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Monday, April 25, 2011

96 Years of Denial


Yesterday marked the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th century. Under the blanket of World War I, the Ottoman Empire decided to take care of their “Armenian” problem once and for all. On April 24, 1915 the Young Turks authorized the arrest of some 250 Armenian intellectuals, and killed every single one. Afterwards, the Turkish government announced the relocation of the Armenians living in Turkish land, this relocation was only a cover for what became a death march through the Anatolian Desert.

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The death marches were indiscriminate to age, gender or circumstances, the Armenians were forced to leave their homes with no chance to pack their belongings and march for hundreds of miles with no food or water. The current presence of Armenian communities in almost every part of the world is a direct result of the Genocide.

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The Armenian Genocide was one of the greatest and most compelling human rights crises during World War I. The actions taken by the Ottoman Empire were inspiration to Adolf Hitler and root in his belief that the actions against the Jews would be never be acknowledged.

“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolf Hitler to his Army commanders on August 22, 1939, as he prepared to enter Poland.

Hitler spoke these words when an advisor asked him how he planned to justify his actions when the world asked about the atrocities carried out during World War II. The quote is very relevant even today, in the 21st century. Today there are still many, including the United States of America who refuse to recognize the genocide and the atrocities that took place. To this day Turkey continues to deny the crimes that their country has committed and continuous to try and expunge from history the record of this enormous crime against humanity.

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The states above have recognized the Armenian genocide through legislation

Only through recognizing the lessons that history teaches us can we truly insure that we do not commit the same mistakes. By ignoring, denying and rewriting history we are only setting a stage for history to repeat itself. As I write this today, I can name several genocides that have taken place in our world that all of us remember.

These Genocides could have been prevented, if only the world would have acknowledged the atrocities committed by the Young Turks and held them accountable for their actions. Instead, we allowed for this crime to go unpunished for almost a century, and continue to see the extermination of nations and races throughout the world.

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As a descendent of Armenians who survived the Genocide, and having grown up with stories of my great-grandparents survivals I can state that we, as Armenians, are not looking for punishment, or a reward, we are simply asking for the the world to open it’s eyes and recognize the first genocide of the 20th century, to accept that the massacres took place and to prevent history from repeating itself.    

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The above photo is the Genocide Memorial in Armenia where an internal flame blazes in memory of all those who lost their lives.


The following are the nations that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide:





















Vatican City



  1. My mind is blown. I've heard of it, but I really didn't know much about it. I didn't know it had this much of an impact on Hitler, and I didn't know that so many people died. Wow. Also, I think the number associated with deaths in the Holocaust is around 12,000,000. There were 6,000,000 Jewish people killed and then 6,000,000 others. He also targeted gypsies, although that isn't as widely recognized. I studied WWII a lot in college. You also should add of the Rwandan Genocide and then what's going on in the Sudan right now. Those are definitely genocides that are known by some but not well enough known. Why don't more countries recognize this? Is it because of the use of the word 'genocide'? What's the debate around the use of the word?

  2. I read a book in high school about the Armenian genocide, and it started out with that quote from Hitler. I felt sick to my stomach the entire time I was reading it. The rapes, murders and disregard for other human life is so sickening to me.
    I know that the same thing happens to other nations in the world, and it breaks my heart that no one is doing anything to help those people from being treated worse than cockroaches.
    PS: on a happier note, I really like your header :- )

  3. To be honest I don't think I've heard of the genocide until the Kardashians became popular. I'm glad you wrote this post now I am a little more educated on this subject.


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