As President Joe Biden makes history by explicitly describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as a “genocide,” Democracy Now! speaks with Peter Balakian, Pulitzer Prize-winning Armenian American poet and professor at Colgate University.
On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman Empire began a systematic, premeditated campaign targeting the Armenian people, an unarmed Christian minority living under Turkish rule. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture and forced death marches. Another million Armenian people fled into permanent exile. “It’s an important statement,” responds Balakian to Biden’s decision.
“The plan was systematic,” he says of the genocide. “It involved the implementation of parliamentary acts, military intervention, mobilization of killing squads in order to arrest and deport every Armenian family from Turkey.”
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