Posted 01 May 2005
Stockholm.- Almost one fifth of the tiny Armenian community, 800 Swedish Armenians from all over Sweden were gathered on the 24th of April 2005, at ABF HUSET in central Stockholm in order to commemorate the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Two-thirds of the Armenian population perished between 1915 and 1923. As a minority, living in the Ottoman Empire in their historical homeland, their call for the application of the lofty principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, as well as safeguarding of human rights, fundamental freedoms and rule of law, led to their death sentence.
Today, survivors and their successors, living within and outside the Armenia expect that the world's recognition of the universality of those same noble principles will lead to recognition that Genocide was committed against Armenians.
The key speaker of the day was Dr. Ashot Alexanian, Minister Counsellor at the Armenian Embassy in Vienna who made his speech both in English and Armenian. Addressing the enthusiastic audience of young and old, he said in his message : “On behalf of all principles and values of human rights, human dignity and fundamental freedoms, for the defence of which Armenians have paid their own life, even more – losing their historical homeland -, like a biting irony of history, nowadays Turkey wants to become a member of western community, proclaiming and safeguarding the same values. Armenia and Armenians worldwide cannot drop, forget or deny the Genocide of 1915, perpetrated in the Ottoman Empire, against the, residing in its historical homeland. All Armenians – in Armenia and Diaspora – more or less are engaged in the matter of Genocide recognition by the world community”.
Talking about the relations of Armenia and Turkey the guest speaker affirmed in his speech that “Regardless of historical realities, difficulties, even animosities, the two peoples are destined to live next door to each other. The establishment of relations will make it possible by freely, democratically, discuss even those difficult issues that have been inherited from the past. There are hardly any two neighbouring countries in the world, which don't have difficult historical issues between them. Yet, none of these has resulted in closed borders.”
The second guest speaker was Prof. David Gaunt, a British scholar working at the Sotorns University in Stockholm. Dr. David Gaunt exposed in details the circumstances under which the Genocide became possible to execute. He concluded his words with the absolute necessity of pressure applied by the international public opinion on the Turkish society in order to achieve recognition.
The Moscow Armenian chamber chorus performed soon afterwards, led by composer and conductor Arshag Gadzian.
On the occasion of this meeting both the Assyrian and Kurdish communities had sent a greeting letter which was read to the public. The letters expressed words of sympathy and solidarity with the Armenian People in their struggle for Justice. Sweden hosts a 60 000 strong community of Assyrians, while the Kurdish community counts as much as 50 000.
Mr. Hagop Khatcherian
Armenian Relief Society of Stockholm,
E-mail: [email protected]