Remembering the Armenian Genocide

“Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.”                                  – William Saroyan, Armenian-American dramatist and writer

April 24 is considered by Armenians worldwide as the day in which Ottoman authorities unleashed what would become the first genocide of the 20th century. 99 years later, Turkey refuses to recognize the genocide. While 99 year later, Armenians refuse to forget it.

I could not find a better way to join in the remembrance and stand in solidarity with Armenians than to share what a friend of mine posted on her Facebook wall today. These are the simple yet wise words of a fourth generation Armenian-Lebanese, remembering the genocide through the memory of her great-grandfather Garabed Tombourian.

Because we can never truly forget, or at least begin the process of healing and hope that history will stop repeating itself, before we even begin to remember

My dear friends,

When I first moved to Canada in 2012, I was saddened to notice most people had never heard of the Armenian Genocide. It was the first genocide of the 20th century, where around 1.5 million people lost their lives in tragic circumstances, under Ottoman rule.

The reason why it is especially important to remember it, is that it remains unrecognized by some nations. By trivializing what happened, we are implicitly minimizing the consequences of acts of hatred, of violence against civilians, of the suffering of the innocent and defenseless, of the exile of people from their own homeland.

Today marks the 99th anniversary of this dark page of our history.

Armenian Genocide Garabed TombourianThis is a picture of my great grand-dad, whom, from what I have been told, had been saved from a concentration camp because he was ordered to play oud to the leader in charge. Everyone else was probably massacred.

It is hard for me to write these words without fighting an urge to cry. I am at peace. I do not ask for revenge. I just hope history will stop repeating itself, and the only way we can achieve that is through remembrance.

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