The State Commission on Coordination of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide held its fourth session
Today the 4th session of the State Commission on Coordination of the events dedicated to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide held at Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex. The session was presided over by the Chairman of the Commission and the President of the RA Serzh Sargsyan.
Today’s enlarged session was aimed at finalizing the schedule and the strategy of the Commission’s actions in the run up to the official launch of the Centenary events. The members of the commission were joined by the representatives of regional Centenary committees from different communities, experts, diplomatic representatives of the Republic of Armenia, leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church dioceses and members of the clergy from the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, Armenian Catholic Church of Cilicia and Armenian Evangelical World Council.
President Serzh Sargsyan informed the participants that a conference of regional committee representatives took place the day before that discussed the preparations and upcoming projects in various countries in the world.
In his opening speech the President mentioned that after the first session, in the past three years, enormous organizational and preparatory work has been carried out within the framework of the Centenary events of the Armenian Genocide both in Armenia and in Diaspora and Artsakh. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora were assigned to support the creation of regional committees in different countries and coordinate the efforts in organizing local events.
“I appreciate that the regional committees have brought together representatives of various organizations and have engaged foreign scholars, state and political figures. Clerical organizations, traditional political parties, Pan-Armenian organizations and NGOs carry out focused work. Mass media make a big contribution with their role of raising awareness.
I attach great importance to the role of lobbying and advocacy structures, as well as to close cooperation with local authorities to carry out diverse activities. Armenian lawyers are compiling a legal package on the Armenian Genocide covering issues at individual, community and national levels.
This year Komitas Museum will open its doors; the renovation of the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and the enlargement of the Armenian Genocide museum and the arrangements for the new exhibition will be finalized by next April, just a few examples out of numerous Centenary events to mention.
There is no need to specify the order of the Armenian Genocide Centenary for each Armenian. Mets Yeghern is both a collective and an individual tragedy - one can hardly find an Armenian who has not learnt about the genocide from his or her family’s own tragedy. The order of the Centenary and its moral, psychological and political meaning is extremely important for current generations. This is why I think that each of us should have a personal sense and share of responsibility to ensure the success of the Centenary events and provide a new level of international awareness.
The order of the Armenian Genocide Centenary is strong both for all Armenians and the entire humanity. April 24, 1915 is not only the beginning of unprecedented extermination and dispossession of an entire people in the history of mankind, a date that of course is symbolic, but also the precursor of other genocides of the 20th century, proved by the later events.
The statutory limitation cannot be applied to the crimes against humanity. There is only one formula to prevent genocides and that is the recognition and condemnation of horrendous pages of the history of humankind. As a nation who has survived through genocide, we have a special mission to rule out repetition of such cataclysms.
On the eve of the Armenian Genocide Centenary we once again openly urge all the states and the international community to recognize and to condemn this unprecedented crime.
We, as a state and people, will carry on our struggle for both the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and against this most horrible crime committed against humanity in any corner of the world.
I would not disclose a secret by saying that Turkey’s decades-long official stance contrary to the simple, clear and evident truth has ultimately failed triggering countless questions on the official position among skeptical Turkish youth with increasingly growing numbers: thousands of Turks demand from their own government truth and justice. Many calls can be heard from different corners of the world urging the current Turkish authorities to put an end to their hopeless policy of denialism. Turkey has to understand that there is no alternative to facing the history and recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide, not to become an accomplice of the Ottoman Empire.
This circumstance and the undeniable facts force Turkish authorities to take steps. Official Ankara takes new measures that are sometimes unprecedented in terms of form, yet unfortunately display Turkey’s century-long policy of denialism in terms of content. They replicate the well-known Turkish positions that seek to distort the history, equalize the victim with the perpetrator, compare the incomparable. There is only one possible step Turkish authorities can take to free themselves from the heavy burden of the past and that is the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Half a step is not enough to achieve a tangible result.
I would like to inform you that I have sent invitations to a number of heads of states to visit Armenia in 2015 and especially on April 24, to join us in paying tribute to the memory of one and a half million innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide, to speak out against the crime of genocide in general and to state that the Armenian people has not only survived through this hardship but also took the road of rebirth. Not only did we survive but also managed to unite and pave the way for an independent statehood - free Armenia.
