Unclassified Info: Genocide is everyone's tragedy

I was engaged in a very interesting discussion last night about the nature of compassion and its ability to positively shift the energetic force of our world.

I, for one, believe our thoughts are extremely powerful — even more so when a group of people gathers a single collective thought in their mind, especially a positive one. This isn’t to say I believe thought alone does all the work. Positive thought or intent leads to positive action, which leads to positive change.

So what’s with this week’s “new-age philosophical rant,” you ask? I was thinking it might be good for those of us who are not Armenian to put a positive thought in our minds toward the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We can help advance this cause simply by being aware and compassionate.

It’s not asking a lot. Simply spend a moment considering all the people of all races and religions who have been systematically wiped out as a result of misguided prejudice or hatred and decide whether the victims of the Armenian Genocide deserve an equal amount of respect and compassion.

If you have the intelligence to believe that we should use negative events in our own history as a way to evolve, rather than be destined to repeat them, our mistakes, then it makes sense that every instance of genocide be recognized and not categorized as less significant than another.

Until we recognize that all genocide, past and present, is unacceptable, mankind will never rid itself of its most horrible tendency to hate and kill for no reason. These feelings of hate and irrational fear keep our entire planet stuck, making our evolution to a better existence that much slower.

The more we sit in righteous indignation and condemn others for not believing or living as we do, the more we sentence ourselves to live in a world where ignorance and closed-mindedness is the norm.

I could be wrong, but I do not get the feeling that the Armenian community as a whole is looking for some kind of moral vindication and humiliation of the Turkish people. It seems like the primary goal of having an official day of recognition is so that we may all feel compassion and empathy for those who suffered and died at the hands of others. In doing so, we might learn something. And let’s face it, if we aren’t going to learn something from a truly terrible moment in our history, then what hope do we really have of moving the human race forward?

Consider the sheer numbers of Armenians who died. Imagine the Rose Bowl filled to capacity on New Year’s Day. Multiply that by 15, and you’d have approximately 1.5 million people. That’s how many Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1918.

When I think about that number, it is easy to understand why many Armenians have been disappointed that our government has failed to pass a resolution recognizing what happened as genocide.

The primary reason the Armenian Genocide receives no official recognition is political: Our government continues to seek support for sanctions against Iran, and we need the support of Turkey in the United Nations.

I suppose I can understand why Turkey would not want to recognize the genocide. Even though 1.5 million dead humans are impossible to ignore, denial is the more common path to tread than accountability. But when you think about it, denial requires so much more effort to perpetuate than acceptance.

What would happen if Turkey finally acknowledged what the evidence already supports? What if Turkey actually got off its proverbial high horse and said, “Yes. This genocide happened, and it is regrettable”? It would be taken as a first step toward healing and betterment.

As far as our country’s own official position, I want to believe we stand for more than political posturing. I want to believe that justice is truly blind. I want to believe our government desires to stand as witness to all atrocities — not because it’s the politically correct thing to do, but because it is the morally right thing to do.

This is an opportunity for all of us to witness the unstoppable power of our collective positive energy and understand that good perpetuates itself. That is why I think it is worth a moment of everyone’s time to stop to visualize the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The suffering and anguish of all those who have endured intolerance in any form does not go to waste if we are willing to learn and accept, and be willing to change as a result.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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