For the Armenians, 2015 was an important year. Notice I didn’t say it was a memorable or a joyous year. It was the year that Armenians from around the world commemorated, remembered, mourned and bonded over the 100th year of the Armenian Genocide. A massacre that has altered every Armenian family around the globe.
It was a year where everyone paid attention to the Genocide, whether they were Armenian or not. The amount of articles, editorials, news/television coverage and public events were overwhelming at times. Even Hollywood celebrities helped acknowledged the Genocide. As an Armenian, I haven’t seen this much attention to us since the earthquake in 1988 that killed over 50,000 and injured a half a million people.
For me, the information was almost overload at times causing a flood of emotions which only intensified as the year moved forward.
Then as quick as the 100th was here, it was gone.
As Father Time struck the midnight bell to enter 2016 – it was as if our “project” rapidly slowed down. I don’t think there is anyone to blame, 101st year is not as appealing to the media as 100th. I understand that, but I don’t want to accept that and I want to know where do we go from here.
Last year saw the collaboration and creation of art in remembrance of the Genocide. These creations will last for decades to come, perhaps forever. However, in order to preserve and recognize history, more should be done in this regard. Lets not wait for another hundred years to see more “collateral” from our creative Armenian community.
I had some difficulty writing this blog as I didn’t want to come across negative as there was so much positive in the 100th year and I simply want the momentum to continue. So I solicited some advice from my good friend and musician Mark Gavoor. I let him read a draft of this blog and he remarked in part “…outlining some positive things we need to do” so that we can build and move forward. He was right, but there was so much I saw, I didn’t know where to begin.
Until this morning.
In one of my Google Alerts there was an article by the Huffington Post that was titled “101 Years Later. It captured my attention and especially it was focused on another musician friend, Ara Dinkjian and his point of view of the Genocide.
Ara acknowledges his freedom as a US citizen, yet through his compositions and performing of folk music and his concerts, allows for him to engage in dialogue about not only the legacy of Armenians, but other minority ethnicities in Turkey. In commenting about a concert he played in Turkey commemorating the Armenian Genocide last year (the first time allowed in Turkey) “Did the concert have an impact,” he wonders. “We’ll see.”
I think Ara said it best and it is my hope that our worldwide creative community continues to promote and keep alive our history. I also hope that the momentum of over a hundred years of teaching our history, preserving culture never ends and most of all I hope the demand for respect and recognition occurs within my lifetime.
5/2/16: In addition to my blog I would like to share my friend Mark’s latest regarding the Genocide and some of the literary compositions that should be sought and read about the subject. CLICK HERE to read his latest blog.