Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Armenian News A Topalian...

Video of BBC News Feature on Armenian Genocide 

TV News Feature on Irish TV 

Learn why the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust will never learn

all the lessons of the Holocaust, which is supposed to be its primary 
Read the last paragraph to its 24 April entry where it admits that it 
has to follow government policy. 

Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of America
April 24 , 2015 

“We are deeply disappointed President Obama has chosen to break his promise and stand apart from the global community on speaking the truth about the Armenian Genocide on its 100th Anniversary.

From Pope Francis and Germany to Israeli President Rivlin and the European Parliament, world leaders joined together this month to call the Armenian Genocide by its proper name: a genocide. Sadly, the President again joined the ranks of American leaders who turn a blind eye to genocide for political expediency.

Most troubling, President Obama’s explicit and forceful promise in 2008 to call the Armenian Genocide a “genocide,” stands in striking contrast to his refusal to use the term. The American descendants of the 1.5 million Armenians systematically murdered by Ottoman Turkey 100 years ago deserve better leadership from their President. There can be no doubt that when history looks back on President Obama’s legacy, this broken promise and his failure to stand for truth and justice will reflect poorly.

This April 24th is not the end of this cause, but the start of a new chapter. From New York to California and everywhere in between, it is clear that Turkey is losing its war on the truth. It will soon have to confront its past and do right by the descendants of the survivors. As Martin Luther King once remarked, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Some day soon, our ancestors will be remembered with the dignity and respect they deserve. Never Forget 1915.”

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
Prelacy of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
Armenian Catholic Eparchy of United States & Canada
Armenian Evangelical Union of North America
Armenian Missionary Association of America
Armenia Fund USA, Inc.
Armenian Assembly of America
Armenian Democratic Liberal Party
Armenian General Benevolent Union
Armenian National Committee of America
Armenian Relief Society
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Knights & Daughters of Vartan
Social Democratic Hunchakian Party
Armenian Bar Association
Armenian Network of America, Inc.
Armenian Youth Federation
AGBU Young Professionals
Armenian Church Youth Organization of America
Armenian Students Association 

[there is a significant error in this report. Since the dissolution of
Parliament, Mr Whittendale is not at present an MP. Hence he 
should never be regarded as a legitimate representative of the 
UK government. Contrast this with the heads of state who attended the commemorations in Yerevan representing the other two 
signatories of the May 1915 statement that coined for the first time 
the term 'crimes agains humanity']

John Whittingdale, member of UK Parliament and Chair of All-Party
British-Armenian Parliamentary Friendship Group was representing UK at
the commemorations of the Armenian Genocide Centennial in Yerevan. In
an interview withArmenian News-NEWS.amagency Mr. Whittingdale spoke
about his visit and UK's position on the Armenian Genocide.

Why are you the only representative of the British parliament in
Armenia on April 24?

I chair the UK-Armenia group in the parliament, so I have been to
Armenia four times already. My first visit took place with Baroness Cox
who is well known in Armenia. We appear in the middle of the British
general election campaign and we have national elections in two weeks,
but I was able to take two days off my election campaign in order
to come to Yerevan. I think it is very important that somebody from
the British government should be here to represent Britain. But it
has been difficult time, not for Armenia, but because it happened to
coincide with what is the most unpredictable elections that Britain
has had for a long time.

Prince Charles headed delegation to mark the 100th anniversary of
the Battle of Gallipoli. How would you comment on this?

I have a very simple answer on this. The Gallipoli was a battle when
Britain has lost 35,000 soldiers. So, there are a lot of people in
Britain who have close relatives who died, and they care much about

However, Prince Charles, I know, has a very strong sympathy and
affection for Armenia. None of us would want the two events to happen
at the same time. And because the British people lost a lot of lives,
he should be there, but Prince Charles has huge sympathy for the
Armenian people.

The European Parliament has recently adopted resolution on the Armenian
Genocide. When UK make take such a step?

