Armen Adamian & Susan Aksu: Armenian Students Have Not Forgotten Atrocities – April 25, 2012
The Armenian Genocide was the first noted genocide of the 20th century. It occurred during WWI between the years 1915-1923, as the Turkish government administered the deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, and massacre of the Armenian people within the Ottoman Empire. It was the evening of April 24, 1915, when Turkish officials began arresting Armenian community leaders and intellectuals to be executed. The rest of the men would be subject to massacre while our women and children forcibly walked to their death in the Syrian desert. By 1923, the methodical reduction of Armenians within Asia Minor was evident as the ancient Armenian communities of the region were destroyed.
An international awareness about the Armenian Genocide was present during the time of its occurrence through eye witness accounts from American ambassadors, red cross volunteers, missionaries and news papers. As the historical accounts and evidence on the matter are irrefutable, present day Turkey denies that such a genocide occurred in a series of systematic campaigns and threats against any one person, group or nation who recognizes that the Armenians were victims of genocide in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. In Turkey’s penal code, Article 301 it is illegal for anyone to insult Turkishness and by using the word “genocide and Armenians” in the same sentence are grounds for arrest. Several Turkish author’s and historians such as Taner Akcam who have spoken up about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey have been arrested and sentenced for years in prison or are in political exile. Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian living in Turkey was a journalist who wrote and bravely spoke out against the treatment of Armenians in Turkey and the denial of the Armenian Genocide, would receive death threats constantly by Turkish Nationalist and even the Turkish government. In 2007, Dink was gun down in broad daylight out of his newspaper office,Agos. After the arrest of the gunman, two police officers took their photo with him– smiling and holding a Turkish flag.
Turkey’s attempts to silence and erase the memories of the Armenian Genocide has made its way to the United States. Although forty three states have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, the United States of America as a nation has not. Establishing the truth about the Armenian Genocide has therefore become a significant strife for Armenians and social scientists internationally. The idea that such a tremendous crime against humanity can be dismissed, is a crime in itself and therefore the proper acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide is for the welfare of all people. For genocide didn’t happen to just the Armenian’s; it also happened to Assyrians, Kurds, Jews, Bosnians, the various peoples of Africa, the Aztec, Maya, Inca, Wiyott and Cherokee, and this list is incomplete. Only when political powers can acknowledge the atrocities they have committed against the countless innocent and genius peoples of the world, the human race may advance in evolution with a heightened sense of morality. We stand by the phrase, “GENOCIDE NEVER AGAIN!”
August 22, 1939: While addressing his military commanders a week before the invasion of Poland, Adolph Hitler orders “to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language,” for after all “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – WE DO, the Armenian Students Association of HSU.
Armen Adamian & Susan Aksu are members of the Armenian Students Association of HSU.