Australian MP Tim Wilson highlights Armenian Genocide in address to Federal Parliament

By | Friday, 03 March 2017

CANBERRA: The Federal Member for Goldstein, Tim Wilson used an adjournment address in Parliament on March 2nd, 2017 to confirm the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide to highlight the topic of "cultural genocide".

Wilson, who is of Armenian descent, said: "In adjourning the House tonight, I want to take the opportunity to speak about and draw attention to the problems of cultural genocide. In my former capacity as Australia's Human Rights Commissioner I was honoured to speak on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide at Sydney Town Hall."

"At the commemoration we paid recognition, of course, to the lives that were lost, but it was also an important occasion to remind people that the toll was not just human; it was also cultural. There was a deliberate attempt by some to remove not just Armenians but also their memory by destroying evidence of Armenian heritage and culture, such as artworks and architecture. In short, there was not just a human genocide; there was also a cultural genocide."

"The official Armenian genocide centennial website tells the stories of the cultural genocide to wipe the memory of Armenian people from the Ottoman Empire. It states: '… purposefully massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries and other properties of church, including thousands of medieval handwritten manuscripts'."

"Further: an Arab witness to the Armenian Genocide, Fayez al-Ghussein, writes in his memoirs '… After the massacres of the Armenians, the government established committees that were engaged in selling the abandoned property. Armenian cultural values were sold at the cheapest prices. I once went to the church to see how the sales of these things were organised. The doors of the Armenian schools were closed. The Turks used science books in the bazaar for wrapping cheese, dates, sunflowers'."

Wilson added: "The Ottoman Empire's aim was to erase the lives and memories of the Armenian people. All members should be committed to ensuring such events never happen again. Of course, having a quarter Armenian heritage myself, this is a subject in which I take significant interest. And the best way that we can stop any efforts to repeat cultural genocide is also to stand up and call out similar attempts that occur in the world today."

The Armenian National Committee of Australia's (ANC-AU) Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian paid tribute to Wilson's reference of the Armenian Genocide.

"Mr. Wilson has advocated for justice for the Armenian Genocide since before his election into Federal Parliament, and he has proven his commitment to justice once again by referencing the extents to which Ottoman Turkey went to erase the Armenian race from existence," Kahramanian said.

"The Armenian National Committee of Australia welcomes public calls to right the wrongs of the past, particularly with reference to the genocide suffered by Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire."

Kahramanian added: "The Turkish government of today is the successor regime of the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, and it must face up to its bloody history, which was articulated so well by Mr. Wilson."