Three graves, of three members of a family, buried side by side. Three old stone graves, each with two long-stemmed white flowers. Each of these three people, with almost fresh white flowers, died a hundred years ago.
They were a few of the 1.5 million who died in the Armenian genocide, and despite a hundred years, Armenians will not forget them. These hundred year old graves were in an isolated reach of an isolated cemetery, yet someone still came.
If you dig a few feet in the soil here in Echmiadzin you reach bones. Small, frail bones. The bones of the women and children who congregated here after fleeing massacres of their men, their husbands and fathers, in Turkey. Weakened by hunger, disease, constant attacks and exhaustion, they mostly died where they stood.
Sometimes governments do things that an ordinary human would be ashamed to do, even the humans that are their own citizens. One such is the Turkish government denial of the Armenian Genocide [1 ]. Any search for the Armenian genocide takes you to the gray, terrible misery of a hundred years ago: to pictures that make any human weep. This was the extermination for which the word ‘genocide’ was first coined.
I can understand that no man wishes to name his grandfather, for it was the grandfathers of the present men [2 ]. But how can a man stand tall, face his own children, and say this did not happen?Some survived to become the grandparents of this generation:
So the children of today can run amid the graves of their great-grandparents.
 Many many Turks do not deny it. 100,000 Turks marched after the assassination in Istanbul of Hrant Dink, a newspaper editor who spoke out against the denial, shouting “We are all Armenians.” Even at the time, some Ottoman officials refused to carry out the extermination orders.
 Hasan Cemal, the grandson of one of the 3 architects of the genocide, in a groundbreaking act of courage, wrote one of the first books acknowledging the genocide, and the role of his grandfather. I came across it when it fell from the bag of a Turkish man on a plane. He told me the story of the grandson and the book.
 Armin T. Wegner was part of a German detachment stationed in the Ottoman Empire. He witnessed, and secretly documented and photographed the desert death marches of Armenians during the height of the Armenian Genocide, for which he was arrested. In Germany Armin Wegner later also denounced the persecution of Jews, for which he was imprisoned and tortured. Few people one comes across in history have conducted themselves with the nobility and conscience of this man. More on Armin Wegner here.