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103 years ago today, one of the worst crimes in human history began – the Armenian Genocide, when the government of the Ottoman Empire arrested and deported just under 300 Armenians from Constantinople. Those arrests were the first bloody acts in a genocide that would ultimately kill as many as 1.5 million people over the next few years.

More than a century later, it’s incumbent upon us to commemorate this monstrous crime. We must remember the victims; people’s whose lives and potential were mercilessly taken simply because of their heritage. And we must use their memory as a vigil to to never forget how bigoted, hateful and dehumanizing ideas made wholesale slaughter of the Armenian people official policy in the Ottoman Empire.

We know that hatred and bigotry exist in this world, and indeed, thrive in many dark corners. And we know that our obligation is to confront this bigotry and hatred, so that it can never arise again to threaten death and deprivation on innocent people. The world failed to heed the lesson of the Armenian Genocide, and a generation later, a new group of murderous leaders initiated the wholesale slaughter of Jewish people, Romani, homosexuals, eastern Europeans and others in occupied Europe.

That is why it is so vital that we keep alive the memory of the Armenian Genocide. We must never forget the evil that people are capable of, and the indifference that allows that evil to flourish.

103 years after the Armenian Genocide, 70 years after Auschwitz and Dachau were liberated, and 20 years after the horrors of Rwanda, it’s clear that we must continue to work for a peaceful and just world for all, free from strife and enmity between different peoples. As Americans, and as Democrats, we must hold the memory of the Armenian Genocide close to our hearts, and honor its victims by working to ensure a future where such unspeakable horrors are banished forever.

Democratically Yours,

Eric C. Bauman, Chair
California Democratic Party