TORONTO, Canada (Armenpress)–A new course about genocide to be offered in Toronto high schools this fall has sparked anger among Turkish-Canadians for including the Armenian Genocide, the Toronto Star reports.
The 11th grade history course, the only one of its kind at a high school in Ontario and possibly Canada, is designed to teach teenagers the consequences of a government’s decision to set out and destroy people of a particular nationality, race or religion. The course examines genocide with three examples: the Holocaust, which exterminated 6 million Jews in World War II; the Rwandan genocide of nearly one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994; and the Turkish genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenia’s between 1915 and 1923.
"These are very significant, horrible parts of history, and without sounding hackneyed, we hope we can learn something from them so we can make a better world for our children’s children," said Gerri Gershon a trustee of the Toronto District School Board. Gershon proposed the course after a moving tour in 2005 of the Nazi death camps in Poland.
"This isn’t a course to teach hatred or blame the perpetrators," said Gershon. "Our goal is the exact opposite: To explore how this happens so we can become better people and make sure it never happens again."
But the Council of Turkish Canadians has gathered more than 1,200 signatures on an online petition opposed to the course for calling the Armenian killings a "genocide" and inciting anti-Turkish sentiment.