THE GENOCIDE MEMORIALS OF WALES

 

From the Hamidian genocide of the mid 1890's o the first genocide of the 20th century

(1915) Wales more than any other part of the UK has understood and sympathised with the plight of the Armenian's.

 

In recent years Wales as a nation and in particular three Welshmen have taken the moral high ground in the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

 

We must acknowledge that without the support of these three individuals who have campaigned steadfastly for over a decade we would not be where we are to-day.

 

Our eternal thanks to;

 

Mr. Eilian William

Mr Stephen Thomas

Rev Dr.Canon Patrick Thomas

 

As a result of their efforts, Armenian's have a degree of closure and have been able to express their grief at memorials situated in Caernarfon, Cardiff, Hawarden and soon one to be erected in the very West of Wales at St Davids Cathedral.

 

Three of the memorials carry proudly the word “Genocide” coined by Raphael Lemkin in the

1930's.

 

Ironical therefore that the word genocide is so controversial in other regions of the UK considering

Lemkin had the Armenian genocide of 1915 uppermost in his mind when he coined this word.

 

In 2013 the Church In Wales recognition of the “24th April as Armenian Genocide Day” paved the way for a memorial to be erected in the holiest place in Wales (Etchmiadzin of Wales) St. Davids

Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.

 

Within the custody of St. Davids we hope that this memorial will stand for as long as there is a Cathedral on the site.

 

The simple statement on the plaque needs no explanation

 

“In Memory of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide 1915”

 

The inspiration for the memorial in St Davids came from a pilgrimage to Hawarden where we

discovered that in appreciation of the help given to the Armenians by W.E. Gladstone during the “Hamidian” genocide of 1894/6, the Armenian’s of Tbilisi donated a stained glass window, Chalice & Silver Bible to St Deiniols Church & the Gladstone Library in Hawarden

 

Our hope is that enduring memorials such as these will inspire others to question and seek the truth about the Armenian genocide and in so doing brush aside the political and financial camouflage

that so often distort historical fact.

 

The current refugee problem we are witnessing stemming from the Middle East is not a new

phenomena.

 

The current persecution of Christian’s and other minorities in the Middle East should not be a surprise.

 

The reality is that since mid 1890’s Assyrian, Armenian, Jews, Greeks and many other minorities have continually been displaced or massacred.

 

1915 was a genocide for these minorities.

 

It is regrettable that the lessons of the past have been ignored at best and history distorted to suit the

political agenda of the moment.

 

We hope that these memorials by their enduring nature will outlast the politics of the day and

help to portray a better balanced history.

 

 

 

St David's about the memorial – by Canon Patrick Thomas

 

The proposed statue is the gift of the Armenian community in Wales to St Davids Cathedral (as the mother church of Wales) in gratitude for the recognition of April 24th as Armenian Genocide Day by the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales. 2015 is the centenary of the Armenian Genocide during which approximately a million and half Turkish Armenians died.

The statue is the work of Mariam Torosyan, a Cardiff-based Armenian artist. It portrays the Virgin Mary and the Christ-child (the subject of the icon traditionally placed on the altar of Armenian churches). During the Armenian Genocide the men were normally separated from their families and killed, while the women and children were sent on death marches towards the Syrian Desert, during which they underwent appalling suffering. The archetypal Mother and Child thus have a particularly appropriate significance as the subject of the memorial. Many Welsh Armenians are descended from the small percentage of women and children who survived the death marches.

The memorial also includes a representation of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, the focus of Armenian Christianity. This is a reminder both that Armenia was the first officially declared Christian nation (in the year 301), and that both Holy Etchmiadzin and St Davids are centres of pilgrimage for their respective peoples (the two were bracketed together by a nineteenth century visitor to Armenia). It also symbolizes the growing friendship and understanding between the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church and the Church in Wales, which have been pioneered by the Dean and Chancellor of St Davids Cathedral.

Deir Zor (sometimes called Deir-es-Zor or Deir-el-Zor) in the Syrian Desert is to Armenians what Auschwitz is to the Jews. A memorial church was built there by Armenians in memory of the 200,000 or more of their people who perished there during the Genocide. In 2014 the church was deliberately desecrated and destroyed by Islamic militants. One Welsh Armenian rather poignantly remarked to me, “That is another reason why we want a memorial to the martyrs of the Genocide in St Davids. We know that it will be kept safe there.”

