STORIES ABOUT GENOCIDES Armenia Edition

It has been a month since I wrote my first story about genocide. It was about the holocaust in Poland. As I previously said, inspired by the current situation in Syria, I decided to write about genocides that happened in three countries I visited this year. Namely, Poland, Armenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This time I want to shad a light from my point of view about Armenian genocide or “Medz Yeghern (Great Crime)” as they may say.

In May this year, I received amazing news. I have been selected for International European Forum in Armenia as the delegate of my country. At the moment I received the letter, I was in Sweden having my Erasmus experience and honestly, I didn’t even know how to arrive over there. After some exhausting research I found out that to arrive in Armenia I had to take the flight from Italy to France and then from France to Armenia. Since I never visited Paris neither, I decided to use the chance. As soon as I got on the plane from Paris to Yerevan, I met kind Armenian lady that was travelling back home from USA. As soon as we started to talk, she mentioned Armenian genocide and asked if I know anything about it. She said I should not go to Armenia without having a good knowledge and understanding. I knew few facts, but nothing deeper than that.

It was the 100 years’ anniversary of the genocide and all Armenians, asKaskade well as everyone in Armenia was talking only about that. She said that it was a terrible crime and that all her family escaped in USA back then. Since Muslims coming from Ottoman Empire executed the genocide, she started to accuse all the Muslims and that all of them are the same. She was so sure that in the Kur’an people are encouraged to kill others and that most of them are terrorists. I could not keep my mouth shut (as usually) and I told her I am a Muslim girl. I have nothing to do with that genocide, I do not have any intention to blow up the plain, nor do I want to convince someone that other religions are wrong. The conversation continued in a manner that both of us realized that we were wrong. I was wrong for not knowing a lot and talking about genocide that happened in Armenia and she was wrong for accusing all Muslims for terror made by particular empire 100 years ago. Anyhow, it was the useful discussion for both of us and as soon as I had the chance, I decided to make research about genocide. It was the long trip of seven hours and thankfully, there was a Wi-Fi!

Here are few facts all of us should know about and share with others. The genocide happened in 1915 and the estimated total number of people killed is between 800.000 and 1.5 million! It was the Ottoman government’s systematic extermination of Armenians in their historic homeland, which nowadays, lies within the territory of Republic of Turkey. It was implemented in two phases, where in the first phase there was the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour. The second phase was consisted of the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to Syrian deserts.

I arrived in Yerevan late evening and I was amazed how warmly they welcomed me. Dad of one girl, who was participant of the IEFA too, came to pick me up at the airport and brought me directly to the hostel. That country was one of the most interesting countries I ever visited. The buildings are made of strange materials (Tiko even explained which one, but I can’t remember) and over the time they are changing colours, so if you look the photos of the city centre, you can notice this change over time, which is pretty amazing! There is the fountain with colours and music every evening, which remained me on Spain and Barcelona waterfalls. “Kaskade” is the prettiest part of the city. And not to talk about Tatev, the Europe longest air tram.

TatevAnyhow, all this beauty I saw made me even more sad. How is possible that someone wanted to destroy the roots of Christianity, such an old and beautiful country? More important question arise. How is possible that no one stopped it? We cannot sneak peak in a past, but we can live in the moment! So, the most terrified question arise. How it is possible that there are countries still not recognising it as a genocide?! Only 29 countries did and surprisingly Turkey never recognized it. How they are thinking to build their future, relying on the lies and without facing the truth? Why other countries are avoiding to talk and discuss about possible recognition? I remember that I heard on news in Bosnia that our parliament moved from the schedule this issue, since they had more important things to talk about. This is important thing to talk about! It is some kind of paradox that even the country where the genocide happened 20 years ago is still not recognising the one that happened 100 years ago in Armenia. Is it because of the good economic relationship with Turkey or just because of the ignorance of our government? Political games are not worth of people lives and as long as they are manipulating with us, there is not going to be true and long term prosperity.

Young people are the one to bring change. Start talking, writing and sharing about this. It is important. For you, for us and for future generations. My thoughts stay positive, because I believe in us and if we work hard to recognize the history, live in present and work for future, better moments are about to come!

di Mirheta Omerovic

More information about Armenian genocide:

http://www.history.com/topics/armenian-genocide

More information on to help Syrian refugees:

https://worldhelp.net/gift/european-migrant-relief/

http://www.syriarefugees.com/

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