Each year, as April rolls around and the 24th approaches, rarely do we stop and ask ourselves a simple question: Why do we still commemorate the Armenian Genocide?
Earlier this year, a troubling op-ed in a major American newspaper recommended that viewers of two recent films covering the time period of the genocide “look into the historical record” and “draw their own conclusions” regarding the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The author held that neither movie was likely to settle “the debate over the events of World War I.”
The fact that one of the most widely read publications in the United States allowed for the genocide to be “debated” on its pages shows why remembering and reminding—and above all demanding justice for the Armenian Genocide—are so important 102 years later.
Ten years ago, the Armenian Weekly made the decision to publish an annual magazine issue dedicated to this Great Crime. Today, this magazine continues to gives space to the heroes of the Armenian Genocide (see Karakashian); to the stolen and confiscated sites (see Karanian, Ozpinar); and to the importance of teaching about genocides to future generations (see Rizopoulos, Sarkissian).
Armenians 102 years ago were scattered throughout the world, but were able to build communities and new lives in countries near and far (see Toghramadjian).
And, more than a century after the genocide began, Turkey’s denial of the Crime continues to spark controversy—even in Hollywood (see Babkenian and Diamadis)—and prompts descendants of survivors to demand justice (see Sonentz-Papazian) and to rethink our approach as a nation (see Theriault, Mensoian).
The Armenian Genocide may be a significant part of human history, but it surely is not stuck in the past.
Today, it is more relevant than ever.