Professor Israel W. Charny, one of the world’s foremost scholars in Holocaust and genocide studies, has expressed praise for the term “Genolive,” which was coined by Los Angeles author and cultural critic Stepan Partamian.
Professor Charny came across the term while reading an article published in the California Courier. Subsequently he emailed Partamian, commending him for coining the word and stating his wish for its wider dissemination and acceptance. “I like your term ‘Genolive,’” Charny wrote. “It seems so simple and clear and indeed an antidote to rotten genocide. At the same time, I admit that I’m not at all sure about how you (and we all) can generate meaningful recognition of this word and widespread usage. It would do the world good.”
In a later email addressed to Partamian, Professor Charny wrote, “It is an enormous task to get a new word accepted into usage, but even if you do not succeed, you will have made a contribution for some people by introducing the word and its concept into the literature. I hope to refer to it in some future writing, such as a major project I envision about denials of genocide.”
As Partamian explains, “Genolive” is meant as the opposite of genocide. “By coining this term, my aim has been to underscore the fact that the Ottoman Turks failed in their attempt to annihilate the Armenian people,” Partamian says. “Accordingly, ‘Genolive’ is a construct that signifies not just the Armenian nation’s survival and recovery, but its ongoing quest to enrich humanity with outstanding contributions, in fields ranging from art, music, literature, and cinema to sports, politics, science, technology, and medicine.”
Professor Charny is a co-founder and past president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. He is a longtime Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, and now also the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of Genocide Prevention Now, a worldwide webmagazine.
In a paper Professor Charny gave in Athens in September 2010, at a conference devoted to bringing together co-victims of the Armenian Genocide, he presented publicly for the first time a proposal for a new organization of survivors of different genocides in the world, together with other caring people. The organization would be called R2L (Right to Life). In 2011, Professor Charny received Armenia’s Presidential Prize, in recognition of his landmark contributions to genocide studies.
Apart from creating the term “Genolive,” Partamian has turned the concept into a palpable project. Since 2009, he has been interviewing Genocide survivors as well as their descendants in order to showcase their contributions to American civilization and humanity as a whole. “While we Armenians have rightfully focused on the horrific aspects of the Genocide, from the deaths of over 2 million people to the loss of our territories and wealth, we have all but disregarded our nation’s stunning tenacity in its bid to regroup, rebuild and revitalize itself, and go on to make positive contributions to our countries of residence — by creating and inventing things that have helped transform humanity. Now the Genolive Project is my way of celebrating and showcasing what is unquestionably positive about Armenian life in the past 100-plus years.”
Next, Partamian plans on making a major documentary based on the “Genolive” concept. Toward this goal, he will interview scores of individuals, including not just Genocide-survivor descendants who have made major contributions to humanity, but, as importantly, persons in various countries, including Turks, who are among those benefiting from Armenian contributions. The documentary will also showcase the achievements of those whom Partamian has interviewed since 2009.