Whilst November is traditionally the month of remembrance of WW1, April 24th is internationally recognised as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day – the date that intellectuals or Armenian identity or descent were rounded up by Ottoman Forces and marched out of Constantinople.
One of the most striking monuments in Wales’ National Garden of Peace is a tall, red sandstone sculpture with a cross of Welsh slate representing the ‘Khachkar‘ – the cross of Armenia. This is Wales’ Armenian Genocide Memorial, the first UK monument to formally recognise the genocide between 1915 and 1923 that killed 600,000 to 1,500,000 ethnic Armenians.
Created by sculptor Ieuan Rees, the memorial was unveiled in 2007 by Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, in the presence of over 300 from Wales’ Armenian Community, descendants of survivors offered sanctuary in Wales having fled the massacres in Anatolia in WW1.
- WalesOnline: Wales’ Armenians still campaigning for recognition of the genocide suffered by their people in 1915
Each November and April , descendants gather in the Garden of Peace for a memorial service that is an intrinsic part of intergenerational learning – passing on and ‘keeping alive’ the story so that successive generations of Welsh Armenians understand their roots.
In 2020, for the first time the memorial service was unable to go ahead due to the COVID lockdown. However, it is hoped that the tradition will continue from April 2021.
More about Wales’ Memorial
- Wales’ Armenian Genocide Memorial – Wikipedia Entry
- Four Monuments and a Pilgrimage: Wales and the Armenians – Canon Patrick Thomas, 2016 Oxford Speech on 50th Anniversary of professorship in Armenian Studies
- Armenian Genocide Monument record – Armenian National Institute.
- Protest as Memorial is Unveiled – BBC News, 3 Nov 2007
- Opening (and Vandalism) of Armenian Memorial – DailyMotion short video, Nov 2007
- Armenian Genocide Monument – Cardiff News Plus (JOMEC Blog) by student Carolyne Chepkoech
More about the History of the Armenian Genocide
Recognition and Diplomacy