Official Ankara continues talking about establishing a committee of historians and disclosing the archives. First and foremost it is known that Armenian archives have always been open to the researchers who have been interested in the scientific aspects of the issue. The materials in scientific institutions and museums have also been available. However, the whole point is that there is no need of archival research to face the truth of the Armenian Genocide. It is just enough to enter any Armenian house, any family and the testimonies will touch the heart of any listener. It is enough to be present in Tsitsernakaberd on April 24 and perceive the counsel of the day for each Armenian, be they in Armenia or Diaspora. It is enough to visit any community of Diaspora and to ask how their ancestors have appeared there. If the Turkish authorities are interested in the truth they should arrive in Armenia and stand next to Armenian people on April 24. I don’t think they will be able to raise the idea of visiting archives then. Availing myself of this opportunity I officially invite the Turkish President, whoever will win the upcoming elections, to visit Armenia on April 24, 2015 and to face the vocal evidences of the history of the Armenian Genocide.
Mindful of all this, we do not feel hostile towards the Turkish people. Moreover, we try to lay grounds for Armenians and Turks to communicate to find the way to reconciliation. This is why we made efforts and we remain committed to normalization of relations with Turkey without preconditions and opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders, even though Turkey’s desire is only limited to statements. If the desire is indeed sincere, Turkey knows well enough the road to the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation.
Let no one hope that the Armenian Genocide Centenary is the endpoint of our cause. It is a particular destination to mourn our sorrow, to become morally stronger and to achieve justice. The Armenian Genocide Centenary will give birth to renewed objectives, a new Pan-Armenian agenda and plans to build a more powerful statehood and more consolidated Diaspora. With the Centenary we will sum up a historical period and will herald a new phase of struggle for the restoration of justice.
We have an important message to the entire world: we will continue our fight for the recognition and condemnation of the crime against humanity – the Armenian Genocide- with new vigor, enthusiasm and determination,” said President Serzh Sargsyan.
Underlining that there are a few months left before 2015, the President urged to make the most of this representative meeting to exchange constructive ideas and present valuable proposals.
In the framework of the State Commission’s session, the political context of the Armenian Genocide Centenary was discussed. At the session, NKR President Bako Sahakyan, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I, Catholic Patriarch Nerses Petros XIX of the House of Cilicia , the Chairman of the Armenian Evangelical World Council Hovel Mikayelyan, the President of the Constitutional Court of Armenia Gagik Harutyunyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian, representatives of the traditional parties – the ARF, the DLP, the SDHP, as well as leaders of the largest Pan-Armenian structures made statements touching upon the fundamental approaches the Commission aims to include in the text of the Pan-Armenian Declaration to be adopted on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
The second item on the agenda referred to works implemented by local bodies and to coming programs. Reports were made by the Minister of Diaspora Hranush Hakobyan, as well as by the committee representatives of the largest local structures in Russia, US, Lebanon, France and Argentina.
The commission members and the other participants listened to the report of the Commission’s Secretariat on the multi-dimensional activities carried out since the previous session, as well as on the current organizational works, discussed the proposals made to the State Commission and the 2015 events program.
The participants of the session were also presented the logo of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Forget-Me-Not Flower, designed by a working group established by the State Commission. The etymology of the flower’s name in different languages shows that it conveys the same meaning – “REMEMBER!” The latter is exactly the main message of the 100th anniversary. The working group chose such a logo because its color range is associated with the main motives underlying the concept of the mentioned date, and finally, in the Middle Ages Forget-Me-Not was considered the symbol of God’s presence. Five leaves of the flower symbolize the five continents where the Genocide survivors found shelter being deprived of the opportunity to live in their homeland. The flower has four main colors: violet, light violet, yellow and black. Each color conveys a certain meaning. The color of black symbolizes horror and the memories of the Genocide. The inner light violet stands for a unifying idea. The color of violet is suggested as the main color of the symbol. It is widely used in vestments worn by the priests of the Armenian Apostolic Church which is a basis of Armenians’ self-consciousness. The yellow color symbolizes the sunlight which gives a hope to live and create. It is represented by cyclically ordered 12 stylized pillars symbolizing the Genocide Memorial.