Communiqué – 2007. 09. 03 – Pro Edvcatio
A t t h e d a w n o f t h e a c a d e m i c y e a r 2 0 0 7 - 2 0 0 8
R E M A R K S and Q U E S T I O N S
On Issues of Minorities & Human Rights
in relation with
M E L K O N I A N E D U C A T I O N A L I N S T I T U T E
The process of a Genocide and the conduct of a Culturicide
Too many honest and decent people are afraid to express their views
for fear of being labelled politically incorrect.
THE MELKONIAN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE (MEI), based on its campus in Nicosia - Cyprus closed its doors in June 2005 to students coming mostly from overseas countries where people of the Armenian Diaspora are settled. The MEI is closed down by the "decision" of a group of persons claiming to be the Board of Directors (BoD) of an Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) with its Head offices in New York – USA.
A HOUSING AGREEMENT
The above-mentioned BoD, in the name of its AGBU, has signed (2007 June 20) an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Cyprus. The agreement stipulates the relocation of the Gymnasium of Aglanja (in Nicosia) with its over 400 students during the 2007-2008 academic year at the designated premises of the closed down MEI. The temporary relocation of the Gymnasium is considered necessary in order not to disrupt its normal functioning and to allow the authorities concerned to complete expeditiously the urgently required repairs of the school buildings at Aglanja (cf. the public statement of the said BoD’s president, dated 2007 June 20).Indeed it seems quite natural to occupy the emptied premises of a closed down school by another academic establishment in need of buildings for its ongoing activities. Nevertheless, this housing agreement generates a series of remarks and questions.
U N I Q U E E S T A B L I S H E M E N T OF WESTERN ARMENIANS IS CLOSED DOWN
The MEI has been the unique Western Armenian International Boarding High school in the world. It is closed down by the decision, it has to be repeatedly recalled, of a group of persons claiming to be the BoD of an AGBU presumed to be the owner of the MEI.
The AGBU (but not an AGBU), founded in Cairo – Egypt on 15 April 1906, has been an All Armenian Institution deserving the respect of all Armenians. Could this institution be represented by a group of persons (maybe most honourable) as its BoD while they do not implement the fundamental rules of the century-old venerable AGBU? (see the AGBU’s founders’ Oath, concerning the Wills and Donations entrusted to the Institution – signed and dated 1910 January 1st, and published also in New York - 1925 ).
The MEI was already founded and funded by the instructions of the benefactor Garabed Melkonian. But, due to international political events, the management of the MEI and the funding of other beneficiaries as recorded in the Melkonian Will (The Will) was transferred to the AGBU (see: Deed of Assignment and Transfer- 1925 December 28). The Will stipulates the continuity of the MEI and the other beneficiaries’ subsidies, independently of the continuity or the interruption of the AGBU’s existence. It is clear that closing down the MEI is contrary to the terms of the Will. These aspects have been communicated to the senior statesmen of
the Republic of Cyprus – namely to the Head of the State, the President of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Education and Culture and the leaders of all Political Parties, as well as the Armenian Cypriots’ Representative at the Parliament (see the letters of Pro Edvcatio – 2004 April 05 and October 23)
L E G A L I T Y & L E G I T I M A C Y
One may presume that what is called to-day as AGBU, by a group of persons, might be considered the legal continuity of the All Armenian Institution the AGBU founded in 1906. Nevertheless that legality does not have the necessary legitimacy. Because of the fact that the very fundamentals of the all Armenian Institution the AGBU are not being fulfilled by the said group of persons claiming to be the genuine representatives’ successors of the AGBU. Those fundamentals are: The implementation and efficient management of the Wills and Donations entrusted to the AGBU according to the description of their objectives. Precisely in the case of the Melkonian Will, the continuity of the MEI should be ensured for the development of the Western Armenian Human Resources, within their appropriate culture. Could anybody affirm that these fundamentals are being fulfilled by closing down the MEI? As a matter of fact could legality without legitimacy have any validity and make any sense in the Western Democracies? Is it not so in the European Union (EU) Member States – amongst which is the Republic of Cyprus?
S T A T E M E N T S O F S T A T E S M E N A N D R E A L I T Y
Maybe a certain conception of Western democracies has motivated the following statements, related to the MEI, made respectively by two prominent Cypriot statesmen, namely Mr.Marios Garoyian – leader of the Democratic Party of Cyprus (DIKO), the ruling Party in the Parliament, and Mr. Demetris Christofias – the President of the Parliament (the House of Representatives) and the Secretary General of AKEL (the Communist Party):
We must all work to reopen MELKONIAN (Mr Garoyan -2007 May 21) and
I promise you. I will put the matter once again to the President of Cyprus. I am sure the Authorities and the Government in Armenia share our views (Mr Christophias - 2007 May 23).
These statements were made during their meeting with the representatives of the Journalists Unions both of Armenia and Cyprus, in answering to the questions about the MEI put forward by Mr Hagop Avedikian – the editor of AZG Armenian daily.
