Sunday, 26 April 2015

Videos of Genocide Centenary Procession in London

Video of 24 April Dzizernagapert Genocide Commemoration 

Videos of Genocide Centenary Procession in London
Armenian genocide: Turkey's day of denial amid remembrance for a
genocide in all but name

Robert Fisk
Friday 24 April 2015

A memorial in Istanbul to mark the 100th anniversary of the mass
killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Armenia claims 1.5
million people were killed in the atrocities, a figure Turkey disputes

As brave Turks dared to challenge the consensus to mark the
anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the President chose to look the
other way

They were brave Turks and they were brave Armenians, the descendants
of the murderers of 1915 and the descendants of their victims.

They stood together outside the old Istanbul prison where the first
250 Armenians - intellectuals, lawyers, teachers, journalists - were
imprisoned by the Ottoman Turks exactly 100 years ago, and they
travelled across the Bosphorus to sit next to each other outside the
gaunt pseudo-Gothic hulk of what was once the Anatolia Station.

From here, those 250 men were sent to their fate. Yesterday, the Turks
and the Armenians held a sign in their hands and repeated one word in
Turkish: "Soykirim".  It means "genocide".

How they humbled the great and the good of our Western world, as they
commemorated together the planned slaughter of one and a half million
Armenian men, women and children.

For despite his first pre-election pledge to the contrary, Barack
Obama once more refused to use the word "genocide" on Thursday. The
Brits ducked the word again. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, stubbornly maintaining his country's ossified policy of
denial - once more both Armenians and Turks had to listen to the usual
"fog of war" explanation for the 20th century's first holocaust - was
sitting 180 miles away, next to Prince Charles, to honour the dead of
the 1915 battle of Gallipoli.

 It is a century since the first 250 Armenians were killed (AFP/Getty)
But Professor Ayhan Aktar, a proud Turk whose family emigrated from
the Balkans in 1912, understood the cynical history of the Gallipoli
ceremony. For on 24 April, as the first Armenians were being rounded
up, absolutely nothing happened at Gallipoli. The battle began the
next day, when the Irish and the Lancashire soldiers landed on the
peninsula. The Erdogan government in Ankara was using Gallipoli  as a
smoke screen. "We all know why Erdogan chose 24 April, and of course
it was a genocide," Ayhan Aktar said, his voice booming with
indignation. "Ankara will NEVER use the word 'genocide'.  Sixty per
cent of Turks will one day use the word - and still Ankara will say
'no'. Yes, I have made enemies, but also some very interesting
friends. It was all worth it."

The professor's scorn came from deep historical soil. "When my
Armenian journalist friend Hrant Dink was assassinated by a Turkish
nationalist outside his newspaper office in February 2007, I was
shocked and deeply depressed," he said.

"I promised myself that because of Hrant's death, I would write about
1915. With a colleague of mine, we went through documents - and we
wrote about the Turkish bureaucrats who resisted the Armenian
deportations. I read more and more and I started to use the word
'genocide'. It was the truth."

 Turkish soldiers at the Helles memorial in Gallipoli (AFP/Getty)
And so two sets of names - all dead - dominated those few hundred
courageous souls who, in what was once the capital of the Ottoman
Empire, turned their back on the hypocrisy of those diplomats and
prime ministers 200 miles away in Gallipoli. There was Faik Ali,
Turkish governor of Kutahya in 1915 and his contemporary Mehmet Celal
in Konya and there was Huseyin Nesimi, the deputy Turkish governor in
Lice. "All fed the persecuted Armenians, all refused to kill them,"
the professor said. "Faik Ali and Huseyin Nesimi were both dismissed.
Nesimi was murdered on the orders of his senior governor, Dr Reshid."

These were the good Turks who tried to maintain their country's honour
in its hour of shame. The few hundred equally honourable Turks and
Armenians who crossed the Bosphorus to the German-built railway
station on Friday then sat down on the sunny steps and held up
photographs of the 250 Armenians who were put aboard the cattle wagons

There was Ardashes Harutunian, Dr Garabed Pasayian Han, Karekin
Cakalian, Atom Yercanjian and Siamonto, the pen name of Atom
Yarjanian, a landmark figure of Armenia's golden age of poetry.

