Genocides have no expiration date. Two progressive European countries prove it by their own example. First, a few days ago, France officially recognized the country’s responsibility in Rwanda for the 1994 Tutsi Genocide. Just one day later, Germany officially announced that its actions in the territory of another African country, Namibia, at the beginning of the 20th century were a genocide against Herero and Nama people. French President Emmanuel Macron has explained why Paris and Berlin decided to take such a step when there was no slightest international pressure.
“France has an obligation to face history. We have to admit that we have caused great suffering to the people of Rwanda by keeping silent about the truth for a long time,” says President of France Emmanuel Macron.
It is noteworthy that Paris pleaded not guilty for committing the Genocide, but for not speaking out about it. In 1994, about 800 thousand Tutsis were killed in Rwanda for their ethnicity: they were a national minority in that country.
In the case of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia, it is about tens of thousands of victims. The events took place in 1904-1908, when the African country was a German colony.
Edita Gzoyan, Deputy Director of the Armenian Genocide Institute-Museum, emphasizes that France and Germany dared to face the black pages of their history, and it did not happen forcibly, it happened voluntarily.
How can these two cases affect the process of recognizing the Armenian Genocide? Germany and Namibia have been negotiating the issue for years. Berlin will provide $1.3 billion for the development of the African country. This is important as a precedent in terms of recognizing or compensating for genocides, says genocide expert Suren Manukyan, reminding of Germany’s share of guilt in the Armenian Genocide.
“All these examples can become very strong arguments for us to advance this issue,” says genocide expert Suren Manukyan.
In the case of the current Government in Ankara, it is naive to expect any step from the Government to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Edita Gzoyan emphasizes, adding that it is necessary to work on the internal mood of Turkey.
“The spark from which the recognition should come is within Turkish society,” says Edita Gzoyan, Deputy Director of the Armenian Genocide Institute-Museum.
For many years, Turkey hoped that at some point the process of recognizing the Armenian Genocide would end, but even a century later, the recognition and condemnation continue. After the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States at all levels, the process actually reached its peak. Experts now have a common belief that it is time for Armenia to develop a unified approach to compensation.