‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’
Religion & Liberty Online

‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?’

In this video, Richard Hovannisian, professor emeritus of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains the Armenian Genocide.

Today is April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which is held annually to commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 by Ottoman Turks. It is also the official remembrance of the centennial of the campaign of human and cultural destruction. Here are more reflections and news items:

Message of HH Karekin II at the Canonization of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Church — Mother See of Etchmiadzin

The martyrs of the Genocide today, in the luminous chambers of the kingdom of heaven, bearing the crowns of martyrdom, are the patron saints of justice, philanthropy and peace; whose intercession from heaven opens the source of God’s mercy and graces wherever justice is weakened, the tranquility and security of peace is disturbed, where human rights and the rights of people are trampled, threats arise against the welfare of societies, and persecutions against faith and identity are fanaticized.

The courage to call genocide what it is: Recalling the Armenian slaughter, 100 years later

Robert Morganthau, New York Daily News

In 1939, when Hitler was explaining the rationale for wiping out the Polish people in order to take over their land, he asked, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” If there had been a greater outcry and condemnation from the international community, perhaps Hitler would not have been so encouraged to proceed with his plans.

Yes, the Slaughter of the Armenians Was Genocide
Excerpted in The Daily Beast from “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide by Ronald Grigor Suny.

A perfectly rational (and rationalist) explanation, then, for the Genocide appears to be adequate: a strategic goal to secure the empire by elimination of an existential threat to the state and the Turkish (or Islamic) people.

The G-Word: The Armenian Massacre and the Politics 
of Genocide
Thomas de Waal, Foreign Affairs

The Republic of Turkey, founded by Mustafa Kemal in 1923, was a state rooted in organized forgetting—not only of the crimes committed in the late Ottoman period against Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks but also of the suffering of the Muslim population in a string of wars in Anatolia and the Balkans prior to 1923.

One Hundred Years of Exile
Garin Hovannisian, The Atlantic

Many people had nightmares on Alta Avenue. They saw burning villages and death marches. They saw their mothers being raped by foreign soldiers and their fathers hanging from the gallows. They saw themselves running through vast desert landscapes. It was my grandfather Richard’s destiny, even before it was my father’s, to come to terms with those nightmares.

The Orphans of Antoura — Remembering the Armenian Genocide
John Couretas, The Stream

Karnig Panian said the test of wills between Ottoman schoolmasters and the Armenian students was an unequal battle. “We were determined to resist — not out of rabid nationalism, for which we were too young, but simply because we wanted to hold onto our identities, which were all we had left,” he recalled.

Armenians Are Still on the Run 100 Years Later
Rebecca Collard, Time

For Krikor, it’s particularly sad this week that he will be commemorating the 100-year anniversary of his grandparents’ exodus, in a second exile. His family lived for almost a century in Aleppo and had made the Syrian city their home.

Turkey’s top cleric calls Pope Francis “immoral” for Armenia genocide comments


“The Vatican will come out as the biggest loser if we are all giving account for past sufferings and pain caused,” Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the highest religious authority in largely Muslim Turkey, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Turkey: Genocide à la Carte
Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute

According to Professor Mehmet Gormez, Turkey’s top Muslim cleric, Pope Francis’s statement was totally “unfounded.” That could be Gormez’s own opinion, and everyone has the liberty to take him seriously or not. But Professor Gormez also claimed that there have never been missionary ambitions or colonialism in the history of Turkey [the successor state to the Ottoman Empire]. That is only laughable to anyone with an elementary knowledge of history. For one, Gormez should explain why millions of Turks every day celebrate the “conquest of [Christian] Istanbul” by Muslim Ottomans.

What Obama’s Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About the U.S. — and the Rest of the World
Jon Schwarz, The Intercept

So what happened is a historical fact, and it shouldn’t be difficult to get presidents and prime ministers to say, “Today we remember the Armenian Genocide.” But it’s almost impossible, especially in the U.S. — because Turkey has made Armenian Genocide denial part of its national identity, and we’re dependent on Turkey’s support for our broader mideast policies.

Turkey foreign ministry condemns Putin’s words on Armenian genocide

“Despite our warnings and appeals, Russian President Vladimir Putin evaluated the events of 1915 as genocide,” the statement says. “We do not accept it and condemn it. Such political statements that are a direct violation of law can have no legal effect.” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry noted that “Russia should better know what genocide is like and what legal aspects it has.”

John Couretas

is a writer and editor based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.