Call for Recognition of Genocide

Dear Editor,

As a freshman in college, I have experienced an epiphany as to why my age group is the loudest among others when it comes to fighting for our rights around the world, from the United States to less democratic countries such as Egypt.

While in college, we are enlightened by education to see the deeper, more accurate reasons for occurrences in all subjects. It is during this period of life we are finally made aware of why things are a certain way in our imperfect world – from economical struggles to racial prejudices.

Even before attending college, I knew that if there was anything that has not changed over history, it was inequality among different ethnic groups.

Learning about the prejudiced ways of our own country once upon a time with the unbearable treatment of the Africans and Native Americans during colonial times has made me reflect on a far more recent and comparable event, the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Genocide was the massacre of 1.5 million people by the Ottoman Empire, known today as the Republic of Turkey.

The Ottoman Turks did not discriminate victims by gender, age, or any other way; there was no mercy for the Armenian.

The starting date of the Armenian Genocide was April 24, 1915 when hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and leaders were arrested in the city of Constantinople.

This day was followed by the killing of Armenians in ways including (but not limited to) drownings, death marches, and mass burnings.

April 24th is an international day of remembrance and the annual representation of the struggle to officially recognize the horrors my ancestors faced nearly a century ago.

There are countries that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, but the United States of America is not one of them.

As an American-born citizen, I take pride in being part of this powerful nation, but as an Armenian-American it is upsetting to know that my ancestors marched, burned, and drowned only to have their plight ignored for 96 years.

The United States of America does not have the purest history, with the massacres of Native Americans in the name of Manifest Destiny, and the undeniable ill-treatment of the Africans from the Middle Passage that reached far into the 20th century.
It took centuries for the United States to accept the fact that African Americans, the descendants of tortured slaves, were the force that allowed our country to economically thrive the way it did in the times of the colonies, and that they were deserving of representation and the quality of life promised by the Constitution.

The United States of America cannot deny the actions that were taken against blacks, and has improved enough to have an African-American president today.

The Armenian population today wants something similar from the Republic of Turkey: ACCEPTANCE.

It is not my intention to narrate a letter intriguing enough to capture the attention of the government of the United States; it is to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians in America, one of the millions of Armenians around the world, and the descendant of the 1.5 million victims who are trying to find justice, find liberty, to find closure.

Emmy Mnatsakanian