Siamonto's great nephew had arrived from Paris for his first visit -
ever - to the land in which his people were destroyed. "You must
understand the significance of Gallipoli in all this," Manouk Atomyan
explained. "At first, the Turks didn't kill them (the Armenians) -
because they thought the Allies would win at Gallipoli and rescue them
all. But by July, it was obvious the Allies were losing. So the Turks
set about the killing."

The 250 men, the cream of Armenian Istanbul society, were put on a
train which stopped before Ankara. The first carriages were sent on to
Ankara, where most of the passengers were executed.  Of the 250, 175
were killed, shot in the head beside prepared graves.

Narin Kurumlu bears a Turkish name and is indeed a Turk, but she is
also Armenian, one of the few people of her race whose family clung
onto their land - Turkish land - amid their people's persecution.

"I am a Turk but I call this a genocide," she said.  "It is the truth.
I am a tour guide and I was trained by the Turkish tourist people.
Yes, I go to Van and the old Armenian areas. I don't go into details
and when I'm asked about the genocide, I say the figures are disputed.
I say that some think it was a million and a half Armenians killed,
but that it was at least a million." I ask her to write down her
original Armenian family name. "I'd rather not," she says. "There are
good reasons for this... they listen to my phone and they read my

These were perhaps the most deeply moving - and distressing - words
uttered among the small crowd of truth-tellers outside the Anatolia
station yesterday. All were escorted - at a distance, of course - by a
small posse of Turkish state police, some in uniform. They were not
there to threaten the brave Turks or the brave Armenians. They were
present to ensure that no-one else threatened them, the sort of
people, for instance, who murdered Hrant Dink eight years ago. For
that would take the headlines away from another ceremony, wouldn't it?
And remind the world that the 130,000 Allied and Turkish dead of
Gallipoli were outnumbered by one and a half million civilian dead
whose genocide we must still obediently deny.
I'm the First Armenian in the British Parliament and I Am Dismayed at
the British Government's Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
By Lord Darzi
Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation,
Imperial College London
23 April 2015

This Friday I will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide
with my loved ones. We will remember the millions who were slaughtered
- including members of my own family - and how, by good fortune, my
grandmother managed to escape.

But it remains a matter of intense pain and regret to me and my
compatriots that the British government still refuses to acknowledge
what the Pope recently reminded the world was the first genocide of
the 20th century (though others claim that grim title for the 1904-9
mass killing of indigenous peoples in Namibia by the Germans).

Pope Francis said we had a duty to honour the memory of those who
perished, "for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds
to fester." The collective silence over the Armenian genocide is
believed to have allowed Hitler subsequently to proceed with the
extermination of the Jews.

As the first Armenian in the British parliament, I am dismayed that
Britain as well as the US - at its Federal level - persist in denying
the Armenian genocide, out of fear of offending Turkey, their NATO
ally. Turkey's own denial on the basis of a technical definition of
genocide is offensive nonsense.

Most historians now accept that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were
massacred in a wave of violence that accompanied the fall off the
Ottoman Empire. At least 20 countries around the world have formally
recognised the massacre as genocide - among them France, Germany,
Italy and Russia - and the European Parliament.

My great grandfather and his sons were executed by Ottoman government
forces in 1915. His daughter, my grandmother, then a teenager, only
escaped by pretending to be dead.

With her mother, she walked barefoot for weeks from Ezurum in eastern
Turkey where the family lived, arriving starving and penniless in
Mosul, northern Iraq.

My father was born in Mosul in 1930, later moving to Baghdad where he
met my mother. My sister and I were born and raised in Baghdad where
we lived as refugees.

Even though I had never been to Armenia, I grew up feeling Armenian.
We attended Armenian mass, I was a choirboy, and I learnt Armenian. I
spoke it at home and I still speak it to my parents and my sister

Each year we commemorated the anniversary of the genocide with prayers
in church. Sadly, my grandmother died young - I never knew her - but
family and friends would gather to tell stories. We were constantly
reminded of the genocide. It was the reason we came to be in Baghdad,
we were told, where, as Christians, we were in a minority.

