Recently, the Derby Telegraph newspaper published a piece on the Armenian Genocide authored by Russell Pollard, an English journalist and photographer, who writes regularly on issues relating to Armenia and Artsakh.
“99 Years ago on the 24th April 1915, the Turks of the dying Ottoman Empire started arresting Armenians in Constantinople. This led very quickly to a program of mass deportation and massacre which resulted in the first Genocide of the 20th Century. Around 1.5 million Armenians were killed, and those that survived, fled to many countries throughout the world creating one of the largest forced Diasporas,” Pollard said in his open letter to people in Derby, a city in the Midlands of England with a population of 250,000.
“Genocide recognition for the Armenians is not about correcting a historical point in a textbook, or scoring political points, it is fundamentally more profound than that,” he notes. “On an individual level, it is about unresolved personal grieving, that persists through the generations. It is also about getting justice and closure, through acceptance, and giving them the opportunity, finally to lay people to rest, and for something in their heart to truly settle,” he said.
“Very few people in the UK know about the Armenian Genocide and I’m always looking for different ways of bringing it to people’s attention,” Pollard told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter, when commenting on the reasons behind his activity.
“Earlier in the year, I wrote to the Holocaust Memorial Day committee in my home city of Derby, as to why they did not include any reference to the Armenian Genocide in the January 2014 events. They agreed that it was an omission and have asked me to part of the arrangements for the 2015 commemorations and to make sure that it is recognized appropriately. The article was part of that overall activity,” he explained.
“Although it’s an important year next year with it being the Centenary of the Genocide, I feel that it is more important that it is not just seen as an historical event like the start of the First World War. The lack of general recognition continues to affect people today in the form of unresolved grief, feeling of lack of justice, as well as influencing geo-political actions in the region, particularly the ongoing situation with Nagorno Karabakh. Understanding the consequences through to today makes the subject highly relevant to us all.”
Meanwhile, about 800 people gathered in London on Saturday, April 26, to honor the memory of the Genocide victims.
“This year the march started from Marble Arch which is a famous landmark in London. The participants walked, silently, through the streets of London. It passed other famous places like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, finishing at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, very close to the residence of the UK Prime Minister. This is the place in London where our Queen, and Prime Minister lay flowers each year to remember our war dead. Despite the fact that the UK does not officially recognize the Genocide, it is a significant statement that the Armenian community members are allowed to lay wreaths at this place each year,” Pollard, who also participated in the event, told PanARMENIAN.Net.
When approached by a Turkish TV reporter during the march, he pointed out that whereas the German people accepted and took action on the Jewish Holocaust shortly after the Second World War which allowed emotional closure on the grieving this was something that Turkey had not done.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to present the views of a non-Armenian Englishman to the Turkish community on the subject of the Armenian Genocide. I also stated that the continued propaganda by Azerbaijan on the events in Khojalu in 1992, which they refer to as genocide, is a way of cynically exploiting this open wound. I added my views about how it had led to the war in Nagorno Karabakh, and that non-recognition was driving the anti-Armenian policy of Azerbaijan,” explained Pollard, the founder of www.Artsakh.Org.UK website, who visited Nagorno Karabakh 9 times over the last 4 years.