Thursday, 31 May 2007

His Eminence The Archbishop of Westminster

Letter from H.E. The Archbishop of Westminster
Archbishop's House, Westminster, London SW1P 1QJ
Armenian Genocide Trust
London WC1N 3XX

1 May 2007

Dear Mr. Danielyan,

Thank you for your letter concerning the Armenian Genocide of 1915. It was, indeed, a most terrible event and should never be forgotten. It should be universally recognised as much as the Holocaust of Jewish people during the Second World War.

Do be assured of a remembrance in my prayers that the Lord will help you to accept the cross that you and your people have had to bear over so many years.

With my kind wishes and prayer,

Yours devotedly,

Archbishop of Westminster


Letter to Deputy Director-General of the BBC

2 May 2007

Dear Mr Byford:

Following my correspondence with yourself and your colleagues last year I was most disappointed and saddened on April 24th - as were many Armenian and British people who believe that a centrally planned mass murder of over one million civilians does deserve a minute of BBC's broadcasting time once a year.

A letter from one of your colleagues stated that "there is extreme disagreement over whether the events of 1915 were a genocide". There is indeed extreme disagreement - an extreme disagreement between denialist Turkish government and absolute majority of historians and researchers (including the internationally recognised International Association of Genocide Scholars, the only body of historians specialising in genocide studies), an extreme disagreement over whether a publicly funded organisation like the BBC should have the courage of calling things by their names or bow to blackmail by a single state which refuses to acknowledge responsibility for the 20th century's first genocide. Your continuing and persistent silence on this issue is deafening and raises very serious concerns about BBC's impartiality and lack of respect for a tragedy which almost annihilated a nation just 92 years ago. Would you dare to question the reality of the Holocaust, citing extreme disagreement by neo-fascists? I doubt it.

The simple fact at the moment is that the BBC deliberately chooses to stay silent on this historical event which is directly linked to the continuing tragedy in Darfur. By failing to even mention the Armenian Genocide once a year on April 24 you are sending a message to war criminals future and present, a message which says that you can commit a genocide and BBC will not mention it if the perpetrators deny it - it will not be mentioned even if there was a march from Marble Arch to the Cenotaph, presentation of evidence at the House of Lords, memorial service at the Westminster Abbey, murder of a prominent member of the Turkish Armenian community and repeated unequivocal declarations from countless historians, writers and researchers affirming the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide and calling for recognition as a requirement for reconciliation. You seem to have chosen to ignore the majority for the sake of not offending a single country. The only thing remaining of the victims is the memory of their unbelievable suffering, and you are contributing to its obliteration by being silent.

This is a very grave concern indeed. The Armenian Genocide Trust has recently written to all Bishops of the Church of England and the crossbencher members of the House of Lords. Our awareness campaign will continue and expand with further events at the Parliament as well as in the media; a petition will be delivered to the new Prime Minister later in the year. I call upon you to reconsider your approach and fulfill your role of reporting objectively and timely on all issues - regardless of what a foreign power may think on a particular issue.

Edgar Danielyan
For and on behalf of the Armenian Genocide Trust

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