Statement by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris commemorating the 100thAnniversary of the Armenian GenocideApril 24, 2015
Video of statement in Ontario Legislature: https://youtu.be/pIfONCeQpZQ?t=317
KITCHENER – It is with great sadness that I stand with the Armenian Canadian community today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The systematic deportations and massacres of Armenians from their historic homelands began on April 24, 1915, by order of the Ottoman Empire. Hundreds of Armenian public figures, politicians, clergymen, educators and artists were arrested and executed in the capital or sent into exile.
In the next phase of the genocide, Armenian people were taken from their homes and forced to march for hundreds of miles without food and water into the Syrian desert, later to be killed. This horrendous tragedy took the lives of over one and a half million Armenians.
On April 24, people of Armenian descent all over the world recall the memorials and memories of the Armenian genocide—what has been called the first genocide of the 20th century. This tragic history must never be forgotten and it must never be denied. Such terrible acts of hatred cannot be tolerated in a democratic society.
Just last week, Pope Francis said it was “necessary, and indeed a duty” to remember the Armenians killed, “for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”
As MPP for Kitchener–Conestoga, I would like to assert that I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Armenian community as you observe this most solemn occasion.