On April 24, 2020, Armenians worldwide and the progressive society observe the 105th anniversary of Armenian Genocide; the first genocide of the 20th century.
Armenian Genocide was carried out in several phases. But its beginning is considered April 24, 1915, when Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Istanbul and brutally murdered on their way to exile.
From 1892 to 1923, Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II and later the Young Turks subjected Armenians of Western Armenia, Cilicia, and the Ottoman Empire to mass deportation and extermination.
Around 1.5 million Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1923. More than half a million Armenians dispersed around the world. As a result of the Genocide, Western Armenia was left without its indigenous people, and the Armenians were dispossessed of their historical homeland. Thousands of historic and architectural Armenian monuments, manuscripts were destroyed and holy sites were desecrated. More than 60 Armenian towns and 2,500 villages were burnt and robbed.
Armenian Genocide is recognized by numerous countries including Russia, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, the Vatican, and most US states. It was first acknowledged in 1965 by Uruguay. This calamity is also recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the European Parliament, the World Council of Churches, and several other international organizations.
Commemorations of this tragedy are held in virtually all countries where Armenians live. The main remembrance events, however, take place at the Armenian Genocide Memorial on Tsitsernakaberd Hill, in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan. Armenian authorities, the Catholicos of All Armenians, MPs, members of governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps, political parties, members of the Armenian diaspora, and numerous guests visit Tsitsernakaberd on this day to pay tribute to the Genocide victims.
But Tsitsernakaberd will not be full of people this year, for the first time. All the roads leading to the memorial are closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, until 10pm Saturday.
Starting at 8am on Friday, however, people can send an SMS to the number 1915 from Armenia, and 0037433191500—from abroad. The names of the persons who send an SMS will be reflected on the columns of the memorial, thus announcing their symbolic participation and respect for the Holy Martyrs of Armenian Genocide.