Monday, August 27, 2007

Amb. Evans awarded by Genocide scholars

Originally published in July 14, 2007 Armenian Reporter.

Scholars of Genocide award Amb. Evans
By Emil Sanamyan

YEREVAN – The diplomat whose career was cut short by the U.S. State Department after he spoke openly about the Armenian Genocide was awarded by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) this week.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans received the IAGS’ Raoul Wallenberg award on July 12 during the association’s week-long conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The IAGS conference agenda said that the award went to Amb. Evans “for speaking out when diplomats are expected to remain silent, and for calling upon the United States government to recognize the Armenian Genocide.”

In his acceptance remarks made available to the Armenian Reporter, Amb. Evans stressed that his effort was certainly in a different league that that of Mr. Wallenberg, a Swedish humanitarian who under diplomatic cover in WWII Hungary helped protect Jews from the Nazi Holocaust.

“I simply violated a strict taboo, and differed publicly with my government, when, at UCLA and Berkeley in 2005, I used the term "genocide" to describe --accurately, in my view -- what happened to the Armenians of Anatolia in 1915,” Mr. Evans said.

He added that while “nothing can fully compensate the Armenian people for the death and destruction they suffered… at a minimum the truth should be affirmed,” as has been done in various national parliaments and can be done in the U.S. Congress should the House of Representatives’ leadership schedule a vote on the Resolution 106, supported by 221 members of Congress as of July 12.

IAGS chaired by Israeli scholar Dr. Israel Charny has previously spoken out in support of defining as Genocide the Armenian experience in the Ottoman Turkish Empire

Mr. Evans also pointed to the recent insurance settlements over unclaimed policies held by Armenians who were murdered in the Genocide, but added that “more needs to be done.”

“Bottling up the truth and treating it as taboo gets us precisely nowhere,” he stressed. “This long-standing problem dating from the early years of the 20th century needs to be fairly and honestly dealt with, for the good of both Armenians and Turks, and for the future stability of the region. “

At the same conference, another IAGS award went to Turkish publisher Ragip Zarakolu for “outstanding contributions to the battle against deniers of the Armenian Genocide and all denials of Genocides.”

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