Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

By Anicia Aguilar, Staff Writer

April 24, 2021, marks the day of the Armenian Genocide remembrance of 1915. This day is to commemorate the victims of the genocide.


According to The Auschwitz Institute For The Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, “Its first phase began on April 24, 1915, as the Ottoman government arrested and murdered hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople, or modern-day Istanbul. The killing expanded into brutal massacres of the male Armenian population across Ottoman lands and the deportation of Armenian women, children, and the elderly into the Syrian Desert.” In the end, about 70% of the total Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire were killed.


While the Turkish government acknowledges the killings that took place, they downsize the numbers and say it happened in wartime, when plenty of other people died.


The modern-day successor of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, rejects the term “genocide.” The 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide defines it as the crime of acting “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.” Even though an estimated 1.5 million Armenian Christians died during the massacres and deportation campaigns carried out by the Ottoman Empire, Turkey insists on claiming that only 300,000 Armenians died during World War I due to the civil war and internal issues consuming the Ottoman Empire.


The Turkish government is not the only nation that has decided to ignore the atrocities. Former U.S. presidents have refrained from angering Turkey by calling the genocide what it is – a genocide. However, in a statement given by Biden, he urged, “Today, as we mourn what was lost, let us also turn our eyes to the future—toward the world that we wish to build for our children. A world unstained by the daily evils of bigotry and intolerance, where human rights are respected, and where all people are able to pursue their lives in dignity and security. Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world. And let us pursue healing and reconciliation for all the people of the world. The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today.”


Like many other communities, the Armenian community deserves better. Turkey needs to accept full responsibility for both its past and present actions. By denying there was any wrongdoing, they continue to harm the Armenian people. Denial of the genocide is not as horrendous as the genocide itself, but ignoring this community’s pain is immoral and wrong.