By Adroushan Mardirossian (Guest Contributor)
Germany, after over 100 years, has at last stopped dancing on the political stage and is now chanting the truth to the world. This influential nation has just passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide as what it was, genocide. Although this is undoubtedly a victory in the pursuit of justice, Germany’s acceptance of the genocide does not validate the facts of 1915. Neither Germany, the US, nor any other nation may tell me what did and did not occur to my ancestors over 100 years ago.
Obama can refrain from using the “G” word and Erdogan can continue to claim that the slaughtering of 1.5 million Armenians is a mere lie. That the Armenian Genocide never occurred. That my ancestors were not killed by Turks. That they did not struggle. That they did not watch Turkish soldiers painfully kill each and every one of their family members. That they were not marched to their own deaths, not physically abused, and not deprived of their rights. But here’s the thing, my family’s past is not up for debate.
Every Armenian family has inherited a painful story. These are stories that are hard to tell, and even harder to imagine. Stories of being robbed, raped, and killed. Stories that were never meant to be told and were supposed to end with the banishment of Armenians. And although each story is different and unique, they all begin and end with the fact that we survived.
If the leaders of the world’s nations fail to acknowledge these stories as the truth, then so be it. These political stances will not change what my ancestors endured. They will not change their struggles, their strength, nor their courage. They will not change what we have lost at the hands of the Turks. And they will not change the facts.
The fact is that we struggled, lost so much, but yet persevered. The genocide left our Armenian community in ruins, and present-day Armenia is only a fraction of its original size before the country was subjugated under Ottoman rule. The most influential and educated Armenians in the region were taken on April 24, 1915 and later killed because they posed a threat to the Ottoman Empire. Despite losing our lands and intelligentsia, Armenians have remained strong and have overcome the obstacles they’ve faced despite losing nearly an entire generation of Armenians.
It is now up to us, the descendants of Armenian survivors. We exist and what matters is what we do with the stories we have inherited and the rich culture we are a part of. 101 years later, I will strive to be a part of the new Armenian intelligentsia. I will strive to be a part of the modern threat to Turkey. I will strive to take the place of those individuals persecuted on April 24, 1915. I will strive to make my ancestors proud of what has resulted from their strength and courage. And I will strive to make Armenia strong yet again.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, 15 year old Adroushan Mardirossian is a 10th grade high school student who spends his spare time playing ice hockey, reading, and writing. Adroushan also enjoys traveling and exploring in nature.