During the past few months, leading to the April 24 Genocide Centennial, thanks to the dedicated, relentless, and energetic efforts of Armenian organizations worldwide, noteworthy and impactful events and actions took place that have strengthened our cause in pursuit of justice—recognition of the Armenian Genocide and reparations.
Here is a brief list of a few recent successes (and forgive me for omitting others):
–Pope Francis holds Centennial Mass and reaffirms the Armenian Genocide
–The European Parliament adopts the Armenian Genocide Centennial Resolution
–Cyprus criminalizes denial of the Armenian Genocide
–Bolivia recognizes the Armenian Genocide
–U.S. states Vermont and South Dakota adopt Genocide Resolutions
–The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopts a resolution on the prevention of genocide
–U.S. Representatives draft a bipartisan letter urging the White House to recognize the Armenian Genocide
–U.S. Senators call on President Barack Obama to reaffirm the Armenian Genocide
–The New York Times publishes an editorial on April 17, 2015, titled “Turkey’s Willful Amnesty”
And yet, Turkey continues with its belligerent, desperate actions of denial; it continues to play its dirty tricks—from moving the date of the Gallipoli commemoration, to making idle threats against those who affirm the undeniable truth. Next they might threaten the U.S. with closure of the NATO bases in Turkey.
For our just cause, these developments and events will not be the end nor the final chapter. They mark only the beginning, and our commitment is unwavering.
What is of concern is that despite these major accomplishments and significant steps in the right direction, there are some organizations—which were formed in recent years and are active and vocal in Armenia and other countries in the Caucasus, including in Turkey and Azerbaijan—that have adopted the concept of “reconciliation” under the broad umbrella of “conflict resolution in the Caucasus region.” The main aim of these organizations is to have a dialogue with Turkey and Azerbaijan, to reconcile, to make peace; yet worryingly, they all walk away from Armenian rights and demands for genocide recognition and reparations. According to their minimalist request, all that Armenians want is an acknowledgment and /or apology.
In an ideal, democratic world, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. However, at this critical time, we need a unity of purpose and a firm determination in the pursuit of our rights—not an ill-conceived and unrealistic notion.
How can we, Armenians, reconcile with the Crime committed against 1.5 million of our grandparents? How can we reconcile with the confiscation of properties, the destruction of communities, churches, and schools, and the nightmares and trauma the orphans had to endure?
It is true that a few Turkish organizations, scholars, and institutions have started to speak out about the genocide—but they are still a minority. The majority, especially the younger generation, is still influenced by the official Turkish propaganda machine, and the existing laws in Turkey.
We cannot, and should not, give up our rights. How can any Armenian think otherwise?