BEIRUT – Kafno, in the Syriac language, means a famine. During the First World War, on Tur (Mount) Lebanon, the Christian population was intentionally starved to death – it became known as the “Kafno” or “Kafno Genocide”. During the years long forced starvation, an estimated 200,000 of Lebanon’s 400,000 people would die.
Lebanese MTV aired a report about the genocides of the Ottoman Empire in 1915 against the Syriac and Armenian peoples entitled “From Mount Ararat and Tur Abdin to Mount Lebanon (Tur Levnon): One testimony” to mark the 105th anniversary.
Mrs. Laila Latti, Vice President of the Universal Syriac Union Party (USUP), was interviewed about the “Sayfo”, Syriac for genocide.
“The Syriac people, like the Armenian people, had been subjected to genocide by the Ottomans even though they did not have any political project,” said Latti. “This confirms and proves the Ottomans’ mentality that sought eliminating all the non-Turkish components that had been present at that time.”
“To us, Sayfo engraved two pains in our hearts: the first pain is the pain of the genocide itself, during which half a million Syriac victims lost their lives and many villages had perished,” Latti added. “The second pain is embodied in the marginalization of the Sayfo Genocide by the whole world.”
Tsolir Talatianian, an executive official of the Armenian Issue Defense Committee. stressed that the genocide aimed at eliminating the Armenian people. As a result, the Armenian people had been scattered throughout the entire world. However, they are still demanding the full recognition of this genocide and the restoration of their rights.
President of the Syriac Maronite Union Dr. Amine Iskandar mentioned that, what the Ottomans intended at that time, including killing, brutality, starvation and crimes against humanity was the annihilation of the Syriac and Armenian people.
“We must inform the coming generations about the Kafno Genocide on 24 April because whoever fears telling of being famined and killed, will be famined and killed again and again.”