Around 200 people gathered yesterday afternoon in Jette, in memory of the hundreds of thousands of Aramaic, Pontic Greeks and Armenian genocide victims. This was perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The ceremony took place at the location where a plaque was unveiled in 2015, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre.
Luc Atas, from the Federation of Belgian Armenians considers, “It is vital to continue to commemorate this genocide. Our children should be aware of what happened to their parents and grandparents. This tragedy is part of our national identity, in the same way as our belief, language and culture. We should not forget it, even less so now that the Aramaics are, once again, under threat in the Middle East. In both Iraq and Syria, our peoples are subject to fresh genocide.”
Turkey’s recognition of the genocide is also part of the demonstrators’ main concerns. Mr Atas goes on, “The Turks of today do not bear responsibility for what happened, but it would be to Turkey’s credit to recognise the role of the former Ottoman Empire in the genocide.”
Armenians in Belgium also lament the Belgian parliament still not recognising the genocide per se. The cdH deputy, Georges Dallemagne, emphasized, “A vote to ensure this failed in 2015, mainly owing to the pressure exerted by Turkey. Nevertheless, I will continue to fight for Turkey’s recognition of the massacre.”