http://news.president.am/events/statements/
At Villa Empain President Sargsyan made a statement
27.05.2010
Dear representatives of Pogossian family,
Dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentelmen,

I am happy to be here, at one of Brussels historical and cultural
sites - Villa Empain. First, allow me to start with the words of
appreciation for the Pogossian Foundation, which has undertaken the
task of restoring this marvelous monument of the first half of the
20th century.

Baron Louis Empain, a patron of arts intended to create here a center
of arts and culture. But the 20th century was harsh and the start of
WWII cancelled those plans. Today, thanks to Pogossian family, Villa
Empain becomes what its founder wanted it to be - the center for
East-West dialogue and arts.

We, the Armenians, due to ruthless whims of history, are spread all
over the world. In the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th
century the chieftains of the Ottoman Empire failed to understand and
appreciate the Armenians. They failed to understand those unique
people, who learn foreign languages fast, establish relations with
other nations and serve as mediators between East and West in trade,
business, culture, and literature. They failed to comprehend why those
strange Armenians self-organize, create cultural centers, and publish
multilingual periodicals. And they had found the easiest solution to
the problem: if there are no Armenians, there is no need to ponder
over these questions.

The Genocide made the Armenians spread all over the world. Armenians
live and thrive not only in Christian but also in many Muslim
countries. It is hard to say whether those Armenians who had fled the
horrors of the Genocide were received more warmly in Christian or in
Muslim countries. Support and assistance provided to our nation in
those dire times is immeasurable.

Today, here at Villa Empain, the Pogossian Foundation remains faithful
to the Armenian tradition of being a mediator between East and
West. In our difficult times, when there are certain attempts to
supply conflicts with religious lining and speak about the clash of
civilizations, we, the Armenians should continue with our
long-established traditions of being a bridge between different
cultures. As a nation scattered around the globe we know only too well
how important tolerance is, as well as respect toward the other's
belief, language, and culture. For this very reason we are able to
truly and sincerely appreciate the importance of dialogue between
cultures.

We also know that problems of intolerance and discrimination are not
to be solved through the statements, declarations, or manifestations
of good will alone. In the end of the 20th century, the humanity
witnessed yet another horrid crime - genocide in Rwanda. First, that
genocide was carried out through words. The Armenians had passed the
same road of sufferings. However, when the Armenian Genocide was
committed there were neither radio, nor TV, while the ideologists of
the crime in Rwanda injected their poison through that very means of
communication.
Promulgation of hatred is not just neutral utilization of the freedom
of speech: it misuses that freedom to plant hatred and trigger
violence against one, targeted group of people. Whoever the members of
that targeted group may be =80` a Jew or a Tutsi, an Arab or an
Armenian - their chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime
multiply.

Recently, Armenians have become a target of such promulgation of
hatred. When the leader of a neighboring state says that the Armenians
must be deported for the sole reason that they are Armenians, I cannot
but help to remember what happened in 1915. However, I cannot also
neglect the events in Rwanda, where similar statements were put on TV
and radio to pave the way for violence.

When from another neighboring state we hear hate howls and constant
threats of war, I once again recall the ruthless lessons of
history. In Azerbaijan, just like in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians
were perceived as an alien entity - disturbing and useless, which must
be get rid off through the massacres and atrocities. And after all
this, Baku is trying once again to establish its rule over Nagorno
Karabakh and its freedom-loving people, the very people they were
craving to wipe out.

Armenophobia becomes mentality, and its dissemination - a state
policy. Armenophobia today is one of the most basic manifestation of
misanthropy. Humanism has withstood the battle but fight against
misanthropy still goes on. Misanthropy has lost the battle but,
regrettably, not the war. How many places are there in the world where
children look up into the sky not to welcome the sun and admire the
sky but to see if death and destruction are not rushing down.

The noble mission of Baron Empain was terminated by the World War
II. The factual end of the war was heralded by the Nuremberg process,
in which humanity defeated misanthropy. Today, Baron Empain's vision
becomes reality thanks to the Pogossian family, because we, the
Armenians do not terrify other's children with saber-rattling, because
our goal is the dialogue of cultures and mutual enrichment.

And I am happy that Villa Empain - the center for East-West dialogue
and arts opens its doors, and I cordially congratulate all of us on




From: A. Papazian