As early as one month after (2007 June 20), an announcement by the said AGBU declared that the use of the MEI premises has been granted to the Gymnasium of Aglanja. Under these circumstances one wonders if the statement "reopen Melkonian" means to shelter a sister school in a logic of an urgent necessity. And does the statement to "Put the matter once again to the President of Cyprus" mean to house the Gymnasium of Aglanja, in the closed down MEI premises, with an agreement concluded between a Ministry of Cyprus and an AGBU representative?!
Should one then conclude that the declarations of the above mentioned Cypriot Statesmen had to be equivocal or dichotomous? If so, no one a bit familiar with the History of mankind will be surprised; To-day too, is it not possible to observe– even too frequently – representatives of superpowers confirming that black is white or pink and vice versa! And afterwards claiming the contrary. Many people are able to agree with it and be happy! Why couldn’t smaller powers or the representatives of a group follow this way of marketing?
If it is not so, what happened to the efforts of Mr. Garoyian and Mr. Christofias? Did they examine the situation in co-operation with Mr. Vartkes Mahdessian – the Armenian Cypriots’ Representative - and work together for the MEI ?
THE DIASPORA OF WESTERN ARMENIANS
IS NOT A COLONY OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
In his declaration, Mr. Christofias – The President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus referred to the Government of Armenia. It must be made always clear that the MEI along with the entirety of its real estate is a Western Armenian Diaspora property. This Diaspora has common components with Western Armenian Language and Culture. Yet, persons claiming to share its identity are genuine citizens of different sovereign countries. Therefore they are not, in any case, subject to the views of the rulers of the Republic of Armenia. In fact the MEI is based on the territory of Cyprus where the Armenian Cypriots’ Official Representative, as a
connoisseur of the Western Armenian Diaspora, is the most appropriate and authoritative person to be consulted in connection with the MEI issue, but not the representatives of the Government of Armenia nor the other authorities of the country. By analogy, would it be judicious to think that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has to be submitted to the views or decisions of the Government of the Republic of Greece, by the arguments that they use the same alphabet, share cultural common roots and are close friends ?
GUARANTEES STIPULATED BY INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS
The MEI is a Western Armenian Institution. Should its activity and physical integrity not to be guaranteed by the sovereign State of the Republic of Cyprus, in compliance with international commitments related to the Minority Languages protection and development processed in the country? Does this not mean the obligatory defence of Human Rights ? Is it not certain that to close down the MEI mean to stop short the protection and the development of the Western Armenian Language in Cyprus, as well as in other EU and non-EU countries in the world from where students were coming to be educated in an "exotic" culture ? Is this closing down not directly against the Council of Europe (CE) Treaty, signed by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus ? (see: the letter of Pro Edvcatio addressed to the Legal Department of the CE in Strasbourg, 2005. 08. 30, copied to the Authorities of Cyprus ; and letters addressed to the appropriate Department offices of the CE by Western Armenians from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, and other EU countries, as well as the U.S.A) .
Could somebody explain why and how the Cyprus Government, Legislator and Judiciary Bodies may allow the dismantlement and annihilation of the MEI – unique International Western Armenian Boarding High school in the world - based on the territory under its jurisdiction? Did the above mentioned Bodies verify the legitimacy of their "counterparts" who introduced themselves as the owners of the MEI, while a Ministry of the Republic of Cyprus is accepting to deal with them and sign an agreement to use the premises of the MEI, which was arbitrarily closed down and emptied?
If these "counterparts" are indeed competent to make such a transaction, then they should have both the legality and legitimacy qualities for doing so. Only under these circumstances the rights of institutions could be respected. Even if they were solely acting as physical persons, should not their activities be respected only if they were carried out by pertinent, transparent and efficient governance? Persons heading religious and /or civilian institutions are all subject to these conditions of credibility.
E S S E N T I A L S O F H U M A N R I G H T S D E F E N C E
A N D T H E P R E S E R V A T I O N O F T H E E C O S Y S T E M
The MEI is one of the most important Western Armenian Institutions. Should not people, who for reasons of their own are trying to annihilate it, be directed by the State Authorities of Cyprus to address their "deal" first of all to the Western Armenian Diaspora?
Should it be repeated that the Armenian Cypriots’ Representative at the Parliament of Cyprus, is the most appropriate person, to be entrusted with this task? In this way maybe the MEI could be saved, as an active element of the World Educational Cultural Property. This is as important as the preservation of the ecosystem’s biodiversity of the planet World. Both are in need of very careful protection. In fact there are no minor and negligible cultural values on this planet. Even the ones considered modest are part of the harmonious coexistence in any dynamic society (see the related Treaty of the CE). Those human values represent the very essentials of Human Rights; they belong equally both to the majorities and minorities.
The MEI is by nature a public entity. It has to have efficient governance, but it cannot belong solely to a BoD, nor Alumni Clubs, nor to a local group of people recognized as a Community. The MEI belongs to the world aiming to educate people in the Armenian Culture using the Western Armenian Language – so that they always become valuable citizens in any country – despite all difficulties.