I visited memorial [Armenian Genocide Memorial] and museum in Yerevan.
In my mind, the evidence is so strong that it was a horrifying
crime and attempt to exterminate people. In terms of most people,
if they look at what happened, it clearly was genocide. I think it
is important that countries do recognize that.

How does the British society perceive the fact that the genocide is
not recognized?

For most people in Britain knowledge of what happened is much less
than about the World War II. The theme has some coverage in the
British newspapers, broadcast media. But it is not something to be
taught in the British school books during history lessons, because
Britain was not much involved. I hope that one of the consequences
of the commemoration ceremonies of the centenary will be to bring
awareness, to educate people about what happened, and the remarks of
Pope would help.

Turkey refuses to name mass killings of Armenians as genocide. What
is your opinion on Turkey's stance?

I am not a spokesman for the government. My own view is that it
would benefit relations between Armenia and Turkey, and it will
help Turkey actually to acknowledge what happened in the same way
as Germany acknowledged what it committed in the past. No one is
suggesting that the present Turkish government is responsible for
the historical event. I personally would like to see it accepted that
this was a genocide. What I think my government would like to see is
normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

I do not think Turkey will suffer if it accepted what has happened,
the same way as Germany accepted the crimes during the World War II.

No one thinks that the present German government is responsible
for that.

It is truth, truth is important. Once you discover truth, you can put
it behind you, learn lessons from it. It is the first step to prevent
that such events, that took place against Armenians and the Holocaust,
would not happen again. 
The genocide that took place 100 years ago and has been 
airbrushed from history 
by Martin Shipton 
24 April 2015 

Perhaps it’s not so strange that the Turkish Government is so reluctant to describe what happened on its territory 100 years ago as genocide. 

After all, there remain plenty of people who to this day deny the Jewish Holocaust during World War Two, despite the overwhelming evidence that it happened. 

And it’s no surprise that Hitler himself said weeks before the outbreak of war in 1939: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” 

In his new book – the second he has written about Armenia – Canon Patrick Thomas, the Vicar of Carmarthen, clearly sets out the facts of what happened to the Armenian community in Turkey in 1915. 

Earlier this month Pope Francis acknowledged the killing of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, but despite promising to do so during his presidency, Barack Obama will not do so for fear up upsetting Turkey at a time of continuing tension in the Middle East. 

Using a huge amount of source material, Dr Thomas tells the often gruesome story of how a whole community was targeted for extermination by those who took control of Turkey as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. 

What had been a multicultural society where people of different faiths lived harmoniously together was turned within a short space of time into one where a significant ethnic minority was seen as fair game for slaughter. Brutal torture 

In his book, Dr Thomas writes: “April 24, 1915 is remembered as the date on which the genocide began to be implemented. 

The Armenian community in Constantinople was effectively “beheaded” by the sudden arrest of its cultural, political and intellectual leaders, who were deported into the interior. 

Only a tiny handful of them survived. 

In many other centres leading Armenians were rounded up, brutally tortured and killed. 

“A ‘special organisation’ of criminals (including many convicted murderers) had been recruited from the prisons. 

"They were sent to the provinces to enforce the deportation of Armenians, with the assistance of Kurdish irregulars. 

"In the Armenian heartland these deportations usually followed a set pattern. 

"The remaining men would be rounded up, taken away and massacred. Ashes sifted 

"The women and children were sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert. Many were gang-raped, some were abducted or trafficked, while others were left to die of exhaustion or starvation at the side of the road. 

“Pregnant women had the babies ripped from their wombs. 

"Those suspected of swallowing gold coins were sometimes set on fire. 

"Their ashes were later sifted by those looking for loot. 

"In Trebizond boatloads of Armenians were taken out and drowned in the Black Sea. Few survived the death marches. 

"A later phase was of deportation by rail of Armenians from western Turkey, crammed into cattle trucks. Insanitary transit camps were set up, where many perished from disease. 

