Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Three Genocides, One Strategy

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about an commemoration of the Greek Genocide which will be held next month in New York. My post prompted an email from a representative of the international conference on “Three Genocides, One Strategy”, which was held last September in Athens. Below is the press release that was issued by the sponsors after the event:

International Conference
“Three Genocides, One Strategy”

17-19 September 2010

The Second International Conference “Three Genocides, One Strategy” was successfully realized in the Old Parliament chamber, in Athens. The Conference was co-sponsored by organizations representing the descendants of Christian Anatolian people, victims of the crime of genocide by the Turks in the early 20th century; these included the Armenian National Committee of Greece, the Association of Greeks from Smyrna, the Pan-Pontian Federation of Greece, the Pan-Hellenic Association of Assyrians and the Pan-Hellenic Association of Pontian Educators.

A measure of the success of the Conference was the enormous participation of scholars and others from Greece and from abroad throughout its duration. In addition, issues were examined and suggestions were made by the participants that will contribute to the agenda of conferences to follow. At the same time, thousands of people interested in the topic of the conference had the opportunity to follow real time via the internet.

This Conference, followed that held in Komotini in 2008, examined the genocides of the Pontian and Anatolian Greeks, of the Armenians and of the Assyrians on a common basis, suggesting a common strategy towards the international recognition of the crimes. The papers presented examined and demonstrated the historic reality of the three genocides, their legal dimension, along with proposals for their recognition.

In a discussion on policies that will lead to international recognition of these crimes it was proposed that:

  • Greece should also recognize the genocide of Assyrians, after the recognition of the genocide of the Greeks of the Black Sea and Asia Minor and of the Armenians.
  • Effort should be made to hold conferences every two years in a different country. It was suggested that the next (or third) conference take place in Sweden.
  • A Greek committee should be formed for the study of the three genocides. This committee, which can be a private, non-profit entity drawing on the two conferences already held, will gather, classify and exploit the relevant material and will prepare for the next conferences which will aim at broadening the international recognition of the genocides of the Christian Anatolian people.
  • Common monuments be erected and dedicated to the three Anatolian genocides in various cities of Greece and in foreign countries.
  • Archives in all countries with materials on the genocides provide ready access to scholars so that they can do their work of recording these with the requisite integrity. Specifically regarding Greece, it was proposed that the necessary initiatives for establishing Schools or at least institutes in the Humanities Faculties, which will have Asia Minor and the genocides that took place there as objects of study. In this regard it also was proposed to exploit the internet.
  • Efforts should be made to secure funding sources for the effort.
  • Support be given to the proposal R to L (Right to Life) by Professor Charny from Israel, which aims at the creation of an International Union within the UN of people that are genocide victims and their descendants. This entity will, among other tasks, aim to establish genocide museums in many countries, with halls dedicated to each genocide individually; this entity also will develop a warning system for genocides in progress, will grant financial support for studies on genocides, will inform through a website, etc.
  • The sense of the Conference and the ideas it stimulated can be summarized in the phrase, “Three Genocides, one Strategy, one Identification, one Monument, one Recognition”.
  • Finally, it was proposed that the findings of the Conference should be announced worldwide (to forums, universities, research institutes, mass media, parliaments, governments etc.) as well as to the European Union, which will be called in a few months to report on the European prospects of Turkey.

Athens, 23 September 2010

For the Organizing Committee:

Chairman: Dr Pavlidis Adonis
Secretary-General: Dr Charitidou Georgia
Press Officer: Dr Mistakidou Liana