With American politicians in the House of Representatives voting to recognise the Armenian genocide last month focus has now shifted to the lack of recognition in the UK. We spoke to Lord Darzi, a prominent surgeon known around the world for his pioneering work robot-assisted surgery…and a leader of the campaign to have the mass killing of Armenians recognised as genocide in the UK.
Lord Darzi is the first Armenian to sit in Parliament and has a family connection to the tragedy – his Armenian grandparents were displaced by the actions of the Ottomans and many of his relations were killed in the genocide.
The eminent surgeon told us why he thinks it is important for young people to learn about the Armenian genocide. He said that ‘by learning about these atrocities, the next generation of leaders will develop the skills to recognise and hopefully help prevent such widespread atrocities from happening again’.
Similarly, says Lord Darzi, there is also a lot of be from the resilience of survivors of the genocide, and their families and about those who risked their lives to help them. He states that ‘There is a clear message of hope, social justice and social unity’ continuing that ‘there is also much to learn about those individuals who have spoken out against these atrocities and risked their lives to stand up to the perpetrators of these unspeakable acts, and with this the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.’
The peer has a clear message for politicians in Westminster when he comments that ‘with at least 20 countries around the world formally recognising the massacre as genocide, and now the United States, it is time for British parliament to do the same.’
The devolved governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all recognised the genocide but, at the time of writing, the UK government has not done so.
Lord Darzi also has a message for young people and a call to action for 2020. ‘Following the election in the UK, young people need to build on the momentum of the US House resolution and should be encouraged to continue to speak up about the Armenian genocide, and demand that the atrocity is recognised for what it is – a genocide.’
Lord Darzi will in at the forefront of the campaign for recognition. We’ll see him there.