CALAMITIES, THE PRICE OF BLOOD AND CULTURE
"Difficulties" is too moderate a word to qualify the calamities endured by the people belonging to the Western Armenian Culture. Cyprus brings to mind historical facts that took place much earlier than the establishment of the MEI in the Island. It was 1878 in Berlin, at a
Conference of the Superpowers, that the Administration of Cyprus was taken away from Ottoman rule and transferred to the British Empire. This transfer is recorded in the History as "the price of the Armenians’ blood"! And the Western Armenians paid that price – in cash and in kind - by unspeakable pillage, sack, arson, rape, exile, deportation, massacre, extermination and genocide. The "crime» of the victims for which they were punished was being of Armenian Culture in their own country.
At present Armenians are not victims of genocide neither in Cyprus nor in another country. But they are the potential victims of a culturicide. Is this not a variant of genocide "offered" to the Western Armenians with the dismantlement of the MEI in Nicosia-Cyprus? Is the annihilation of the MEI not "the price of the Western Armenian Culture"?
B E N E F I C I A R E S A N D P A Y E R S
Who may be the beneficiary of this dismantlement? Certainly not the school of Anglanja’s innocent and brave trainees enjoying a "generosity" at the expense of the Western Armenian Culture Worldwide. Just as no body can confirm that the 1878 Berlin Treaty beneficiaries were Greek Cypriots. But the "generosity agreement" related to Cyprus was not engineered in Berlin. It was made in Nicosia, the Capital of the Republic of Cyprus on June 20, 2007. In both cases Western Armenians are payers. In the case of Berlin the payment was concluded by the First Genocide of the 20th century. In the case of Nicosia the price, in perspective, is the Western Armenian Culturicide.
S W E A T , T E A R S, B L O O D, L I V E S
A N D A L O N G, V E R Y L O N G M A R C H
This internationally organized annihilation attempt violates the Human Rights of Western Armenians by closing down the MEI. This is a challenge that Pro Edvcatio, among other units worldwide, has accepted for the last 5 years informing officials and other citizens in every country – both Armenians and non-Armenians – for action in relation to the defence of Human Rights. This movement may not expect an early "Rosy-fingered morn" of a Homerean Odyssey. It may be a long, very long march. However that will be no surprise. Because the people, familiar with the evolution of Western Armenian Language and Culture, know that these values are due to the hard work of a large number of individuals full of faith and hope for restoring the dignity of their cherished community. They have all paid their Human Rights by their own sweat, tears, blood and lives.
On behalf of Pro Edvcatio*
Nathalie Andréassian-Coron Jurist // Magistrate - Judge (France) ; Sabine Haas M.A History // Gamma Institutes Presidential assistant (Germany); Michéle Guillaume - Hofnung Jurist// Prof. At the schools of Law + vice President of the Committee of Human Rights and Matters of Ethics CNF/UNESCO + President of the Institue of Mediation Guillaume - Hofnung(France).; Koharig Kevorkian Educationist // Multilingual Assistant for International Matters (France) ; Dr. Dalita Roger Educationist, Prof. Agrégée d’Anglais // Maitre de conférence à l ‘Université Panthéon Sorbonne Paris1 (France) ;Nora Tchilinguirian Jurist // Assistante à l’Université Pantheon-Assas Paris 2 (France) ; Dr. Renata Westenrieder Psychologist // Educator (Germany) ;Dr Bernard Andréassian MD, Prof. Agrégé //Thoracic Surgeon (France); Thierry Cornavin Jurist // Maître de Conférence à l’Université Panthéon Assas Paris 2 (France) ; Xavier Coron Jurist // Director for legal Matters ( France); Tatto Couligian BSc / Retired - Civil Eng., MICE (UK); Bernard Defrance// Prof. of Philosophy, Ministery of Education (retired), Vice-President of the International Children’s Defence, French Section (France);. Edward A. Fisher MA Economics + Languages + Philosophy // International Matters Systems’ Analyst (U.K.); Bedros Hadjian Armenian Languages & Culture Specialist // Teachers’ Educator (Argentina);Dr.Art Maranci Chem & Meca Eng.// Composits R&D (USA); Daniel Maranci Jurist // Minorities & Immigrants’ Matters (USA); Peter Maranci BA History // Computer Specialst (USA); Dr Nicholas Nicolaidis juriste // founding president of Gamma Institute (Greece); Dr. Vartan Ozinian Econometrics and Political Scs. // Adviser for International Matters + Spokesman of Pro Edvcatio (France, Worldwide); Claude Villemant Ing. Centralien de Lille// Direction des produits à Alcatel Télécom. (France)..
NB. this communiqué will be published worldwide in English, French, German, Greek, Spanish and Western Armenian.
*The P R O E D V C A T I O is a Worldwide International F O R V M which deals with educational matters – taking into consideration social, economic and political dimensions of the cultural dynamics – together with geopolitical realities and related strategies for the development of human resources, respectful to legitimacy and legal conditions. The P R O E D V C A T I O ‘s G R T A S S E R E is a p a n e l – constituted by ad hoc Armenians of Diaspora and non-Armenians – which deals with Armenian educational issues.
P R O E D V C A T I O - G a m m a I n s t i t u t e s W o r l d N e t w o r k
BP 235 – 16 • F-75765 Paris Cedex 16 * Fax : 33 1 42 24 46 39