April 24, 2001
City of Fresno Proclamation
WHEREAS, The Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 stands as the first Genocide of the twentieth century. Beginning on April 24, 1915 more than 1,500,000 Armenians were brutally murdered or died miserably as they were being deported from their homes to the desert; and
WHEREAS, the Genocide was planned and executed by the government of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, headed by the Committee of Union and Progress Political Party. World War I, which had broken out in August of 1914, found Ottoman Turkey as an ally of the Germans. The war provided the opportunity for the Ottoman Turks to begin their heinous plan for the extermination of the Armenians; and
WHEREAS, in 1915, prior to the Genocide, there were more than 2,000,000 Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. They constituted a distinct population of their own historic lands. The Armenians had been living on the same lands, near historic Mt. Ararat, for more than three millenia. They had developed a culture which had produced a rich legacy of manuscripts, art, literature, architecture, and music; and
WHEREAS, seeking to expand their own empire, as well as to forcibly eliminate the centuries-old Armenian culture, the Ottoman Turkish government began the Genocide with the forced conscription into the army of able-bodied men. The men were soon killed outright. The women and children faced a more tortuous and uncertain future. The were ordered to march, with no possessions, water or food from their homes in the spring of 1915. This deportation succeeded in eliminating more than sixty percent of the Armenian population. A slow death by starvation and exposure to the elements followed for most of the Armneians. They were forced to march to the desert where they were left to die; and
WHEREAS, many of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide eventually immigrated to the United States and established large Armenian communities in places such as Fresno, Watertown, Massachusetts, New York, Detroit and Los Angeles, among other places. Today, the nearly one million strong Armenian community in America has recovered from the material damages of the Genocide. But they continue to keep the memory of hte Armenian martyrs alive and will never forget the first Genocide of the twentieth century.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Henry Perea, President of the Council of the City of Fresno, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 24, 2001, to be "ARMENIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBERANCE DAY" in the City of Fresno, in honor of the many who have died. Our committment is to educate future generations about the Armenian Genocide so we can state that there will never again be a Genocide to stain the pages of history.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of the City of Fresno, California, this 24th day of April, 2001.
Council President Henry Perea