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Detroit to commemorate 99th anniversary of Armenian Genocide

Detroit to commemorate 99th anniversary of Armenian Genocide

PanARMENIAN.Net - As the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey approaches, churches across Metro Detroit are preparing to memorialize those who were lost and those who suffered. Parishioners from four Metro Detroit churches will hold a commemoration ceremony at 7 p.m. April 24 at St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church in Dearborn, The Detroit News reported.

The commemoration will capture stories of the hardships, like those in the life of the Genocide survivor Ramela Carman. Carman was just a baby in 1915, when the Turkish government began exterminating Armenians or exiling them to other parts of the Ottoman Empire. Her father was a skilled tradesman who had to flee for his life, leaving his family behind and disguising himself as a Turk in order to survive.

“My father, for a long time, we know he’s someplace but we don’t know where he is,” said Carman, who turns 100 today and taught herself English after moving to Michigan in 1960. “

Later on, Carman’s family was reunited, but her father died of kidney failure soon after, forcing Carman to starting working at age 12.

Carman says she has never forgotten the Genocide and the impact on her life. “My father’s brothers, my mother’s brothers, all gone. My family, all gone. Still I don’t believe it. This is Armenian life.”

The commemoration ceremony will include a requiem service and parishioners will go outside to light candles near a monument for the martyrs, said the Rev. Hrant Kevorkian, pastor of St. Sarkis.

“The importance of the Genocide is that it’s related to each of us,” Kevorkian said of the Armenian population in Metro Detroit. “One way or another, the reason we are here today is because of the Genocide and being pushed off our land and moving around the world.”

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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