This is the speech from April 24, 2012 on Armenian Genocide and history of the Armenian people, which Vahan Setyan gave at Wesley Bolin Memorial Park in Phoenix, Arizona.
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[Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters…Friends.
Its an honor and privilege for me to be here today.
The brief moment that I have been given to speak in front of you today will dwindle down heartlessly, considering the enormity of the topic we have at hand. But in this brief moment, ideas, evidence, and facts can still be shared and two ideas that I would like to communicate to you are equally important and intertwined.
First and foremost, I would like to express my anguish and sadness for the fallen…the 1.5 million children, women and men who succumbed to a violent and unimaginable death in 1915 within the borders of their motherland and their ancestral homeland, which now falls within the borders of current day Turkey.
On February 28, 1915, the Central Committee of the Young Turks, called the Jemiyet, sent the following telegraph to its governors and it read…and I quote:
“The Jemiyet has decided to free the fatherland from the covetousness of this accursed race and to bear upon their shoulders the stigma that malign the Ottoman history. Unable to forget the disgrace and bitterness of the past, filled with vengeful episodes, Jemiyet, hopeful of its future, has decided to exterminate all Armenians living in Turkey, without allowing a single one to remain alive, and to this regard, has given the government exclusive authority.” End quote…
It certainly was a misguided historical approach for a fabrication of a ludicrous racial supremacy, and inane religious dogma that had no basis to it except a complete detachment from reality and unfounded panic by the leaders of the Turkish Revolution and the Young Turks, who were not all ethnically Turkish, by the way. The graphic nature of the atrocities that took place is appalling, and simply claiming the fact that by end of October of 1915, Western Turkey and Cilicia were cleared of Armenians, would provide you the visual representation you need to fill in the rest of the details.
Now, keep in mind that the Turkish government ordered its own citizens not to assist Armenians otherwise they would be killed as well. Also, it was communicated to everyone that one Turkish killed was equivalent to a million Armenians.
As the world slept, agony and the smell of death in these lands flourished. All was left were unanswered prayers, slaughtered babies, and unrecognizable bodies of unsuspecting children, adults, and the elderly.
Realize for a moment, how fallacious and absurd the defense for these atrocities are, where you sometimes hear that “both sides saw similar deaths” or any other inane arguments. We are talking about the murder of children…infants. Infants’ hand and feet being cut off and limbless bodies left there in an open field. This form of thinking…somehow finding a moral justification for these types of acts transcends the boundaries of human innate moral and ethical constructs and humiliates even the most driven psychopath.
Where are we now with all this?…Well, that depends from your standpoint as a conscious and conscientious individual. To this very day, denial, ignorance and intellectual dishonesty toward this unimaginable and horrible moment in Armenian history continue to be seen and heard within the speeches of various ignorant governmental officials, absent within the writings of deluded pseudo-historians and even laypersons with fragmented awareness of it. There are appalling denials coming from the unlearned and the uneducated, even falsifications and denials from the learned and the educated. Therefore do not be surprised when you come across a person that denies the Armenian Genocide of ever taken place. For them evidence is not enough, they are after their own truth, they are in search for an alternate history that reeks of fabrication and falsehood.
One of the emails by Gevork Nazaryan, an Armenologist and a historian with 2 decades of research behind his work, and the creator of the ArmenianHighland.com website, contained these words and I quote… “They attempted to wipe out a very rich and ancient Civilization from the face of the earth and ultimately failed because the Armenian people not only endured, but also resurrected like a phoenix. Even when the genocide was raging the Armenian people revived their independent statehood, fought and won the heroic Battle of Sardarapat in May of 1918. People can learn about that rich and ancient culture and civilization that was there prior to 1915 and how the Turks had completely obliterated in most barbaric fashion those parts that were under their yoke.” End quote
As we struggle to find some form of justice for the slayed and the murdered, we must also not lose our sight of Armenian historicity. When I say historicity, I mean history that is factually true, immersed in evidence. This contributive ethno-linguistic group gave so much to this world and now, almost forgotten and sent into obscurity. Rich and ancient culture it was, and 1915 is neither the beginning nor the end of the historicity of the Armenian people, which spans more than ten millennia.
