. Many historians talk about how what happened in 1915 perhaps helped inspire Adolf Hitler, three decades later, to carry out the atrocities of World War II. In a speech where Hitler was preparing to invade Poland, he is quoted saying: “Who, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” That quote is still relevant to this day because it highlights the denial of the Armenian Genocide- an enormous crime against humanity.

Read more on Hitler’s statement: http://www.anca.org/genocide/quotes.php

Earlier this month, the United States Senate committee resolution branded the massacre of the Armenians as genocide. That’s at least something. Although many will say it is not enough, considering that every presidential candidate, for years, has made a point to say he would recognize the Armenian Genocide once elected, a promise never followed through by any of them.

I haven’t studied the genocide in depth nor do I claim to be a scholar in Armenian history. Of course, as a child growing up in Armenia, in an Armenian household, I heard stories of what happened to my ancestors.  Stories that have been passed down for generations and will continue to be passed down...I can also say that here, in America, I have made a few Turkish friends.  Initially we would joke about how we couldn’t be friends right off the bat, but in actuality that never stopped us. Still, there was always “that” topic that loomed in the shadows.  And from my personal experience it isn’t necessarily the Turkish people who deny what happened, it’s the Turkish government.

What happened will never be forgotten…Yes, another year has come and gone…

And the marches and gatherings will continue in “Little Armenia” in Glendale, California, aswell as in many other parts of the world… 
The stories will be told and retold by families…

And at the end of the day, history cannot and will not be erased.  Facts are facts.

The Armenian Genocide was the first modern genocide of the 20th century, however recognizing that this was in fact a genocide still remains.
I firmly believe that it is through learning, recognizing and acknowledging the atrocities of the past, like the Armenian Genocide, that we as a human race will be able to work toward preventing future tragedies of this caliber.
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