American Jewish Committee commemorates Armenian Genocide

American Jewish Committee commemorates Armenian Genocide

PanARMENIAN.Net - The American Jewish Committee issued a commemorative address on the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“In a month of solemn remembrance of the atrocities of the last century – from the 20th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide to the annual commemoration in Israel and the United States of the Holocaust – we pause in mournful tribute to the memories of the estimated 1.5 million victims of the Meds Yeghern, the Genocide of Armenians, committed in the final years of the Ottoman Empire,” AJC said.

AJC calls on the government of Turkey, a republic founded years after the empire’s dissolution, to not only provide at long last full access, as the government has pledged, to the historical record of that dark period of mass murder, forced relocation, death marches, sundering of families, and other abuses – but to address the realities the records reveal. The process of healing of this nearly century-old wound can only begin when the truth of that sorrowful era is confronted.

“As our organization has testified and written on various occasions, the atrocities committed against ethnic Armenians under Ottoman rule were an unspeakable crime against humanity,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “For the often-invoked but too-seldom-fulfilled phrase ‘Never again’ to have real meaning, the full details of that period must be acknowledged.”

“We identify with the core message of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, by then-Harvard University Professor, and now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power that history must be faced, the dictates of conscience heeded – or we are doomed to endless brutalities by the powerful against the weak,” Harris added.

“As successive horrors painfully remind us,” Harris concluded, “we each bear the obligation of remembrance as a necessary step toward preventing such acts in the future. We stand in solidarity with people of good will everywhere in marking the 99th anniversary of the onset of the Meds Yeghern – the first, and not the last, instance of ethnic massacre and genocide of the 20th century.”

Also, a number of French, Turkish and Armenian public figures, intellectuals and artists called Turkey to commemorate the 99th anniversary of Genocide in coming a step closer to justice and democracy, Le Monde daily said.

Among those undersigned are: Charles Aznavour, singer; Bernard-Henri Lévy, French public intellectual and author; Serge Klarsfeld, Sons and Daughters of deported French Jews association chair; Bernard Kouchner, ex-foreign minister of France; Adam Michnik, editor-in-chief of Poland's largest newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza; Paul Morin, executive director of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement(EGAM); Ayse Gunaysu, the president of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey; Abdullah Demirbas, mayor of the municipality of Sur in the city of Diyarbakir; Levent Sensever, anti-discrimination group “DurDe!” spokesman; Alexis Govciyan, Armenian General Benevolent Union Europe president Ayse Öktem, Campaign for Confronting a Century of Denial platform spokesperson; Ara Toranian, Nouvelles d'Arménie magazine director; Murat Timur, President of Van Bar Association.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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