GERMAN GROUP LAUNCHES INITIATIVE FOR WORLDWIDE READING FOR ARMENIAN GENOCIDE ON APRIL 21,2015
10:02, 17 Dec 2014
Among the numerous initiatives launched to commemorate the centenary
of the Armenian Genocide is a reading of Armenian literary works on
a grand scale. Organized by two cultural institutions in Germany, the
initiative will honor the memory of Armenian intellectuals rounded up
and killed on April 24, 1915, by presenting public readings of their
works and those of later writers, the Armenian Mirror-Spetator reports.
On November 20, at the Bundespressekonferenz in Berlin, Dr. Rolf
Hosfeld, director of the Lepsiushaus, and Ulrich Schreiber of the
International Literature Festival Berlin, presented the initiative
to representatives of the international press. The call issued by the
organizers, reads as follows: "The International Literature Festival
Berlin (ilb) and the Lepsiushaus Potsdam are calling for a worldwide
reading on April 24, 2015, the day that marks 100 years since the
beginning of the Armenian Genocide.
"Several hundred Armenian intellectuals -- poets, musicians,
parliamentary representatives and members of the clergy -- were
arrested in Constantinople (today Istanbul) on April 24, 1915, and
deported to the Turkish interior where most of them were murdered. It
was the start of a crime against humanity. The extermination of the
Armenians during World War One was the first systematically planned
and executed genocide of modern times. More than a million Armenians
in the Ottoman Empire died during this genocidal campaign.
"The events took place before the eyes of the whole world and were
clearly documented by German, Austro-Hungarian, Italian, American,
Scandinavian, Armenian and Ottoman sources as well as by a great
number of historical research projects. As early as August 1915, The
New York Times reported on a methodically planned program of ethnic
cleansing and extermination which was unprecedented in history up to
that time. The German Reich's government, which was allied to the
Ottoman Empire, reached the same conclusions without undertaking
anything against what was happening.
"The Turkish political world denies the Armenian Genocide up
to the present day, although the facts have been known for more
than a hundred years. The Indian writer Arundhati Roy has spoken
publicly about this scandal on many occasions, including at the 2009
International Literature Festival Berlin. A great number of Armenian
voices were silenced in 1915 and in the years thereafter. Since then,
others have become loud and have spoken out against forgetting, among
them an increasing number of voices from the democratic Turkish civil
society. In remembrance of the victims and in association with the
demand for international recognition of the genocide, we are calling
for a worldwide reading on 24 April 2015, with literary texts from
Armenian authors, among them Siamanto, Komitas, Yeghishe Charents,
William Saroyan, Hovhannes Shiraz, Paruyr Sevak, Hakop Mntsuri,
Silva Kaputikian and Hrant Dink."
Since the first signatories Rolf Hosfeld, Konrad Kuhn, Ulrich Schreiber
and Hasmik Papian endorsed the call, more than 400 others from 65
countries have added their names. Among the signatories are Nobel
Prize winners Elfried Jelinek, Mario Vargas Llosa, John M.
Coetzee, Herta Muller, Orhan Pamuk, as well as Elif Shafak, Alberto
Manguel, Breyton Breytenbach and John Ashbury.
As the organizers stated at the press conference, their hope is that
readings will take place in many, many different cities throughout
the world on April 21, 2015.