The International Conference "Three Genocides, One Strategy" was held from 17th to the 19th of September 2010 at the Old Parliament House in Athens, Greece. There were representatives from Sweden, United States of America, Israel, Turkey, France, Lebanon and other countries present at this Conference.
An Assyrian Genocide Recognition contingent joined together with its Greek and Armenian counterparts last weekend, in a conference discussing the joint Genocide of the three peoples that took place in South Eastern Turkey and North Western Iran. Seyfo, as it is known to the Assyrians, took place during the First World War, claiming the lives of over 750,000 Assyrians -- it was a genocide that claimed about three million Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians overall.
Among the Assyrian Delegates was Seyfo Center's Director, Sabri Atman, a regular attendee of the Three Genocides, One Strategy annual conference since its inception in 2008. The Assyrian delegates included Kyriakos Batsaras, Thea Halo, Ashur Giwargis, and Joseph Zaya.
On the second day of the Conference Ashur Giwargis presented his speech. The first point made was:
We are simply Assyrians, not Chaldeans neither Syriacs nor Syrians, because Chaldeans are Catholic Assyrians, and Syrians or so-called Syriacs, are Orthodox Assyrians, so, It would be better to say "Assyrians" because it's our ethnic national identity, and in this case we would be talking about all the Assyrian sects. We can't say "Arabs and Sunna" because there are Sunni and Shiite Arabs.
He covered the background of the Genocide, its consequences and the world's conscience:
The official records such as the Russian, British and even Turkish correspondence, confirm that between 1914 and 1922, Turkey had led its armies which invaded the unarmed Assyrian, Armenian and Greeks' villages and towns and committed ethnic cleansing whereby about 600 000 Assyrians, the equivalent of two thirds of the Assyrian nation at the time were massacred.
Ashur Giwargis highlighted the importance and significance of the Genocide recognition:
The international community's neglect of this issue is like a second Genocide and disrespect for the concepts of humanity, and the most dangerous thing is that this silence is considered as an incitement for more expected Genocides against the weak people in the world, including the Assyrian people whom I present as an example.
The final and third day of the conference commenced with Mr Nik Papadopoulos' speech. Mr Nik Papadopoulos is the President of European section of the Inter-parliamentary Association of Greek origin. The presentation followed by Mr Sabri Atman's address to the congregation. In his address Mr Atman proclaimed the importance of recognition, acceptance and reconciliation of past atrocities to the healing process:
It is clear from the Ottoman documents that 1915 deportations and massacres were not only directed against the Armenians. The general plan was to get rid of all the local indigenous non-Muslim people. So that what was left from that huge empire, all that of Anatolia, to be homogenized as Turkey or Turkish nation! This at the end resulted in over 3 million of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Jews and Yezidis being massacred or deported from their homelands.
He elaborated on how there is a permanent weight and difficulty the genocide survivors bear, as they face constant denial by the perpetrators which adds insult to the injury suffered. It should not be dismissed that:
December 19th 2007 the International Association of Genocide Scholars adopted a resolution to recognize the Assyrian Genocide. This is a huge milestone. An international organisation made of qualified scholars has made a resolution that what happened to Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Jews and Yezidis by the Ottoman Empire was in fact Genocide.
Turkey has been claiming that it has changed and has become a Democratic country and should be welcomed to the European Union:
Today I call upon Turkey to free itself from its taboos and recognize that, during the late Ottoman Empire, hundreds of thousands of Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other minorities were killed in a planned, organized genocide that was carried out by the government of the time.
In a series of events that is nothing short of ironic, Armenia and Greece have yet to officially acknowledge the Assyrian Genocide:
For obvious reasons republic of Armenia should recognise the Greeks and Assyrian Genocide. And also for the same reason Greece should also recognise the Assyrian Genocide. Who else better than Greeks and Armenians can understand our pain and sufferings? Assyrians request from Greece and Armenia to officially recognise the Assyrian Genocide.
Sabri Atman concluded his speech with:
I have a suggestion for the organisers of this event. As three nations, let us stand together to have a memorial monument for the victims of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocide right here in Athens!
Three Genocides, One Strategy, One Voice, One Recognition, One Healing!
Turkey should know this: the descendants of the Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians living all over the world will never leave you alone until you acknowledge and recognise the Genocide!
Professor Israel Charny, Executive Director of the Institute of the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem addressed the congregation following Mr Sabri Atman. One of Professor Israel Charny's publications is "Encyclopedia of Genocide".
The next "Three Genocide, One Strategy" Conference will be held in 2012 in Sweden.
By Seyfo Center