Canadians will never - must never - forget the Medhz Yegern - the Armenian Genocide – which began April 24th, 102 years ago.
As we commemorate the sombre anniversary of the first Genocide of the 20th Century and pay tribute to the 1 and a half million Armenians who died under the Turkish Government, we hear chilling echoes of the Ottoman Era today in Syria, Nagorno Karabakh and Turkey.
And, of course, our hearts go out to the people of Aleppo and other Armenian communities in Syria, shattered by Daesh and Syria’s other terrorist forces. A century later, descendants of the 1915 Genocide are dying and displaced again.
At the same time, it is reassuring and inspiring to welcome among us recent arrivals to the Armenian diaspora, new members of Canadian society.
The Conservative government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, recognized the events of 1915 as genocide in 2006. In addition, the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons adopted resolutions referring to these events as genocide.
Every year, Canada and many other countries use this anniversary as an opportunity to shine a light on current conflicts so that they may not continue toward similar tragic ends, and to promote a global effort toward peaceful coexistence.
I sincerely hope that leaders in Istanbul, Damascus and Baku listen, to the voices raised at events in Canada and around the world:
… as the world reflects on the century-old crime against humanity,
… as the world commemorates the victims,
… as the world recognizes the survivors and their descendants,
… as we vow, again, vigilance against hatred and prejudice in all forms.