BRUSSELS — The exhibition “Genocide After the Genocide” taking place in the European Parliament, in Brussels, was officially opened on March 1, in the presence of over a hundred guests. Present were members of the European Parliament, staff members, assistants and representatives of the Armenian community of Belgium. The exhibition was hosted by MEP Nikolaos Androulakis (S&D, Greece), co-organized by the Research on Armenian Architecture and the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD).
The exhibition “Genocide after the Genocide” consists of 32 photos, of Armenian churches and religious monuments, before and after the Armenian Genocide of 1915, perpetrated by Turkey. The photos depict the systematic destruction of Armenian monuments, culture and heritage, in Western Armenia, what is now Eastern Turkey. Turkey to this day, denies the reality of the Armenian Genocide, despite international condemnation and resolutions.
It is the first time that the exhibition has been held outside the Republic of Armenia.
Heghine Evinyan, EU Affairs of the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, in her opening remarks, said “an honest and open process of dealing with its past is crucial for any democratic, healthy and forward-looking society. In fact, this is the only way to go. Therefore the Turkish society needs the recognition of the Armenian Genocide at least as much as the Armenian society needs it. Many Turkish intellectuals certainly realize this and openly speak about it, among them historian Taner Akçam and writer, Nobel Prize winner for literature Orhan Pamuk. The exhibition “Genocide after the Genocide” is another step towards raising awareness about the state of material testimonies of Armenian civilization in today’s Turkey.”
Member of the European Parliament and host of the exhibition Nikolaos Androulakis, thanking all those who attended the opening, saying, “I am very pleased to host this exhibition today in the European Parliament. Last year we commemorated the 100th anniversary from the Armenian Genocide. I had the privilege to attend the events organized by the Armenian Government in Yerevan. As the Ottoman Empire was falling apart, other Christian population, especially the Pontius followed the fate of Armenians. At the exhibition you can see photos from religious and other buildings of Armenian culture as they were before the genocide and in their current situation. As these photos show, the millions of dead, deported and forced to exile Armenians were not the only victims. The purpose of the Genocide was the physical and cultural extinction of Armenia. Turkey must face historic truth and recognize the atrocities that took place at the beginning of last century. It is our duty to preserve the memory. It is essential if we want to have a better future and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”
Eleni Theocharous, MEP from Cyprus, President of the EU – Armenia Friendship Group in the European Parliament, stated her long-term fight for the rights of the Armenian people, and drew a parallel between the destruction of the Armenian monuments and the Greek heritage in the Turkish occupied North Cyprus. Arman Israelian, Counselor in the Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the European Union, said in his remark, “Today’s exhibition is an essential endeavor to draw attention to the issue of Armenian religious heritage in Turkey, and it supplements the efforts of the European Parliament in this regard. These silent witnesses of Armenian nation for so many centuries have immense cultural, religious and historical value not only for us, Armenians, and the Christian world, but also for the entire humanity.”
On behalf of co-organizer of the exhibition, Research on Armenian Architecture, Movses Hrair Der Kevorkian mentioned that this exhibition summarizes decades of research, and hundreds of expeditions, during which the RAA Foundation has witnessed the extinction of an entire heritage. He brought attention to the fact that while Turkey was perpetrating the deliberate annihilation of Armenian heritage, it was signing several international treaties regarding the Preservation of Cultural Monuments during times of War, including clear provisions for the care and preservation of cultural monuments pertaining to minorities as well as recognizing minority cultural rights. He also emphasized that the Armenian Genocide did not end when the killings stopped. This exhibition is proof of this statement.
The exhibition “Genocide after the Genocide” has been prepared within the grant program of the Youth Foundation of Armenia, a partner organization of the President of the Republic of Armenia, as well as the ‘Duty of Soul’ NGO.
The exhibition in the European Parliament will run through to March 4th. Later in the year, it will be held in various European countries.
The clip of the official opening can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBcqDKdfjCA&feature=youtu.be