Today, April 24th is Armenian Genocide Recognition Day
April 24, 2012
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As I mentioned in class, today (April 24th) is Armenian Genocide Recognition day. 97 years ago in 1915, the Ottoman Turks began a genocide against the Armenian people. On April 24th, 1915, the Turks rounded up 250 Armenian intellectual and leaders and executed them. Over the course of the next eight years, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or died as a result of starvation/dehydration as hundreds of thousands were led aimlessly into the dessert (now Syria) to their death. Among the victims were two of my great grandparents who were told to gather all their possessions together for deportation, and then were shot in the back and had their possessions looted. My other relatives helped operate an escape route and eventually settled in France and the United States. As you can tell, this issue is a very personal one to me.
Unlike many other genocides, the perpetrators to this day still deny the Armenian Genocide. Although the Ottoman Empire fell after WWI, the current Turkish regime has provided no recognition or significant reparation. Although this atrocity happened almost 100 years ago, the Armenian community still does not have closure as there is still denial among the Turkish government and people. Anyone who speaks out about the genocide in Turkey is arrested or killed.
Today, 21 countries have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Untied States is not one of those countries, despite 43 states that have officially recognized it. President Bush promised on his campaign to recognize the genocide, but never did. Obama promised the same, and also turned his back on the Armenian community upon taking office.
This is a political issue because Turkey is an ally to the U.S. in the Middle East and recognizing the genocide will have diplomatic ramifications.
The Obama administration has just created an “Atrocities Prevention Board”, providing a perfect opportunity to recognize the Armenian Genocide. But he has remained silent, like his predecessors.
Today, there was a massive march of 25,000 Armenians to the Turkish embassy in Lebanon (where many Armenians ended up after the Genocide). Story here: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Apr-25/171310-armenians-mark-genocide-with-march-to-turkish-embassy.ashx#axzz1t14dl7Eo
For more information about the Armenian Genocide check out this link: http://www.armenian-genocide.org/