Photo by Donald A. Promnitz. Local scouts salute the Armenian and American flags in front of Fresno City Hall. April 24 marked the 104th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in 1.5 million Armenians being killed.
Clergy, community and civic leaders from the Central Valley gathered in front of Fresno City Hall Wednesday morning to remember the 104th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.
In April 1915 during the Ottoman Empire’s involvement in World War I, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians living under Turkish rule were systematically murdered in an effort to exterminate the population. April 24 officially marks what is considered the beginning of the atrocities, when hundreds of Armenian leaders and intellectuals were rounded up and killed.
During his opening remarks at the event, Fowler City Councilmember Karnig Kazarian urged for the official recognition of the killings as genocide. In doing so, he cited the 2007 assassination of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist who wrote about the atrocities. Photos later surfaced of Turkish police posing with his killer immediately after the shooting.
“Speaking this word and recognizing the truth is courageous because it has real consequences,” Kazarian said. “We must not allow such heinous acts to silence us. We must call genocide, ‘genocide.’ Because if we do not, we will fail to properly honor the Armenians who perished over 100 years ago.”
Opening remarks were followed by the raising of the American and Armenian flags, along with further speeches by local officials, including Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.
“For us still living, we will make sure the eternal fire stays lit, and remember the villages that were wiped off the map,” Brand said. “Remember the death marches across the Syrian desert into concentration, remember the many executions and mass graves, and never, never ever forget the men, and women and children who perished in this terrible genocide, whose dreams were never fulfilled so many years ago.”