The Armenian Genocide

My opinions are merely wise suggestions, not instructions. I am in no way trying to undermine the efforts set out by the advocates of Armenian Genocide groups who wish to have Turkey acknowledge their wrongdoings of more than 90 years ago.

Aside from the L.A. Marathon, Gay Festivals, and Anti-Bush Parades, The Mexicans in March 2006 filled up more than 500,000 of their people in the streets to protest about illegal immigrants, so I am sure Los Angeles and its automobile culture could easily afford yet another traffic and road closure frenzy with thousands of Armenians filling the streets every April and preventing people from getting around.

Nonetheless, there is a fine line between a few peaceful efforts and an incessant upbringing of the topic via “nagging” efforts such as Armenian Genocide My-Space profiles, mass street bulletins, promotions, and ridiculous protests as noted above. And let’s not dismiss the extra large and unnecessary Armenian flags accompanied by ceaseless horn-honking which disrupts traffic, and at times, ignites road rage.

Indeed, once a year, we Armenians have the privilege to recollect our thoughts, remember the past, and more importantly, acknowledge the tragic events more than 90 years ago. But is that all we Armenians want to be remembered by?

Allow me to draw an example.

I once met a Korean friend a few years back. He asked me what country of origin I was from. I replied, “I am Armenian. Do you know where Armenia is?”

My Asian friend replied, “I don’t know where Armenia exactly is nor what type of culture it represents, however, I do know you guys are the genocide ones. The ones which the Ottoman Empire killed, right?”

Apparently my Asian friend’s example is not unique. This is indicative amongst many people who do not know the region of Armenia or any Armenians. There is a premise out there which leads people to believe the only thing Armenians are known for is their genocide during the early part of the century.

Perhaps I am not persuasive enough and thus you need further constructive evidence for this argument.

Open any given contemporary high-school world history book scan the index under ‘Armenia.’ There isn’t anything more than merely a paragraph regarding the country – a paragraph which simply reaffirms the tragic events during 1915. “On April 24th 1915, commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day, hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered.” What grandeur of information.

How did this inadequate image of Armenia come to be? The answer lies within the Armenians ourselves.

Armenians have coerced others into believing their country is one of continuous adversity. Our incessant, unremitting, and annoying lectures, protests, and visuals have falsely drawn up a pitiable and meager image of the Armenian culture – one that is only remembered by its unfortunate genocide over 90 years ago.

Let us not dismiss the fact that we are one of the first Christian groups in the history of the world. Let us not dismiss the fact that we are the reason the term ‘Caucasian’ has come to be as geographically, Armenia is considered to be the ‘Caucus’ region of the world. Let us not forget the world renowned churches, the folk culture, the endowed painters and artists, and the accomplished musicians. Armenians are and have historically been a socially artistic group, therefore, should not be remembered otherwise.

By promoting all things genocide, you negatively promote a subdued representation of the Armenian culture and Armenian people. I encourage those to stop with their continuous rants about the genocide. Stop with pictures of women and children scattered dead on the ground from mass Turkish killings. Stop with blusterous chants about decimating the Turks. Nobody is more superior to anybody else and we Armenians are certainly no exception to this rule.

One can always remember and recollect the past; however, one cannot change the past. Embrace the culture you have now and celebrate the rich, colorful, artistic history, not the one of genocide and pity.

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