Monday, 28 January 2008

Armenian Genocide Monument desecrated on Holocaust Memorial Day

Turkish protesters disrupt Holocaust and Hrant Dink Commemorations

Only few days ago, organisers warned of possible Turkish attempts to disrupt the Holocaust and Hrant Dink Commemoration event planned to be held in Cardiff (Wales, UK) at recently erected Armenian Genocide Memorial. Particularly, their press release indicated that "Hal Savas and his "Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights" has told the South Wales police that they intend to protest nearby." However, the reality they encountered was uglier than it was thought would be.

*source of photo: BBC

Below is the press release received from the Wales-Armenia Solidarity (with the support of Nor Serount Cultural Association).

27 January 2008

The tiny Welsh Armenian community were targeted with a despicable racist attack on Holocaust Memorial Day. The new Armenian Genocide Monument (which was erected by the community under the leadership of John Torosyan in November) was desecrated in the early hours of the morning before important ceremonies were held today to Commemorate the Holocaust, and to remember Hrant Dink. The ornate Armenian Cross on the monument was smashed to bits by persons unknown using a hammer, which was left at the scene of the crime.

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"

Eilian Williams of Wales Armenia Solidarity said that he blamed the so-called "Committee for the Protection of Turkish Rights" under the leadership of Hal Savas (mobile number 07770302822) for the crime. The police took the hammer for fingerprints.

He continued:"I call on Armenians and other sympathisers throughout the world to send messages of support to Wales Armenia Solidarity ( ) which we can send to the Prime Minister of the National Assembly of Wales. We shall repair the cross again and again no matter how often it is desecrated. We also challenge the UK government and the Turkish Embassy to condemn this racist attack.

The Holocaust commemoration was a gesture of friendship by Welsh Armenians towards the Jewish and Roma communities .

Eminent Welshman Robin Gwyndaf prayed in Welsh and English. The Assembly Member Jenny Randerson called on the UK government to recognise the Armenian Genocide .

During the Prayers for the Holocaust victims, the said Turkish Committee used a loud-speaker to disrupt proceedings.

Finally, Martin Shipton, chief reporter for the "Western Mail" the national newspaper of Wales gave his tribute to Hrant Dink (also representing the National Union of Journalists). The Turkish protesters also disrupted his speech.

I am re-posting 2 photos from my previous post of Armenian Genocide memorial which was unveiled in Cardiff on 3 November 2007. Racists will not succeed in their attempts!

*source of photos:


artmika said...

Blogian has relevant post here

Brief report about this vandalism by local Cardiff media here

artmika said...

James in Turkey posted further details:

A press officer at the Turkish Embassy in London, who would not give me his name, told me he had seen the story carried in some Turkish newspapers today, but had no comment of his own to make. When pressured on whether it was a regrettable incident in terms of Turkish-Armenian relations, he said: "We think it is regrettable that there was a memorial built there in the first place."

Anonymous said...

I think you should be careful when announcing names of people on your blog. I am the person referred to in your blog above and the matter was reported to Cardiff Police by myself and a statement delivered for their perusal and action. The fact the person named Eilian Williams is issuing statements libeling myself and our organisation and even mentioning the name of Muslim Council of Britain, thus inciting racial hatred maybe sufficient for matters to be taken to next stage for legal purposes.

It is my wish that these statements are retracted or tangible proof is supplied to the Police Dept., in Cardiff to substantiate the claims.

This is a sad case of two wrongs not making a right as I delivered a statement to Welsh media indicating my abhorrence on the criminal damage and that Police should also investigate possibility that this could be self inflicted wound to gain public sympathy.

One can only pray that truth is not so far away. For other side to these stories pls check
Hal Savas