One of the most infamous and disgraceful quotes that has firmly been ingrained in my mind is Adolf Hitler’s proclamation of “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” as justification and reassurance that his atrocious campaign of Jewish and Polish extermination would not only be a triumph of his brutish idea of ethnic purification, but that the triumph would be without consequence.
The pain that I, as a third-generation Armenian Genocide descendent, endure is frustrating and grievous. Learning about the extermination of my Armenian ancestors, the foundation of my Armenian identity, is agonizing, but not nearly as agonizing as the genocide’s obscurity.
To see the recognition of the Holocaust, the Bosnian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide and the Cambodian Genocide irritates me as to why the Armenian Genocide, the first “forgotten genocide” of the 20th century, cannot celebrate its recognition as well. To witness the trials of war criminals who participated in these genocides, but still not witness the current Turkish government being held accountable for the barbaric actions it has adopted from its Ottoman predecessors, unsettles me and my fellow Armenians. The world offers Turkey immunity, protecting it from revisiting its history.
Denial comes in a form that prevents legal and moral justice from guiding humanity toward ethical prosperity. The United States as a world police proves hypocritical when the American government chooses to protect its military base, airspace, and economic ties with Turkey, as more important than the recognition of the almost extinction of an ethnic race from the face of the planet.
Turkey fuels the denial by resorting to a revisionist form of history, where it tries to evade the term “genocide,” instead favoring the notion that Armenians perished in “relocation,” as a means of deviating from a crime that sheds negative light on its nation and government.
The consistent denial prevents Armenians from attaining the justice for the struggle and suffering our ancestors persisted through, as well as dishonoring the memory of our ancestors who died because of racial domination.
This month, on April 24, commemorates the 99th year of the Armenian Genocide.
Ever since we were decimated almost 100 years ago, Armenians will continue to actively protest in front of the Turkish embassies in hopes that our genocide will acquire its recognition and we may finally advance and cooperate peacefully with the Turkish people.
Manuel Seraydarian is a second-year pharmaceutical science major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.