Groong Press Release - 29 January 2001
On January the 27th 2001, Britain commemorated its first Holocaust Memorial Day. Unfortunately the British Government late last year made a conscious decision to exclude the Armenian Genocide from the National Event.
The Armenian Community in Britain and around the World were up in arms, and rightly called on the Government to change this undignified decision. Unfortunately Britain is still one of the few major European governments that for political reasons does not recognise the historical realities of the Armenian Genocide.
After extensive work by the Committee for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other individuals and groups in the U.K. and abroad, the British Government capitulated slightly, and agreed that a delegation of Armenians would be invited and that the U.K. Armenian Bishop would take part in the candle lighting ceremony at the end of the National event.
Unfortunately the Committee for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide, though welcoming this move, only viewed this concession as inclusion of the Armenian Community, rather than of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Community came together the day before Holocaust Memorial Day to hold a 'silent vigil' outside the Home Office in London, so as to show the communities unity and strength in calling on the Government to change its decision.
Though atrocious condition, where it rained virtually non stop, 400 Armenians came during the 12 hour vigil to show solidarity, including two survivors of the genocide itself. scores of photographer and journalist attended to report on the vigil, which also included BBC and ITN camera crews (the two biggest news providers in the U.K.).
In the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day there was also extensive coverage in all the Broadsheet Newspapers regarding the Armenian Genocide and Holocaust Memorial Day.
Hratche Koundarjian said "British people have been awaked to the Armenian Genocide, and are also now Angry that on Holocaust Memorial Day of all days that the proper remembrance of the 1.5 million people that died in the Armenian Genocide would play second fiddle to politics".
The British Armenian Community is now looking forward to the 24th of April Remembrance, and working with British people media and Government to highlight the Armenian Genocide and try and address the governments shameful policy on the Armenian Genocide.