The brief inscription on the memorial will be in three languages: Armenian, Welsh and English.

Canon Chancellor Dr Patrick Thomas

THE GENOCIDE MEMORIALS OF WALES

 

From the Hamidian genocide of the mid 1890's to the first genocide of the 20th century

(1915) Wales more than any other part of the UK has understood and sympathised with the plight of the Armenian's.

 

In recent years Wales as a nation and in particular three Welshmen have taken the moral high ground in the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

 

We must acknowledge that without the support of these three individuals who have campaigned steadfastly for over a decade we would not be where we are to-day.

 

Our eternal thanks to;

 

Mr. Eilian William

Mr Stephen Thomas

Rev Dr.Canon Patrick Thomas

 

As a result of their efforts, Armenian's have a degree of closure and have been able to express their grief at memorials situated in Caernarfon, Cardiff, Hawarden and soon one to be erected in the very West of Wales at St Davids Cathedral.

 

Three of the memorials carry proudly the word “Genocide” coined by Raphael Lemkin in the

1930's.

 

Ironical therefore that the word genocide is so controversial in other regions of the UK considering

Lemkin had the Armenian genocide of 1915 uppermost in his mind when he coined this word.

 

In 2013 the Church In Wales recognition of the “24th April as Armenian Genocide Day” paved the way for a memorial to be erected in the holiest place in Wales (Etchmiadzin of Wales) St. Davids

Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.

 

Within the custody of St. Davids we hope that this memorial will stand for as long as there is a Cathedral on the site.

 

The simple statement on the plaque needs no explanation

 

“In Memory of the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide 1915”

 

The inspiration for the memorial in St Davids came from a pilgrimage to Hawarden where we

discovered that in appreciation of the help given to the Armenians by W.E. Gladstone during the “Hamidian” genocide of 1894/6, the Armenian’s of Tbilisi donated a stained glass window, Chalice & Silver Bible to St Deiniols Church & the Gladstone Library in Hawarden

 

Our hope is that enduring memorials such as these will inspire others to question and seek the truth about the Armenian genocide and in so doing brush aside the political and financial camouflage

that so often distort historical fact.

 

The current refugee problem we are witnessing stemming from the Middle East is not a new

phenomena.

 

The current persecution of Christian’s and other minorities in the Middle East should not be a surprise.

 

The reality is that since mid 1890’s Assyrian, Armenian, Jews, Greeks and many other minorities have continually been displaced or massacred.

 

1915 was a genocide for these minorities.

 

It is regrettable that the lessons of the past have been ignored at best and history distorted to suit the

political agenda of the moment.

 

We hope that these memorials by their enduring nature will outlast the politics of the day and

help to portray a better balanced history.

 

 

 

St David's about the memorial – by Canon Patrick Thomas

 

The proposed statue is the gift of the Armenian community in Wales to St Davids Cathedral (as the mother church of Wales) in gratitude for the recognition of April 24th as Armenian Genocide Day by the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales. 2015 is the centenary of the Armenian Genocide during which approximately a million and half Turkish Armenians died.

The statue is the work of Mariam Torosyan, a Cardiff-based Armenian artist. It portrays the Virgin Mary and the Christ-child (the subject of the icon traditionally placed on the altar of Armenian churches). During the Armenian Genocide the men were normally separated from their families and killed, while the women and children were sent on death marches towards the Syrian Desert, during which they underwent appalling suffering. The archetypal Mother and Child thus have a particularly appropriate significance as the subject of the memorial. Many Welsh Armenians are descended from the small percentage of women and children who survived the death marches.

The memorial also includes a representation of the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, the focus of Armenian Christianity. This is a reminder both that Armenia was the first officially declared Christian nation (in the year 301), and that both Holy Etchmiadzin and St Davids are centres of pilgrimage for their respective peoples (the two were bracketed together by a nineteenth century visitor to Armenia). It also symbolizes the growing friendship and understanding between the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church and the Church in Wales, which have been pioneered by the Dean and Chancellor of St Davids Cathedral.

Deir Zor (sometimes called Deir-es-Zor or Deir-el-Zor) in the Syrian Desert is to Armenians what Auschwitz is to the Jews. A memorial church was built there by Armenians in memory of the 200,000 or more of their people who perished there during the Genocide. In 2014 the church was deliberately desecrated and destroyed by Islamic militants. One Welsh Armenian rather poignantly remarked to me, “That is another reason why we want a memorial to the martyrs of the Genocide in St Davids. We know that it will be kept safe there.”

