I am a descendant of survivors. And I demand recognition.
My great-grandfather was one of the survivors in my family. He was young, in his teens, when he and his brother escaped from their home in Turkey and ran away, the rest of his family slaughtered. He ran away to Bulgaria, where he joined the military and eventually meeting his bride before settling in Romania.
My great-grandmother was another. She was orphaned and ran away to Greece, eventually settling in Lebanon.
April 24th marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, or Մեծ Եղեռն (the Great Crime). It commemorates the day in 1915 when the Turkish government arrested and executed hundreds of Armenian intellectuals. The government set out to exile and massacre the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Of the 2-2.5 million Armenians, an estimated 1.5 million were killed between 1915 and 1923. Some, like my great-grandfather’s family, were slaughtered in their homes. Others were forced on death marches without food or water and subsequently died. To this day, the United States still hasn’t recognized this event as ‘genocide’ and the Turkish government continues to deny these allegations.
In Los Angeles, a march will be held on April 24th, starting in Little Armenia and ending at the Turkish Consulate to protest the Turkish government’s continued denial of the Armenian Genocide. More information can be found here. I will be attending a small monument unveiling in Scottsdale, AZ.
I am by no means a historian. There are many sources available on the genocide, such as Armenian Genocide Centennial and some recommended books, both non-fiction and fictional, are listed below:
- A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility – Taner Akçam
- The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response – Peter Balakian
- The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity – Taner Akçam
- Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide – Donald E. Miller
- The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History – Raymond Kevorkian
- Black Dog of Fate: An American Sone Uncovers His Armenian Past – Peter Balakian
- My Name is Aram – William Saroyan
- The Road from Home: A True Story of Courage, Survival, and Hope – David Kheridan