Here we are again. Today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance day. April 24th, the same date every year since 1919, to mark the genocide which killed over 1.5 million Armenians. Every year I write a thread like this, hoping some more of you will read and learn about this horror. /1
And every year it breaks my heart, because my mother is Armenian, half my family is Armenian and I'm half Armenian; which means we are all descended from the few survivors of a holocaust that is still denied today. /2
The genocide took place in 1915. April 24th marks the date that many Armenian intellectuals were rounded up & deported from Turkey and then systematically killed; a deliberate act to deprive the people of any leaders or resistance. /3
Then 2 waves of genocide were implemented: a wholesale massacre of Armenian men through mass killings & forced labour and then the deportation of women, children, the old & infirm on death marches towards the Syrian desert. /4
These death marches were driven by military troops who also subjected the Armenians to rape and massacre and starved them of food and water. Other outrages took place in cities: mass burnings, drownings and poisonings. /5
Raphael Lemkin coined the term 'genocide' in 1943 after studying the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide is considered the first modern genocide because of the systematic and organised nature of the murders. /6
Hitler used the Armenian Genocide as a template for his plans for the final solution. At the Obersalzberg Address in 1939 he outlined these plans and stated: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” /7
Today, in 2021 it is still denied in some countries. Many countries refuse to recognise it as genocide because of the political ramifications. Schools don’t teach it, news rarely covers it, theatres that claim to represent won’t stage plays about it. 8/
As of today only 30 countries officially recognise the Armenian Genocide. The UK is not one of them. Our government, and all previous governments regardless of party, have refused to do so. This silence is such a cruel complicity. But today feels different... 9/
Because today President Biden will say the words ‘Armenian Genocide’. This is huge. By having the USA officially recognise it for what it was will have a seismic effect worldwide and will give all Armenians, and those of Armenian heritage, something we have never had before: 10/
Visibility. On the worlds stage, coverage in the media, and a leading power in the world willing to put human rights first. And an understanding that failure to remember or acknowledge the fact of a genocide only paves the way for future mass atrocities. 11/
So, if you made it this far: thank you for reading. I hope you remember us today. I hope you don’t forget us tomorrow. I hope you stand with us from now on. Because today it feels like we are finally seen. Today it feels like we finally matter. X
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