As Friday marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the tragic Armenian Genocide, the day brought much remembrance around the world. Though much of the service was held by those who survived the genocide, their immediate and extended family, and even their friends, a lot of those remembering the Armenian Genocide were not even involved in Armenian history, in any way. But just as tragic world events bring about reasons for everyone to mourn, the Armenian Genocide too caused most of the world to take pause and recognize the suffering that occurred in history.
All over the world from Fresno to Los Angeles, people hosted events that mourned the losses of those involved in the Armenian Genocide. They also celebrated the end of the deaths (that came years later) and the lives of those who survived. Many stories were told that commemorated the event, art was created, and marches brought thousands. Even celebrities like Kim Kardashian took a moment to hold service for those lost. Candle vigils were lit and flowers were laid to ground in a variety of places.
It was 100 years ago, during World War I, that the Ottoman Turks allegedly began evacuating and killing 1.5 million Armenians. Though Turkey now regards the loss as just a part of war, the Armenian ancestors and their following generations consider the event to be nothing other than genocide. Descendants of the Armenians who were forced to be involved in the Armenian Genocide, protested around the world at Turkey’s refusal to recognize the killing as genocide. Meeting around the area in Istanbul where a train deported the Armenians out of Turkey, the descendants held up red carnation flowers.
While the Armenian Genocide brought remembrance around the world, there is one place where remembrance was rare. As Turkey refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide, residents there were not in mourning. Though many traveled to Turkey to protest the Turkish government who will not recognize the Armenian Genocide, and even thousands met to march at the Turkish consulate in L.A., the voices of those who want Turkey to recognize their fault have still not been heard, after 100 years.
Though the Armenians were, this year, allowed to hold a service at the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, for which many recognized the Armenian Genocide, the government members and many residents of Turkey spent the day celebrating what Turkey holds as the winning of the Battle of Gallipoli. As Gallipoli also helped other countries who were struggling in WWI, officials from other countries often join in the celebration and remembrance, with Turkey.
But with survivors now all being nearly 100 years old and over, their only request is that Turkey recognize the event, the Armenian Genocide, but these survivors will probably never get their wish. As one man recalls his experience as a young child, he states that he can remember soldiers pushing up against Armenians with rifles and forcing them out of Turkey. But though Turkey refuses to recognize the Armenian Genocide, the commemorative day still brought remembrance around the world.
Turkey criticized high officials for making any kind of statements regarding the war event as a genocide, but many prominent leaders did still regard it as such. Extending condolences to survivors and families of Armenians lost, many leaders were also involved in remembering the day. Though President Obama in the U.S., and many other world leaders of countries such as Israel, do not recognize the Armenian Genocide, survivors around the world will not let them forget.
It was considered a sad day when the killing of 1.5 million people was remembered, but not recognized by the highest officials of some countries, though this has happened every year for 100 years. But with places around the world, and millions pausing to remember the Armenian Genocide which brought pain to so many, the lives of those lost will never be forgotten.
By Crystal Boulware