Friday, April 24, 2009

94 years to call a spade a spade?

Today was not a regular day. Sure it was Friday, had a pretty good meal at Panini cafe (I've been wanting to buy a grill since I had that delish grilled focacia with a hint of garlic) and later celebrated my boss's promotion with what they call mini-farmies. And the anticipation of a weekend! But there was a hint of sadness in the air.

Today is April 24th, the 94th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Today is the day Armenians remember the atrocities their family members suffered at the hands of the Turk regime, the Ottomon empire. The genocide, which included a systematic killing of the Armenian intelligensia, executions, raping of women, and starvation resulted in the death of 1.5 million Armenians. It is considered by some to be the first genocide of the 20th century. But some maintain the numbers are quite inflated.

LA has a sizeable Armenian population. I'm quite fond of this community for their amazing food, their family values, the brats they raise (ok may be not that one) and the genuinely friendly people that they are. I noticed a lot of cars with flags and other signs of acknowledgement/remembrance/protest on my commute this morning. Little children in graphical t-shirts marking the anniversary were touching. Luckily I wasn't driving around the area where rallies were held else I'd have regretted yet another time for not setting up my car as a 2nd home. I don't recall this getting enough media coverage from the past years but today, Obama's stance on it made it interesting.

As I was reading up on it, it became evident that as a presidential candidate, Obama has spoken openly about the Armenian genocide and had made an election promise to recognize it as a genocide. But today in marking the anniversary, he chose to look for a softer synonym under the pretext that Turkey and Armenia are finally moving on and making efforts to establish ties and this would be taking a giant step in the wrong direction. The Turks have long denied allegations about the genocide and implied that the deaths were actually civil war casualties.

So while Mr. Obama has very articulately sidestepped the word "genocide", history and its facts, the painful memories of the past of those who've lost their near and dear ones and the sentiments of those who are merely looking for an acknowledgement of the horrendous event are still transparent and in the air.

May their souls rest in peace. Amen.

Need a stress-buster. 7th re-run of the MTV Roadies grand finale to the rescue!

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