Recognizing Genocide


The Armenian Death March (1915)

Benjamin Jensen, Columnist

On Saturday, April 24, 2021, President Joe Biden became the first U.S president to officially recognize the Massacre of Armenians during World War I as genocide. 


“Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” said President Biden.


The Armenian Genocide began on April 24, 1915 when the Ottoman government issued orders to forcibly relocate Armenian people from border areas and military fronts. All Armenian soldiers had their weapons stripped and were sent to labor camps.


At the orders of Talat Pasha, soldiers forcibly marched 800,000 to 1.2 million Armenian women, children, elderly, and infirm people to the Syrian Desert. Ottoman soldiers shot, stabbed and marched an estimated 1 million people to death. Armenian people were also subjected to robbery and rape. 


In the Syrian Desert, people were diverted to a series of concentration camps. By early 1916, another wave of killings were ordered, leaving 200,000 deportees alive by the end of 1916.  


The Armenian Genocide was widely considered as the most brutal atrocity in history before World War II. 


As of 2021, 30 countries including France, Russia, Germany and the United States recognized the events as genocide. Turkey, however, denies that deportation of Armenians was a genocide or a wrongful act. 


President Joe Biden stated that this atrocity was a genocide, fulfilling Biden’s campaign to finally use the word genocide to describe the killings and the deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.


“Our hearts are full of joy that President Biden has taken the historic step of joining Congress with formal recognition on Armenian Genocide Day,” Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi



“To commemorate this solemn day of remembrance, let us pledge to always stand strong against hatred and violence wherever we see it and recommit to building a future of hope, peace and freedom for all the world’s children,” Pelosi also shared.

Aftermath of a Genocide (1917)