Thousands gather to commemorate the remembrance of the Armenian/Greek/Assyrian Genocide. (Photo by: Sarah Martin)
Burbank High School

Victory and March for Justice — a week for Armenians around the world

April has always been a special month for Armenians around the world, mostly known as a month of remembrance and grievance, due to April 24 — Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

The Armenian Genocide was a crime against humanity conducted by the Ottoman Empire during the first world war, 1915 to be exact. However Armenians were not the only group to be massacred due to the religion they practice, Greeks and Assyrians were massacred as well, erasing the country of Assyria from future maps.

However, Turkey did fail on their plan to wipe the Armenian race, as 103 years later, future generations of genocide survivors and descendants come together on the month of April and April 24 to March for Justice.

Although, April of 2018 was different. Not only was this month of April filled with remembrance of the Armenian genocide, but Armenia became filled with protest against ex-president Serzh Sargsyan.

For 10 years, ex-president Serzh Sargsyan corruptly ran the Republic of Armenia, devastating Armenian citizens. However, in  April, Serzh Sargsyan upgraded to Prime Minister.

Not only did this disappoint citizens of Armenia, but sparked outrage. Eleven days after Serzh Sargsyan became prime minister, peaceful protest roamed the streets of Yerevan.

However, Armenian diaspora around the world, like Los Angeles, took a stand with their brothers and sisters in Armenia.

As opposition leader of the Way Out Alliance party Nikol Pashinyan became arrested, citizens of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora grew in even more rage.

Protests in Glendale emerged soon after and went from Glendale City Hall, Artsakh Street, and to the final destination, the Consulate General of Armenia on Central Avenue.

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Armenians of the Los Angeles diaspora gather in Glendale supporting the protests in Armenia on Sunday, April 22. (Photo by Sarah Martin)

However people doubted us, saying our protests were worthless and weren’t going to change anything, they were wrong.

Monday morning, many Armenians woke up to spectacular news, ex-president and ex-prime minister Serzh Sargsyan has resigned. Soon after, admired opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan was released from prison and victory and joy ran in the streets of Yerevan.

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Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan released from jail soon after Serzh Sargsyan resignation. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
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Joyous crowds emerge in Yerevan, Armenia celebrating the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan (Source: bne IntelliNews)

As Armenians emerged in joy around the world on April 23, they did not forget that the next day, we will gather together on April 24 in remembrance of our ancestors, marching for justice and the recognizing of the Armenian genocide from the United States government.

Early morning, United Young Armenians conducted a march for justice, with people of all races gathered in little Armenia marching towards Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, also known as Armenian Genocide Memorial Square.

Soon after, more marches occurred — Armenian Youth Federation carried a March for Justice as well from Pan Pacific Park to the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills. As I attended both marches, AYF/UYA members, Armenian singers, Congressmen Adam Schiff and Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz all took the stage.

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Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA 28th District) speaking at the March for Justice front of the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles. (Photo by Sarah Martin)
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Council member Paul Koretz speaks at the March for Justice Event. (Photo by Sarah Martin)

This week has been a memorable week for not only Armenians around the world, but for me as well. Growing up half-Armenian and seeing my people fight for justice for what my ancestors went through 103 years ago not only made me feel proud, but empowered. Growing up, it wasn’t common to see my heritage represented on media, but years later we are reaching representation and recognition from countries all around the world and on the media, such as films like “The Promise” featuring Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale and Angela Sarafyan.

As for us Armenians, all we want from the government of the United States of America is to recognize the Armenian Genocide, as for Turkey, stop denying the crime that was conducted towards the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. Not only is there photo evidence and articles from World War 1 from newspapers around the world, but descendants from genocide survivors, and we will never forget because we are unstoppable.

 

Photos from the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocide:

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