Dr. Michel Abs: We Must Shed Light On This History to Promote Awareness and Learn From It
The World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of the Churches on International Affairs in collaboration with the WCC Spiritual Life organized a webinar entitled “Past massacres in the Middle East” on Friday, November 19, 2021. It is part of many virtual events organized this year to mark the 75th anniversary of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches Dr. Michel Abs participated as panelist alongside the founder and director of the Assyrian Genocide Research – Seyfo Center Mr. Sabri Atman, Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Justice in Kurdish regional government Dr. Karmanj Othman, and WCC central committee member Mrs. Teny Pirri-Simonian representing the Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia.
Discussions were moderated by the Executive Assistant to MECC Secretary General Mrs. Seta Hadeshian, and co-facilitated by Rev. Dr. Mikie Roberts from the World Council of Churches.
The webinar started with an introduction to the topic. The panelists have then stressed on the massacres and genocides that the Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish and Syriac communities have experienced. As well as, they talked ways of reviving these communities and appreciating their resistance and resilience.
Panelist have also presented the ethnic cleansing and the suffering resulted from denying this crime, shedding the light on the need of work to avoid any other tragic incident against humanity.
Dr. Michel Abs stressed on the importance of continuing campaigns on the massacres and genocides to keep memory alive forever. In addition to diving into history, researching documents and publishing them on internet platforms in order to promote awareness and learning from this history.
Dr. Abs have also said, “We cannot deny the recognition of ethnic cleansing by international law, but what we want is that owners return back to their lands and properties.” He considered that “recovery from these crimes and genocides can’t be done because of their long term impact.” Dr. Abs called on the international institutions to assemble Christians in the diaspora and work to achieve unity among them.
The webinar also included a music and Prayer segment on the intention of the massacres victims and all those who survived during them, and a session for discussion and questions. It is ended by a message from Mrs. Seta Hadeshian, who pointed out that “we cannot live and sleep knowing that ethnic cleansing is still an unresolved issue.”