Tens of thousands of Armenians and their friends (including Los Angeles city’s leadership) marched on Monday outside the Turkish Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard in commemoration of the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The Armenian genocide took place between 1915 and 1918 (and again between 1920 and 1923) and resulted in a mass murder of one and half million Armenians living in Turkey. The Armenians were killed, tortured, exploited and starved to death.
Countries like France, Argentina, Greece and Russia have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Republic of Turkey till today’s day denies that a genocide was committed against the Armenians. (During the Monday’s march the Turkish flag and a statement denying the genocide were flown above Los Angeles.)
Even though evidence against Turkey has been gathered and recorded by Great Britain, Germany and America – the countries who were trying to save surviving Armenians – at the time, Turkey was never formally admonished, forced to either return the Armenian land it occupies or pay restitution to the genocide victims’ descendants. (To learn more visit: http://www.armenian-genocide.org)
A genocide or holocaust is the pragmatic extinction of a nation or ethnic group. It is a crime against humanity. It always begins with the government creating unjustified fear and hatred of such a group by the society at large which often incites violence and hate crimes.
Remembering and honoring victims of the Armenian Genocide and the Jews murdered in the Holocaust is of utmost importance always. Perhaps even more so today when our new administration – which has attempted to introduce nationality and religion-based travel ban – is prosecuting Mexican nationals living in the United States: detaining and deporting individuals without criminal records and even protected by the Dream Act; tearing apart families and separating mothers from their children. Singling out any ethnic group or nation for prosecution of any kind is inhumane. Historically, it has led to mass tragedies.
We cannot allow history to repeat itself: anywhere, ever. It is our moral responsibility to recognize warning signs and prevent discrimination and prosecution based on nationality, ethnicity or religion.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a statement:
“I stand today with survivors of the Genocide, the Armenian Diaspora in Los Angeles, and people throughout the world to remember a great suffering. We stand together in our conviction that the horrible wound opened in 1915 can only be healed through full and unqualified acknowledgement of the truth.
Today’s commemoration is about more than remembering one of the lowest moments in world history. It is a time to reflect on and admire the strength and perseverance of the Armenian people — who for more than a century have inspired people everywhere by insisting on proper recognition, refusing to let their story be minimized, and demanding that their ancestors never be forgotten.
At a moment when the world is again confronted by unthinkable atrocities, we look to the Armenian people’s relentless pursuit of justice, and compassion for all who face oppression and seek refuge. We find hope in that example — and today we march arm-in-arm, lifting our voices to honor the 1.5 million Armenians who died, and stand up for those who face injustice everywhere.”
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich