I am a Descendent of a Genocide Survivor — but the Genocide is Unrecognized

How the policy of appeasement creates monsters in real-time.

Billboard in Van Nuys, California. #ArtsakhStrong #PeaceForArmenians. ANCA.org.

I’m watching in horror as Azerbaijan continues its plans into Artsakh. I’m watching in horror because I know life is not fair.

I’ve known this since the very beginning.

I am part of the Armenian Diaspora. I am part of the Armenian community living thousands and thousands of miles from Armenia.

I am part of a community — an ancient people — that was systematically exterminated in the early 1900s by the Ottoman Empire. I am a descendent of a genocide survivor. Today, that genocide, the Armenian Genocide, is still largely unrecognized.

I’ve learned that, to the world at large, if you have oil and resources, you are valuable. If you have nothing to offer, the world will allow your people to be slaughtered. The facts will not matter. The truth is not given its day.

Over a hundred years later, some of the last Armenian lands that remain, those in Artsakh, are now under siege by Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan claims it is their land, even though they’ve been a country for about a hundred years and structures, churches, and cathedrals in that region date back to antiquity.

I saw a video of two elderly men, prisoners of war, who were captured by the Azeri forces. They were wrapped in the Armenian flag, and they were being yelled at. The Azeri forces then proceeded to unload several rounds of ammunition into them, executing them into infinite lifelessness. That replay has been on a loop in my mind ever since.

I’ve grown numb.

In another photo, I’ve seen an Azeri soldier carrying what seemed to be the head of an Armenian prisoner of war.

I’ve seen civilians being killed. I’ve seen schools and hospitals and communities being shelled. I’ve witnessed Azerbaijan break a cease-fire agreement and continue to bomb the capital of Artsakh, Stepanakert.

I saw Mike Pompeo’s message to the Armenians. I saw that he said he’s “hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing.”

I’ve always known that life was unfair. The Armenian Diaspora across the world is a fantastic example of that. Wherever Armenians go, they prosper. For the first time in my life, I’m understanding that dread — the dread that my country might not make it. The dread that my people might not make it.

The dread that the world will watch a genocide take place — a second genocide — and it will do nothing to stop it from happening.

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Left: New York Times article writing at the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. Right: Global Awareness Initiative/Associated Press reporting that aid for Armenians blocked — denial of airspace.

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UC Berkeley, mathematics. Los Angeles. Long-time runner. Top writer on Quora, 100M+ total content views. New to Medium. Inquiries: Moumj@berkeley.edu

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