Yesterday in Los Angeles, California, in what is known as the Mid-Wilshire District, a protest of thousands of people took place at the Turkish embassy. Yesterday was Armenian Remembrance Day, commemorating the day the Armenian genocide began in 1915 under the Ottoman Empire’s rule.
“All we’re asking for is recognition and reparations. They don’t want to do it and there are political reasons behind why the U.S. government won’t support it, but that’s not going to stop us from fighting,” protester Papken Pakhchanian said.
Turkey, which was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire and where the massacre of the Armenian population took place, refuses to acknowledge that the deaths that occurred were indeed a genocide.
“Turkey disputes the events were a genocide, saying the deaths were an act of civil war and unrest.”
“There is an allegation of genocide that is taken at face value without paying any attention to its historical evidence,” said Ergun Kirlikovali, the former president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. (ibid)
According to Fox News, about 5,000 people attended the rally and only a dozen or so pro-Turkey protesters were also in attendance. The slaughter of the Armenian people took place during the First World War and shortly thereafter, but unlike Germany who took responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust under Hitler and who immediately made reparations when Israel became a state in 1948, Turkey has not taken responsibility for what happened to 1.5 million Armenians.
According to ABC News, Obama also spoke on the Armenian Remembrance but also refused to acknowledge it as a protest as he has neglected to do these past eight years while in office. Whether or not Turkey will ever acknowledge the massacre of 1.5 million people remains to be seen, but if today’s protest is any indication the Armenians will never stop fighting for it. After all, the word “genocide” itself was coined by Raphael Lemkin to describe the atrocity, so as long as we have the word genocide we will always remember the Armenian Holocaust.
“By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group.” – Raphael Lemkin