The brief inscription on the memorial will be in three languages: Armenian, Welsh and English.

Canon Chancellor Dr Patrick Thomas

The Independent
Robert Fisk's World: If you think we can ignore these linguistic
crimes, think again


My favourite is 'any', as in 'any passengers who may have been inconvenienced'
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Independent/uk


Still scribble, scribble, scribble, eh Mr Gibbon? Or so the king is
said to have enraged the odiferous man who described the rise and fall
of the Roman hegemon.

Yes, I use this word advisedly since we are at the mercy of those who
will misuse language for their own advantage or because laptops have
made them sloppy or because they think it chic to befuddle us with
psycho-crap. For the latter, I draw your attention to a new publisher
- Corvus - whose "publishing director", one Nicolas Cheetham, was
stupid enough to send me his "launch catalogue" the other day.

Corvus, he informs me, is the Latin for raven. No problem there. But
then he goes on: "Our books are diverse in setting, tone and genre ...
Corvus takes a particular delight in patrolling those fertile zones of
convergence at genre borders, where the best stories are to be
found..." Ye gods, where do people like young Cheetham - for young he
must be to write such twaddle - come from? "Patrolling ... fertile
zones of convergence at genre borders" simply means nothing on this
earth.

But it is intended to impress, isn't it? To make us believe that
Master Cheetham is clever, nuanced, even - heaven spare us - literate.
It is meant to make us believe that he is a Deep Thinker, that Corvus
is appealing to the super-educated, those who "push the envelope", who
talk the non-language of BBC management and New Labour; it was, after
all, not surprising that the BBC's top crap-talk specialist ended up
working for Tony Blair.

Then there's what I call the give-away word - the one word in a
sentence that reveals the unwillingness of the writer or speaker to
own up to a fault. My favourite just now is "any". As in British
Airways' apology to "any passengers who may have been inconvenienced"
by having their baggage lost at Terminal 5. The key word is "any".
After tens of thousands of passengers did actually lose their
checked-in baggage, BA simply referred to "any" passengers - in other
words, that there might be one or two or perhaps none at all.

An identical linguistic swindle was perpetrated by yet another airline
a few weeks ago when easyJet's in-flight magazine depicted models
posing in Berlin's Jewish Holocaust memorial. The text of the article
actually refers to Berlin's "turbulent past" - a weasel way of
covering up the evils of Nazism - but what caught my eye was the
airline's admission that "easyJet profusely apologises to anyone who
may be offended by the inappropriate (sic) fashion shoot...". Anyone?
I say it again: ANYONE? Jewish groups and even passengers en route to
Tel Aviv were very much offended. And rightly so. Yet it's the old
cowardly "any" passengers once more. If they don't know of any
passengers - which of course they do - why did easyJet apologise in
the first place? Similarly, the publishing house which produced this
nauseous article regretted "any offence caused". Do they really
believe that the "offence" might not exist? That it was all made up?

And so I move on to the phrase which is now becoming a cliché:
anti-Semitism. It is not a cliché - it was certainly never intended to
be - but those who use this phrase to assault any decent person who
dares to criticise Israel are turning it into one. They are making
anti-Semitism respectable - and shame upon them for it.

The latest idiot to assist the anti-Semites is Labour MP Denis
MacShane who last month condemned Channel 4's Dispatches programme on
Britain's Israel lobby with the words: "anti-Semitic politics is
back". I should perhaps add that this is the same man who, as Minister
for Europe, defended Blair's criminal intention to go to war in Iraq
with the admonition to fellow European politicians that sometimes
people were in need of "a guide". He had obviously forgotten that the
German for "guide" is Führer.

But while we're on the subject of Holocausts, let's turn to the
unmentionable one, the Armenian Holocaust - yes, also a capital "H" -
which our Foreign Office still claims to believe doesn't qualify as a
genocide. A million and a half Armenian Christians were murdered or
sent on death marches in 1915 by the Muslim Ottoman Turks, but the
British Government doesn't want to upset the present-day Turks.

