In an earlier post from 2012 I discussed the uncomfortable connection between the Armenian Genocide and Gallipoli Day and the notable silence in Australia and New Zealand surrounding both the genocide and its denial by Turkey. With the 100th commemoration of Gallipoli less than 18 months away I questioned whether this was because Australian and New Zealand governments and Returned Service Associations were afraid of blowback on this centenary if the Armenian Genocide was acknowledged as it has been in many other countries.
The question is whether made aware of the circumstances of the Armenian Genocide and the continued Turkish denials we think our government should recognise the tragedy and face Turkish wrath and possible blow back on Gallipoli or decide that our commemorations are more important and the Armenian Genocide is none of our business. 2700 New Zealanders and 8700 Australians died at Gallipoli. Somewhere between 1-1.5 million Armenians were killed between late 1914 and 1923.
I suggest if you have any empathy for your fellow human being the answer will be an easy one.
This has now been unequivocally answered. In May of this year the NSW Parliament recognized the genocide and Turkey has since threatened to ban NSW politicians from the 1915 ceremony. One can only surmise an Australian or New Zealand parliament recognition would have serious consequences for the commemoration. Given John Key’s softly softly stance on Sri Lanka’s possibly genocidal actions against Tamil civilians in the last days of their civil war, and the ongoing political disappearances, the odds of a National government even discussing the Armenian issue would be remote.
Australia’s ABC does a good job in 7 minutes of outlining the debate. About time a similar discussion was had in New Zealand. Yes it may be unpleasant for the relationship with Turkey but is our commemoration of ANZAC mythology more important than holocaust denial and if so what does that say about us as a nation?