Walking along Michigan Avenue on my way to work I started to hear chanting. I looked up and I saw Turkish flags, but when I looked to my left I saw Armenian flags; both separated by the busy street.
My heart began to race, and instantly I knew what was going on as confused passersby were asking each other “What are they protesting about?”
Wednesday, April 24, marked 104 years since the occurrence of the Armenian Genocide of which 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman Empire, along with Assyrians and Greeks.
My great grandma was born in Kharpert, Turkey to Armenian parents during the onset of the genocide, and she and her family escaped to the states for safety. She was a survivor, and I will forever be proud to have an Armenian name to thank her for her bravery.
Photo Courtesy Olivia Deloian
So, why are we still protesting 104 years later? Why are we still asking others for remembrance? Why did I rush across Michigan Avenue to run over to my fellow Armenians?
Because on a day of remembrance, instead of standing with us and recognizing the atrocities that occurred, they stood against us. Waving their flags proudly, boasting and denying that the genocide of 1.5 million people ever occurred.
And how insulting is that? The same day, the Washington Post released an article stating that the President of Turkey Recep Tayip Erdogan, asks the nations of the world who do recognize the killings in 1915 as a genocide to “look into the archives” and see that it was a time of war, that they have nothing to hide. Eye-roll.
The insult of denial stings even more when witnessing it in person. I was proud to stand with my fellow Armenians even just for a few moments before work, and I shook my head as I passed the counter-protestors having to cross over into a cloud of ignorance.
But you will not silence us. Each day of remembrance I think of my grandma, I think of those who lost their lives and I think of the other survivors who were left displaced all over the world as a result of a horrific act with the singular goal to eliminate a people.
But we are still here. And each day of remembrance to come, may we still come together and fight for our ancestors to be seen, to be remembered and for justice to be had.