29.05.2008 17:56 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian National Committee of Canada recently
participated in two important historic commemorations - for the Pontian
Genocide and the Rwandan Genocide victims. On May 18, the Brotherhood
Pontian of Toronto organized a memorial for the 353,000 Pontian Greek
victims of atrocities perpetrated by the Turkish government from 1916
to 1923.

Among the 350 people who attended the commemoration were a high-ranking
Greek Cabinet minister, a member of the Greek parliament, and
representatives of the department of foreign affairs of Greece,
the ANCC told PanARMENIAN.Net.

The memorial was held at St. Dimitrios Greek Orthodox Church in

The keynote speaker Michael Charalampidis, author, and member of the
executive committee of the International Association for the Rights
and Liberation of Peoples, emphasized the imperative for Pontians
around the world to organize and to become more politically active
in the international recognition of the Pontian Genocide.

Furthermore, he said he appreciated and valued the pioneering work of
the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian people, at large,
in their political activism and in paving the way for the Pontian
community to follow in their footsteps.

Aris Babikian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee
of Canada (ANCC), urged the international community and governments
"not to be selective in their condemnation, as their political and
economic interests dictate, but to bring to justice the Turkish
genocide perpetrators and their accomplices. Today the Turkish
government, encouraged by the international community's silence, is
not only denying the Armenian, Pontian, and Assyrian Genocides and
continuing its illegal occupation of Cyprus, but it has also launched
a genocide against the Kurds."

Babikian said it's "imperative for us to stand united in solidarity,
to remind the world of the Turkish government's past and present
crimes, and to demand that the international community to stop its
appeasement policies towards a fascist and racist Turkish government
which has the distinction of being the world's worst perpetrator of
crimes against humanity."

Babikian reminded the gathered that the "rampant extreme nationalism,
prejudice and xenophobia in contemporary Turkey is an ominous sign
and a reminder of the climate which existed in Turkey in the early
20th century."

He added that Canada and the international community can send a
clear and unequivocal message to the Turkish government that the
international community will not tolerate such inhuman treatment
of our fellow human beings and will not allow the genocide denial
machine to operate with impunity.

On April 4, the ANCC participated in a press conference at the Gatineau
city hall to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the genocide of
Rwanda's Tutsi minority. The press conference was organized by the
HUMURA Association, with the participation of the Canadian Jewish
Congress, the Association of Darfur, and ANCC.

Genocide denial was the theme of the press conference.

At the end of the conference the participants signed a letter bringing
to the attention of the Right Hon.

Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, that "genocide deniers
hide behind the veil of dubious scholars of the 'truth' who increase
the agony of the victims' wounds that have never healed... While Canada
rightly protects fundamental liberties, including the liberty of
expression, we strongly believe that genocide deniers should never
enjoy constitutional guarantees to propagate heinous and racist
speeches targeting specific ethnic groups in Canada."

Babikian said that he considered it ANCC's privilege and honor to
participate in the gatherings to "show our friendship with other
genocide victim nations. We, the survivors of similar heinous crimes,
or the descendents of those who survived, must unite to remind the
international community that such crimes will not be forgotten,
denied or be allowed to be repeated. We owe it to our martyrs who
paid the ultimate price for intolerance, xenophobia and hatred."
From: Baghdasarian