Monday, April 30, 2007

Genocide Memorial Day

Tuesday April 24 was Genocide Memorial Day. Although not everyone recognizes the Armenian tragedy as genocide there is no doubt in my mind that it occurred and that the international relations between Armenia and its neighbors only prolong the suffering in this country.

I met Alla by the metro stop and we made the long, very cold, walk to the memorial. Despite the wintry mix falling from the sky, the vast procession of those paying their respects was seemingly never ending. We bought red tulips and brought them to the center of the memorial. The mound of flowers that people had placed throughout the day was nearly as tall as me. There were funeral bouquets from countries all over the world and it was remarkable to hear people speaking in English.

We decided to go to the underground museum before walking back. As we stared at pictures of starving, naked and displaced Armenians all I could think of were the images I’ve seen of the prisoners of the WWII concentration camps. The haunting images only added to the pain of recognizing that this small country was once a powerful nation, spreading all the way to the Black Sea. Today, landlocked and struggling to survive with closed boarders and racial hatred, Armenia only wants recognition of the acts that were committed.

In the museum there is a case of proclamations memorializing the genocide made by governors and state politicians in America. I am not certain, but I’ve been told that 48 states have recognized the genocide. I understand that America is in a difficult position to stand up for Armenia, but I couldn’t help but take a picture of a sign on the side of the memorial that calls our nation to honesty.

It was cold cold cold (hence the bright red nose to match my jacket).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This must have been quite a moving experience. What a tragic time for them as was described in the book you recommended last year "Portrait of Survival". Keep up all your good works a you are brightening the lives of those Armenians that you meet over these 2 year. That will hopefully trickle down for many years to come
Love, Mom