This most anticipated year is upon us. Armenians throughout the world will come together to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
But beyond commemoration, the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide must become the turning point, at which, we as Armenians—the entire Armenian Nation—in unison to not simply demand the recognition of the Genocide, but everything else that follows that statement of truth—justice in the form of reparations and restitution.
As Turkey continues to deny the Genocide and fails to take responsibility for the gruesome actions of its Ottoman predecessors, Armenians, specifically the government of the Republic of Armenia, must be steadfast in their convictions and not fall prey to the whims of those for whom the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not beneficial.
Turkey leads that pack, which also includes the governments of the United States, Great Britain and others, which are stepping up their efforts to alter the truth and draw a “new course” for the discussion of the Armenian Genocide.
We have witnessed, in the past few months, an increase in official reports, academic analyses and expert assessments that attempt to, first and foremost, draw a wedge between the aspirations of the Armenians living in Armenia and those living in the Diaspora. This dangerous trend, which claims that only the Armenians in the Diaspora are seeking the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, while those in Armenia are anxious for dialogue, aims to create a diversion and plays into the fear mongering by Turkey, which despite behaving as an adversary toward its NATO allies, continues to impact policy and the continuation of Genocide denial.
The first step must come from the Armenian Government, which has been silent in the face of a recent report by the British Foreign Office about the Armenian Diaspora, which sought to undermine the political activism by Diaspora Armenians and falsely asserted that Armenians as a Nation do not foster the same aspirations. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry (and perhaps the Diaspora Ministry) should issue a forceful rebuke of this mischaracterization, especially since Armenian government officials always elevate the Diaspora as one of the critical pillars of Armenia’s survival.
Then there is another element that is adding fuel to the denialist perspective: Armenians who believe that this century-young struggle has run its course and our National efforts must be put forward toward the betterment of Armenia. Those who fighting for Genocide recognition, these elements claim, must focus their efforts to fighting injustice in Armenia. This is a warped concept, since fighting injustice is a universal tenet and one does not outweigh the other. These so-called modern-day “thinkers” should realize that by giving up the cause for justice for the Armenian Genocide, does not make them strong advocates for justice in the socio-economic and political sphere in Armenia. No one said fighting for justice was easy or convenient. Now, more than ever, with the withering of the survivor generation, Armenians must elevate the cause, or else we would be carrying out Turkey’s wishes and advancing their policy of denial at all costs.
As this most anticipated date is upon us, let us abandon the rhetoric and truly come together as a Nation to combat this historical injustice, because only fighting the good fight for a Free, United and Independent Homeland, will bring make us stronger as a nation and propel us to a greater future.
Happy New Year!