Today is April 24. It’s a day where all Armenians around the world march by the thousands on the streets of their cities both in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Turks and to demand justice.
The thing we claim is very simple: Recognition. We ask that our genocide be recognized. We have been asking that for the past 101 years and we ask it this year. 102 years later Turkey is still in denial. Erdogan, president of Turkey, acknowledged that Armenians “lost their lives” but implied that they were victims of war.
Dr. Stephan Ihrig, in his article “Genocide Denial Goes Viral: ‘The Promise’ And The IMBD” writes:
“Writing this is dangerous: Speaking out on the Armenian Genocide means taking a huge risk. At the very least, it will be an exhausting experience, getting harassed online, trolled, threatened, down-rated on Amazon and publicly vilified. Until now this was true mainly for individuals- academics, artists and activists. Now it seems to apply to Hollywood movies, too.”
The film “The Promise” now playing in theaters- directed by Mr. Terry George and starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon- is the first of its kind to be produced in Hollywood. Privately funded by Kirk Kerkorian, the film sheds light on the tragic events during the Ottoman Empire, late 1914.
No such film has ever been made before.
“Eighty years ago the Turkish government forced Hollywood to drop a movie project based on “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.” Such a movie could have also raised awareness of the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany at the time and later of the ongoing Holocaust. It could have shaped the “narrative” of the struggle against Hitler.” Dr. Ihrig
Robert Fisk had an interesting article on the same topic in the Independent: On March 22nd, he wrote:
“The Nazis, whom Erdogan pretends to hate so much, rather liked Turkey. Not only did Turkey stay neutral in the war, but the Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachler and other Reich dailies had, since the early 1930s, devotedly praised the “Turkified” state which had emerged from the ruins of the First World War. This was a thinly layered reference to Ottoman Turkey’s “racial purity” after the genocide of one and a half million of its minority Christian Armenians in 1915 a holocaust which deeply influenced Hitler in his own decision to destroy the Jews of Europe.
In several newspaper interviews before the war, Hitler referred to Europe’s own forgetfulness of the Armenian massacres. He even asked who “now remembers” them, in a meeting with his generals before invading Poland in 1939 an open invitation to kill Jews.”
We remember. Of course we do. How can we forget? We are descendants of survivors of genocide. Every survivor had a story to tell. Every Armenian family has its own story to tell. As Mr. Terry George (director of the film The Promise) said:
“The genocide is burned into the soul of the Armenian diaspora. And until they get some kind of recognition, it’s not going to go away.”
When I was a little girl growing up in Lebanon, the stories I was told by my elders were not of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Rather they were stories of survival told by my parents and grandparents. I did not fully comprehend them at the time. All I knew was that my grandparents had fought the Turks and eventually left their homes in Musa Dagh, and upon reaching Lebanon as refugees (when both my parents were very young, aged 7 and 10), had lived in unbearable conditions under tents in a place where no one had lived before, in a place where they didn’t even speak the language. Through much suffering and hard work, they turned it into the paradise it is today, Ainjar.
My parents and grandparents come from Musa Dagh, where they put up a resistance and fought against the Turks. “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel is their story, our story. My grandparents and great grandparents were on the mountain on that day. On this day and every day we owe our lives to all those who lost theirs. Their story is one of survival and that’s why I am a survivor too.
And on this day and every other day we have 1.5 million reasons to not only remember but to survive and thrive, to live and laugh and move forward.
Here are all my posts on the Armenian Genocide since the inception of my blog in 2011:
1.5 Million Reasons Why
Thank You Kurt Vonnegut!
We Can Never Forget!
“The Parallel To Auschwitz”
There Were A Million And A Half
The Mountains Are Still Very Wild
Since Then We Never Stopped
Is It Too Much To Ask?