High Officials at Concert Dedicated to Genocide

Press Release
Ref: PR/04/04/008

Assembly of Armenians of Europe
Rue de Treves 10, 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 647 08 01
Fax: +32 2 647 02 00


Brussels, 16/04/04 – On April 13th 2004 in Brussels’ Royal Conservatoire
was the venue for a Gala Evening Concert organized by the Assembly of
Armenians of Europe (AAE) attended by 350 guests. These included members
of the European Parliament, EU Commission, Belgian Federal and local
parliaments, Ambassadors and diplomats, representatives of international
and local organizations as well as the general public. The concert of
classical music was dedicated to the memory of the victims of the
Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of
20th century.

At the opening ceremony of the concert Ms. Irene Shaboyan AAE’s
representative thanked the invited guests and the high officials for
their solidarity with the struggle for the prevention of further
genocide and crimes against humanity. She also reminded the audience of
all those honorable Europeans who, endangering and sometimes sacrificing
their lives by exposing it to war and epidemic tried to save even few
human lives from inevitable death. Ms. Shaboyan introduced the audience
to the tragic life story of Monk Komitas, Armenian musician, collector
of folk music and composer and a prominent victim of the 1915 Genocide
(the Bella Bartok of Armenian Music), and observed that if Komitas
hadn’t collected the songs to be performed during the concert, they
would have disappeared as their authors without leaving any trace and
one could claim that they had never existed.

Mrs. Ursula Schleicher the Chairwoman of the EU-South Caucasus
delegation in the European Parliament said that in spite of the terrible
genocide, the annihilation and deportations, Armenians never forgot
about their ancestors, their culture and religion and they never got
tired of believing in a brighter future.

Mr. Didier Ramoudt the President of the Interparliamentary group
between Armenia and Belgium emphasized the importance of the
recognition of the Armenian Genocide. `The recognition of the Armenian
Genocide by the European Parliament in 1987 and by the Belgian Senate
in 1998 was an important step towards the prevention of the further
genocide’. He also deplored the denialest policy of the actual Turkish
Government and as a European he considered that such behavior was
unacceptable and intolerable.

Mr. Willy Fautré the Director of the Human Rights without Frontiers in
Belgium started his welcome speech by the poem of Daniel Varoujan
(Armenian poet, arrested and executed by the Turkish Government among
the Armenian Intellectuals on April 24th, 1915) whose sensitive soul had
the presentiment of the horror and tragedy to be endured by the
Armenians. `Nowadays Turkey is asking for the EU membership, but it
still denies the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire. Would
Germany be accepted in the European Union if it hadn’t recognized the
genocide of Jews committed by the Nazi regime and hadn’t apologized?
Could Turkey claim the accession to the European Union unless it
recognizes the Genocide of 1, 5 million Armenians? `, said Mr. Willy

The invited guests had the pleasure to enjoy the Armenian folk songs of
Komitas performed by the Simonian Quartet. Hasmik Papian, world famous
soprano then gave a superb and gracious performance of arias by Verdi
and Puccini and songs of Komitas and Kanatchian.

`It is our duty as European citizens to uphold European values and,
to this end, ensure that perpetrators of genocide and those who deny
it are exposed and rejected. Denial of genocide is the continuation of
the act of genocide and should not be tolerated on European soil’,
said Mr. Bagrad Nazarian, member of the AAE’s Administrative Board at
the closing of the concert.

The concert was sponsored by the Austrian Airlines and the Thierry
Graduate School of Leadership in Brussels.