When I was in junior high school we had archery in gym class. I’ll never forget one particular day. I was waiting my turn to shoot when a few of my classmates who were at the line, ready to shoot their recurve bows, turned to me and asked, “Did you say you were Iranian?”
“No! I’m Armenian! Armeeeeeeeeeenian!!” I emphatically replied.
See, at that time, the Iranian hostage crisis was still going on and we were a patriotic, well-informed bunch of students. Thankfully, I successfully convinced them that I was of an ethnicity very different from an Iranian and was able to avoid becoming a human pincushion for their sharp, pointy arrows. Not that it would have gone that far…I think….
Anyways, I wrote on my FB page today, that it amazes and saddens me that so many people, especially down here in Alabama, don’t know about or have never even heard of Armenia or Armenians. After all, we’ve been around for over 5,000 years! Now let me clarify that I am, first and foremost, American. My ethnicity is Armenian. My parents were born in the United States, as was I, but only one of my grandparents was born here: my maternal grandmother, who was born in Madison, Maine. My other three grandparents escaped from Turkey and eventually were able to make it to the United States, specifically New England.
Let me clarify again: they escaped from Turkey, but we are not Turkish. This is a good site to read about our rich history: History of Armenia. That should help clarify things about why my ancestors were living in Turkey when they escaped. Someday, I will write what little I know about the village they lived in, Habousi.
All I will say about it right now is that it lies underwater as the result of the building of a dam in the 1960’s & 70’s:
So, to get back to the subject. Today is April 24th, the day Armenians throughout the world collectively remember the Armenian Genocide which began in 1915. The numbers vary, but it is generally recognized that approximately 1.5 MILLION Armenians were killed during the years of 1915 to 1923. Unlike Germany, which admitted to the Jewish Holocaust, Turkey has yet to admit that a genocide ever occurred. They have manipulated their history books to reflect nothing of the sort happened. It is a touchy and volatile subject for both Turkish and Armenians, to say the least.
With each passing year, younger generations of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide are becoming more vocal in demanding that countries throughout the world, including the United States, force Turkey to finally admit that this horrific event did, indeed, occur. As we get nearer to the 100th anniversary of the genocide, the voices, which are not just Armenian, will only get louder….