Protest as memorial is unveiled
3 November 2007
Over a hundred and fifty people protested before the unveiling. Members of the Turkish community protested at the unveiling of a plaque to a genocide they say never happened.
The Armenian genocide of 1915 at the time of the Ottoman Empire has been a source of deep division between Turkish and Armenian communities worldwide.
Armenians say 1.5m were killed, through systematic massacres or starvation, a claim denied by the Turkish community.
Saturday's unveiling at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff events saw feelings running high on both sides.
Welsh assembly Presiding Officer Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas was at the unveiling of the plaque which has been paid for by donations from the Wales Armenia Society.
Members of the Turkish community insist that erecting the memorial amounted to racism.
Protestor Levent Hassan said: "It's a question of our ancestors being accused of genocide."
"If such a genocide took place, then let's prove it and let all concerned commemorate those horrible events," he added.
"But if there isn't - why should we allow our ancestors to be slandered in such a way."
The monument stands in the gardens of the Temple of Peace on what is said to be the UK's first piece of public land donated for an Armenian memorial.
Ahead of the ceremony, Welsh assembly Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas said Wales's relationship with Armenia "went back centuries".
He receive a marble cross, or khatchkar, on behalf of Wales at the unveiling ceremony.
Lord Elis-Thomas joined members of the Armenian and Christian communities on Saturday.
"The fact that the funds for this fine memorial have been raised entirely by the Armenians who live in Wales and that it will occupy a special place here in the Temple of Peace, reflects the vibrant Welsh interest in the history of Armenia," he said.
The Welsh Centre for International Affairs, which is located at the Temple of Peace, is a forum which seeks to promote human rights and international understanding.
Steven Thomas, its director, sad: "We've held events at the Temple of Peace over the past seven years to note the Armenian genocide, including parts of ceremonies we've held for National Holocaust Remembrance Day in January each year. "
However, he said there had been a "much bigger response" to the monument because the commemoration to the Armenians would literally be set in stone.
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09.10.2007 15:48 GMT+04:00
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian community of Wales intends to erect a monument to the Armenian Genocide victims in Cardiff by November 3. The word Genocide will be inscribed in Welsh, English and Armenian on the monument shaped as cross.
Wales is the first UK province that recognized the Armenian Genocide at hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915, CNN Turk reports.
Wales-Armenia Solidarity Press Release
c/o The Temple of Peace, Cardiff
Tel: + 00 44 7718982732
Armenian Genocide Monument desecrated on 27 January 2008
- UK Holocaust Memorial Day
Turkish protesters disrupt Holocaust and Hrant Dink Commemorations
Armenians and Welsh gathered to pray for victims of all genocides on the United Kingdom’s Holocaust Memorial Day and to remember the first anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink, the journalist killed for raising the issue of the Armenian Genocide in the Turkish press.
The small Welsh Armenian community found that the ornate slate cross on the monument was smashed into pieces with a hammer left at the scene. The Armenian Genocide Monument was desecrated on a symbolic day designated to recall the events, consequences and lessons of the darkest days of human history in a deliberate and premeditated act of vandalism
The ceremony went ahead. Eminent Welshman Robin Gwyndaf prayed in Welsh and English, Assembly Member Jenny Randerson called on the UK government to recognise the Armenian Genocide and Martin Shipton, representing the National Union of Journalists and chief reporter for the \"Western Mail\", gave the tribute to Hrant Dink. Solemn prayers for all genocide victims and speeches were disrupted by continual taunting by protestors using a megaphone. Copies of the book \"Remember\" were presented to the guest speakers representing the theme of the occasion.
One of the Welsh Armenians said \"This is our holiest shrine. Our grandparents who perished in the Genocide do not have marked graves. This is where we remember them\"
It is ironic that the main Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Liverpool again failed to remember the Armenian victims of the first genocide in the 20th century. The political decision runs against the core purpose of this solemn day, and shows that the lessons from the last century have yet to be fully grasped by even the organisers of HMD.
Eilian Williams of Wales Armenia Solidarity called on \"Armenians and other sympathisers throughout the world to send messages of support to Wales Armenia Solidarity (firstname.lastname@example.org ) to be forwarded to the Prime Minister of the National Assembly of Wales. We also challenge the UK government and the Turkish Embassy to condemn this attack on a peaceful ethnic and religious minority.”