Today, I marched across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to commemorate the 100th centennial of the Armenian Genocide. This march’s purpose is to inform others about the blatant denial of the Genocide by its perpetrators, Turkey, and many other countries and organizations.
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, when running for his 2008 campaign, claimed that he would finally declare this event a “genocide,” however, he did not keep his promise.
As an Armenian-American, I am fully attached and deeply moved by this tragedy. In the years following 1915, 1.5 million Armenians were systematically massacred by the Ottoman Turks. This included deportations, marches through the Syrian desert, starvation, beheadings, crucifixions…much like the crimes of the terrorist organization ISIS today. Armenians were powerful, talented, smart, educated people…but most of all, Christian. The Ottoman Turks were threatened by the Armenians’ strong Christianity and thus killed them all, in order to expunge the world of my race. In addition to Armenians, the Ottoman Turks during this time also targeted Greeks, Assyrians, and Yezidis. Even before the 20th century, similar killings were going on and in the late 1800s, these became known as the Hamidian Massacres. As it is the 100th commemoration of the Genocide, my people are fighting as hard as ever to get Turkey to recognize their crimes. Currently, it is a jail sentence of up to 10 years if one mentions the Armenian Genocide. That needs to change.