BRUSSELS (UAAS)–A documentary photo exhibition titled "Armenian Genocide – Living History" was displayed in Brussels beginning on June 18–reported The Union of Armenian Associations of Sweden. The exhibit was a joint initiative by European Parliament members Jonas Sjostedt,(GUE/NGL)–Lennart Sacredeus (Christian Democrat Party)–and the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden.
The exhibition was designed by the Center for Documentation on Armenia (Berlin) founded in 1985 by Dr. Gerayer Koutcharian and Dr. Tessa Hofmann–and has already been presented in Heidelberg–Cologne–Frankfurt/Main and London. The exhibit in Brussels was initially planned to appear on the premises of the European Parliament–but was suddenly pulled by European Parliament’s official in charge of artistic and cultural issues due to "its controversial character."
The refusal to host the exhibition provoked indignation and letters of protest from Sjostedt–members of the Armenian community in Belgium–as well as the Turkish organization Society of Genocide Opponents (Frankfurt/Main). The letters were sent to the President of European Parliament Pat Cox.
In the absence of backing from the European Parliament–exhibit organizers Sjostedt–and the President of the Union of Armenian Association in Sweden Karo Hakopian–nevertheless decided to display the photo exhibit. European Armenia’s and Armenian organizations in Europe including the Forum of Armenian Association of Europe–Campaign for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and Hayastan cultural and social center (Greece) applauded the decision.
The inauguration of the photo exhibition took place at Maison des Associations Internationales (House of International Associations) in Brussels. Members of the European Parliament–representatives of various organizations and members of the Armenian community were present at the opening ceremony. Sjostedt and Hakopian welcomed the audience–Dr. Hofmann briefly introduced the history of the exhibition and the photographs and European Parliament member Lennart Sacredeus pointed out that Turkey cannot access the European Union without [first] recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
The representative of the Council of Ixelles area (Brussels) Breydel de Groeninghe–welcomed this initiative and expressed deep sympathy to the very special and integrated Armenian community. "You are all my dear compatriots," he said. With one minute of silence–the audience honored the memory of all Armenia’s exterminated at the beginning of 20 century by the Turkish Government. The representative of the Armenian Catholicos in Western Europe–His Holiness Kude Nagashian–conducted a prayer for the peace of their souls.
The exhibition was followed by a conference titled "Armenian Genocide – Destruction and Rebirth of a Nation," held in the same building on June 19. The conference brought together specialists on the Armenian Genocide including Mr. Yves Ternon (historian–France)–Helene Piralian (psychologist–France) Dr. Hofmann (philologist and sociologist–Germany)–Claude Mutafian (historian–France)–as well as Mrs. Claire Dedeyan (writer–France)–Armen Hakhanzarian (architect–Germany)–Ali Ertem (Turkish defender of Human Rights–Germany) and Hayk Demoyan (expert on Turkish Armenian relations–Armenia). The main topic of the conference was the Armenian Genocide and its consequence on the destiny of Armenia’s–as well as on universal cultural heritage.
On the closing of the conference–the Turkish delegation including Ertem–representatives of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden–along with others placed flowers on the monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Father Haroutioun conducted a ceremony in memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide.