(Katie Couric explains the Armenian Genocide in the video above.)
The overwhelming and unprecedented international attention, compassion and acknowledgment Armenians have received in regard to the Genocide in recent weeks is incredible.
The entire world is discussing the Genocide of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children. As we approach the centennial commemoration – April 24, 1915 is the Red Sunday when Ottoman authorities gathered some 250 Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople to eventually murder them — a Who’s Who of modern-day, socially conscious luminaries have gone on the record and opened the discussion about one of the darkest chapters in world history.
The Ottoman Empire’s systematic killing and attempted ethnic cleanse — the stories and images too common and too dark — of Armenians was the first Genocide of the 20th century. It was a fact Pope Francis further cemented earlier this month.
Over 130,000 in Los Angeles alone — as well as other corners of the world — marched for justice. Los Angeles city officials said it was the second-largest public gathering in L.A. history.
— Manouk Akopyan (@Manouk_Akopyan) April 25, 2015
Highlights from public figures and international media outlets from recent weeks:
Questions and Answers About Armenians and Genocide http://t.co/dcIiRgKUSL
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) April 13, 2015
— Manouk Akopyan (@Manouk_Akopyan) April 17, 2015
— The Independent (@Independent) April 20, 2015
Powerful essay on the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915. http://t.co/rTDaypueQc
— Simon Nixon (@Simon_Nixon) April 18, 2015
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 16, 2015
— POLITICO (@politico) April 21, 2015
As Senator, on April 12, 2007, Barack Obama said, “for those of you who are not aware, there was a Genocide that did take place against the Armenian people. It is one of these situations where we have seen a constant denial on the part of the Turkish government.”
Obama said in a statement on Jan. 19, 2008: “The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact.”
Here is Obama’s statement from 2015.
How long must victims & their families wait before US has courage to confront Turkey with truth about murderous past of the Ottoman Empire?
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 21, 2015
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 21, 2015
What's so hard about calling a genocide a genocide? http://t.co/O2gm5L3xQK
— L.A. Times News 24/7 (@latimesfirehose) April 21, 2015
Op-ed: U.S. should call Armenian genocide by its name http://t.co/EKL5vVR5df
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 14, 2015
“Turkey has never accepted the term genocide, even though historians have demolished its denial of responsibility for up to 1.5 million deaths.”
— The Guardian.
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) April 15, 2015
Pope and Erdogan , April 2015 pic.twitter.com/IERQmqKpAT
— Tweet Katolik (@TweetKatolik) April 17, 2015
Pope Francis commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Genocide on April 12 by labeling the massacres as the “first genocide of the 20th century” and invited the two Catholicoi at the top of the Armenian Apostolic Church’s hierarchy to frankly speak as well.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) April 13, 2015
Turkish officials did not accept the dark truth. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials sharply criticized Pope Francis.
— AJE News (@AJENews) April 14, 2015
It wasn’t the first time a Turk was unhappy with the Pope, as evidenced in 1981 when one tried to kill Pope John Paul II.
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) April 20, 2015
Turkish Hackers Target Vatican Website After Pope's Genocide Comment http://t.co/ShFKjnOfyH
— Slashdot (@slashdot) April 14, 2015
Eerily similar to the Holocaust — and quite frankly setting up the blueprint for Hitler — the Armenian Genocide is a human rights issue that concerns non-Armenians alike. That is why UFC champion Ronda Rousey was in Armenia on April 24 to commemorate the centennial. Hollywood icons Cher — one of the most famous Armenians in the world as documented here in her 1993 relief efforts — George and Amal Clooney, Hugh Grant, Bill Belichick, Mia Farrow, Rob Lowe, Joe Manganiello, Tom Morello, Martina Navratilova, Lupe Fiasco, The Game, Dan Bilzerian and Katt Williams — among countless others — have all recently took turns condemning the acts too.
— espnW (@espnW) April 24, 2015
I love this Pope. He calls 'em as he sees 'em. Doesn't seem to cowtow to the PC police. We could use more like him.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) April 12, 2015
I'm referring to the Pontiffs Armenian comments today.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) April 12, 2015
A Horror Story my Grandmother Told me. "The TURKS came 2 Village,They called a town meeting & Shot Men & Boys & Raped The Women & Girls."
