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Genocide Conference in San Jose
by ZNDA - Zinda Assyrian Magazine
Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2000 01:47 pm CST

(ZNDA: San Jose) On August 5th nearly one hundred Assyrians participated at the first Assyrian Genocide Conference organized by an Assyrian organization in the United States. The purpose of the conference was to convene some of the leading experts on Assyrian Genocide of 1915; Assyrian activists and researchers to address the issues related to the execution and aftermath of the Turkish government's crime committed against its Christian population in 1915.

The Conference received much attention from non-Assyrian activists, media and organizations involved in raising awareness on genocides committed in the 20th Century. The invited speakers were Dr. Gabriele Yonan from Germany, Dr. Abdul Massih Saadi from Chicago, Ms. Thea Halo from New York, Dr. Jacob Boas and Mr. Serop Nenejian from Oregan.

The event began at 8:30 in the morning and lasted until late evening. Set against the historic background of Hayes Mansion in San Jose, the conference was attended by local and state-wide Assyrian activists, pastors, and Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance, Mr. John Nimrod. The event was hosted by the Assyrian American Association of San Jose. Ms. Jacklin Bejan, president of the AAA of San Jose welcomed the attendees and Mr. Wilfred Alkhas, publisher of Zinda Magazine, moderated the event.

Dr. Yonan and Dr. Saadi offers profound analysis of the events leading to the 1915 Genocide, and explained political and social factors involved. Dr. Yonan explained the role of the German government in galvanizing the Muslims against the Christian populations and Dr. Saadi emphasized the importance of greater scholarly research necessary to shed more light on the causes and latter effects of this tragedy. It was noted that as a result of this Genocide, over two thirds of the Assyrian population was decimated. Had the Genocide not occurred the Assyrians would have enjoyed a population over ten million in the Middle East alone, noted one speaker.

Dr. Boas was born in a German concentration camp in Poland and is a Holocaust survivor. He is the past director of the Jewish Holocaust Center in Northern California and Oregan. Mr. Nenejian is an Armenian activist who delivered a passionate speech on the evil acts conducted by the government of Turkey then and its current efforts to fund different university history programs across the United States.

Thea Halo's readings from her book were well received and all copies of "Not Even My Name" were sold in less than a few minutes.

The Conference was organized by the Assyrian American Association of San Jose and sponsored by Zinda Magazine and several other local businesses. A Proceedings of the Assyrian Genocide Conference will soon be published by the Assyrian American Association in which each speaker's full address and articles will be made available to public.

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