97 years after 1915

April 24, 2012

Every April 24th Armenians around the world answer Hitler’s question, “Who remembers the Armenians?” This day is the anniversary of the rounding up, imprisonment, and eventual deportation and murder of Armenian intellectuals in Turkey in 1915.

Ninety-seven years after 1915, Armenians and non-Armenians, world leaders, governments around the world, and more and more Turkish intellectuals condemn the Turkish Government for its choice to actively deny the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish Government’s immoral genocide denial campaign extends beyond its borders. The Turkish Government’s propaganda has insidiously infiltrated the highest levels of many democratic governments, including the United States.

At least one and one half million Armenians (two-thirds of Armenians) died in the Armenian Genocide. Over six million Jews died in the Holocaust. Many believe Hitler was emboldened to carry out his plan to exterminate the Jews because he was inspired by Turkey’s near success with its systematic destruction of the country’s indigenous Armenian population.

Ninety-seven years after 1915 the world community continues to stand by and monitor genocides (e.g. Rwanda, Darfur). An evil dictator such as Syria’s Assad takes license to kill within his country’s borders because he believes he can get away with his crimes.

In a world in which the Iranian President can deny the Holocaust and incite fanatics to wipe Israel off the map, we must look inward and ask ourselves how we allow this behavior. We must vote out government leaders who enable genocide denial and genocidal regimes. We must mean what we say, when we declare “Never Again”.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of every Armenian victim of the massacres, pogroms, mass deportation and genocide committed by the Turkish government.


April is Genocide Awareness Month

April 19, 2012

April is Genocide Awareness Month.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) is widely viewed by historians as a major pogrom at the beginning of the Holocaust. The coordinated attacks were carried out on November 9 and 10 1938 in Nazi Germany and parts of Austria. Six million Jewish people were murdered in the Holocaust

The Rwandan Genocide began on April 6, 1994. Over a 100-day period, over 800,000 Rwandans (mostly Tutsis) were murdered.

April 24th is the day Armenians commemorate the Armenian Genocide because the Ottoman Turkish Government rounded up  and imprisoned Armenian intellectuals and leaders on this day in 1915. Most of these men were eventually murdered. One and a half million Armenian people lost their lives during the mass deportations and pogroms conducted as part of the Genocide.

April and Genocide commemorations for Jews, Armenians, and Rwandans

April 30, 2010

In New York City, the public television network WNET ran genocide-themed programming during the month of April. I saw a program about a man seeking (and finding) ‘righteous’ Moslems who helped Jews survive during World War II. Thanks to WNET, I also finally mustered up the strength to watch the feature film, Hotel Rwanda, based on a the true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. I highly recommend the film.

And, as an Armenian, I wanted to attend the excellent programs commemorating the Armenian Genocide here in New York, including a reading of literature written by several of the Armenian intellectuals arrested by the Turkish Government on April 24, 1915. Most of the Armenian leaders and intellectuals were subsequently murdered and their voices silenced. In fact, this organized act of brutality has been described as ‘decapitating’ the Armenian nation. But, we owe a debt of gratitude to the dedicated staff of the Zohrab Center, who made it possible for the audience to hear the words of our poets, writers, and representatives in parliament come to life again, in the sanctuary of St. Vartan’s Cathedral.

I encourage you to learn about the histories of all three genocides and make it your business to know about the genocide being committed in Darfur. Of course, no one wants to look at the dark side of life, but it is important to know about man’s inhumanity to man, so we can recognize the signs and break the cycle of genocide. And, please make your voice heard for all those who can’t speak out.

Please read this excellent article written by Governor-General Michaëlle Jean of Rwanda:

April and Genocide
The Globe and Mail | April 30, 2010

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