Armenia marks genocide remembrance day

Agence France Presse
April 24, 2004 Saturday

Armenia marks genocide remembrance day


Armenians laid flowers on a hill in their capital Yerevan on Saturday
to mark the World War I genocide in which they say up to 1.5 million
of their forebears were massacred by the Ottoman Empire.

Thousands of people, some representing the large Armenian diaspora
outside this nation of three million, climbed to the memorial to the
genocide victims on top of Yerevan’s Tsitsernakaberd hill throughout
the day.

Radio and television played somber music and played documentaries of
the genocide.

Seventy-year-old Pogos, whose father survived the attacks, planned to
climb to the memorial in the evening with his grandsons.

“My father… told us thousands of times how in the morning armed
Turks came into the village and began to burn houses, kill men, women
and children and, not allowing people to take food or water, began to
herd them toward the desert,” he said.

Pogos’s father spent the rest of his life searching in vain for his
mother, whom he lost during the forced resettlements.

“He was saved by some Kurds who bought him for a few gold coins and
sent him off to Syria,” Pogos said.

Some 20,000 survivors of the genocide remain worldwide, 900 of them
in Armenia, Lavrenti Barsegyan, director of a genocide museum in

“Each year there are less and less eye witnesses… and less and less
people can tell of the evil deeds of the Turks,” he said.

The massacres of Armenians during World War I is one of the most
painful episodes in Turkish history.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kinsmen were massacred in
orchestrated killings between 1915 and 1917.

Turkey categorically rejects claims of genocide and says that some
300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in civil strife
during World War I when the Armenians rose up against their Ottoman