German state of Brandenburg removed references of the Armenian Genocide
Brussels, Belgium - Following extensive pressure from Turkish authorities,
the German state of Brandenburg removed references of the Armenian Genocide
from its state education curriculum.
Brandenburg was the first German state to include the Armenian Genocide
within its teaching guidelines in 2002. However, in October 2004, the
Ministry of Education reversed a decision calling on Bochum's Institute for
Genocides and Diasporas to prepare a book on the Armenian Genocide. The book
would have been the first of a series of three on genocide related issues
and collective violence in the twentieth century. The order was cancelled by
incoming Minister of Education Mr. Holger Rupprecht (SPD), at the request of
Brandenburg Prime Minister Mr. Matthias Platzeck, who had succumbed to
Turkish lobbying efforts.
Bochum University's Director of the Institute for Genocides and Diasporas,
Prof. Mihran Dabag, denounced the decision, stating "The Armenian genocide
is inseparable from European remembrance. It is the first genocidal
achievement of our common history." He went on to argue that "At the very
time when the world commemorates the victims of the Nazi camps, our country
must, if we are sincere in our fight against negationism, give a firm answer
to Turkey's denial; The Brandenburg government must reconsider its decision
and carry out its genocides teaching project."
The Potsdam government's announcement provoked a chorus of protests in
German public opinion. In television news shows and dozens of print
articles, available on the European Armenian Federation website -
www.eafjd.org, policy-makers from throughout the political spectrum
denounced the unacceptable attitude of the state.
The European Armenian Federation considers the decision of the local German
authorities symptomatic of a lack of courage by a certain segment of
European leaders in dealing with this critical issue. This position only
encourages Turkey to export its denialist propaganda to Europe, explained
the Federation. It went on to deplore the deep consequences of the
complicity between and European leaders and Turkey's historical revisionists
on the European project.
"How can we believe the goodwill statements made by German leaders when they
allow genocide denial to be instilled in the minds of the German children?"
asked Hilda Tchoboian, chairwoman of the European Armenian Federation. "The
90th anniversary of the Genocide must mark the end of European complicity,
as shown by its silence during the extermination of the Armenians. We call
upon all German political leaders to turn this regrettable initiative into
an act of justice best representing this great nation," said Mrs. Tchoboian.
EUROPEAN ARMENIAN FEDERATION
For Justice and Democracy
Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B - 1000 BRUXELLES
EUROPEAN ARMENIAN FEDERATION