Our feelings about Turkey were the same as those of the British about
Germany after the Second World War - it was not a place we would
choose to go on holiday. But I have since learnt how many Turks saved
Armenian lives.

The mantra in our family was education, education, education. It was
the way refugees could escape. We thrived in Iraq but it became clear
we would have to leave. The first Gulf War was looming and I remember
my father saying: "The kids need to get out of here."

My father had been educated by Jesuits so when we discussed where I
would continue my education, Ireland was the natural choice. I studied
medicine at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, followed by
post-graduate studies at Trinity College Dublin before moving to
London in 1990 where I have spent my career developing new techniques
of minimally invasive [keyhole] surgery, helping to reform the NHS as
a Labour health minister and improving the quality and safety of
health care.

In the last 15 years I have made a number of trips to Yerevan, the
capital of Armenia, to carry out operations. I have trained doctors
there, provided surgical kits and training, and brought Armenian
doctors back to Britain to experience what a western health system can
offer. The legacy of Armenia's terrible history is that it has one of
the lowest life expectancies in the world.

We must never forget the past. Genocide is a global issue. We have
seen it in Rwanda and Darfur and more recently in what is happening to
Christian communities at the hands of Isis in Syria and northern Iraq.
That is why I was delighted to join Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan
who launched the 100 lives initiative in New York last month, together
with George Clooney and his wife Amal, to commemorate the Armenian
genocide and raise awareness of genocidal killings that continue
across the globe today.

But we should not dwell excessively on the past. We need to get over
the grief of the last century. There is an extraordinary wealth of
talent inside Armenia and in the wider diaspora - as there is in
Turkey - and the region faces immense challenges. If the world is to
confront them effectively there must be a global acknowledgement of
the genocide in Armenia - and wherever in the world it occurs. Only
then will we be able to move on.

Lord Darzi is a surgeon and director of the Institute of Global Health
Innovation at Imperial College London. He was a Labour health minister
from 2007-9.

The Jurist
April 24 2015 Germany parliament calls killings of Armenians 'genocide'
Friday 24 April 2015
by William Helbling 

German Parliament [official website] on Friday approved a resolution
[press release] declaring the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians
by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I a "genocide." The
resolution's approval, which coincides with the centenary of the start
of the killings, was led by President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert
[official website], who believes that Turkey must join Germany in
reconciling with the world for the prior acts of genocide of the past.
Lammert stated in regards to shared reconciliation, "[t]he
unparalleled experiences of violence in the 20th century have ensured
that we know there can be no real peace until the victims, their
relatives and descendants experience justice: through remembrance of
the events." The Bundestag also noted the global issues today of
political, ethnic and religious prosecution and how the world must
continue to fight these actions against humanity to not repeat
mistakes of the past.

In recent years Armenian nationals have fought with the international
community to recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenian citizens as
genocide [JURIST news archive]. Turkey has long disputed the numbers,
alleging the killings were a result of a civil war that took place
after the collapse of the Ottoman empire. In December 2009 the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled [JURIST report] that
prosecutions for denying that the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman
Empire in 1915 was a genocide are an attack on freedom of expression.
In 2009 Turkey and Armenia signed [JURIST report] a landmark accord in
Switzerland to normalize relations between the two countries and open
up borders. In 2010 a spokesperson for the US State Department stated
that the Obama administration opposed a vote [JURIST report] before
the House of Representatives on a resolution [HR 252 materials]
branding the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Turkish forces
as genocide. In September 2014 the Parliament of Greece ratified a
bill that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian Genocide [JURIST

Today's Zaman, Turkey
April 24 2015
In a first, Turkish minister attends commemoration of 1915 
Armenian killings 

Turkey's European Union Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır attended a
service on Friday at the Armenian Patriarchate in Ä°stanbul to honor
the dead in the 1915 massacre of Armenians, marking the first time a
Turkish government official has done so.

During the service, Bozkır said: "We respect the pain experienced by
our Armenian brothers. We are in no way opposed to the commemoration
of this pain... We felt indebted to attend this service."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoÄ?lu earlier this week issued a
message of condolence to the descendants of the victims of the events,
without calling the killings genocide.

