This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. As we commemorate this stain on human history–we must also question how long it will take until the world acknowledges the injustice and horror that occurred. We must question how long it will take for the world to acknowledge that it was genocide.
Ninety years ago–the Ottoman Turks began their systematic effort to eradicate Armenia’s. From 1915 until 1923–1.5 million Armenia’s lost their lives in this intentional and grim act of genocide. Men were separated from their families and murdered. Women and children were forced to march across the Syrian Desert without water–food or possessions. Many died of hunger or thirst or were killed when they lagged behind during the forced marches into the desert.
The Armenian Genocide was the first of the 20th century. As with later genocides–some question the accuracy of the historic events–asking whether they actually happened. In fact–the government of Turkey still has never admitted that genocide occurred. And–shamefully–our nation has put world politics over truth and has failed to demand that the truth be told.
As we know–if we ignore injustice–we are likely to see it repeated. In his justification for the Holocaust–Adolf Hitler said–"Who–after all–speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenia’s?"
This year to commemorate the Armenian Genocide–hundreds of people will walk from Fresno to Sacramento in the "March for Humanity." Although I am unable to join the marchers–please know that I am with them in spirit.
I join you in commemorating this anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. As we remember the unspeakable acts from 90 years ago–let us also know the power we have in naming these acts for what they are and in reminding the world. By acknowledging this genocide for what it is–I hope that we are able to help create a more just and humane world.