Every Year Armenian Americans Rally For Justice, But These Protests Are Different
Every year members of the Armenian diaspora push for recognition by the United States and other world powers of a genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923.
During the Armenian Genocide, as much as three-fourths of the population was wiped out in massacres and forced marches to the Syrian desert, and the survivors were scattered far and wide, many ultimately settling in Southern California.
But those who have taken to the streets in recent weeks are focused on what they see as a more imminent and existential threat to their homeland and families. That's because a long-simmering conflict half a world away has boiled over into armed confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the latter of which is backed by Turkey.
Salpi Ghazarian, director of the University of Southern California's Institute of Armenian Studies, explained to our culture and local news show Take Two, which airs on 89.3 KPCC, how news of Turkey's support of Azerbaijan and the rhetoric of conquest brings back traumatic memories:
"We continue to live until this last generation is dying with those memories -- very real memories of Turkish atrocities against its Armenian citizens. And now, we see Turkey and Turkish authorities repeating the same lines. And so, that trauma is being recalled and it's very raw."