From the time Christianity was introduced to the people living in the region known to historians as Armenia by the apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century up until 1915, Christian Armenians built and worshipped in churches all throughout present day Turkey.
Armenia was the first Christian nation adopting the religion in 301 AD. According to church records (which were diligently kept by priests) in 1915 there were, outside of the city of Istanbul in Turkey: 2538 Apostolic Churches, 560 Protestant churches, 451 Armenian Monasteries and 1996 Armenian Schools.
These were beautiful structures that lasted for millennium that had a global impact on history and education until wearing a cross and believing in Christ…became a crime. Today in Turkey, outside of Istanbul, there are no Armenian schools, no Armenian monasteries and a total of 6 churches called ‘Museums” by the Turkish authorities.
Thousands of years of Christian Armenian history were systematically destroyed along with over 1.5 million innocent lives including many directly related to me.
I am a grandson of genocide survivors.
At best count we lost a total of 77 members of the family during that period. My Grandmother Hripsema lost 25, my grandfather Garabed lost 15, my grandmother Biazaar lost 12 and my grandfather Hagop(my namesake) lost 25.
Each grandparent had an amazing story of survival which would make the most heartless person break into tears. They ended up as refugees in a monastery in the Armenian Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem until they were allowed to come to the US…Thank goodness.
April 24th is known world wide as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day.
Armenians around the world observed our unhealed emotional scars and pray no other people ever experience the pain of hatred. But once again the US lost the opportunity to join every other civilized nation in the world and condemn the politics of denial. Unfortunately President Obama chose the Faustian option with the Turks and refused to use the correct word…GENOCIDE. But failing to acknowledge genocide paves the way for future genocides.
Turkish Taraf daily’s reporter Ozan Cinar writes in his article entitled “The Nazis Acquired Experience in 1915, “Upon returning to Germany, the great majority of the approximately seven-thousand [German] officers who served in the Ottoman army…took part in the formation of the Nazi Party, and assumed most important positions in the civil structures and the army alike. Over two-hundred of those officers became generals, and secured Hitler’s coming to power and, by establishing the SS, they formed the concentration camps.”
In his ‘Never Again’ speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, on April 23rd, Obama cited several past genocides but remained entirely silent on the Armenian Genocide -the atrocities that Hitler himself referenced prior to launching the Holocaust- that, as a candidate for the presidency, he time and time again promised to recognize.
As Senator and presidential candidate, President Obama consistently and repeatedly urged former President George Bush to properly characterize the Armenian Genocide, and pledged, as president, to recognize that crime.
In a January 2008, statement, then Senator Obama clearly stated, “As president, I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.”
The Republic of Turkey continues its international campaign of Armenian Genocide denial, issuing economic and political threats against countries who properly characterize the crime.
The recent murder of journalist Hrant Dink for using the word genocide -a crime of anti-Turkishness in Turkey- is an example of institutionalized hatred. That is why Turkey will never, ever get into the European Union. The Europeans know what the US is learning, the “sick man of Europe” is still extremely ill.
But what is different today is that Christianity is under attack all over the world.
Christians, passing our Jewish brethren, can now take the claim to be the most persecuted people throughout the Middle East and Asia .
What the Armenian and Jewish people have painfully known for centuries is now becoming obvious to the rest of the Christian world: Strong faith comes with a heavy price.
But one thing is an absolute truth: f you deny and enable evil you become evil.
Mr. President, I’m officially ashamed of you.