Lord Ara Darzi, a member of the British Parliament, in a letter published by The Guradian on Wednesday, urged the British government to recognize the Armenian Genocide, spurred by last week’s passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of H.Res. 296.
In the letter, Lord Darzi expresses his dismay at what he called a lack of similar acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide by the British government.
Below is the text of the letter as published by The Guardian.
As the first Armenian in the British parliament, I am overjoyed at the vote by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday last week to recognise the Armenian genocide of a century ago (US House overwhelmingly votes to recognise Armenian genocide, 30 October).
But I remain dismayed by the British government’s refusal to acknowledge the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in a wave of violence that followed the fall of the Ottoman empire. The collective silence over the Armenian genocide was cited by Hitler as he plotted the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population.
It is a source of intense pain and regret to me and my compatriots that our own government persists in denying the genocide out of fear of offending Turkey, a Nato ally. At least 20 countries around the world have formally recognised the massacre as genocide – among them France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the European parliament. Now the House of Representatives has joined them.
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. She walked barefoot with her mother from Erzerum, where the family lived, arriving weeks later in Mosul, northern Iraq. I was born in Baghdad, where we lived as refugees.
It is unconscionable for the British government to continue to deny the Armenian genocide. Genocide is a global issue. We have seen it in Rwanda and Darfur and in what happened to Christian communities at the hands of Isis in Syria and northern Iraq. The House resolution says the US government should no longer associate itself “with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other genocide”. Our own parliament should do the same.
Prof Ara Darzi
Director, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London