We must remember past atrocities to prevent new crimes, Armenian President writes in Le Monde

Denial of crimes perpetrated between 1915 and 1923 creates a space for xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance, President Armeni Sarkissian writes in a piece for the French Le Monde on the 105th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Public Radio of Armenia reports.

“The whole world is going through an unprecedented and spectacular crisis today. We are far from overcoming it, and it occupies every page of our newspapers. To face the torments of the present, it is essential to have a memory of past trials. One disaster does not drive the other away, and the Armenian people are best aware of it,” the President writes.

“It was while taking advantage of the tumult of the First World War that the Turkish government, in 1915-1916, implemented its program of total extermination of the Armenians of Turkey, of unprecedented violence and magnitude,” he adds.

According to the President, while more than a century has passed since the genocide of the Armenians, its consequences still persist, preventing peace and security in the region.

He notes that there were two motivations behind the Young Turks’ project. “The first was a political motivation, because the independence which the Armenian nation was aspiring for would deprive the Empire of a an essential part, which was paving a way to the Caucasus and Central Asia.”

“The other was an ideological motivation, because the young Turkish nationalism wanted to transform the immense multiethnic and multicultural Empire into a monolithic and homogeneous nation-state, eyeing a political advancement to the Caucasus and Central Asia,” the President continues.

According to him, Armenians and Greeks living between those two territories were the main obstacles on that path.

“These motivations are still felt, first in Artsakh because of Turkey’s interventionist policy; and then, in the blockade imposed against Armenia.

“Recognition of the Armenian genocide is as important to humanity as a whole as it is to the Armenians. After half a century of silence, in the years 1960-1970, the world began to speak again of the genocide of the Armenians. Uruguay was the first country to officially recognize it in 1965. The number of countries that have joined it grows year by year,” President Sarkissian notes.

“Lessons learned from the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda must be carefully preserved and passed on to future generations,” he stresses.

“Today, the remembrance of the events of 1915 is aimed at the future. We must remember these atrocities to prevent new crimes. Their denial paves the way for xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance,” the President notes.

“In 1915 the Armenians’ aspirations for freedom and rights led to violence and crime. Today particularly after the revolution of 2018, Armenia embodied these values. That is why Armenia needs political, diplomatic and economic support. Strong Armenia is a trump card for the stability of the region, for Europe and France. Armenia can be a bridge between different worlds,” the President concludes.

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