The Armenian Genocide: the History that has no disciples

29/04/24

Last April 24, on the initiative of the Embassy of Armenia and the Council of the Armenian Community of Rome, the commemoration ceremony of the Armenian Genocide took place in its 109tha anniversary. The first Genocide of the 20th century which seems to have taught men and states very little, or almost nothing. Furthermore, the decision taken at the time by the Municipality of the Capital to name the garden in Piazza Augusto Lorenzini after that Genocide was commendable. 

Certainly, the preservation of memory is fundamental as an opportunity to express our disapproval of such misdeeds; and it is also essential as historical testimony, or as a documentary source to transmit to future generations the memory of events that affect the very identity of a people and their national conscience. And this is precisely the case of the Armenian Genocide which struck with absurd ferocity a people who have already been sacrificed many times on the altar of violence throughout history. But unfortunately from that horrible experience it seems that men did not learn the right lessons that were expected. Since that date, in fact, other Genocides have occurred in the world up to the present day, taking place almost everywhere under the too often indifferent eyes of many Governments and States ready to take an interest in cases only when useful for the achievement of their own national interests.. It is the commodification of values ​​that today, in fact, prevails in the international community. A community more inclined to profit than to respect for the dignity of the human person.

And so Genocides continue to spread across the Planet, multiplying pain and suffering. Nor was the Genocide of 1915 able to immunize Armenia from similar violence. Today, like yesterday, the country is still at risk. In fact, at risk is not only its territorial integrity, following the two recently lost wars, or its economic recovery capacity, but also, and above all, the survival of its idea-substance of the Nation. Yes, because the very identity of its people is still suffering the most shameful of harassment today; and this is both as a result of the attitude of Western countries, too often indifferent to Armenian national causes, and because of the assertively expansive policy conducted by its impetuous and combative neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan. To remind us how unreliable and aggressive these countries are, the words uttered by Erdogan himself regarding Armenia help.

“We must continue the work of our fathers” the Turkish president declared only recently, making clear his intentional reference to the Genocide of 1915. But even on a cultural level, Armenia risks elimination.

As already happened some time ago in Nakhijevan, an Azerbaijani exclave, now it is the turn of theArtsakh (Armenian name for Nagorno Karabagh) to begin the dismantling of the Armenian Christian churches. Has any Western country reacted to the recent destruction of the Church of St. John the Baptist in Shushi? Armenia is struck not only by attacking its population, but it is also wounded in the depths of its conscience and historical memory. It is its national identity at risk of being erased. And it all happens under the detached, if not downright apathetic, gaze of Western governments.

To avoid the occurrence of such events, however, we inhabitants of the most opulent part of the planet do not look back, to reflect and change the political course; we continue to rely on the commemoration of the victims, as if "memory" alone could be enough to exorcise Evil. But memory is evidently not enough to avoid other similar misdeeds in the future. It's not enough anymore. Although necessary in order not to lose historical trace of events, preventing them from falling into oblivion, memory no longer teaches anything, it no longer seems sufficient, as a source of teaching to future generations, to overcome the "sense of emptiness" that the loss of the values ​​of life imposes on us, much less to prevent other tragedies from occurring again in the future.

If we look at the current political trend, in fact, we will easily notice that humanity is going through one of the darkest and most distressing periods of the modern age as never before in our times. Surviving the two World Wars was of no use: man learned nothing from them. After a phase of apparent recovery of civilization, at the time of the affirmation by the United Nations of the rights of freedom and of the human person, everything was quickly forgotten. And so today, among the hidden legacies of the two world conflicts, we find ourselves in a third world war that is equally ruthless, but fought in pieces and fragments in every corner of the planet and at a very high cost in human lives.

Memory, evidently, is no longer enough. The current political framework is dotted with violence, wars, massacres and genocides. And indeed, the ease with which death is preached today would almost seem to convince us of its banality, as if we could play with it as a pastime, as a means of amusing ourselves, a gamble in which our very existence is at stake. But this process of trivializing death is taking hold even within our countries! Here we legislate for euthanasia, for easy abortion, for liquid cremation. Even the advertising of funeral homes comes to ridicule the moment of "passing" as if it were a simple leap into another existential place where one can arrive cosmetically flawless!

Isn't this the "culture of death" that is forcefully imposed today? But it seems that the memory of the past is no longer enough to prevent it from taking over. An extra soul would be needed to stop this journey towards the abyss, and the Armenian Genocide should teach us this.

Yes, let's continue to commemorate these misdeeds of history. There is always a point in doing so, if only to pity the victims. But to counteract this prevailing "culture of death" much more will be necessary. A serious rethink will be needed on the outcomes of this nefarious political course. A rethinking that leads us to believe that the victory of Good is still possible. And it is our belief in this regard that only with active, direct and personal participation in an action to contain Evil will we be able to guarantee the restoration of the lost values ​​of life.

Memory alone, therefore, is no longer enough. Only a serious and felt civic commitment on the part of all of us will be able to help us avoid the occurrence of other Genocides in the future.

Bruno Scapini

Photo: Defense Online