The annual April 24 commemorations mark the day when some 250 Armenian
intellectuals were rounded up in what is regarded as the first step of
the massacres. An estimated 1.5 million died in the massacres,
deportations and forced marches that began in 1915 as Ottoman
officials worried that the Christian Armenians would side with Russia,
its enemy in World War I.

The event is widely viewed by historians as genocide, but modern
Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects the
charge, saying that the death toll has been inflated, and that those
killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

On the eve of the centennial, Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an
again insisted that his nation's ancestors never committed genocide. 
Thousands March in Istanbul - We Are Here, We Remember!
Hrant Gadarigian
April 25, 2015 

On the evening of April 24 a crowd of several thousand gathered in the
heart of Istanbul to commemorate the centenary of the 1915 Armenian

Turkish police cordoned off an area adjacent to Taksim Square where a
solemn vigil was held to remember and reflect on the destruction that
befell Ottoman Armenians and to call on the current Turkish state to
come to grips with its past.

Carrying photos of Armenian community leaders, who were the first to
be rounded up and sent to their death, the crowd then sat in silence
on Istiklal Avenue in a moment of silent vigil.

This was a gathering of not only Armenians, some from the local
Istanbul community and others who travelled from the diaspora, but
also of Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and other national minorities, who not
only cam to pay their respects but to join with Armenians in their
call for recognition and justice.

For many in Turkey, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is seen as a
vital part of the overall struggle for democracy in the country.

With the strains of Gomidas taken from an original recording wafting
over the street one could hear the shouts emanating from a crowd of
Turkish nationalists who were staging a counter-demonstration as few
block away. Again, Turkish police kept them cordoned off.

In all, the event was a timely reminder that Armenians have not
forgotten what transpired her 100 years ago in the city where Armenian
community leaders were rounded up and deported, many to be murdered
along the way.

In many respects, the descendants of those who survived the Genocide
have come full circle.

But this is the first step on the long road ahead to show the world
and especially Turkey that we have survived and will not be silenced.
25 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan 

The Eiffel Tower in Paris went dark today in commemoration of the
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The lights of the tower were put out at 22 CET today, according to
the decision of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The Irish Times
Sat, Apr 25, 2015
Irish Armenians ‘descendants’ of escapees from genocide 

As Armenian diasporas go, the one in Ireland is small. Approximately 500 Armenians live in the Republic. Most are in Dublin. A few hundred more live in Northern Ireland .

Just three million people live in the small mountainous state between Turkey and Russia created after the first World War. Another seven million live abroad, mainly in Russia, France and the United States .

Most of the global exodus can be traced back to the Armenian genocide, which began on April 24th, 1915. It is their Great Famine, their Shoah or as they call it the Metz Yeghern (great crime).

The collective folk memory of what happened in 1915 has never gone away. Irish-born children of Armenian descent learn about the genocide just as they learn Armenian.

Last Sunday the children attached to the Armenian Sunday school sang hymns and recited poems about the genocide. The community rents rooms in Taney Hall, Dundrum, for their Sunday services. Many are third- and fourth-generation Armenian but they have retained the language.

They are surrounded by the symbol of the genocide – five purple petals signifying the five continents of the diaspora, the yellow representing the genocide memorial in the capital Yeravan and the black centre representing the genocide itself.

Armenian honorary consul to Ireland Ohan Yergainharsian says his grandfather was the only one of seven brothers and four sisters living in the Turkish city of Erzurum to survive the genocide.

“Three-quarters of the Armenian population were killed. We are the descendants of those who managed to escape.”

Mr Yergainharsian has compiled a series of Irish Times reports from 1915 suggesting that a massacre was taking place in Armenia . He wants Ireland to recognise what happened to his people as genocide without equivocation.

Dentist Kristina Begoyan says she is in a minority of Armenians in that she was born in the country. “After the genocide, no men were left in the family,” she said. “My grandmother went into hiding and she finally came to modern day Armenia.”

Ms Begoyan says modern Armenia constitutes just 9 per cent of Armenian territory that was once part of the Ottoman empire.

When Ayda Sarafian heard the pope was going to acknowledge the genocide, she flew to Rome along with thousands of other Armenians from the diaspora. The Armenians are not in community with Rome, but as Christians they were persecuted for their faith.

“It gives me great comfort for a religious leader to say it was a genocide. It wasn’t just a war.”

