The International Literature Festival Berlin (ilb) and the Lepsiushaus Potsdam are calling for a worldwide reading on 21 April 2015 - the day that marks 100 years since the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.
Several hundred Armenian intellectuals – poets, musicians, parliamentary representatives and members of the clergy – were arrested in Constantinople (today Istanbul) on 24 April 1915, and deported to the Turkish interior where most of them were murdered. It was the start of a crime against humanity. The extermination of the Armenians during World War One was the first systematically planned and executed genocide of modern times. More than a million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire died during this genocidal campaign.
The events took place before the eyes of the whole world and were clearly documented by German, Austro-Hungarian, Italian, American, Scandinavian, Armenian and Ottoman sources as well as by a great number of historical research projects. As early as August 1915, The New York Times reported on a methodically planned programme of ethnic cleansing and extermination which was unprecedented in history up to that time. The German Reich’s government, which was allied to the Ottoman Empire, reached the same conclusions without undertaking anything against what was happening.
The Turkish political world denies the Armenian Genocide up to the present day, although the facts have been known for more than a hundred years. The Indian writer Arundhati Roy has spoken publicly about this scandal on many occasions, including at the 2009 International Literature Festival Berlin.
We are calling on cultural institutions, radio broadcasters and universities as well as schools to take part in the initiative and to organise their own readings on April 21, 2015.
The text selected for the reading has been taken from chapters seven and eight from The Book of Whispers by Varujan Vosganian. You can access the text in 15 languages on our website at http://www.worldwide-reading.com. Shortly you will also find information there about where readings will be taking place.
More than 300 authors from more than 65 countries are supporting this initiative, among them Nobel Prize for Literature laureates Mario Vargas Llosa, Herta Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Orhan Pamuk, Günter Grass and John M. Coetzee.
If you would like to organise a reading, please send us the relevant information by the 30th of March 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org, including details of the exact location and time of your event as well as the name of the participants.
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