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I`m not sure if all of you have been following the news, but Kim Kardashian and her sister Khloe are currently in Armenia!
The girls are both of Armenian descent on their father`s side, Robert Kardashian Sr. and have finally made a pilgrimage to their motherland in order to learn more about their culture. Kanye is also along for the ride, as well as baby North (who is 1/4 Armenian, by blood).
They arrived in the capital Yerevan a few days ago, and have been taking in a few sights ever since. They even had a chance to meet the Prime Minister! In the picture above, they are at the `Mayr Hayasdan` statue or Mother Armenia, which is located on a peak overlooking the city.
Their trip is particularly important now, since later this month, will mark 100 years since the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Over a century ago, the Ottoman Turks, led by Talaat Pasha (often referred to as a Turkish Hitler), rounded up all the Armenians in the Ottoman empire in an attempt to exterminate them. Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds and other Christian minorities were also targeted. However, the modern Turkish government denies that this happened, and refuses to acknowledge the first Genocide of the 20th century. In fact, what the Young Turks did to the Armenians is considered to be the blueprint that Hitler used during the Holocaust. When doubt arose among Nazi soldiers that they would get away with their crimes, Hitler even said `Who today remembers the Armenians?`
Although steps towards the genocide had already started prior, April 24th, 1915 is the day many mark as the official `start` of the Armenian Genocide, since on that date, hundreds of Armenian clergy, writers and leaders we rounded up and killed. For that reason, Armenian communities all around the world will be commemorating 100 years of the Genocide on April 24th this year.
The Kardashians claim that the trip to Armenia is not because of the Genocide, but it`s great in terms of timing since it is drawing a lot of attention to the cause.
Though I was born in Canada, I am also Armenian (both my parents are of Armenian descent) and have strong ties to the genocide. In fact, my maternal grandmother, who was a genocide survivior, was a baby during the battle of Musa Dagh and was carried to safety by her older sister who was just 8 years old at the time. (The battle of Musa Dagh was later told in a novel called The 40 Days of Musa Dagh and was also tuned into a movie, if you are interested in learning more).
So while I am not always the biggest fans of he Kardashians, I can`t help but admire the fact that they are using their fame to shed light on an important issue. They tweet and blog about the Armenian Genocide every April, and it is really exciting to see them visit Armenia. My family has a home there, and I can tell you that it is not the most glamourous place in the world - it was still under Soviet rule when I was born and only gained independence in 1990. Also, much of the population lives in poverty - but regardless, they will treat any visitors like royalty, especially someone like Kim and Khloe! When I visit, it is not uncommon for strangers to invite me into their homes so I can only imagine the type of reception they are receiving!
Armenian-American rock band System of a Down as also doing their part for Genocide recognition- they have currently reunited and are on tour for the purpose of spreading awareness about Genocide Denial. The Wake Up the Souls tour started in LA a few days and will also feature a stop in Armenia later this month!
So if you are interested in learning more, just tune into the latest gossip about the Kardashians - it`s great to see so many news sources covering the trip and talking about the genocide!
And feel free to ask me questions as well, or do some Googling on the issue!