The Armenian Students Association at COC held a silent protest at the Honor Grove on Thursday to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The Armenian genocide of 1915 was the Turkish government’s systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians living within the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
“They were taken out of their homes and forced to walk in the desert without food or drink, and then killed. Land was also taken from Armenia and is now part of Turkey,” Mary Asaryan, ASA president, explained.
Today the Turkish government still denies that the genocide ever happened, leaving many Armenians, like ASA member Nelly Mardiros, discontent.
“People in general don’t know much about the Armenian genocide, if anything, it’s kind of hidden away because the Turkish government still denies the fact that it even happened by labeling it as a massacre as opposed to a genocide, which is what it really was,” Mardiros said.
For this reason, many Armenians around the country hold protests each year to demand recognition of the genocide from the Turkish government. However, the ASA’s protest on campus was not your average protest. With duct tape on their mouths, ASA members sat peacefully along the Honor Grove, holding their posters, and talking only when curious students asked them a question.
“We wanted to make it a silent protest so it could be more meaningful and draw more attention. We didn’t want to be screaming or chanting because we thought that more people would be interested in what we were doing and come up to us,”Asaryan said.
“We just want to raise awareness and let people know that this actually happened,” Mardiros said.
The Armenian Students Association is a club at COC whose purpose is to foster and promote Armenian culture and heritage to the COC community. The club is open to everyone and meets at the Valencia campus in Hasley Hall 341.