Day of Remembrance: A Brief History of the Armenian Genocide

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While today may just be a random day to many, to an entire country and community of people, it is so much more. Today, April 24,th is the day of remembrance for their fallen ancestors. The Armenian Genocide was a massively devasting event that does not have light shed on it often, so days like today are incredibly important to recognize. By taking the time to remember the horrors that spanned nearly a decade, we can hopefully start conversations that will help us make sure we do not find ourselves repeating the past.

What is the Armenian Genocide?

Spanning nearly a decade during World War I, the Armenian Genocide officially became recognized as beginning in 1915 and lasted all the way until 1923. The gut-wrenching attacks against the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were originally carried out by the Young Turks government group and then furthered by the Kemalist government. They wanted to fulfill the “Great Turan,” a plan to expand their region to reach from the Bosphorus Strait of Turkey to the Altai, a republic region of Russia. The Young Turks viewed the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as obstacles in this mission and spent 1911 and 1912 plotting ways to exterminate them in order to accomplish their land growth plan. Then with World War I starting in 1914, they were able to begin to take action to execute the plan and did so in a 4-phase plan. This 4-stage plan consisted of various stages of killing different groups of Armenian people, starting with men, then intellectuals and leaders, then women and children. Their final stage of the plan was simply denying any of the actions that had occurred/were still occurring.

To put a numeric value on the atrocities that occurred from 1915-1923, there were nearly 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire prior to World War I. By 1923, 1.5 million Armenians had been killed, and any that were still alive had been exiled or Islamized. To this day, Turkey continues to pretend they were not behind one of the world’s biggest genocides, and many let them get away with it. Turkey continues to engage in a cultural genocide of the Armenian culture that once was present in the region. They renamed cities and historic sites, destroyed countless Armenian monuments, and converted Armenian churches into mosques.

The horrors that the Armenian people faced from 1915-1923 did not truly end in 1923. They are forever haunted by the atrocious acts against their ancestors, the erasure of their culture, and the coverup attempts to hide that these acts were done against them. It is important for anyone, not just those of Armenian descent, to remember these events every day, but especially today. If you have the means to, show support to the Armenian community today. Go to a local Armenian restaurant, go to an Armenian owned business, or donate to an Armenian foundation. It is incredibly important to always show support for this marginalized group, but especially today the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and Day of Remembrance.

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