Dr Paul Manook of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland has been told that his grandfather was killed; and his grandmother, who survived, witnessed the beheading of almost all of her family.

“I have no hatred of the Turkish people ... However, it is very difficult to forget or forgive when the successive Turkish governments continue to deny that the genocide ever happened.”

Today and tomorrow there will be a photographic exhibition in Christ Church , Dún Laoghaire , and a commemoration ceremony will take place in Dún Laoghaire this evening.

The 100th anniversary remembrance service will take place in Taney Parish on Sunday, April 26th, at 3pm. Church leaders will be invited to this service. In November a genocide memorial will be erected in Christ Church Cathedral.

Israel, the denier of another nation’s holocaust
The country has always had its cost-benefit analyses and global interests to consider — now the issue is Turkey at the Armenians’ expense.
24 April 2015
By Yossi Sarid

Today, April 24, 1915, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. But Pope Francis erred this month when he referred to it as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” The first took place in German South West Africa, what is now Namibia. Tens of thousands of tribespeople were annihilated. But blacks apparently don’t count as much.

The pope neglected to mention them when he cited the 1.5 million Armenians killed and called on the countries of the world to recognize the Ottoman Turks’ crime against the Armenians and humanity. Still, he should be commended. It’s not easy for him to take on the conservative Catholic establishment, which is only surpassed in its backwardness and corruption by the Israeli rabbinical establishment.

Will “the Jewish state” heed the Christian’s call? Or will it prefer, as usual, to focus on a different pope, accusing him of ignoring the destruction during those most awful times? True, Pius XII didn’t go out of his way to save Jews. But we too aren’t so quick to empathize with others’ suffering and rush to their aid. In its own way, Israel is also a denier of another nation’s holocaust.

Dozens of countries have already answered the Armenian plea and recognized the genocide, to the dismay of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and despite his government’s threats. The European Parliament just decided to break its silence too.

For what are the Armenians and their diaspora asking for? Not aid, just recognition. No one need be endangered for their sake; just show some sympathy and understanding. When eyes insist on remaining shut, wounds will keep on reopening.

But Israel hasn’t been willing to forgo its monopoly on victimhood or share its exclusive right to be the persecuted. It always has its cost-benefit analyses and global interests to consider — whether with apartheid South Africa or the juntas of Argentina and Chile.

And who’s going to preach to us, “the most moral” of them all? After all, official Israel also has custody of the universal conscience. As far as we’re concerned, the Armenians can go jump in a lake. We don’t jump first, because we’re no dummies. And we’ll be the last ones to resume relations with Cuba, as an arrogant American satellite.

Exactly 15 years ago today, I was invited to the Armenian Church in Jerusalem. “I’ve come to be with you on your remembrance day — as a human being, a citizen of the world, a Jew, an Israeli and the Israeli education minister,” I said. “You have been alone for too many years. Today, for the first time, you are less alone.”

Since then I’ve have been asked many times whether I consulted with the prime minister and the foreign minister. Why bother to ask when the answer is predictable and permission will not be granted? And I wasn’t exactly a child.

Sure enough, Prime Minister Ehud Barak hastened to distance himself from my comments, and others said the Armenian genocide must be left to the historians. And I was declared persona non grata in Turkey; to this day, Ankara isn’t waiting for me.

In the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara episode , when Israel-Turkey relations soured, there were encouraging signs. Perhaps now — so belatedly — the injustice will at last be corrected. What’s there to lose?

And this month came a new glimmer of hope with Kim Kardashian’s visit . What the Jewish head hasn’t accomplished the Armenian derriere would. But this hope failed too. Yes, the Knesset is sending MKs to the Armenian capital for the centennial — Likud’s Anat Berko and Zionist Union’s Nachman Shai — but these are backbenchers briefed by the Foreign Ministry. What difference does it make if they go or not?

It’s hard to understand why Turkey refuses to be different. Recently it seemed to be softening, but now it’s returning to its same old path. It’s not to blame for its ancestors’ sins, nor should it have to bear the historical responsibility for the Armenian Nakba. The wheel cannot be turned back, it can only be pulled out of the mire of blood and resentment, and be turned in new directions.

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