Tonight we dedicated the monument commemorating the Centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on the campus of Cal State Fresno.
I was honored and humbled to be included in the event through a video presentation including several people who represented the victims of different genocidal events in recent history.
A great deal of controversy is swirling around the word ‘genocide’ in world politics today. The President of the United States is carefully avoiding the term. I learned, to my great disappointment, that Israel has not officially used the term though the President of Israel did acknowledge it in his speech. (The president of Israel is a relatively ceremonial position.)
I don’t represent any government and I believe that the Ottoman Turkish leadership of 1915 attempted to do away with the Armenian population in the 20th century’s first act of genocide. Apparently, this was the model that assured Hitler that he would be able to get away with another act of genocide because the world turned its back on the Armenians.
It has to stop.
Turning to the positive…
My remarks focused on our shared scars, the scars our people carry as survivors. It’s important to remember the past and it’s vital to live in the present and work for the future.
Here in the Central Valley of California, the Armenian population has flourished and is responsible for much of the great aspects of life here. We have great partnerships and friendships with our Armenian neighbors.
Deniers persist in our world. They deny the Holocaust of World War II in which 12 million died… Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals… anyone the Nazis deemed inhuman and, one hundred years later, there are still those who deny the Armenian Genocide.
We defeat the perpetrators and the deniers by flourishing. So, while we commemorate horrors, we celebrate the vibrant life the Armenian community has helped us all create here in the Central Valley.
One hundred years from now, we will mark this somber anniversary and celebrate another century of surviving.
Thanks to our Armenian friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters who make our community a much better place.
(Dignitaries completing the dedication.)