Guest Viewpoint: Armenians have not forgotten

Press & Sun-Bulletin, NY
April 24 2004

Guest Viewpoint: Armenians have not forgotten

“If our children forget this much evil
Let the whole world condemn the Armenian people.”

— Avidis Aharonian

It has been 89 years since the first genocide of the 20th century
took place. The Ottoman Turks and the Young Turks took it upon
themselves to resolve the Armenian question by massacres,
deportations and mass killings of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and
children, including my grandparents, aunts and uncles.

My parents were survivors of this genocide. Arab Bedouins and
Christian missionaries took them in as orphans.

These crimes by humanity against humanity are recorded in archives of
governments around the world and the news media. To this day the
Turkish government denies that the genocide and atrocities took
place. It spends millions of our tax dollars in an attempt to rewrite
its history, by establishing Turkish Studies programs in U.S.
universities under the guise of cultural and educational cooperation.

These programs are nothing more than propaganda tools to try to
change history and discredit the victims and survivors of this
horrendous period.

Hitler used this genocide as a “text book” for the Holocaust. He
said, “After all, who remembers the Armenians?” (This quote appears
on the wall of the American Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.)

Every year on April 24, Armenians around the globe commemorate and
remember the victims of this genocide and wonder why the world,
including the U.S. government, has kept quiet for so long.

The U.S. government refuses to acknowledge this genocide under the
guise of national interest and being an ally with Turkey. Last year
Congress was ready to pass House Resolution 193 to recognize the
genocide but it was taken off the agenda under pressure from the
White House and State Department.

President George W. Bush promised during his campaign that if he were
elected he would support this resolutions and work on getting it
passed. This day we call on the president to keep his word, and call
on Congress to pass the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide
of 1915.

Unless we acknowledge the past and learn from it, history will repeat
itself. We have seen this happening in the Holocaust and in other
ethnic cleansings in places around the world.

This day, April 24, 2004, we not only remember and commemorate the
victims of this genocide, but we celebrate the survival of the
Armenian people and their accomplishments.

“Go ahead, destroy this race.
Let us say that it is again 1915;
There is war in the world.
Destroy Armenia.
See if you can do it.
Send them from their homes into
the desert.
Let them have neither bread nor
Burn their houses and their
See if they will not live again.
See if they will not laugh again.
See if you can stop them from
mocking the big ideas of the
world. ”
— William Saroyan

Today, the Armenian community invites all people to a commemoration
service at the memorial park on Conklin Ave. in Binghamton, near the
South Washington Street Bridge. The service begins at 11 a.m.

Kerjilian is a Binghamton resident