"Those who reached the concentration camps in northern Syria were later brutally eliminated. 'Overwhelming' evidence 

"In a few places Armenians refused to hand in their arms and attempted resistance, only to be overwhelmed and slaughtered. 

“At Musa Dagh on the Mediterranean coast, however, a courageous band of Armenian villagers held off a Turkish attack during a lengthy siege, and were eventually rescued by French naval vessels. 

"The penalty for a Turk found sheltering an Armenian was death by hanging. Nevertheless some Turks and Kurds did take the risk of helping their Armenian neighbours. 

"Those brave officials who refused to implement their government’s genocidal plans were almost all either removed or assassinated.” 

Dr Thomas asserts that evidence for the Armenian genocide is overwhelming. 

It comes from eye-witness accounts by survivors, accounts of the trials of some of the perpetrators that took place immediately after the end of the war, reports by missionaries, diplomats and foreign soldiers and railway officials working alongside the Turks. Parallels with Jews of Germany 

Although attempts were made to ensure that no photographic evidence would survive, horrified observers like the German medical orderly Armin Wegner managed to smuggle out pictures of some of the atrocities. 

Perhaps the most damning evidence of all is the fact that those areas of western Turkey which were the homeland of Armenians for thousands of years now form an Armenia without Armenians. 

Seeking to explain why Armenians became the object of such hatred, Dr Thomas explains how resentment had developed against their material and professional success. 

By the late 18th century a group of wealthy Armenian magnates were regarded as valuable servants of the Sultan. In the century that followed they often fulfilled state functions as financiers, large-scale manufacturers and administrators. 

A middle class of Armenian merchants and entrepreneurs developed, not only in the capital, but also in many other urban centres. Armenians became teachers, doctors, dentists and pharmacists. 

Armenian artisans played a crucial role in the life of virtually every community. Their increasing prosperity made Armenians the subject of suspicion and envy from some other sections of Ottoman society. The parallels with the Jews of Germany are obvious. 

Today 100 candles will be lit in Cardiff in memory of the Armenians who died in their genocide. 

Remembering The Armenian Genocide by Patrick Thomas is published by Carreg Gwalch at £8.50 

A date for your diary: 

The Armenian Genocide: Coming to Terms with Justice, History and Memory 

Friday 15 May 2015
Committee Room 3, Hendon Town Hall, the Burroughs, NW4 4AX 

This event is free to attend, but places must be booked via Eventbrite: 

Time: 10:00 Registration, 10:30 Start, 17:30 Expected end time 

This conference is organised by the School of Law at Middlesex University London to commemorate the centenary of the crimes committed against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Among those participating in the conference are Professor William Schabas, Ara Safarian, Ece Temelkuran, Professor Laurent Pech, Payam Akhavan and Dr. Tunç Aybak. The gathering will consider the concept of genocide from a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective and discuss the political and legal aspects of the crimes committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during WWI. 


10:00-10:30: Arrival and Registration 
10:30-10:45: Welcoming remarks by Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean of the School of Law 

Session One 10:45-12:30 

Chair: Joshua Castellino , Dean, Professor of Law, Middlesex University London 

William Schabas , Professor of International Law, Middlesex University London 

Laurent Pech , Professor of European Law, Head of the Law and Politics Department and 

Jean Monnet Chair of EU Public Law, Middlesex University London 

Payam Akhavan , Professor of Law, McGill University 

Lunch 12:30-13:30 

Session Two 13:30-15:30 

Chair: Dr. Mehmet Ali Dikerdem , Programme Leader in Professional Doctorates 

Ara Safarian , The Director of the Gomidas Institute, London 

Ece Temelkuran , Author of Deep Mountain Across the Divide Between Turkish-Armenian Diasporas (Verso, 2010) 

Dr. Tunç Aybak , Programme Leader in International Politics and Law, Middlesex University London 

Refreshments 15:30-15:45 

Documentary Film Screening 15:45-17:15 

1915 Aghet

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