An ancient culture with a rich tapestry of history dating back thousands of years, the Armenian diaspora comes together in resilience as we approach the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24th.
“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”, said Hitler when rallying up the Nazis in advance of the Holocaust, as a means of justifying the atrocious acts in attempt to get away with them. A history forgotten and ignored is a history repeated, as is the case with the Armenian Genocide of 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians were ethnically targeted, persecuted and massacred by the much larger Ottoman empire.
Despite worldwide acknowledgement of the genocide from historians, lack of formal recognition from the US and the rest of world allowed another genocide to take place in 2020, killing more Armenians in an ethnic cleanse at the hands of Turkey and Azerjaiban, who deny the atrocities. An underdog in size, military capability, and ally power, Armenia continues the solitary battle for the simple right to live in peace, while stalwarts like the United States and Europe hesitate to step in due to military allyship with nations like Turkey.
The story is kept alive by descendants of survivors, like Shannon Tamburi, in the first picture, whose great grandfather was executed in front of his family, forcing them to make the perilous journey to salvation by foot thousands of miles to Egypt. Shannon, keeps the traditions and culture she learned as a little girl in Armenian school alive as an advocate for the non-profit S.O.A.R. (Society of Orphaned Armenian Relief) aimed to assist Armenian children and those with disability acclimate back into society post devastation.
“Theme” parks like Baku’s “Military Trophy Park”, below, center around marauded Armenian soldiers, mocking their death and passing down hateful propaganda to the next generation of the Turkish persists today, in modern era, while ancient Armenian churches are being destroyed. Armenian prisoners of war remain tortured and locked up, despite legal United Nations treaties establishing their rightful freedom.
To combat the grave misfortune of genocide modern and past, the Armenian diaspora throughout the world uses their voice to not only advocate, but share the beauty of its culture, centered around hospitality, with unique history and language. Armenians across the world came together during last year’s attack, uniting on the premise that all Armenians are survivors, and can persevere together to save their nation.
“You can feel alone in the world and meet another Armenian and feel like you have know them all your life”, shares Shannon over traditional Armenian dishes like Basterma, on the right, and Muhammara (red dip), and Labne (white dip), below.
Hope is on the horizon, however, as President Biden is poised to formally declare the slaughter of Armenians in the early 1900’s as genocide officially. While the move will worsen ties with Turkey, it is the step needed to generate sanctions against the Turkish’s actions, and to finally aid Armenia in repairing the devastation the community deserves.