FRESNO, Calif.—On Sunday, Nov. 2, the Armenian Community of the San Joaquin Valley will break ground on a monument dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The event will begin at 2:30 p.m. and take place at the Fresno State Maple Mall, located south of the Satellite Student Union. Free parking will be available in Lots P15, P16 and Lots P5, P6. The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome.
Built from béton brut (architectural concrete) and tufa stones, the monument will embody symbols of cultural meaning to the Armenian people. Its principal components will be arranged in a circular pattern and angled inwards, reminiscent of the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Martyrs Monument in Armenia. The nine pillars that will comprise the body of the structure represent the six provinces of historic Armenia, Cilicia, the Diaspora, and the Republic of Armenia. An incomplete halo will be set above the columns, signifying both the fracture left by the Genocide and the unity of the Armenian people.
Sunday’s ceremony will mark construction of the memorial, which will be christened on April 24, 2015.
As many as 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives in the period 1915—1923 at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish government. On April 24th 1915, the Young Turk regime arrested and eventually executed hundreds of Armenian religious, academic, and political leaders—it was the first step in its intent to exterminate an entire people. Many succumbed to starvation and exhaustion during state-mandated deportations or “death marches” that left Western Armenia devoid of its native inhabitants even to this day. Others were murdered outright, often in ways that defy all sense of humanity. According to historians, legal experts, and more than 20 nations throughout the world, the planned and systematic nature of these atrocities clearly constitute a genocide as defined by the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee—Fresno is an organization made-up of representatives from religious, educational, social, and political organizations of the Central Valley. The group’s goals are to commemorate the 1.5 million martyrs who perished at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Government; to educate others about the Armenian Genocide and historical injustice; and to inspire people to overcome adversity through the story of the survivors’ of the Armenian Genocide. In addition to the monument, the AGCC—Fresno is organizing and promoting numerous events in the coming year. For more information, visit the AGCC—Fresno website at agcfresno.org and on Facebook.