Over 250 people gathered in Edessa Hall on Sunday 27th of June for an Assyrian Genocide Seminar organised by a sub-committee of the Assyrian Universal Alliance. With both Academic and local presentations the Seminar explored the truth surrounding the Assyrian Genocide – in which over 700,000 Assyrians were reportedly massacred from 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey.
Dr Robert M Kaplan, and Dr Panayiotis Diamadis were among those that addressed the congregation, comprised of members of Assyrian, Armenian and Greek communities. Over the two hour period there was an exploration of various aspects of the reality of the Seyfo Genocide - where in total over 2 million Armenian, Assyrian and Greek people perished.
Dr Kaplan explored issues including the involvement of medical professionals in institution-endorsed murder, also emphasising how international apathy in fact condoned the Genocide and ensures the cycle of Genocide is not complete. Dr Kaplan, with a background in psychiatry, was quite vocal about the importance of recognition and recompense to the survivors and descendants of those that have suffered such atrocities - highlighting that the acceptance and acknowledgement of the truth is central to closure and reconciliation.
Dr Diamadis directed the congregation through the Australian efforts to rescue and assist the victims of the Genocide, acknowledging the efforts of Dunsterforce, Lieutenant General Sir Stanley Savige and others while exploring historical evidence taken from a number of archives including the Australian War Memorial Archives. Dr Diamadis asserted the entwinement of Australian and Assyrian history, showing how far back Australians had ties with the Assyrian Race and reasserting the importance of the Australian contribution to the existence of the Assyrian people.
Other presenters included Miss Tabetha Bisseh from the New South Wales Babylon Association, and Miss Anna David who represented their local communities. These presenters highlighted the personal nature and emotional burden of memories from the Genocide that were passed on from survivors and through historic accounts.
This Seminar was held to raise awareness about the nature of the Assyrian Genocide – Seyfo ahead of the unveiling of the controversial Assyrian Genocide Memorial Statue at Edensor Park, New South Wales in Australia.
The unveiling is scheduled to take place on August 7th 2010