Genocide 1 9 1 . 5

Devastated by wars, the Middle East has turned from the blessed land into the living hell. Locked up in the cellars, destroyed in archives, avoided in political speeches– genocide is the reality of today.

‘I have issued the command — and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad — that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’-from the German document by Hitler handed to Louis P. Lochner in Berlin in August 1939.

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Jews? The Jews do. We do. Today, on the 24th of April, I would like to draw your attention to the events which are not spoken widely about.

Genocide is the word which was first used when describing the  systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman rule between 1915 and 1923, in the shadow of the First World War. Barely three million people live in Armenia now- the majority of them were killed or had to flee after the genocide. Today, the Armenian diaspora after the genocide is 7 million. 

‘By 1923 the entire landmass of Asia Minor and historic West Armenia had been expunged of its Armenian population. The destruction of the Armenian communities in this part of the world was total. On the night of April 24, 1915, the Turkish government placed under arrest over 200 Armenian community leaders in Constantinople. Hundreds more were apprehended soon after. They were all sent to prison in the interior of Anatolia, where most were summarily executed. As the persons seized that night included the most prominent public figures of the Armenian community in the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, everyone was alerted about the dimensions of the policies being entertained and implemented by the Turkish government. Their death presaged the murder of an ancient civilization. April 24 is, therefore, commemorated as the date of the unfolding of the Armenian Genocide.’

The Armenian Church Khor-Virap in the Ararat Valley overlooks Mount Ararat (present Turkey after it has been taken over by the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of the genocide).

The Armenians were displaced due to the cruel events which happened a century ago. The details of the Armenian genocide were made to be ignored and forgotten, which caused another genocide of the Jews in 1939. Genocide is recurring on a daily basis around the world.

The worldwide terrorist attacks  make me see that the murderers are more spoken about than the victims. We want to know who they are, what family they came from and what turned them into evil people. We think remembering them will help to prevent evil. This article is not about the criminals- it is about peace, memory and preserving the good. The cure against genocide and mass murder is recognition and remembrance of why we need to preserve the good.

Armenia is the first country in the world which made Christianity its state religion (301 AD). According to the Scripture, The Ararat Valley is where the life began anew after the Great Flood, as the Noah’s Arc landed on the Mount Ararat. Although many young people today are not religious, I wish to remind each of us that remembering and respecting the good and pure values which our Christian ancestors prophesized, not the evil deeds of religion, is the way to preserve the good. By recognising the Armenian heritage and finding out about its ancient history we can see how the Armenian question is relevant for the world. Perhaps the Jewish Holocaust would never have happened if the Armenian genocide had been disclosed. Nowadays, French is among the most avid governments which recognise the Armenian genocide.

As the tiny land of Armenia blossoms, its heart bleeds. Today, by recognising the events of 1915, let us remember those  innocent people who are currently in danger of displacement around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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