Armenian Genocide Commemorations are being held around the world this week to remember the nearly 1.5 million Armenians who died during World War I. Here in Austin, a Peace Walk and Rally was held last Saturday afternoon. Armenians traveled here from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and other parts of Texas to join the local Armenian community for this event.
By 1 PM, several hundred Armenians and friends had gathered at the First United Methodist Church for instructions. A priest led us in prayer and in singing The Lord’s Prayer (in Armenian). Accompanied by a police escort, the purple-clad group took about 45 minutes to walk through downtown to the state capitol grounds.
Programs were distributed once we reached the south steps of the Capitol. Another prayer was offered, and both the US and Armenian national anthems were sung. Speakers included Emily Sample (Holocaust Museum Houston) and Khachik Mouradian (Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University).
Some protesters were waiting at the Capitol, but as intended, the afternoon remained peaceful. Historians have called this the “first genocide of the twentieth century.” The Turkish government does not agree with this term, maintaining that these deaths were part of the Great War. This recent New York Times article,“A Century After Armenian Genocide, Turkey’s Denial Only Deepens”, explains the historical context and the current political situation.
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