Swedish politicians criticize Swedish government for not recognizing the 1915 genocide of Syriac people

STOCKHOLM — After the Swedish government’s refusal to use the term genocide in describing the massacres of Syriacs (Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans) by the Ottoman Empire in 1915, Chair of the Municipal Board of Södertälje, Sweden, Boel Godner (Swedish Socialist Democratic Party) said that verbal recognition of the genocide committed against the Armenian and Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people is not enough and the government should make a clearer statement on the issue.

Former member of the Social Democratic Party Metin Rhawi said that it is a great shame for anyone who uses the Sayfo, the Syriac term for the genocide, for their own benefit. Rhawi called on the Swedish government to recognize the genocide. In a letter sent by Rhawi to member of the Social Democratic Party Maria Hindi Elias, he said that the memory of the Sayfo is being systematically undermined despite the vast majority of experts on the topic agreeing that the massacres of the Syriacs constitute genocide.

In a letter to the Foreign Minister Anne Linde, Elias gave the minister until Sunday to respond to her invitations to discuss the recognition otherwise she would engage in a media campaign against the government’s position.

Incumbent Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Ann Linde has been heavily criticized after speaking about the “mass encroachments” of 1915 on April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, avoiding calling these “mass encroachments” Genocide. On her Twitter Ann Linde wrote:

“April 24 is a day of remembrance for the mass encroachments of 1915 in the then Ottoman Empire. Descriptions [testimonies] from 1915 testify to great human suffering and ruthless cruelty that must never be forgotten or repeated.”

Local Syriac politician Aday BethKinne (Kristdemokraterna) in Botkyrka, Sweden, replied to FM Linde, “it’s called GENOCIDE and not mass encroachments… You and several in your government are genocide deniers. You deny # seyfo1915. History will not forget you.”