NEWS | APRIL 23, 2015 1:26 PM

By Alin K. Gregorian

I have spent a lifetime hearing about the events of 1915 and I can
say that this is an anniversary whose commemoration I have both looked
forward to and dreaded.

It is the ultimate round number, giving us an opportunity for an
impressive commemoration as well as possibly marking the end of an
era of remembrance.

The coverage of the events, as well as the community-wide cooperation
among many Armenian groups, has been heartening. Many international
leaders, including Pope Francis, have stepped up and put the focus of
the world, not just the Armenian diaspora and the Republic of Armenia,
on the centennial commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Major publications, such as the Washington Post and New York Times,
have come out with more affirmative editorials than ever before on the
subject and the importance of its proper labeling and commemoration.

In this year of positive developments, even reality stars such as
the Kardashian family was able to bring dignity and recognition not
only to the Armenian Genocide, but the country of Armenia, as a fun
and vital destination. Of course, Armenia and our hard-won Artsakh
face danger every day and it is our duty to make sure that the Azeri
government does not weaken them by constant aggression and a blockade
that weakens its economy.

It is a sad commentary on our society that serious and worthy Genocide
scholars are not able to bring their message to a mass audience,
but a lowbrow program can.

It is also empowering that events commemorating the anniversary
of these horrific events are spread throughout the year, so that
post-April 24, the issue is not forgotten. For example, major
commemorative programs are scheduled to take place in Washington in
May, including a joint mass at the National Cathedral.

A century is a time span that gives us enough distance to have even
better perspective on the events. The mind-numbing acts of violence,
the sheer and enthusiastic brutality against those least capable of
defending themselves has been captured this year in dozens of books
that pay homage to the spirit of survival that many of those carried.

Films, music and various other art forms have recorded for posterity
our people's collective pain.

The Armenian Diaspora has come a long way. From those haunting images
of women and children with distended bellies, dying in front of us,
to beheaded men, we have become success stories across the world.

Unfortunately, it seems much of our success is individual rather than
collective, yet those days are clearly behind us.

Should it matter to us if Turkey or the US does not recognize the
Armenian Genocide? Yes and no. What matters is that we are bringing
the truth to more and more people -- sources that can spread the word.

And what happens in April 2016? Let's hope that the energetic spirit
of so many young people, Armenians and non-Armenians, will endure. Is
it possible that Turkey will recognize the Genocide? It is highly
unlikely, since with acceptance comes consequences. While getting
back any of the Armenian lands may be almost impossible, Armenian
families can file suits against the government and certain families for
usurping their wealth after they were forcibly deported. After all,
the wealth that the Armenians left behind in Turkey is equivalent to
trillions in today's dollars.

It seems after the debacle of last year's apology issued by the Turkish
president, they have changed course and now promote a narrative of
deaths among both Armenians and Turks during World War I, while also
suggesting that Armenians were traitors who sided with the Russian
enemy and rose up against the authorities. In other words, we didn't
do anything and they deserved it.

Let's celebrate the spirit that is alive and well in us, our children
who speak Armenian, adults who reclaim their heritage and Turkish
citizens who are right along us, fighting for truth and recognition.