Denis MacShane, to his great credit, has long demanded an independent
international commission to inquire into the massacres. Documents
unearthed by Geoffrey Robertson QC under the Freedom of Information
Act, however, show not only the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Foreign
Office - cutting Armenians out of Holocaust Memorial Day and denying
that there is "unequivocal evidence" of genocide (which of course
there is), but admitting that "HMG is open to criticism in terms of
the ethical question (sic)" in denying the Armenian Holocaust but
should do so "given the importance of our relations (political,
strategic and commercial) with Turkey...".

For the correspondence between "researcher analysts", "draftpersons"
and ministers also betrays what I believe is a growing and hateful
practice: sloppy grammar and spelling in emails. For some reason, we
would never accept such a practice in a typewritten note. But here's a
classic example of a letter to a minister which includes not only
political dishonesty but also an inability even to reread and correct
a printed communication.

The note, dated 21 January last year, refers to the Foreign Office's
habit of dredging up three of Turkey's favourite historians - who,
needless, to say, deny the Armenian Holocaust - and of the public's
demand for a full list of historians consulted by the FO's
"researchers". I leave it to readers to groan at the inadequacy of the
text, let alone the mistakes of FO "draftsperson" Sofka Brown:

"We've had a response (which has taken its time getting round to u)s
which very specifically requests a detailed list of all the evidence
looked at wich leads us to believe that the evidence is not
sufficiently unequivocal. We do not propose to provide a list is
reply..." The misplaced closing of brackets, the mis-spelling of
"which" (as "wich") and "in" (as "is") would be regarded as poor
English at an average school. But what are we to make of it when it's
contained in a Foreign Office note to a minister?

 

I guess HMG's civil servant was just patrolling fertile zones of
convergence at genre borders between Armenia and Turkey. I apologise
for "any" offence caused to Sofka Brown.



New Statesman

A genocide denied
Geoffrey Robertson
Published 10 December 2009
Newly uncovered Foreign Office memos show how New Labour

has played politics with the massacre of the Armenians 
 
There are few genocides more clearly established than that suffered by the

Armenians in 1915-16, when half the race was extinguished in massacres

and deportations directed by the Young Turk government. Today you can

be prosecuted in France and other European countries for denying the

slaughter. But the world's most influential genocide denier - other than

Turkey itself - is the British government, which has repeatedly asserted

that there is insufficient evidence that what it terms a "tragedy" amounted

to genocide.

 

Now, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, we learn that (in the words

of Foreign Office memos) commercial and political relations with Turkey

have required abandoning "the ethical dimension".


For the past ten years, various Foreign Office ministers, from Geoff Hoon

to Mark Malloch Brown, have told parliament that "neither this government

nor previous governments have judged that the evidence is sufficiently

unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorised as

genocide, as defined by the 1948 convention". This would have come as

a shock to the architects of the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide (for whom

the Armenian genocide was second only to the Holocaust), as well as to

the wartime British government, which accused the Turks of proceeding

"systematically to exterminate a whole race out of their domain".

(Winston Churchill described it as "an administrative holocaust . . . there

is no reasonable doubt that this crime was executed for political reasons".)


What does the Foreign Office know that eluded our government at the time

as well as the drafters of the Genocide Convention, not to mention the

International Association of Genocide Scholars, the US House committee

on foreign affairs and at least nine other European governments? The

Freedom of Information Act has now unravelled this mystery.The Armenian

Centre in London obtained hundreds of pages of hitherto secret memorandums,

bearing the astonishing admission that there was no "evidence" that had ever

been looked at and there had never been a "judgment" at all. Parliament had

been misinformed: as the Foreign Office now admits, "there is no collection

of documents, publications and reports by historians, held on the relevant files,

or any evidence that a series of documents were submitted to ministers for

consideration". In any case, ministers repeatedly asserted that, "in the absence

of unequivocal evidence to show that the Ottoman administration took a specific

decision to eliminate the Armenians under their control at the time, British

governments have not recognised the events of 1915-16 as genocide".


That was the answer given by the government during the House of Lords debate

on the subject in 1999. The thinking behind the genocide denial is revealed in

an internal memorandum to ministers (Joyce Quin and Baroness Symons)

before the debate: "HMG is open to criticism in terms of the ethical dimension,

but given the importance of our relations (political, strategic and commercial)

with Turkey . . . the current line is the only feasible option."

