Credit for image: http://www.uacla.com/march-4-justice-4-24-2015.html
Hoover High School

The Armenian genocide and what it means to me

Genocide – the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

April 24 is always the most difficult day of the year for me. April 24 is the day recognized by Armenians as Armenian genocide remembrance day. It’s the day we stay home and hear our grandmothers silently weep and our grandfathers tremble as they share what was shared to them by their fathers and uncles. It’s the day Armenians fill into the streets of their countries and protest ignorance. They walk until their feet are numb and their tears have long dried on their cheeks. Except, they’re not crying anymore.

As someone from Armenian descent, this day has a lot of weight in my heart. The Armenian genocide was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians. From 1915 to 1923, Armenians were deported from their homes, split from families, deprived of food and water, led on death marches, raped, drowned, sent to concentration camps, and slaughtered. You may have never heard of this event. 1.5 million people were massacred in the most brutal of ways and a crime against all of mankind was committed. So, why?

During his first presidential campaign in 2008, President Barack Obama said “Two years ago, I criticized the secretary of state for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he properly used the term ‘genocide’ to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915… As president I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

The Armenian community in America celebrated for, finally! Our country will recognize us! We won’t be ignored anymore! Except, Obama failed us all.

That was the last time he used the word “genocide” in reference to well, the genocide. Both major political parties have long avoided the use of the word to prevent upsetting Turkey, a major geopolitical ally of the U.S. and a key member of the NATO military alliance. Turkey still imprisons any journalist, intellect, publisher, etc. that calls the actions of the Ottoman empire a genocide.

So how do I, an Armenian-American feel? I’m tired. I’m tired and frustrated and angry and upset. I feel betrayed and let down by my own country. The only country I’ve ever known and my home. Why won’t they recognize what happened? Why doesn’t every single history teacher talk about this? Why does my mother cry as she holds me close and trembles on this day? Where is the rest of my family tree? What happened to 1.5 million people? Did they just vanish? Who am I? Where did I come from? I don’t know any of this. I can’t look any of this up on Ancestry dot com.

Over 600,000 people in Los Angeles marched for 1.5 miles in 2015 for the 100th anniversary. This year marks the 102nd anniversary of a day that should have never happened. One hundred and two years of spit-in-your-face denial.

I stand here today as someone who got away. As a survivor of a crime against humanity. As living proof that we are strong and united. We all live with the pain of having an invalidated brutality committed against mankind. But I also stand here as a living, breathing person. I stand here as a refugee. I stand as someone who will fight for this for as long as I live. I’m still here, and so are all 11 million of us.

23 Comments

  • Reply David Shimun April 25, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Well said Tina. Remember Assyrians also were murdered. They lost their home land. To date they have no homeland

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Steve April 25, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Michael Merusso April 25, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Religious viruses , cockroaches & similar to them shouldn’t blame genocides in the name of holy gods from beginning of human life to present time… and what does it means? Power & money are reign.

    Like

    • Reply Anahit April 25, 2017 at 11:06 am

      you don’t make any sense…but k.

      Like

  • Reply Yura Arkadev April 25, 2017 at 5:40 am

    As much I sympathize with Armenians, this article is a bit too phony. “walk until their feet are numb” then the walk is 1.5 miles? Walking a bit over 30 minutes will not make your feet numb. Yes, 1.5 Armenians were slaughters but your ancestors did not necessarily escaped the slaughter – there were a lot of Armenians in Armenia and they may immigrated from there. I do think it is a disgrace that Turkey is still denying it but this is Middle East culture – never admit your fault, it makes you look weak. There is no repentance in Islam.

    Like

    • Reply tinatakhmazyan April 25, 2017 at 9:50 am

      While the actual march is 1.5 miles, the majority of protestors walk from their cities to join the march. Some Armenians did manage to escape and were accepted as refugees, which led to the Armenian diaspora.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reply nejdet April 25, 2017 at 6:08 am

    did you listen Turkey’s people what say about this? why you always lie????

    Like

    • Reply Anahit April 25, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Do some research. You will learn the truth.

      Like

    • Reply Ankap April 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Lie? There is such a thing that’s called internet. Go search and see yourself. 1.5 Million killed is not a lie its a disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Cemil Goren April 25, 2017 at 8:00 am

    The thing about truth is that it always surfaces and makes its way to daylight. All the money spent on phony movies, propaganda and fabricating history will only waste time.
    Only the The historians and scientist can debate and reconcile this issue not fanatics and politicians…

    Like

    • Reply Ankap April 25, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      Great point! Every Historian says this was a Genocide. Take your own advice and read what actual historians say not Turks!

