I’m Witnessing the Second Genocide of my People
And it all happened in the middle of a global pandemic when they were already suffering disproportionately.
I’m witnessing the second genocide of my people while the world stays silent.
In 1915, the Armenian Genocide began. Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were sent on death marches. The community leaders and intellectuals were slaughtered first. Women, children, and the elderly were sent to die.
It was systematic. It was deliberate. It was the action of the Ottoman Empire’s mass extermination policy disguised as hypernationalism.
It happened before my time. My grandma has told me some stories that her own grandmother told her. My grandmother grew up in Aleppo, Syria; approximately 100 kilometers from Antep, where my great-great-grandparents were saved by a sympathetic Turkish family.
Armenia lost much of its land to the redrawing of the borders. The Treaty of Sèvres eventually became the Treaty of Lausanne, and the territories that were largely indigenous Armenians were simply wiped away in Genocide.
For the last month, I’ve been watching Turkey’s neighbor do more of the same to indigenous Armenians. Bombings, mass murder, executions of civilians, destruction of churches. The land of Artsakh is in ruin.
They began bombing the lands of Stepanakert on September 27, 2020. Nearly 150,000 Armenians inhabit the land. They’re indigenous people. Azerbaijan did this in the middle of a global pandemic, and in a pandemic where Armenia is disproportionately suffering due to lack of infrastructure and resources. Armenia has a population of 3,000,000 people with a GDP that’s significantly smaller than Azerbaijan’s.
They called their action righteous. They’ve called the land theirs. They’ve stated that the bombings were fake news. Journalists called on Azerbaijan’s president to answer for bombing a church a 200-year-old church twice within the same hour. He called that fake news.
I’ve been watching Azerbaijani soldiers behead my people. Armenia’s Prime Minister was forced into signing away almost all of the lands of my people away to save the lives of the remaining military Armenia has left.
Azerbaijan has crude oil and that accounts for 95% of its exports to the world. For that reason, its currency is pegged against the U.S. dollar. The world watched my people be tortured, flee from their homes, die from cluster munitions.
It’s never been a thing that I thought my people would experience again. This is the modern age, the international community would obviously step in to stop terrorism. And I was foolish.
I’ve seen swastikas marked on cars that were destroyed. Sumgayit that’s marked on the car is a reference to the murder, rape, and looting of the Armenian community that lived in Azerbaijan in February of 1988. It results in more than 200 Armenian deaths.
I recently watched the video of the frame above, where Azerbaijani soldiers cut an Armenian man’s ear off who refused to leave his home today. After they cut the ear, they repeatedly smashed his face into the floor until he died.
It hasn’t been indecent. The last two months have been horrific and inhuman.
The Genocide in 1915 was the blueprint for Hitler to perfect his craft:
“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” — Adolf Hitler, Obersalzberg Speech
The Genocide in 1915 has never been recognized internationally and is continuously denied today by Turkey. Today’s extermination is a continuous line of that denial; emboldening terrorism where it sees its cause just.
It’s an attempted erasure of my people. I’m watching them literally be deleted. The cultural heritage is being destroyed, the centuries-old churches are being vandalized. I’ve seen Azeri soldiers in Armenian homes watching home videos and dancing while destroying personal objects. It’s never something I thought I would see in my lifetime.