Ladies and gentlemen…Take heart… for science and its various disciplines have rescued Armenian history from obscurity. It has unearthed not only the facts of the events surrounding the atrocities of 1915, but also the true history of the Armenian people that has been lost in time and space, lost through the winds of change and chaos, destroyed by tyrants and forgers, in a similar fashion how the Great Library of Alexandria was intentionally destroyed around 1700 years ago, in three separate occasions as a matter of fact. We have barely scratched the surface of the true Armenian history, and the reintroduction of what we have lost in our past is being resurfaced within the papers and observations of numerous scholars and researchers.
The some people that I have come across have an erroneous fossilized view of the history of Armenian people, mostly shaped by ignorance and hearsay, altered by foreign domination, which led way for inferiority complex. You see… The inhabitants of the Armenian Plateau, in THE cradle of civilization, the Armenian people, to this very day, strive to embrace the echo of the cultural foundation of their forefathers and mothers, which it has been substantially lost. They have been catalysts for the rise of agriculture and metallurgy, art and culture, Gods and Goddesses, various civilizations from Sumer in Mesopotamia, from Egypt to the Indus Valley and to the Middle East. Just the fact of the ground-breaking research of Russell D. Gray & Quentin D. Atkinson, which was published in Nature magazine in 2003, that declared that the Armenian language itself ventured back as far as 9000 years, [as predicted and previously declared by numerous comparative linguists as far as 150 years ago] should be enough for one to think about the rest of the material that is there, which the majority of us and the world at large have not even had a chance to read and examine.
We continue to shed tears and be outraged for the denials toward the Armenian Genocide and the denials toward historicity of the Armenian people. These two enormous facts require attention. Attention! must be paid to such topics. What a horrible thing it is for Armenian people to be driven out of their homeland that they called home for thousands and thousands of years, their culture absorbed and ties cut, and at the end being told that they are foreign invaders to those lands. Think about it…
Now I can tell you this…
If one comes across a person that doubts or denies these indisputable evidences from genetics, archeology, archaeo-genetics, anthropology and comparative linguistics for the historicity of the Armenian people, and the various genocides and mass murders that have taken place throughout the last millennium, one is absolutely safe to conclude, beyond reasonable and conceivable doubt, that that person is either A) extremely ignorant, B) horrendously dishonest, or C)… insane. It would be very much similar to doubting the indisputable fact that humans have only occupied a fraction of a second compared to the billions of years of geological time and of the species that preceded humanity on this speck of dust we call Earth, hidden in a dark corner in this unfathomable 300 sextillion-star visible universe. This is how severe the intellectual and moral penalties are in doubting the scientific evidences in relation to these topics.
We stand in the 21st century, armed with knowledge, with the ability and freedom to think and reason, share ideas and learn under the skies of the United States of America. This country has given us the opportunity today to gather, share and mourn the lives lost and celebrate our lives lived. We are here to remember a time when blood was spilled and innocent lives lost, but we have no choice but to move forward with our heads high and make a world a better place for our children to roam in peace and harmony.
The unwavering march toward truth through honesty and reason is the very element that humanity may need to uphold and embrace. Through intellectual enlightenment, we can pierce through credulity and misinformation that is hung around our necks like a poisoned challis. Through reason and objectivity, we can minimize ignorance and intellectual dishonesty that continues to keep the human mind in the dark.
As Fredrich Nietzsche once wrote, in his book, Thus Spake Zarathustra, “In the mountains of truth, you never climb in vain.” Humans continue to reach for mental enlightenment despite obstacles and drawbacks created by falsifiers of history within United States universities and abroad, deniers of genocides and holocausts, dishonest scholars and educators, and wizards and charlatans of theological myths.
P. C. Hodgell, an American author, once said… “That, which can be destroyed by the truth, should be”. Denials should be destroyed by truth. So, do false and falsified historical claims that shun away from the bitter pill of truth.
In relation to a historical truth, volumes can and have been written on the horrors of the events of 1915 and about genocides and mass murders preceding it. Oceans of tears continue to be shed. There are certain wounds, however, that time may never heal. Thus, it is our duty to carry them on our hearts and minds out of respect and kinship, and at the same time, carry the torch of justice and human solidarity forward for the sake of our children, for sake of humanity, for the sake of truth.
Thank you very much for your time and hospitality.]
Vahan Setyan, PhD