Events and News
|Posted on April 26, 2015 at 12:25 AM|
EDMONTON - The Armenian community in Edmonton is commemorating the 100th anniversary of what Pope Francis and Ottawa calls a genocide that resulted in the deaths of millions of Armenians.
Lilit Vardanyan, an organizer of the event, remembers the vivid stories of her grandfather and grandmother who were deported from Ottoman-era Turkey in 1915, at the ages of six and 17. Along with many other deportees, they were forced to walk across the barren desert to what is now the west border of Armenia, many dying along the way.
Her grandmother, “remembers her cousin carrying her, along with all the other deportees,” Vardanyan said. “The most vivid recollection she has is the smell as they walked past burning buildings.”
Using the word genocide to describe the event is controversial because it describes an intentional and wide-scale attempt to kill off an entire ethnic group.
Turkish government denies that there was a planned genocide. Many
countries, such as the United Kingdom, back its position. While Canada
officially recognizes the 1915 Armenian slayings as genocide, other
countries are careful not to use the term as it may strain their
relations with Turkey.
Participants will meet Saturday at Winston Churchill Square at 1 p.m. and lay a wreath, made of purple forget-me-nots, at the Edmonton Cenotaph. Afterwards the group will meet at the Stanley A. Milner Library to share stories about the history of their families and engage in other cultural activities.
Vardanyan said the wreath is based on the one laid Friday in Yerevan, Armenia, during a commemoration ceremony.