Letter to the Editor: Students asked to honor lost lives

By Heather Klain

This Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians, Pontic Greeks, and Christian Assyrians at the hands of the Ottoman government.

If Adolf Hitler learned about concentration camps in German West Africa, he felt emboldened to commit the atrocities of the Holocaust because there were no repercussions for the systematic destruction of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1918. Armenia was brought back into the international spotlight in a quote supposedly stated by Hitler in 1939 on the eve of the invasion of Poland — “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

While there are no living survivors, the effects of the Armenian genocide are still felt today. Despite Armenia fitting all aspects of the legal definition, only 21 countries (and 43 U.S. states) acknowledge the massacres as genocide. This denial, especially by the Turkish government, is problematic because it is a painful revictimization for survivors’ descendants and the diaspora as a whole and by refusing to call the events a genocide, the international community has set an ongoing standard of impunity.

Join NIU STAND in memorializing the victims of the genocide at 8:30 p.m. Friday in a candlelight vigil at Central Park between Grant and Stevenson Towers. STAND with us in solidarity as we honor the memory of the lives forever changed. Visit the STAND Facebook Page for further information.