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The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

The Student News Site of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

The Talon

Falcon Speaks #4: Justice for the Armenian Genocide


There are very strong writers throughout Good Counsel – some who may be apprehensive to share their written work on a larger platform even when it is a great piece of writing. However, The Talon hopes to change that with a new project- “Falcon Speaks”.

The “Falcon Speaks” project aims to provide Falcons an opportunity to put their written work on a larger platform, or even to share their opinion on a topic that may be of interest to them.

Our next article comes from Jackson Gresham ‘26, who was willing to share his feelings about a topic very personal to him and his family: The Armenian Genocide. 

As you will read, Jackson’s own great-grandfather managed to escape the Armenian genocide. He shares why you likely have not heard about this tragedy, and why the US has an important role to play in the fight for justice for the Armenian people.

The Armenian Genocide was a horrifying event where the Turkish Military killed innocent Armenians and separated them from their families. The Turks forced innocent Armenians into camps while taking them away from their

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Jackson Gresham ‘26 is a sophomore at Good Counsel. He is on the varsity soccer team. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, and Xbox, and spending time with his family.

family. These tragic events were caused by tension mainly from the religious differences between the Ottoman Empire, which was primarily Muslim, and the Armenians, who were predominantly Christian. However, the U.S. government refuses to call the Armenian events in 1915 a genocide. It is concerning enough that one would not call out injustices simply because they are morally wrong, but as an Armenian-American, the events of 1915 particularly hit hard. 

I am tired of this major catastrophic event being overlooked, and I want people to know what happened. The Turks killing innocent Armenians seems like it should be called a genocide, but why can’t the U.S. recognize these events as such?

Well, according to Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, if a U.S. president uses the term “genocide,” it would have a “detrimental effect” on U.S.-Turkish relations. In a 2015 statement from then-president Barack Obama recognizing the 100th anniversary of the events, he did not use the word “genocide” for fears of potentially damaging the U.S.’ relationship with Turkey. Instead, Obama called the events a “massacre,” an occasion of “horrific violence,” and a “dark chapter of history.”

But this is way more than one occasion of violence. The events of 1915 left a traumatizing and lifelong effect on innocent Armenians. People saw their own families getting slaughtered, and there was nothing that they could do about it- including my great-grandfather.

My great-grandfather, Bedros Levonian, was one of the lucky few who managed to escape the Armenian genocide. He witnessed his parents getting killed right in front of him when he was still a kid, which made the whole ordeal even harder. After he escaped, he went to an orphanage and eventually came to Maryland later in his life. However, throughout his whole life, he was still traumatized by the events that he witnessed. 

Just like my great-grandfather, innocent Armenians were forced to change their way of life as Turkish soldiers forced Armenians out of their homes to live in camps.  These events are similar in a way to the events of the Holocaust, where millions of innocent Jews were taken away from their homes and put into camps. The U.S. Holocaust Museum considers and showcases this event as a genocide. The origin of the word “genocide” came from the mass murder of the Armenians.

 Armenians were put in harsh living conditions, which led to more deaths because of hunger and thirst, in addition to the slaughterings. Forcing Armenians away from their home and these harsh conditions wasn’t fair for the innocent people. The U.S. needs to take a stand against this once and for all.

Jackson Gresham ‘26 (right) with brother Robbie Gresham ‘24 at the Eternal Flame Memorial in Armenia in 2019 laying down a flower in memory of their great-grandfather, Bedros Levonian, who was a victim of the Armenian Genocide.
(Courtesy of Jackson Gresham ‘26)

In response to President Obama’s statement in 2015, Representative Adam Schiff (D, California) asked, “How long must the victims and their families wait before our nation dares to confront Turkey with the truth about the murderous past of the Ottoman Empire?” 

I agree with Representative Schiff- the more people wait, the more events like this will happen. We need more people like him willing to stand up to Turkey and release the truth to the world. Armenians need justice, and the U.S. is the country that can provide it for them. The more awareness that is spread, the less Armenians will have to keep suffering from undeserved attacks and horrifying events that cause trauma to the whole country.

As an Armenian-American, I am proud of my family’s history and culture. The events that my ancestors have been through have shaped me and my mentality. My great grandfather’s perseverance during the genocide shows me that I can get over challenges or obstacles that I am dealing with. Even though I never got to meet my great-grandfather, I feel like a part of him was passed down to me. My parents and grandparents always say I remind them of him, even in the smallest actions, such as our love of food (especially fruit)!

I wanted to tell this story because being an Armenian-American means more than representing a culture to me. I want to bring justice to all the people of Armenia who lost loved ones or have been affected by the Armenian Genocide in 1915. Such a tragic event like this should be acknowledged.