PRESS RELEASE: Memory of Loss Against the Loss of Memory

Raphael Lemkin, the famous Polish-Jewish lawyer who dedicated his life to the study of large-scale violence against peoples and initiated the Genocide Convention, coined the term “Genocide” in connection to the Holocaust and extensively used it afterwards with regard to the great tragedy experienced by Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Indeed, one hundred and three years ago, the Young Turk Government of the Ottoman Turkey planned, organized and perpetrated genocidal massacres and deportations of Armenians living on their historical ancestral homeland. In the aftermath of these terrible atrocities which reached their culmination amidst and immediately after the years of World War I, about a million and half Armenians were killed and another million had to leave their homes and spread throughout the world, forming the huge Armenian Diaspora. On April 24, 1915, a large group of Armenian intellectuals were deported from Constantinople (current Istanbul, Turkey) and brutally killed afterwards. That is why April 24 became commemoration and remembrance day for all Armenians.

Since then the haunting ghosts and the screaming memories of the Genocide call for justice. They call for the recognition of the unspeakable tragedy suffered by a nation, while those who caused the suffering pretend to suffer from loss of memory.

A bunch of survivors of the Armenian Genocide found safe haven in the Romanian Kingdom which, being in the same alliance with Armenia during WWI, was among the first countries in the world to officially, on a state level, offer a refuge to them. Throughout the successive years and decades, the descendents of those survivors formed an integral part of the Romanian society and brought their vital input in Romania’s progress and democracy-building, in every walk of the host country’s social, political, economic and cultural life.

At the centennial anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in 2015, President of Romania Klaus Iohannis noted in his special message: “One century after the tragic events of 1915, I bring a pious homage to the victims of the Armenian people, who resisted over decades the history’s ups and downs and the hardships from the beginning of the last century. Hundreds of thousands of innocent souls have perished then in a terrible crime that overshadowed humanity and compels us today to recognition and reconciliation”.

Today, one hundred and three years after, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not yet universal, and reconciliation is yet unachievable because of the Turkish state’s stance of denial. While and because crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey still seems inconceivable unless that country comes to terms  with the dark pages of its own history, and prevention of tragedies that “overshadow humanity” is similarly impossible without recognition. Yet, it is only through recognition that justice can be served, at least partially and morally, and it is only through recognition that reconciliation can be sought and brought about. Deaf ears and blind eyes lead nowhere. A promising sign is, however, that the modern Turkish society becomes more and more aware of this tragedy, and whispers translate into voices, and voices expose the truth.

As of today, the Armenian Genocide has been recognized by the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the World Council of Churches, the International Association of Genocide Studies, many other international organizations. Also, 28 countries including France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Canada, Germany, the Vatican City, Paraguay, Luxembourg, Brazil, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark… 48 US states, a huge number of Provincial and Municipal Governments around the world have also recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged and recognized by a big number of prominent historians and scholars.


Posted by on Apr 24 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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