Armenian Americans Welcome Biden’s Declaration of Genocide – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Armenian Americans on Saturday welcomed the news that President Joe Biden officially labeled the systematic killing and deportation of hundreds of thousands of their ancestors by the armed forces of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century as “genocide”. Recognition by a sitting US president is long overdue.

“He is the first American president who has the courage to speak about it. I never understood why the US waited so long to know the truth about what happened. It’s amazing and I’m very glad he did what he did, ”said Varoujan Kioudjian, 74.

He was among hundreds of people who flocked to a hill memorial in Montebello, about 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, to mark the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. Dressed in black, many flowers laid around a grave and prayed for the estimated 1.5 million Armenians who were killed in the events from 1915 onwards, known as Metz Jeghern.

Kioudjian said, for as long as he can remember, his late father, whose parents were killed in the genocide, took him to memorials and demonstrations every April 24. That was the day in 1915 that the Ottoman authorities began arresting Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. now known as Istanbul.

“The day April 24th comes, tears flowed from his eyes, from his heart. It was so sad, ”he said.

The White House had avoided using the term genocide for decades for fear of alienating Turkey, a NATO ally and a major power in the Middle East. Biden followed an election promise to make human rights a central guide in his foreign policy. He argued last year that the failure to label the atrocities against the Armenian people as genocide would pave the way for future mass atrocities.

An estimated 2 million Armenians were deported. Today, a high concentration of Armenian-Americans live in the Los Angeles area.

The survivors were recognized by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who on Saturday proclaimed a “Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide”.

“The Armenians have been forced to start new lives in every part of the world and have bravely moved forward in the face of an unimaginable tragedy. Thousands have moved into their homes in California and we are bigger for their contributions,” the proclamation reads. Let us again make sure that we never forget the Armenian genocide and that we always speak out against hatred and atrocities wherever they occur.

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