Oslo – Norwegian activists and Armenians of Norway gathered on April 24, in the heart of Oslo to march for recognition for the Armenian Genocide. Nansen’s granddaughter Marit Greve and great granddaughter Anne Greve were among the gathered, to demand justice and recognition. The gathered marched from Youngstorget towards the parliament building. In front of the Parliament the organizers read three speeches. The first speech was by Anne Greve the great granddaughter of Norwegian humanist, diplomat, politician and explorer, a great advocate and friend of the Armenian people, Fridtjof Nansen.
“To prevent genocides and major crimes against humanity, we have to recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide” she proclaimed. “We stand here today in solidarity with the Armenian people, and all the people that continue to be subjected to suppression and violence today” Greve continued. Mrs. Greve concluded her speech with a paragraph from a thematic, well-known Norwegian poem Du må ikke sove (One Must not Sleep) by Arnulf Øverland.
A speech by the coordinator of the march, Airazat Kazarian, on behalf of the organizers, the Armenian Cultural Association in Norway and the Armenian Apostolic Church Society followed. Mr. Kazarian named the names and deeds of the great Norwegians who dedicated their lives to helping orphaned and paperless survivors of the Armenian Genocide. The concluding speech by the head of the Antirassistisk Senter, Rune Berglund Steen centered on the importance of a solid moral stance on the issue by politicians, leaders, educations, journalists and activists, noting that the unpunished crime of the Armenian Genocide led to other genocides and major crimes against humanity.
Before the organizers would announce the march dismissed, one Kurdish youngster asked for a word. His speech was short, but heart-felt and very strong, he simply said “I want to apologize to the Armenian People, we share your pain and stand with you today!”
Among participants were also several people whose grandparents escaped the Armenian Genocide and other prosecutions with the help of Nansen Passport. French film-maker Valentine Varela, was one of them, who is in Oslo to meet Nansen’s family, as well as shoot footages with families of Nansen Passport owners for her film dedicated to Nansen’s passport.
Another noted participant, who was accompanying Valerie, was the famous French–Armenian actor Jacky Nercessian, most famous among Armenians for his character of “Abgar” in Mayrig, the movie by Herni Verneuil about Armenian Genocide survivor family’s new life in Paris, France.
This was the concluding event, part of series of events marking 100th year since the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey of 1915-1923. The Armenian Genocide, first genocide of the 20th century, was planned and carried out by the “Young Turk” government of Ottoman Turkey in 191 (with subsidiaries to 1922-23). One and a half million Armenians were killed on their ancestral lands. The Armenian genocide is considered one of the three archetypes of what constitutes a genocide by Norwegian and international historians.
Events and initiatives marking the centennial are being held around the world throughout the year of 2015. Leaders from around the world including presidents of France, Russia, Serbia, Cyprus among others, gathered in capital of Armenia, Yerevan, on April 24, to commemorate this event.
Prime minister Erna Solberg has not accepted the invitation to join the commemorations in Yerevan. Neither was she willing to send a minister or a state secretary.
The Armenian Cultural Association in Norway is pleased with the scale and scope of the commemorative events marking the centennial in Norway (over 20 events). Events on such a solid scale signal that the country and the people of Fridtjof Nansen, carry on his mission and demand that justice be served, regardless of the controversial position of their government.
The Armenian Cultural Association in Norway is devoted to promoting Armenian culture and traditions in Norway, and to strengthen bonds between the two countries, cultures and peoples. For further information on the Armenian Cultural Association in Norway and its activities check www.armenia.no or email:firstname.lastname@example.org.