 

An inconvenient truth
Nobody noticed that this "current line" was a legal nonsense. To prove genocide,

you do not need unequivocal evidence of a specific government decision to

eliminate a race - neither the Nazis nor the Hutu government in Rwanda ever

voted to do so or recorded any such decision. Genocidal intentions are inferred

from what governments do and from what they knew at the time they did it;

and it was obvious to everyone in Armenia (including diplomats and missionaries

from Germany, then allied to Turkey, and to neutral US ambassadors) that the

deportations had turned into death marches, and the massacres were influenced

by race hatred fanned by the government's "Turkification" campaign. The internal

documents show that the Foreign Office has never had the slightest interest in

the law of genocide: its stance throughout is that the UK cannot recognise this

particular genocide, not because it had not taken place, but because realpolitik

makes it inconvenient.


There is no suggestion in these documents that expert legal advice was ever

sought before ministers were wrongly briefed on the law of genocide. The definition

of the crime includes "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated

to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part" - a precise description of

the Ottoman government's orders to deport two million Armenians to the Syrian

Desert, in the course of which hundreds of thousands were murdered or died of

starvation. Courts in The Hague have actively developed the law relating to genocide

in recent years, but the Foreign Office memos make no reference to this - its only

concern is that ministers should say nothing which might discomfort a Turkish

government that it describes as "neuralgic" about its accountability.


The documents show how Foreign Office officials have discouraged ministers from

attending memorial services for Armenian victims and from including any reference

to this genocide at Holocaust Memorial Day. They advised Margaret Beckett,

Geoff Hoon and Kim Howells to absent themselves from the Armenian genocide

memorial day in 2007. It is no business of the Foreign Office to discourage

ministers from attending memorial services for victims of crimes against humanity.

Notable in these hitherto secret documents is how government ministers parrot

their Foreign Office briefs in parliament word for word and never challenge the

advice provided by diplomats. None of them has ever pointed out, for example,

that the "not sufficiently unequivocal" test is oxymoronic - evidence is either

equivocal or it is not. It cannot be a little bit unequivocal.


The other routine excuse for denying the genocide has been that "it is for historians,

not governments, to interpret the past". This "line" was described in 1999 as

"long-standing". But genocide is a matter for legal judgment, not a matter for

historians, and there is no dispute about the Armenian genocide among legal scholars.

Yet Foreign Office ministers insist that the "interpretation of events is still the subject

of genuine debate among historians". This "line" was stoutly maintained until last

year, when it was placed on the Downing Street website in response to an e-petition a

nd provoked angry replies from the public. The minister, by now Jim Murphy, was

displeased, and became the first to demand to know just what evidence the Foreign

Office had looked at.


The Eastern Department had looked at no evidence at all. In great haste, it came

up with three historians - Bernard Lewis (who had been prosecuted in France for

denying the genocide, but then told Le Monde that he did not dispute that hundreds

of thousands of Armenians had died), Justin McCarthy (a Kentucky professor whose

pro-Turkish work was sent to Keith Vaz, then a minister at the Foreign Office, by

the Turkish ambassador) and Heath Lowry, who, although he does not put his own

name to denials of the genocide, provoked dispute at Princeton after it accepted

funds from the Turkish government to endow his "Atatürk Chair" and he was then

exposed as having helped draft a letter in which the Turkish ambassador denounced

a scholar for writing about the genocide. It is astonishing, given the number of British

historians, from Arnold Toynbee onwards, who have no doubts on the subject, that

the Foreign Office should grasp at the straw of three controversial Americans.


Will we remember?
The head of the department later told Murphy that it had stopped "deploying this line"

because "we found that references to historians tended to raise further questions".

Malloch Brown proceeded to read out the old mantra that "neither this government

nor previous governments have judged that the evidence is sufficiently unequivocal"

on his behalf, even though no government had actually "judged" or received any

evidence at all.Parliament has been routinely misinformed by ministers who have

recited Foreign Office briefs without questioning their accuracy. The government's

only policy has been to evade giving any truthful answer about the Armenian

genocide, because it has abandoned "the ethical dimension" in the interests of

relations with a Turkish government that it acknowledges to be unbalanced in its

attitude to this issue.


In August 1939, Adolf Hitler exhorted his generals to show no mercy to the Polish

people they were preparing to blitzkrieg because, "After all, who now remembers

the annihilation of the Armenians?" If the ethics-free zone in the Foreign Office has

its way, nobody in the UK will remember them either.
Geoffrey Robertson, QC is the author of "Crimes Against Humanity: the Struggle for

Global Justice" (Penguin, £14.99)

 

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