HOUSTON–Zoryan Institute scholar Professor Vahakn N. Dadrian was invited by ANC Texas to the opening reception of the Armenian Genocide Exhibit at the Holocaust Museum Houston on March 29. The exhibit featured artifacts made available by the Armenian Library and Museum of America (ALMA)–as well as pictures by Ara Oshagan and his work on the Forgotten Genocide.
Dadrian’s lecture was delivered before a packed audience of some 200 people–marking the beginning of the 90th commemoration of the Armenian genocide in Texas–which also includes a march on the steps of the State Capitol in Austin and a dedication of a "Khatchkar" on the grounds of Houston’s only Armenian Church–St. Kevork.
Houston Holocaust Museum Director Dick Grisham sponsored an opening presentation emphasizing the atrocity of genocides and the brutality of denial–followed by Professor Dadrian’s "scientific" and methodical analysis of the Armenian genocide. The audience–fascinated by the presentations–traced their own roots to either events of the Genocide or the Holocaust as described by Dadrian–confirming that their lives have been directly or indirectly affected by the horrific events.
Dadrian explained key points of Turkey’s denial and the need of an appropriate methodology suited to counter and overwhelm the culture of persistent denial. Dadrian called it the methodology of "compelling evidence," which revolves around the principles of reliability–explicitness–incontestability–and verifiability.
He reconstructed the Armenian genocide in terms of its four major components: premeditation–genocidal intention–the organization of the genocide–and the implementation of the genocide. His hour-long presentation was greeted with a standing ovation.
Using a scholarly outline of events and a description of the historical context during which the genocide occurred–he eloquently described the events and people of the period leading up to and through the Armenian genocide.
Dadrian explained his risky effort to find irrefutable evidence–corroborate dates–people and places–find eyewitness reports from among the Ottoman hierarchy and archives–German’sources and others–and scoured for documentation that provided first hand accounts of the first Genocide of the 20th century.
The Museum Exhibit–which will be on display until the end of May 2005–has been possible through the dedication and efforts of the Armenian National Committee of Texas.