2015-04-22 / Editorials

Never Forget The Armenian Genocide

Armenians around the world will mark the centennial of the genocide, which saw the slaughter of almost two million of their people.

The genocidal acts that began in 1915 and continued until 1923 did not constitute the first, or only occasion Armenian Christians were subject to persecution in a non-Christian nation. It was, however, the first time that a government made systematic, organized attempts to wipe out an entire indigenous population as a matter of policy.

Prior to 1915, two million Armenians lived and worshiped in 2,000 churches in Turkish-controlled Armenia. After the genocide, 70,000 Armenians and 50 churches remained.

Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church stated during a Mass commemorating the start of the mass killings described it as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Almost a quarter-century later Adolf Hitler, the German Chancellor who led the world into its second world war was quoted as saying “Who after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Hitler made this quote in August 1939 as he prepared to undertake the systematic annihilation of six million Jews and another six million gypsies, homosexuals and other groups he deemed “racially undesirable.” The Holocaust was followed by the killing fields of Cambodia, “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia, Serbia and also in Africa.

Until recently, residents at Flushing’s Armenian Home recalled those horrible days when the Turks drove families out of their villages and businesses and cast them into the wilderness. Now, there is only one survivor, who is 104 years old.

For years the survivors who lived at the Armenian Home retold their stories in anticipation of the commemoration of the genocide. Now they are all almost gone.

That is why annual commemoration of this tragic and historic event must continue for generations or else Hitler’s prophecy of denial and indifference toward this holocaust will become a reality.

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