April 24 is Genocide Remembrance Day in Armenia and throughout the world, and is also known as Armenian Martyr’s Day and Armenian Remembrance Day. Pictured here is the Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakaberd) in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan.
This blog entry will have no jokes, no fluff, and its links may lead to unsettling content… so if you’d like to continue your happy existence without the burden of other people’s suffering then please… by all means, click here instead.
If you go to one site today, let it be this: TheForgotten.org
Here’s the short version. Between 1915 and 1917 the Ottoman Turks (modern-day Turkey) killed 1,500,000 Armenians with military force and starvation through forced deportation death marches into the desert. The accounts of torture and rape are unspeakable. This is known as the Armenian Genocide. My grandfather was the only one of eleven kids to make it out of Armenia alive.
Most people have no clue about any of this… it is very possible that you, the reader, are saying to yourself you’ve never even heard of this. The reasons are legion why this genocide is so obscure in most circles… politics, mostly. Don’t feel too bad, though, because it was mostly forgotten by Hitler’s day… unfortunately for the Jews.
The United States hasn’t officially recognized the Armenian Genocide as a nation, but 39 of the 50 states have. And the following countries officially recognize the genocide: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela. Notice that there isn’t one officially Muslim nation on the list (not even Lebanon – which faced Turkish murder as well). I could say that it’s mostly because the Ottoman Turks and modern-day Turkey are Muslim and the Armenians are Christian. Even to this day radical Turk Muslims will desecrate the memorials to the genocide because they either refuse to believe it happened or don’t believe it is wrong to kill Christians.
Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
- Adolf Hitler… while persuading his generals that a Jewish holocaust would be tolerated by the West
…the Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey is to condone it … the failure to deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.
- Theodore Roosevelt… in a May 11, 1918, letter to Cleveland Hoadley Dodge
I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915.
- Henry Morgenthau, Sr. US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
On this day, we pause in remembrance of one of the most horrible tragedies of the 20th century, the annihilation of as many as 1.5 million Armenians through forced exile and murder at the end of the Ottoman Empire. This terrible event remains a source of pain for people in Armenia and Turkey and for all those who believe in freedom, tolerance, and the dignity of every human life. I join with my fellow Americans and the Armenian community in the United States and around the world in mourning this loss of life.
- George W. Bush, April 24, 2004
UPDATE: Here is a picture from a Turkish rally in New York City this past Saturday protesting any recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The protester in the picture is holding a sign that says “Genocide Soccer Match : Turkey, one… Armenian Hate Merchants, zero.”