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24 April, 2009

We Have Not Forgotten

Today is the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The first genocide of a century, it literally paved the way for the Holocaust. 94 years ago, my relatives, along with millions of other Armenians, were cruely, systematically and mercilessly killed by the Ottoman Turks. 94 years later, Turkey, the United States, and several other nations have yet to officially recognize that the Genocide happened. Below is a very brief history, as well as quotes pertaining to the issue. Also, please be warned that there are pictures in this post which are starkly disturbing. A picture is worth a thousand words, but looking at the intense suffering, caught in a camera flash, leaves me speechless.

Please educate yourself on this issue. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. The ignorant do not change the world, the powerful do.

On August 22, 1939 a week before the German invasion of Poland, when asked by his officers how he thought he was going to get away with the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler made the following speech :



"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians". Indeed.

Long after Hitler, the Armenian Genocide is still refererd to as "the forgotten genocide," the "hidden holocaust," and "the secret genocide".

Between 1915 and 1918, the Ottoman Empire, controlled by Muslim Turks, carried out a systematic, premeditated, centrally planned elimination of its Christian Armenian minority. This genocide was preceded by a series of massacres from 1894-1896, then followed by massacres begininning in 1920. The Armenians went through the deportations, desecration of their churhes, burining of libraries and ruination of towns and villages. Their goods and assets--such as homes, farms, bank accounts, etc.--were transferred to the Turks. More than one million Armenians perished as a result of either execution, starvation, disease, harsh environment, or abuse. Surviving Armenians could not settle in their former homes, they moved to any country that could afford them refuge.





Genocide is defined as the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political or cultural group. The Association of Genocide Scholars and the Community of Holocaust Scholars affirm that the extermination of the Armenians was genocide. In June of 2000, leading Holocaust scholars published a statement in the New York Times entitled "126 Holocaust Scholars Affirm the Incontestable Fact of teh Armenian Genocide and Urge Western Democracies to Officially Recognize It".


Almost a century has passed since these atrocities were committed, and still, there is no apology from Turkey, no reparations were made. Indeed, the nearest successful example in the modern era of denial is the 94 years of official denial by successive Turkish governments of the genocide against the Armenians. The West, especially the United States, has colluded by not referring to the massacres in the United Nations, ignoring memorial ceremonies, and surrendering to Turkish pressure in NATO and other strategic arenas of cooperation. Turkey has managed to bully much of the world, including the United States, into silence by trading political, millitary and financial favors for denial. Sadly, the international community has show great talent in playing along with Turkey's claims of denial.


This cannot go on. How can we, as a nation, as a world, as THE HUMAN RACE, continue to deny the FACT that the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was GENOCIDE. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. A look at today's world shows this to be true. The Armenian genocide paved the way for the Holocaust and for current genocides. Just as there was no U.S. activist response to the Armenian genocide, there is now a stunning lack of action towards the Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese genocides.


Currently, Armenian churches that were once historical monuments (Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity) are being used as Turkish prisons and other state institutions. Imagine the uproar if synagogues in Germany were to be used as state prisons. Why is there no uproar when it comes to the Armenians?

The Armenian Genocide haunts us today. It is an open wound for every Armenian and a gash on the face of humanity. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide will close one of the darkest chapters in humanity and pave the way for the normalization and enforcement of international human rights.

"History is waiting for that honest Turkish leader who will acknowledge his ancestors' biggest crime ever, who will apologize to the Armenian people, and who will do his best to indemnify them, materially and morally, in the eyes of the world".


Until then, it would be wise for the world to remember that, in the words of Albert Einstein, "the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing". (Peter Balakian)


For more information, please take the time to browse the links below:

4 comments:

JouJou Loves You said...

So sad and frustrating. It is happening all over again with Palestine...and yet...the majority of the world says/does nothing.

I first heard about the Armenian genocide from a Turkish boyfriend. It seems Turkey (I love Turkey btw) would gain more favor if they decided to recognize the massacre and establish memorials, holidays, to commemorate the horrid tragedy.

I think of you on this day ma belle, sending you all of my love.

Anait said...

Merci cherie!!

The Palestine/Israel situation is unbelievable. And just recently the US sent a large shipment of millitary weapons to Israel. It's shameful.

So ridiculous....so many atrocities happening right under our noses and yet a majority of the world stays silent. That's the power of persuasion....in today's world it seems that even humanity has a price.

I've met quite a few Turkish people who recognize the genocide and are ashamed of their government's denial. Unlike some Armenians, I don't hate the Turkish people--they live in a country where they are fed this propoganda of denial since birth. It's the government I blame, and world leaders who refuse to take a stance.

Turkey has a lot to gain from recognition of the genocide--including increased chances of entry into the EU.

Ack. you're right, its frustrating!!!

Hopefully the Obama Administration will stop dodging the issue and stand up for the Armenians like they promised.

204 said...

Im going to copy and paste your blog and post about it on FB, maybe others will take the initiative to do so, as well. I am also going to send it as a mass email of contacts, I have. I was unaware of this ...and reading it made me sick. Sending you love!

and on the subject of bathtubs ...Im having the same problem ...shit is all clogged up. ewie.

Anait said...

Kayleigh, you rock!!! Thanks for taking the time to read about it, and for being such a motivator! See, if only everyone was as open as you are, change would come a lot quicker! xo