Netherlands: Armenian community commemorates genocide

Armenian community commemorates genocide

ANP (Dutch news agency)
April 24, 2004

ASSEN (ANP) – On Saturday, hundreds of people participated in the annual
commemoration of the Armenian genocide. The commemoration took place at the
memorial in cemetery de Boskamp in Assen. Various speakers called on the
Dutch and Turkish governments to recognize the Armenian genocide.

M. Hakhverdian of the Armenian Federation called acknowledgement of the
genocide by Turkey “a basic condition for accession of the country to the
EU”. Stand-up satirist Freek de Jonge, one of the guest speakers at the
commemoration, said he was ashamed of the Dutch government’s position
regarding the genocide. As opposed to countries like Sweden, Switzerland,
Belgium and since this week also Canada, the Dutch government has hitherto
not proceeded to recognize the genocide. “What else can I say but: we feel
ashamed”, according to Freek de Jonge.

The Armenian genocide has faded from the memories of many according to De
Jonge. “The word genocide does not sound as familiar as holocaust. It still
does not have a museum.” He thus called upon the Netherlands to proceed
towards the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. “Where remains this guide
country that appears to have lost its way?”

The commemoration in Assen closed a week of actions by the Armenian
community in the Netherlands. Last Wednesday, the Federation of Armenian
Organizations in the Netherlands offered a petition to the Dutch Parliament.
The Netherlands was again called upon to recognize the Armenian genocide.
The “forgotten genocide” cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of