SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Sunday, April 24 was the 107th anniversary of the Armenian genocide marking a somber anniversary for Armenians in Utah and across the world.
In Salt Lake City, cars were draped in Armenian flags, stopping at the Utah State Capitol over the weekend to remember those who were killed 107 years ago by the Ottoman Empire in Turkey.
Narine Sarkissian, Utah Chair of the Armenian Assembly of America, says, “We are here today to commemorate the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, where in Western Armenia, Ottoman Turkey massacred 1.5 million Aremenians.”
She continues, “In 1915, that was the day of the first genocide in human history – it went unpunished, unrecognized, and to this day Turkey is denying the fact of the genocide. We are here to remember those who were tortured, raped, buried alive.”
Sarkissian states that her people are “the seeds” of those who were tortured and buried alive.
“We are here to make the world condemn the fact of genocide, to recognize the Armenian genocide, to demand that Turkey recognizes the Armenian genocide, and apologizes for the act, for the horrific crime committed 107 years ago,” she says.
She makes the point that because it went un-condemned, it’s being repeated, noting that it can be seen throughout the history of humanity.
She calls for action, stating:
“We are here today to demand our congressional representatives to pass the Armenian Genocide Education Act. We are here to demand that our congressional representatives pass the aid to Artsakh in Armenia, which is still in grave danger by Turkey and Azerbaijan, who’ve been attempting to swipe away the sovereignty of the current Republic of Armenia. They’ve been making attempts to attack, they have made several aggressive military acts which took lives, they’ve been still kidnapping and taking civilians away and torturing them while in detention, and we are demanding that the U.S. government not use our tax money in aiding aggressors such as Azerbaijan and Turkey.”
The state of Utah officially recognized the Armenian genocide in 1999 under Gov. Michael Leavitt, and the original document doing so was submitted to the government of the Republic of Armenia, and is now currently at the Museum of History of Armenia.
Sarkissian states, “The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, recognized the Armenian genocide officially on the 106th anniversary, last year, and we are thankful to our president.”
She says that Biden, “admitted that it was the Armenian genocide,” as opposed to calling the genocide by a different name, such as “tragedy” or “atrocities.”
Sarkissian says, “He actually used the correct term for what was done: the Armenian genocide.”