(AINA) -- A number of Melbourne's Assyrian and Hellenic organizations issued a joint statement today condemning recent acts of vandalism against two Sydney memorials dedicated to the Assyrian Genocide and the Assyrian Levies (AINA 8-30-2010). The six signatories included two Greek federations and a number of Assyrian political, social and cultural organizations. The six signatories to the letter affirmed their opposition to all acts of vandalism and voiced a call for worldwide recognition of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian-Greek Genocide.
The statement follows:
We the undersigned Melbourne-based Assyrian and Greek organizations express our deep concern at recent events which have seen two Assyrian memorial sites vandalised. Sydney's Assyrian Genocide Monument (recently dedicated by the Assyrian Universal Alliance) and the Assyrian Levies Plaque (dedicated by the Assyrian Levies Association) were both vandalised with physical damage and the painting of anti-Assyrian profanities in the preceding week.
Both the mentioned monuments stand in tribute to millions of Assyrians, Armenians and Pontian-Greeks who were ruthlessly murdered in a calculated campaign of extermination by the Ottoman Empire. Historians have termed this the first genocide of the twentieth century. The Assyrian-Australian community, like other communities residing in Australia, is entitled to remember these victims of genocide with dignity and without hindrance from vandals. We explicitly condemn the vandalism of the monument and memorial plaque and call upon the relevant authorities to investigate the matter hastily.
While the perpetrators of both these incidents are as yet unknown, and police investigations are continuing, it is clear from the content of the vandalism, on the Assyrian Genocide Monument in particular, that those involved hold a strong level of enmity towards the Assyrian people.
The struggle for the recognition of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian-Greek Genocide is a continuing one. The historical truth of the genocide is not in question, as suggested by the forces of genocide denial. The school of scholarly evidence is overwhelming. In fact, the world's leading group of genocide scholars, the International Association of Genocide Scholars has affirmed that the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian-Greek was indeed perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire during its dying days. This recognition is in addition to dozens of federal, state and local governments around the world who have also recognized the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian- Greek genocide.
We renew our call for worldwide recognition of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian-Greek Genocide. In particular, we call upon the Australian federal government, in addition to state governments, to join their counterparts around the world and add their voice to truth and justice by recognising the genocide.
We the undersigned organisations extend our support to all organizations that have contributed to the Assyrian Genocide recognition movement, affirm our rejection of acts designed to insult the memories of those who were murdered and condemn any attempt to distort the truth of the Assyrian, Armenian and Pontian Greek Genocide.
Australian Assyrian Arts and Literature Foundation
Federation of Pontian Associations of Australia
Panepirotic Federation of Australia
Assyrian Democratic Movement
The Popular Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Council
Beth-Nahrin Cultural Club
By Joseph Haweil