Lord Ara Darzi has lauded the vote by the US House of Representatives to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and has expressed his dismay at the lack of a similar acknowledgment by the British government.
“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. 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,” Professor Ara Darzi said in a letter to The Guardian.
“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 recognized the massacre as genocide – among them France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the European parliament. Now the House of Representatives has joined them,” he added.
Prof. Darzi reminded that his 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,” the letter reads.
“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,” Lord Darzi concluded.
The US House of Representatives voted 405 to 11 on October 29to adopt a resolution (H. Res. 296) affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.
The resolution establishes a proactive policy of recognizing Armenian genocide and challenge Turkey’s denials of the crime.
The resolution ensures that the United States commemorates the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance and rejects efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide
It also encourages education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.