Aznavour: Armenia’s one hundred years of solitude
ArmenianGenocide100.org web site presents referring to NEWS.am the abridged version of the article by Charles Aznavour, published in the French newspaper Le Monde.
“It’s true that I come from a nation that died without being buried. My father and mother were able to escape the tempest and find an asylum in France, but 1.5 million Armenians did not and were thus murdered, slaughtered and tortured during the events which came to be the first genocide of the 20th century.
These mass killings were covered by sandstorm and then by oblivion. The Turkish authorities, which replaced the exterminators of 1915, had been practicing state denial for decades. They were counting on amnesia and international cowardice. And they were almost close to being right.
In the course of many years this crime could have been considered beneficial. It was necessary to wait until the countries began recognizing it. On tiptoes, in a low voice. France recognized the Armenian Genocide through the law adopted on January 29, 2001. About twenty other states followed, and the Vatican recognized it several days ago.
In this situation any human being, endowed with certain sanity and conscientiousness, can only lose his mind. I’m not an exception. I wasn’t brought up in hatred. Malice is not part of my world. I’m not aggrieved at the Turkish people, who were brought up on denial. I want to trust the youth of that country and its people, whom I love.
I know that one fine day that youth will open their eyes and hold their leaders accountable for the decade-long lies and dishonor, which kept them unaware of.
No doubt, that very day all conditions will come forth for a sincere and virtuous dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. I don’t want to appear as one who gives lessons to this nation, this youth. Who am I to do that? But as I’m a successor of Genocide survivors and a public figure, I bear some special responsibility.
I carry the burden of their endless sufferings. I hear their prayers, which are especially powerful, since they were strangulated and gagged. The dead are helpless. It is the living who should be vigilant to their homage and honor, who should be attentive so that oblivion and denial do not kill their words.
I think about the blockade by Turks of little Armenia, which has miraculously survived the Genocide. I think about Turkey’s denial to ratify the protocols signed in 2009 for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey. I think about Turkey’s political and military support to Ilham Aliyev, support to Azerbaijan’s almost for-life president, who promised to not only trample the territory of Karabakh liberated from oppression, but also invade Armenia and occupy its capital Yerevan.
The atrocities continuing in the Middle East are rooted in the heinous acts of 1915; the region bears not only stigma, but also memory. We see this through the example of the minorities’ plight in the Middle East. We see this, to some extent, in case of threats addressed to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. However, no week has passed since the beginning of the year without the death of some 20-year-old young man on the line of defense between Karabakh and Azerbaijan. This breaks my heart.
Thus, death continues to wander around the Armenian people. Till when? Anyway, I’d like to finish this article on an optimistic note. I can’t change myself! The international survey conducted upon the request of Holocaust Memorial organization showed that around 33 per cent of Turks in the age of 18-20 opted in for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Considering the taboo in that country, this figure leaves room for faith.
It is the first time in history when the centennial of any genocide is marked. Let this mournful centennial contribute to the awakening of the conscience. The commemoration events seem to serve, among others, this very purpose.”