In a culture of individualism and sheer apathy, can memories of the past exist? Are American citizens aware of what is happening and has happened overseas? The history of the Armenian genocide is in danger of being wiped out, as people are unaware of its background and the issues still surrounding it in present day.
As members of the Armenian Student Association, we want to educate others of the Armenian genocide, as the day of remembrance, April 24, approaches. Takuhi Fidanian, a senior and previous cultural director said, ‘Being a part of ASA helps members be more involved and realize if it is not recognized, the genocide will continue.’
Although the genocide and its atrocities may be apparent to members of ASA, most students do not know of the history and events that took place. From 1915-1923, Talaat, Enver and Djemal Pasha led the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey) to systematically annihilate Armenians who resided in that country. Women and children were raped, pregnant women’s bellies were slashed and men were decapitated and put on display for entertainment. Survivors were viciously dragged across Deir ez-Zor (the Syrian Desert) without food or water, at the mercy of murderous Turkish generals. By the end of the genocide, more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred and lost. April 24 is recognized as the day of remembrance for the slaughter of over 300 politicians, intellects priests, writers and government officials.
However, to this day the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge these murders as genocide. Through the efforts of highly paid lobbyists and government-funded professors, Turkey strives to eliminate any thought of the Armenian genocide. Elizabeth Kyurkchyan, a freshman, said, ‘It’s not time to grieve; it’s time to make Turkey accept the truth.’ It has been 89 years and Armenians still continue to fight for the recognition and reparation of the genocide, especially within the United States.
In their presidential campaigns, President Bush and former President Clinton assured Armenian-Americans the passing of a resolution to recognize the genocide. However, once these candidates stepped into office, their promises were forgotten. An article from BBCnews.com reported, ‘In the run-up to the presidential elections, President Bush stated: ‘The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign … if elected president, I would ensure our nation properly [recognizes] the tragic suffering of the Armenian people.’ The Armenians feel they have been failed by President Bush, and President Clinton before him, in not already branding the slaughter as genocide