History is an incredibly important part of humanity that is constantly ignored because of many people’s tendency to focus solely on current events. This, in turn, can lead to a dangerous future where nobody knows what happened in the past or who they were and how the past impacts them.
The Armenian Student Association held an Armenian genocide commemoration event called “Our Voices Will Echo” at Westerbeck Recital Hall last Wednesday evening. It was dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide that took place more than a century ago.
The Armenian genocide was the mass annihilation and deportation of Armenians from the Republic of Turkey committed by Ottoman government after World War I. To this day, Turkey refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
After the introductory speech by Natalie Mazmanian, the President of the Armenian Student Association, the commemoration started with a documentary “My Mother’s Voice”, which was co-produced by the keynote speaker of the event Dr. Kay Mouradian.
“My Mother’s Voice” is an emotional biographical story of Dr. Mouradian’s mother, a young girl who lived through the Armenian genocide. The film is based on the book written by Dr. Mouradian. She also delivered a speech about her research for the book and her trip to the village in Turkey her mom resided in.
Dr. Mouradian travelled across the deportation route that the Armenians took when they were forced to leave their homes. Like a puzzle, piece by piece, the story was completed: now Dr. Mouradian shares her mom’s life story to cease the silence and prevent a repeat of the inhumane cruelty they experienced.
“We human beings are lacking in understanding and compassion about what the depth of the human being is,” Dr. Mouradian said. “Until that changes there will be tragedies like this happening everywhere again, and again, and again, unfortunately.”
It is necessary to bring this historical event to the attention of the general public to avoid repeating history due to simple ignorance. The Armenian genocide is not a tragedy of only one nation, but a problem of the world. One of the main ideas of the commemoration event was to inform us about the necessity for people to unite and support one another.
“Genocide affects us all,” Mazmanian said. “What happened a 102 years ago is not only an Armenian problem, it’s a global atrocity.”
A great deal of support was provided to organize this event such as the Veterans Club at PCC who helped them host it. Even the audience members offered their help when some of the girls on stage needed assistance moving the piano. The discussion was enveloped in an understanding and sympathetic atmosphere, which made it special and comforting for everybody involved.
“Armenian genocide is a very big issue and until the United States recognizes it we can’t stop,” the secretary of the Veterans Club Sebastian Lozano said. “You know, I’m Latino, not Armenian, but we are all going through struggles in this day and age […] and we have to support each other, so I’m here to support them, that’s their big issue.”
Such stories from our history are examples of disregard, brutality, and suffering. Therefore, we need to speak up while it’s not too late in order to prevent this from happening again.