      Like

      • Reply Cemil Goren May 2, 2017 at 11:16 am

        I rather read Bernard Lewis, Stanford and etc. than obtain the information from fanatics or Hollywood movies financed by biased hateful nationalists and diaspora… By the way this fanaticism is not only harming last generation Armenians but also a disrespects the Nazi holocaust victims by diluting the word genocide.

        Like

  • Reply P. Anthony April 25, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Not mentioned is the slaughter of 750 thousand Greeks that were also killed during that period. My grandparents fled for their lives. My grandfather was also a victim trying to escape. Of his 5 children, 3 survived along with my Grandmother. The people in this country have no idea how bad the Turks treated Christians. My Grandmother told of the horror they endured. My mother was one of the three children that survived the holocaust.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reply John April 25, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      P. Anthony–my grandmother’s family had a similar experience when they were forced from their village (near Sarkoy on the Sea of Marmara), losing everything (including family members). Not to mention the prior 400 years of occupation in Greece by the Ottoman empire. And to this day, Turkey continues to victimize Christians–primarily the Greek Orthodox Church–by not allowing the church to appoint its own hierarchs without government approval. Not to mention the taking of the Hagia Sophia, first as a mosque, then as a museum, and now the Turkish government–under Edrogan–are turning it back into a mosque. Turkey is no ally of the West, either historically or contemporarily.

      Like

  • Reply Maro Bedrosian April 25, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Well said Tina. One hundred and two years ago this horrible, this organized crime against the Armenian men, women and children living on their own lands, took place in day light, with the world watching. The Armenians worldwide, can not rest, should not rest and will not rest until the Turkish government will have the courage to face its bloody history. I am a third generation proud Armenian. Proud of the Armenian people, proud of our homeland Independent Armenia, and proud of all that my people has contributed to the world culture and civilization. Clearly, Turkey has failed badly in its efforts to eliminate the Armenians from this world. We are here to stay…

    Liked by 2 people

  • Reply Levan April 25, 2017 at 10:24 am

    The genocide is not acceptable for me and for every civilized human, but almost nobody loves Armenians, because they are separatist and destructive elements for almost every country they live in. (Including Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan etc…). Why Armenia is almost 100% mono ethnic (Only Armenians live there except a little number of Russian military army staff)? because they are itself xenophobes and hate every other nationalities. It does not relates to every Armenians, but a lot of them are such kind of them. They made a problem for Turkey in 1915 and the Turkish government make a decision which was very common for a society of early 20-ieth century … I repeat, that genocide is not acceptable for me, but Armenians ,,earned” this fate in Turkey…..

    Like

    • Reply Anahit April 25, 2017 at 11:03 am

      How ignorant are you? Before you make general assumptions about a group of people, do your research. Your claims about Armenians are extremely flawed. We are not destructive xenophobes, we respect all who respect us. Considering how much our ancestors have suffered, we simply DO NOT take shit from anyone. You claim that genocide is not acceptable, yet you state “Armenians earned their fate in Turkey”??? You have demonstrated your xenophobic characteristics here, which makes you a sad hypocrite. So, before making uneducated and pathetic remarks again, go look in the mirror, evaluate your life, and hit the books. Good luck!

      Like

    • Reply Ankap April 25, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Go visit Armenia and see how great their culture is. You can not educate stupid, but can stupid read? please do so!

      Like

      • Reply Levan April 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        Ankap, I was several times in Armenia and know about its culture. But the comments are not about Armenian culture … Comments are about what Armenians (many Armenians) used to do or have done….. at least during last 100 years: separatism, betray, war against neighbour… is the common for Armenians (unfortunately)….

        Like

  • Reply Anahit April 25, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Beautiful article Tina. You have a bright future.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reply Levan April 25, 2017 at 11:56 am

    ANAHIT, ,,thank you” as you called me a ,,sad hypocrite”. How many historical and documented facts do you want to be demonstrated here which will show Armenian people as really sad hypocrite, separatist, killing, horrible behavior against the country they live in?

    Like

  • Reply Levan April 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Armenians used to steal other neighbour countries cultural heritage, stole territories, make military actions against Georgia during 20-th century several times. Armenia supports Armenians separatists in Georgian regions (Abkhazia and Samtskhe-Javakheti). There is a question: Why? Why is Armenians are doing so? Is there any Armenian who can say that somebody in Georgia is pressing any Armenian due to nationality? Armenians have Armenian schools, theatre and so on in Georgia. They are equal citizens among other nationalities in Georgia, but many armenians are ,,wondering” to break out some regions from Georgia and it is very unnormal…. but ,,normal” for Armenians….

    Like

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