April 24, 1915. This date holds great significance to the small population of Armenians in the world today.
Many do not know who we are.
Many do not know where we come from.
Many do not know what we are so bitter about.
We are Armenians. Our country is located between Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia, surrounded by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.
What are we so bitter about?… The first Genocide of the 20th century.
99 years ago, Turkey invaded the beautiful lands of Armenia, which at the time, touched all three seas: Black, Caspian, and the Mediterranean (The origin of the phrase “Tsovits tsov” which means from sea to sea).
Although the violence began long before 1915, the methodical killing spree was considered Genocide between the years of 1915 and 1923. During this time, 1.5 million Armenians were massacred. Turkey argues that the lives lost were due to war and these actions should not be considered Genocide due to the timing overlap with World War I. Turkey, till this day, denies the horrific historical facts of Genocide.
Although many countries around the world and 42 states individually recognize these massacres as Genocide, the United States, as a country, still does not.
Dear President Obama,
You and my parents are the same age. My parents’ grandparents and other close relatives suffered through the inhumane acts of the Ottoman Turks. My dad’s side fled to Egypt while my mom’s side fled to Russia. Both sides moved back to the raped and pillaged lands of their home country years after the Genocide “ended.” Decades later, my family emigrated to America, I am a U.S. born citizen. I am the person you represent. I am the great granddaughter of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.
On January 19, 2008 you said “The Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact….The facts are undeniable…As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.” For us, we want the recognition of this Genocide so we can finally feel that we honored our ancestors by making their stories heard… and by not allowing politics to intervene in humanitarian issues.
For you, this is more than just about giving Armenians what we have tenaciously fought for over the last 99 years. For you, it is a chance to show your two beautiful daughters the meaning of integrity.
This is about being a good man. Honoring your promises and displaying true credibility. You raise your children in a world, and in a house, flooded with politics, sometimes it may be easy to detach from the population you represent. But your people are crying here, we have been pleading for recognition, and every President who comes along and uses the Armenian Genocide as a means to gain voter support and then abandons his promise, only decreases our faith in this country more and more. Show your children that we do NOT have to surrender to politics, it is not our puppeteer; that the truth prevails, and that a country that values justice CAN act justly.
Many Armenians, including my family and myself voted for you. Your election was the first I was old enough to vote for. I remember proudly marking the circle next to your name. Proudly contributing to the Change you envisioned for this country. Proudly helping alter the status quo by voting for an African American. But as this day rolls around every year, I think to myself…would an African American strive to become the President of this nation if the United States denied its dark past and did not fully acknowledge historical, factual, occurrences? My people were tortured, just as yours were… but we still don’t have closure.
You dampen the pride, trust, and faith of the people of this country when you knowingly ignore the truth, when you knowingly ignore justice. As an Armenian the one thing I want most from this country as a whole, is the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide. As an American I can understand how that may be a challenging measure to pass due to political reasons; however, the strength of a true leader is visible through the difficult decisions s/he makes.
You weakly obey Turkey simply because of their geographical location. Turkey stole our lands, making it a large and powerful nation today; and now, Turkey uses that power to effectively enforce a gag rule. Threatening to pull its Ambassador any time the word Genocide is spoken. Turkey goes out of its way to cover the truth by teaching its youth a different story than what actually occurred. With this, modern day Turkish government is taking after their “Young Turk” Ancestors.
…You, too, allow the crime to continue by not recognizing the Genocide and not calling “A spade, a spade” as Ms. Samantha Power so beautifully stated in this video.
It’s a shame that as much as we support you in everything you do… we, your constituents, do not feel the support reciprocated.
It’s a shame this country cannot find someone who has the integrity to keep his/her promises.
And it is such a shame, that this country, a true pioneer of the world, still cant do the right thing.
We have pictures, quotes, documents, family stories, even clips from this HISTORIC EVENT! I agree with you Mr. President, “The facts ARE undeniable.” And it is cowardice of ANYONE to claim this was a war simply because it occurred within the time frame of World War I.
THIS WAS GENOCIDE.
THE FIRST OF THE 20TH CENTURY.
THESE ACTS ARE THE REASON THE WORD “GENOCIDE” EXISTS.
IT IS UNDENIABLE.
…And my people and I urge you to STOP DENYING IT.
Suzanna Agavni Sargsyan
Armenian Genocide Map Source: The Armenian Genocide Museum Institute
I do not own any of these pictures.