In the context of value orientations
Harutyun T. Marutyan
The memory of the Armenian Genocide is one of the pillars of Armenian identity and, as such, has an important role in the Armenians’ value system. More than this, it is also one of the important tools for building the given value system through education.
One of the important ways of keeping that memory alive is teaching the subject of genocide in schools. The teaching of the subject of the
Armenian Genocide within the curricula in schools in Armenia is mainly included in “Armenian History” classes in the 8th and 11th grades and, as such, mainly provides cognitive information.
Cognitive knowledge is, as a rule, formed by providing information about the period, stages, developments and course of events characterizing
the phenomenon and is directed at the past. In other words, the information to be provided is knowledge about the past. However, this path is not
effective, in today’s reality, in terms of confronting the student with moral and other dilemmas in his/her life.
Several topics are put forward in the article and, by emphasizing them, it is possible to endow teenagers and young adults with positive value orientations and an identity based on the revered memory of the genocide. Those that stand out are (1) the self-defense battles fought by Armenians during the World War I and the Armenian Genocide; (2) humanitarian resistance, when the cause of Armenian salvation became, for the Armenians who took refuge in or near the places of exile, the spur to stimulate their organizational activities as well as those of already existing Armenian communities. As a result, effective rescue mechanisms were
formed (“One Armenian for one gold coin”); (3) manifestations of different forms of non-violent resistance: self-sacrificing strong internal family bonds, selfless mutual assistance between relatives and friends, acquaintances and strangers and reaching out to one another, sharing last pieces of bread and various things that testify to high moral values; (4) highlighting the role of organized Armenian self-help, Armenian organizations, benefactors of the Armenian nation, the Armenian press, Armenian teachers and ordinary Armenian people in the work of saving Armenians; (5) using accepted practical international standards to rate the Turkish “salvation” of Armenians; (6) the resurrection of the role of the great internal force of resistance that the survivors of the Armenian Genocide have established within the powerful Armenian diaspora that numbers many millions; (7) including the reading and analysis of stories and memoirs concerning the human destinies of victims, those who resisted and survivors within the school education system and creating a digital database of victims and survivors; 8) considering the Armenian Genocide to be the result of the inhuman ideology, which has a lot in common with similar ideology during the Second World War; (9) knowledge of the main episodes of the history of other genocides, which will enable teenage Armenian boys and girls to strengthen their awareness of the need to fight against them, allow them to observe the Armenian Genocide in a wider context and to realize its patterns and characteristics in the context of the world history.
The article justifies the early resolution of the issue of creating a course “Basic issues of the Armenian Genocide” and teaching it in public schools and centers of higher education.