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  • Writer's pictureLaci Felker

Why we need to talk about Armenia

Throughout 1915-1916, in the middle of World War I, the Ottoman Empire launched an attack against Armenian Christians because they believed that the Armenians would eventually betray the empire to form their own independent state.

In the beginning, the Ottomans rounded up Armenian scholars and deported them under the guise they had been talking with the enemy (the Entente Powers: Great Britain, France, Russia, and Serbia). The deportations ramped up shortly after when the Ottomans began rounding up more civilians, regardless of whether they could be accused of speaking to the enemy and marching them away from their homes. But that was only the beginning. Following the deportations, the government in Constantinople authorized mass shootings in addition to the deportations. No one was safe. Ottoman military murdered men, women, and children. On their forced journey away from home, the Armenians were subject to ruthless brutality from the Ottomans and local gangs and leaders that treated them as less than human. In a year, over 800,000 Armenians were murdered.

Genocide is defined as “…the intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group such as: Killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The Turkish government has refused to acknowledge the genocide committed against the Armenians. In ignoring the “forgotten” Armenian Genocide invalidates the pain and trauma that the Armenians feel daily.

Now, Armenia is being forgotten again.

Earlier this month, Armenia and Azerbaijan began their fight against each other again, claiming that the other was the one who fired first.

For context, in the 1980s, there was a war between the two countries in which Armenia gained control of the Nagorno-Karabakh area of Azerbaijan. The location was ethnically Armenian, despite being located inside Azerbaijan. Around 30,000 people were killed, and over 1,000,000 were displaced because of the war. In 2020, with help from Turkey, Azerbaijan launched an attack to regain the Nagorno-Karabakh area and surrounding lands that Armenia had taken. A ceasefire was agreed upon when Russia stepped in, but Russia’s influence is faltering in the two ex-Soviet countries due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The rekindled war is not only happening in Nagorno-Karabakh, but it’s found itself at the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and it is even moving into Armenia. The Armenian Prime Minister addressed the United Nations and accused Azerbaijan of torturing, mutilating, humiliating, and killing Armenian soldiers. Yet, nothing has been said in any major news outlets.

With everything going on today, it’s easy to turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening in faraway lands, but hindsight is twenty-twenty. If Azerbaijan is allowed to take control of Armenia, it will have repercussions across the world.

Read. Educate yourself. Talk about it.

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