— Cher (@cher) April 13, 2015
Inside an abandoned #Armenian #monastery north of #Diyarbakir, Turkey. Locals say the building is now used to house livestock. Nearly 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 during World War I. The local Armenian population was said to have been tricked into marching out of town, under the guise of deportation. Thousands of men were massacred and thrown into a cave opening by Kurdish Ottoman forces. @bdentonphoto traveled to #Turkey just before the 100th anniversary of the genocide, which is April 24. “In Turkey,” he said, “you have a political class that has spent pretty much the last 100 years trying to cover what happened.” #nytweekender
Today, Armenian communities across the world are marking the 100th anniversary of the mass massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire. In this 1915 photo, a young Armenian refugee lies dead in the fields within sight of Aleppo, Syria. Follow our live coverage of the commemorations at latimes.com/armeniangenocide. : Municipality of Anjar #armenia #armeniangenocide #armeniangirl #archive #blackandwhite #ottomanempire #turkey #latimes
Sarkis Teke is the last living native Armenian in a Turkish city of Kayseri that was once full of them. “All my life I’ve fought to stay here, and I’ve paid a heavy price,” he says. Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the day that Ottoman authorities began rounding up ethnic Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul, then known to Christians as Constantinople. By the end of 1915, the splintering empire’s minority Armenian communities were wiped out. Turkey still disputes any suggestion that Ottoman forces committed genocide in 1915, saying the deaths occurred as part of war in which Turks were also killed by Armenians. But most independent scholars have described it as genocide, however, and more than 20 nations have formally recognized it as such. Learn more by tapping the link in our profile. (Photo: @moniquejaques for @wsj)
— CSNNE.com (@CSNNE) April 23, 2015
Germany, defying Turkey, to call 1915 Armenian massacre 'genocide' http://t.co/rTFABkkpfK
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) April 20, 2015
— scenesfromparis (@scenesfromparis) April 24, 2015
— IDeA Foundation (@IDeArmenia) April 24, 2015
— Paul Krekorian (@PaulKrekorian) April 22, 2015
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 22, 2015
George Clooney joined the launch of The 100 Lives initiative to commemorate Genocide with Ruben Vardanian in March. Clooney’s said it’s his goal “to focus global attention on the impact of genocide as well as putting resources toward ending mass atrocities around the world.” Clooney’s wife Amal, an international human rights lawyer, spoke on behalf of Armenia at the European Court of Human Rights in regard to genocide denial in January.
Newspaper Asbarez recapped Clooney’s remarks:
In her arguments Clooney highlighted Turkey’s hypocrisy for defending the Right to Freedom of Speech in Europe, while at the same time Hrant Dink is murdered in Istanbul, and the same anti-Armenian sentiments of a 100 years ago are still alive in the country.
Clooney went on to accuse the court of being “simply wrong. It [the court] casts doubt on the reality of Genocide that Armenian people suffered a century ago.”
“Armenia must have its day in court,” she added. “The stakes could not be higher for the Armenian people.”
In her presentation, Clooney pointed out Turkey’s double standards on freedom of expression, when the country has been notorious in suppressing speech, jailing journalists and event going as far as to ban social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter.
“Armenia is not here to argue against freedom of expression any more than Turkey is here to defend it. This court knows very well how disgraceful Turkey’s record on freedom of expression is,” she said. “You have found against the Turkish government in 224 separate cases on freedom of expression grounds.”
” … There were 2 million Armenians. Just a few short years later, there were only 400,000 left.
“The Turkish government spends millions and millions of dollars every single year using their clout to lobby against anyone in the world pushing a bill to recognize it. Apparently their clout is significant because even the United States of America hasn’t officially recognized it yet,” said political commentator Glenn Beck, who pondered “are we seeing history repeat itself?”
The forgotten Armenian 'genocide' http://t.co/uqk7CeEY2B
— Al Jazeera America (@ajam) April 21, 2015
“Voices from Armenia’s past, 100 years after massacre” — BBC
— Ian Black (@ian_black) April 22, 2015
— Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) April 24, 2015
Comedian Katt Williams was more straightforward with his remarks.
The message is clear in every language. Athletes David Nalbandian, Jose Meolans, Juan Carlos Olave, José Palazzo and Carlos Hairabedian call on the world to recognize the Armenian Genocide. (Video in Spanish)
UFC stars Randy Couture, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Gegard Mousasi call for recognition.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) April 23, 2015
Man attempts to fast for 55 days to draw attention to Armenian Genocide http://t.co/h0U92xStJ6
— L.A. Daily News (@ladailynews) April 4, 2015
System of a Down, a group of Armenian rock musicians, have always put the cause at the forefront of their music, as evidenced with their international Wake Up the Souls tour that culminated in Yerevan’s Republic Square on April 23 with a riveting (and free) two-hour show.
— Manouk Akopyan (@Manouk_Akopyan) April 8, 2015
— nprmusic (@nprmusic) April 19, 2015
The world had an unfiltered front-row seat to Kim and Khloe Kardashian (arguably the most-famous Armenians in the world) and Kanye West’s excursion to Armenia this April that was documented and dissected by every media outlet. More importantly, it brought awareness to a century-long cause and enlightened an entirely new audience to Armenia’s rich history and culture.
Visiting Mother Armenia yesterday. This statue reminds visitors of the strong female figures in Armenian history. pic.twitter.com/NIDlEfKXKD
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) April 10, 2015
The climactic moment featured Kanye West perform a free impromptu concert in Yerevan and jump in a lake to frenzied fans.
What a crazy night! Kanye wakes me up & says he's doing a free concert in Yerevan, Armenia! I throw on sweats & we head out! Thousands of people were there! Kanye jumped in swan lake to be closer to the crowd on the other side & so many people jumped in too! It was such an exciting crazy night! So happy I got to rock out with everyone in Armenia on our last night here!!!! #EpicNight #ArmenianPride
Please sign this petition to bring awareness to the Armenian genocide. I did!!! https://t.co/AcQgPGIsjq
— Khloé (@khloekardashian) April 18, 2015
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) February 6, 2015
For every Kardashian, there are millions of other Armenian families with a story that embodies resilience.
— Manouk Akopyan (@Manouk_Akopyan) January 9, 2015
Hidden Armenians of Turkey Seek to Reclaim Their Erased Identities http://t.co/ICZxW1viLj
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 23, 2015
How did the Armenian genocide shape your history? Looking for stories from Armenians/Armenian diaspora http://t.co/GcB5SVkVpl
— The Guardian (@guardian) April 13, 2015
It’s time for Turkey to recognize and admit there was an Armenian Genocide.