April 26, 2013
On April 24, 1915, 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested by Turkish authorities in Constantinople, seat of the Ottoman Empire, and were deported. This kicked off a wave of killings and deportations of Armenians that uprooted the Armenian people from their homeland – what is now the Republic of Turkey – and wiped out generations of Armenian families, as many as 1.5 million people in all.
The Armenian Genocide, which many scholars describe as one of the first modern genocides because of the methodical and organized way in which the killings and deportations occurred, forever changed not only the Middle East, but also the many corners of the globe that became home to the Armenian diaspora. While Armenia – which for decades was under Turkish, then Soviet, rule – eventually regained its status as an independent nation, its history will be forever stained by the systematic extermination of its people in the early 20th century, a brutal legacy that has been repeated far too many times in the modern history of our world.
I ask that you join me in prayer for the millions of people who bear the scars of the Armenian Genocide to this day, and for all those around the world who endure the brutality and inhumanity of oppression, violence and fear. These are our brothers and sisters, deserving of whatever aid and comfort we can give. I also ask that you join me in urging Congress to formally recognize the Armenian Genocide and in encouraging countries across the world to do the same, so that this tragic history lesson will never be repeated.
My best to you all,