April 24, 1915 marks the anniversary of the first modern genocide, a planned attempt by the Ottoman Turks to exterminate the Armenian people and the first act of "race murder" of the 20th Century. Over the course of the next several years more than one million Armenian Christians died. Yet a century of genocide was just beginning. The "quip" by Adolph Hitler on the eve of the Holocaust of "Who remembers the Armenians?" emboldened the Nazis to exterminate millions of Jews and Gypsies during the period of the Second World War. Yet there would be more as the decades of the century continued. The communist Khmer Rouge campaign of death in the 1970s in which 2 million Cambodians perished; the attempted destruction of Iraq's Kurdish population by Saddam Hussein in the late 1980's; "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims and Croats by Serbians in Bosnia in the 1990's; the massacre of more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda during 100 days in 1994; and as the last century ended, the beginnings in Sudan of the still unfolding tragedy in Darfur. Arguably, the 20th Century was the century of genocide. To honor the memory of the countless victims of ethnic cleansing and race murder, and to corporately pray that such tragedies are never again repeated, the Church must call the faithful to awareness and prayer by the annual commemoration of "Genocide Day" in honor of all who have perished.
2006 General Convention Resolution C043
Labels: Lesser Feasts and Fasts
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