During the Armenian Genocide, my ancestors–the people of Musa Dagh–were one of the only groups who were able to fight back and defend themselves. Today, like my ancestors, I choose not to be an observer to atrocities and oppression. For me, working tirelessly to resist the same injustice which my forebears died for is not a choice, but a duty.
My maternal ancestors originated from Musa Dagh, a mountainous region on the Mediterranean coast. During the Armenian Genocide, the people of Musa Dagh were exiled from their homes and given only eight days to evacuate. They gathered all their weaponry and food, embarking on a climb to the mountaintops. The villagers protected themselves against the 200-person Turkish special army, because they were more experienced in the mountainous terrain. Although victorious in resistance, they soon ran out of living necessities and were forced to leave the mountains. They were saved by a French ship, who heard their plea for help. Despite promises that they would one day return to their homes, they never did.
Everyday is an ongoing struggle within the Armenian community. At times our own government gives up on our Cause because it is a difficult inner conflict to overcome. We are constantly faced with the choice to either accept the pain and let it slowly ware off, or work vigorously day in and day out for recognition. It is my personal choice to take the more difficult route, and work for my Cause rather then let the memory of my ancestors be forgotten and ignored.
In order to fight for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, I work yearlong within effective organizations such as the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and the Armenian National Committee (ANC) in informing the world about the atrocities of 1915 and the crimes still being committed by the Turkish government.
Recently, I have helped with the AYF’s annual April 24 protest in front of the Turkish Consulate. Thousands gather yearly in Los Angeles, to show that the Armenian people have not given up. Also, I work with the United Human Rights Council (UHRC), to help prevent other human rights violations from happening around the world today.
The struggle of my ancestors has encouraged me to fight for justice. When I look at my grandmother and the pain that will never go away, I am inspired to use that pain as a muse to work even harder against injustice.
As an Armenian, I am obligated to work for my Cause. But, as global citizens, we are all obligated to work for a more peaceful and stable world for our future generations to live in.