By Alexis Herr
The Armenian Genocide continues to receive greater recognition thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of scholars like Turkish historian Taner Akcam whose books prove that the murder of some 1.5 million Armenians was in fact genocide. Despite growing acknowledgement of this atrocity, the United States has yet to refer to the massacres as genocide. President Barack Obama vowed to label the tragedy as genocide during his presidential campaign in 2008, but since taking office has failed to make good on his promise. While we wait for the president to refer to the atrocity as genocide, the California town of Pasadena is taking steps to memorialize the lives of more than a million Armenians murdered during the genocide.
The Pasadena City Council voted on Monday and unanimously approved a proposal to memorialize the victims of the Armenian genocide. More than 1,000 people signed a petition in support of the monument. The city plans to build the memorial in time for the centennial observance of the genocide on April 24, 2015. The monument will feature a three-column tripod that will release a symbolic 1.5 million drops, or tears, over the course of the year in honor of the estimated number of victims who perished in the genocide.
To ensure that the United States officially recognizes the atrocity as genocide it is essential to preserve the memory of the murdered Armenians and continue educational efforts to teach students about the genocide. The Pasadena memorial will fulfill both aims while providing a clear example of American interest in acknowledging the genocide.