The Armenian Genocide: An Armenian History?

On April 24, we commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the genocide of the Armenians, the first Christian people in the world, perpetrated from 1915 to 1917 by the “Young Turks” Government. In many cities, demonstrations are organized on this occasion. But what do our countries have to do with this distant and beginning to grow old history? What brings us together?

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MApart from the fact that many Armenians have taken refuge in France, this story brings the entire human community back to its own humanity. It must be remembered that a genocide - whether it targets Armenians, Assyro-Chaldeans, Jews, Gypsies, Cambodians, Tutsis or, alas, many others - is a crime against humanity. These peoples do not necessarily resemble each other, but they have something to pass on to their brothers and sisters in humanity: that is that they have been designated undesirable solely for questions of identity. However, this danger is never completely removed. Believing that another group would not have the right to exist is a recurring temptation. Tomorrow, a charismatic leader, well-organized propaganda with the support of the right media, and an uncertain economic situation will suffice for these old demons to reappear. Forewarned is forearmed.

Certainly, the story of the Armenian genocide is not only about Armenians, just as the Chernobyl disaster is not just about Ukrainians.

“Who still remembers the Armenian massacres? "The second interest of these commemorations is to remember that, even 102 years later, the descendants of the executioners will not be left alone for the crimes committed by their ancestors. Today, the Turkish state is still in a negationist posture vis-à-vis this genocide for which it bears the responsibility. He continues to rig his history books to rewrite them in a way that works for him, lying to his own people. This posture gives rise to a form of impunity among those who could be inspired by its model. When Hitler was carrying out his policy of extermination, he had uttered a little phrase which has remained famous: "Who still remembers the massacres of the Armenians?" ". If we let these events fall into the lap of history, then the door is wide open for others to start over.

Truth. Justice. Reconciliation.

Restoring the truth is a prerequisite for practicing justiceRestoring the truth is a prerequisite for practicing justice. And by ripple effect, justice is a condition of reconciliation. What is the goal after all? The goal is not for human communities to continue this absurd game of looking at each other or turning their backs on each other. It doesn't make sense, and yet this attitude is passed on in the deepest stupidity from generation to generation. Watch last April 13, the football match between the clubs of Lyon and Istanbul was, as we knew in advance, a high-risk match because Turkish supporters were coming to the stadium in Décines, which is a city in the Lyon suburbs home to a very strong community of Armenian origin. And that was not lacking… The tensions were very high. We are going to have to stop passing these animosities on to our children, because we are only poisoning them and locking them into patterns in which they did not ask to be.

The right equation is therefore composed of three points: truth, justice and reconciliationThe right equation therefore consists of three points: truth, justice and reconciliation. It is an essential path. I will be happy the day I see Armenians and Turks discussing peacefully. For that, Turkey must admit its wrong, as Germany did in its time. So, to paraphrase Martin Luther King's famous speech, Turkish supporters and Armenian supporters will be able to sit in the same stadium to enjoy the pleasure of a good match together. And let's be crazy, let's dare to believe that they will be able to have a drink together, as they had a drink in the country before the genocide!

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Pascal Portoukalian

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