Armenian Genocide Memorial Day
April 25, 2006 - Post No. 64
While Armenians around the world normally commemorate the Armenian genocide on April 24, it is the custom to celebrate a closing Badarak for the Armenian pilgrims in Jerusalem on Easter Monday, April 24th this year, before they leave to return to their home countries. For this reason, this year's commemoration of the genocide takes place today, Easter Tuesday.
It seems best to let the Armenians speak for themselves on this occasion, and what follows is the text of a document circulated among those attending the memorial services this morning.
The genocide memorial services included a memorial Badarak, followed by a procession to the nearby Armenian Cemetery for a ceremony at the cenotaph, and ending with a brief reception in the main hall of the seminary.
April 24, 2006
More than 90 years have elapsed since the ghastly events during the years of 1914-1918. On April 24, 1915, Turkey lunched a massive deportation drive of its Armenian population which developed into the first genocide of the 20th century.
The Armenians were forcibly driven from the 3000 year-old homeland into the southern deserts. On the way they were ambushed by heavily armed gangs and peasants. They were indiscriminately murdered and robbed, very few could reach their destination. One and a half million deportees met their death under horrible conditions, two-thirds of them were murdered in cold-blood, by axes and blunt objects, while a third succumbed to the rigors of the death march.
In less than six months, the historical homeland of the Armenians in Eastern Turkey became a ghost-land. The pre-meditated plan to depopulate Armenia was accomplished brutally. The destruction of the three thousand years of material culture meant the total razing of the land of its people and history.
The world then condemned the genocide vehemently but no active measures were taken to stop it. The only help which was to be extended was on the humanitarian level. World-wide solidarity was extended to the the few hundred thousand surviving children and widows. This made the civilized world fee self-righteous. Luckily, diplomats, missionaries and members of the international community who happened to be on the spot recorded their testimonies, thus providing first-hand evidence for posterity.
The survivors in their newly adopted countries reorganized their lives and became culturally vibrant communities. The continuing silence of the world and Turkey's attempts at denial triggered the decision of a new generation of Armenians to demand from the world and from Turkey, acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide.
The process of bringing these horrible events to the attention of world public opinion has not been an easy task. Specially since last year, the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, there is an ever growing number of nations who are assuming their moral responsibilities and according recognition of the genocide. Throughout this long period, officially and unofficially Turkey has never expressed regret. On the contrary, in its school curriculum it accuses the victims of the genocide to be the perpetrators of the the atrocities.
Over the past few years, there is a growing number of Turkish intellectuals who have supported a proposal that the Turkey officially recognize the Armenian genocide. Unfortunately, the Turkish government has put many writers and journalists on trial, the most celebrated being the case of writer Orhan Pamuk.
On this memorial day when 8 million Armenians worldwide remember their dead, we are hopeful that the international community will demand from Turkey a final recognition of the Armenian Genocide, thus ushering in a new chapter in the history of both nations.
The text, above is from a document distributed at the memorial services commemoration the Armenian Genocide, on Tuesday, April 25, 2006.