Letter to Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,*
We would be honoured to ask you to propose the recognition of the genocide of the Armenians in 1915 at the World Conference : A genocide being the extreme outcome of racism.
We draw your attention to that crime against humanity which made 1,500,000 victims and which was perpetrated towards an autochton people on its own home land and in different other regions of an empire in decadence and at bay, the Ottoman Empire.
This extermination was organized during First World War by the Young-Turk Government at that time. These massacres had been firmly condemned then in particular by Emir Al-Husayn Ibn 'Ali, Sherif of Mecca and Guardian of Holy Places . After the war, the eminent organisers of that horific crime, were sentenced in their abscence by a military ottoman court which was not nationalist and the verdict was given in accordance with Islamic law which was still in use in 1919.
In signing the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923,
with the new Turkish Republic(*1), the signatories of Europe
and Japan (*2)
Kemalist Turkey in instituting the latin alphabet and a strong-arm secularity, has put a cultural screen in place : as a smoke screen for "the tragic events" of the past, trying thus to evade their moral and religious judgement. In fact modern called Turkey, has chiefly created the necessary conditions of locking a criminal past : a non-said in the memory of its own people. Today actual Turkey, tries to erase this genocide from History, denies it and organizes a State revisionnism and a negationnism at the highest top level, with all the State structure: a State which benefits by the silence of NATO -which tolerates the actual blockade of Armenia by Turkey.
There cannot be Peace without Justice. Still today, Great Powers behave as Pontius Pilate regarding the genocide of the Armenians in 1915.(*3) Its historical minimization, the political indifference or the diplomatical evasions of the Western States regarding this genocide, are only the snow which covers the visible part of the iceberg. What to say then of this same attitude concerning the criminal hugeness of slave trade and of slavery which were organised in the past, beginning from Renaissance and beyond "Age of Enlightenment"?(*4) A crime which lasted more than three centuries : with ideologies of dishumanisation and of objectification which have determined the mentality of colonisation.(*5)
It is true that France has recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915 and trade-slavery as crimes against Humanity.(*6) But these two parliamentary laws have been emptied from their essence : deportation is not told and all concept of derooting from the home land. The authors of the crimes are not named, their past impunity is not raised and the idea of reparations is evaded. Moreover, the non-recognition of a genocide makes the genocidal ravages endure in the collective unconcious of the descendants of the victims -as in the one of the descendants of the executioners.
The recognition of the Armenian genocide by the World Conference Against Racism will invite Turkey to face a criminal past -as Germany did. This will help the Turkish collective unconcious to free out of enclosed confines, the same confines where the Armenian collective unconcious is also enprisonned.(*7) It very important to denounce any anti-memoire ideologies -such as the ideology revealed at the Tribunal of Nuremberg and formulated at the highest by Adolf Hitler who had declared to his S.S., just before invading Poland : "Who still remembers of the extermination of the Armenians?".(*8) Nevertheless the Armenians scattered round the world are full of hope and have faith in the future and in friendship between peoples. Our Apostolic Church which is going to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of its foundation, keeps up hearty relations with other religions(*9). The Armenian Church is a member of the World Council of Churches in Geneva where His Holiness Aram Ist, Armenian Catholicos of the great House of Cilicia, has important fonctions.(*10) Our Oriental Church does not miss to participate to Ecumenical Prayer Services in the world. Thus was the case on May 31rst 2001 in Washington during the visit of His Holiness Karékine II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians : with the distinguished participation in this Ecumenical ceremony, of Reverend Dr James Forbes, from the famous Riverside Church of New York.
Madam President, the World Conference Against Racism must not also forget the Armenians survivors from a genocide. Mother Africa and the peoples of Black Diaspora who have so suffered, can truly understand us facing ignorance, indifference and so many governmental evasive stances. We are self-confident and the Republic of South-Africa, by its victory on apartheid, by its rich racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversities, will henceforth have a highly estimable position in the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Hoping you will take our request in consideration,
Jean-Claude Kébabdjian, Founder-President
of the CRDA
* Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was in 2001 the Minister of the Department of Foreign Affairs of South Africa