Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grappling With A Genocide - Armenian

A favorite old author I like reading, Franz Werfel, introduced me to the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in his book "The 40 Days of Musa Daugh." The book, written in 1933, is based on true events that occurred in Turkey during the early years of World War I.

In that God-awful year, Armenians living in an area controlled by the Ottoman Turk empire, were rounded up by the young Turkish government to be deported, put into concentration camps and massacred.  The Armenians suffered through what the European Jews would encounter some twenty-five years later at the hands of German Nazis led by Hitler.

I've always found it so odd that Israel, a Jewish state that became a refuge for so many European Jews who suffered through a genocide, would refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1918 that predated their own tragedy. Why? God forbid its because Armenians are Christians.

Based on the article I read today, Israel Grapples With Recognizing Armenian Genocide, The reason was and continues to be political. Israel is not the only country refusing to recognize the tragedy.  Our good'ol United States of America has issue with admitting the wrongs of Turkey 100 years ago.  I read that President Barrack Obama had promised in his first campaign for president, that he'd right the U.S. wrong on this Armenian Genocide issue. Well into his second term, the President has balked on that promise. 

I attended a lecture and short documentary film viewing on the Armenian Genocide some years back, after reading Werfel's incredible book.  I got an education in what it means to carry the torch of a people injured and still seeking justice.  

To meet the Armenian peoples, to hear their stories of suffering that had passed down from grandparents and great grandparents. I was easily reminded of my own peoples of African-American descent and the stories of suffering through what could easily be called one of the worse holocausts' (catastrophe) in human history; the raping of a continent.

The Turks did everything they could to wipe out the Armenian culture, even banning the Armenian language. Entire Armenian communities were emptied and repopulated with Turkish citizens.  Many years later, remnants of those lost communities could still be seen in the shadows, like a mosque that had once been a christian church.

What can be read in the tears of a surviving Armenian descendant today is the pain that non-recognition brings to their people. As far as I know they're not asking for financial reparations, only Turkish acknowledgment of the Genocide along with an apology.  As with all wrongs, until the wrongdoer accepts full responsibility for their cruel actions and apologizes to those wronged, only then can the healing process begin for both the victim and victimizer.  

100 Years ago a most terrible crime was committed upon a people.  In 1915, information about such a cruel crime did not travel far nor fast.  Those controlling international information back then were few. Today in 2015, with internet access world-wide, the few have become the many and news travels faster than a bullet.  Let's hope that today's politics catches up with the medium that shares world news and events.  Turkey, Israel and those who refused in the past to recognize a wrong committed, it's time to recognize.  Help heal a hurt and encourage solidarity against all genocidal assaults in our world.

 Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the early fourth century (traditionally in 301) in establishing this church.[7]
Vagharshapat, Armenia

40 Days of Musa Daugh - Armenian Genocide

Fearing repercussions from its former ally Turkey and wary of breaking ranks with American policy, Israel has refrained from calling the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I a genocide. Now, days before Armenia holds centenary commemorations, and with ties to Turkey frayed, there are growing calls from within Israel to finally do so.

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