HomeAnnouncementsRep. Trahan Commemorates Armenian Genocide

Rep. Trahan Commemorates Armenian Genocide

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U.S. Representative Lori Trahan of Westford recently commemorated the 107th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“On Armenian Genocide Rememberance {sic} Day, we remember the 1.5 million lives that were senselessly taken — and honor them by committing to ensure such an atrocity never happens again,” Trahan announced via social media. “Sending peace and love to our Armenian friends and neighbors today,” she added.

Trahan’s words come as over ten million Armenians from all across the world honor the victims of this atrocity; which occurred in 1915 after the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, suspected their Armenian population and other Christian minorities of collaborating with the Allies of World War I, resulting in the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Historians estimate that between 1915 and 1923, over 1.5 million Armenians as well as 900,000 Greeks and 750,000 Assyrians, were systematically deported and murdered by the Turks as the Ottoman Empire was collapsing.

Last year, the U.S. officially became the 32nd country to recognize the massacres committed by the Ottoman Empire against its native Christian population during World War I as a genocide, after President Joe Biden announced his formal recognition on April 24, 2021.

“On April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople,” Biden stated. “Thus began the Armenian genocide—one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.”

After enduring a genocide, the Armenian people were determined to rebuild their community and their culture, so often in new homes and new lands, including the United States,” he added.

“Armenian Americans are a vital part of the fabric of the United States. They make our nation stronger and more dynamic, even as they continue to carry with them the tragic knowledge of what their ancestors endured. We recognize their pain and honor their story.”

This recognition soured relations with Turkey, as the Turkish government has denied the events of 1915 as a genocide ever since the formation of the modern Turkish state in 1923.

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly condemned Biden for the move, even threatening to recognize the U.S. genocide of Native Americans “in revenge.”

However, the White House has said their position on the genocide will not change, regardless of their diplomatic relations with Turkey.

Massachusetts Representative James Arciero also recently supported raising awareness and education on the genocide, voting in favor of Bill S.2557, which made the teaching of the genocide mandatory in all Massachusetts public schools.

Trahan also supported a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was just introduced earlier this week. This bill will ensure that there is a mandated teaching of genocide in public schools across the U.S.

Additionally, the bill will “provide $10 million in funding over five years for the Library of Congress to educate Americans about Ottoman Turkey’s systematic and deliberate state-sponsored mass murder, national dispossession, cultural erasure and exile of millions of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites and other Christians between 1915 and 1923.”

Since Massachusetts is home to one of the largest communities of Armenian-American in the U.S., these words and actions by state and federal lawmakers were met with much appreciation and relief.

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Alex Svenson
Alex Svenson is a senior at Suffolk University and a reporter for WestfordCAT and NECN. He primarily covers local government meetings in Westford and updates from MA Rep. Arciero and U.S. Rep. Trahan. He also covers breaking news stories with a focus on police, crime, and social issues. When not reporting, Alex enjoys sports, music, films, and traveling.