Saturday, January 14, 2006

Forty Years After A Milestone - Vartkes Sinanian

The year 1965 will go down in our history as a turning- point in the struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. It was the start of a passionate movement to make the horrors and suffering of our people publicized. It was also the year when a delegation comprising Dr.Papken Papazian and Berge Missirlian, both members of the ARF Bureau and Anania Mahdesian and Vartkes Sinanian, representing the Armenian National Committee, handed a memorandum to the Foreign Minister of Cyprus Spyros Kyprianou urging his country's support in raising the Armenian Genocide at the United Nations. Spyros Kyprianou was a powerful voice against Turkish intransigence and denial. He was a defender of international human rights and an ardent supporter of our cause. He was the first diplomat internationally who brought up the issue of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide before the UN General Assembly. After his statement in the United Nations , Spyros Kyprianou granted me an interview where he spoke about his conviction and his close ties with our people. The text of this interview follows. VS : Your Excellency, your statement in the United Nations regarding the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by t heTurks against our people has been received with gratitude by the millions of Armenians all over the world. On behalf of the Armenian press that I represent I once again express my admiration and gratefulness for your courageous intervention. SK: I only did my duty as representative of a people who have long- standing and brotherly ties with the Armenian people. VS: How did our compatriots in the US impress you ? SK: The Armenians in the United States are very active and generally patriotic. They are constantly working for the just Armenian cause and for the enlightenment of world opinion about the injustice and cruelty perpetrated by Turkey against the Armenians. They spare no effort or material means to expose the truth about the Armenian massacres which is one of the greatest mass crimes in the history of the world. VS: ; It has been reported in our press that you have been reading about our people for the last year. Of the several publications covering the last 50 years of our history which ones were interesting to you(Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, US Ambassador Morgenthau, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Trebizond)? SK: Cyprus has lived the tragedy of the Armenian people very closely. Cyprus has accepted some thousands of refugees from Turkey as brothers. I personally am well acquainted with the drama of the Armenian massacres and have wanted the opportunity to bring it before the world forum. It is true thatt I have read many accounts of the tragic events and I can say that the more one becomes acquainted with the details of the crime, the more he becomes abhorred by the enormity. VS: Did you have the opportunity of discussing our case at all with any of the UN delegates and if so what wer e their reactions ? SK: I have had the opportunity to discuss the Armenian case with many delegates at the United Nations and explain to them in detail the question . Many of them were very impressed and showed keen interest and sympathy. VS: Have you had any contact with any of our compatriots after your historic statement ? Are you aware of their reaction ? SK: I have been in touch with many Armenian leaders in the United States who have impressed me as men fully conscious of their responsibilities and resolved to work hard for the just cause of the Armenian people. VS: What is your opinion on the merits of the Armenian problem ? SK: The Armenian problem is very clear and simple one. But it is none the less tragic. A people who have suffered the cruelty a nd the murderous action of a country reputed for its criminal methods in dealing with minorities, has faced extermination and genocide in its worst form. The Armenian people are asking for justice. They expect the world to stigmatize the culprits of one of the most uncanny crimes in history. They have a right to be heard. They have a right to a place under the sun. I am certain that all those who believe in the high principles of justice and freedom will support wholeheartedly the struggle of the Armenian people.

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