Remember the Armenians
At times, being part of a People and faith over 3,500 years old, can become a bit burdensome- what with all the historical, cultural, ethnic, religious, ritual and liturgical details to remember during a calendar year. And that’s without personal life-cycle moments, both joyous as well as sorrowful!
This past week, Jews, both with the State of Israel and the Disapora, remembered the victims of the Shoa, the Six Million of our brothers and sisters who, having been found guilty of the crime of being Jewish, were murdered in the Holocaust. That horror, seared into the psyche of every Jew today, has become a watershed moment in our People’s existence, changing forever, not only the way we view the world but also how the world sees us in return.
We say “Never Again” and we mean it, although knowing deep inside that though our enemies are working and praying for “It” to happen “Again!”, there is an Israel, prepared to do whatever it must, making certain that “It” won’t!
We speak openly of our pain and loss and the majority of the world, willingly or not, accepts the truth of the Shoa. Yes, there are Holocaust deniers, but mercifully and as shrill as they may be, they are a minority. The Holocaust did occur! The Shoa did happen! The attempted total Genocide of our People is recognized!
Why then is the Genocide, Holocaust and Murder of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children, beginning in 1915 on the plains of Anatolia, denied by so many of the world powers? Why is the on going slaughter of Christians today, throughout the Middle and Near East by ISIS and other Islamic terrorists and fanatics equally minimized, explained away and even ignored by our news media and Governments?
I know that do Governments rarely act morally but only in national interests and I suppose they have their reasons for undertaking, ignoring or finessing certain decisions that (they assume) may have larger national as well as international repercussions. I am also certain that any Governmental spin doctor, bringing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to tears, can tapdance 101 reasons why or why not a certain policy was, is, will, or will not be taken.
Even concerning the Armenians yesterday or the slaughter of Middle Eastern Christians today.
As Jews, we, far more than almost any other People, know the cost as well as the price for ignoring the cries of the innocent and the pleas of the helpless as we go about our daily lives, even if those cries and pleas are not in Hebrew, Yiddish or Ladino!
As Jews, we are commanded to not stand by, doing nothing, while our brother bleeds- even if it is not Jewish blood!
As Jews, we cannot remain indifferent or silent when a Holocaust has been committed- even if not committed against us!
My People, rabbis (myself included), secular Jewish leaders, the State of Israel, and even the United Nations, because of political expediency, fear of rocking the international boat, moral laziness or religious indifference, have never been able to bring themselves to call the destruction of the Armenian People by its rightful name: Genocide. That denial tears at my soul and must be identified for what it is: a sin!
April 24, 2015, commemorates the 100th anniversary of Armenian Genocide. Will it be remembered in your synagogues, your churches and your mosques and temples or remain just an Armenian tragedy, commemorated within the Armenian community alone?
As Hitler planned the Final Solution of the Jewish People and was met with some fears of negative world reaction, expressed by fellow Nazis, he is reported to have said: “Who remembers the Armenians?”
“Never Again” trips easily from the tongue- I wonder how it translates into Armenian?