The horror of the genocide by the Turks cannot and should not be swept aside or ignored.
Arrests, imprisonment, rape, death marches, subjugation of children—you name it—were all part and parcel of the Armenian genocide. This documented brutality and the eyewitness accounts have been ignored for far too long. Eyewitness accounts were brought to us by our very own Australian servicemen who were there at that time, as were the war reporters, over 100 years ago. Potentially, sensitivities by authorities relating to the Gallipoli Peninsula may have quietened that which should have been a loud voice of condemnation of deliberate, orchestrated, official policy in 1915, which saw the removal of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire. At the time, Winston Churchill referred to this as the 'Armenian holocaust'. Call it what you will, holocaust or genocide, it was an atrociously horrific chapter in world history and an exceptionally shameful one in Turkey's history.
The people of Australia, learning of the atrocities those 100 years ago through reports and our servicemen in the area, rallied together to support the Armenian relief fund way back in 1915. They made substantial contributions. We let these forefathers of ours down. We don't appreciate fully the sacrificial giving of so many of our forebears of yesteryear, who gave so generously, by no longer highlighting the atrocity and demanding justice through recognition and apology.
I'm a firm believer that justice ultimately prevails and I, therefore, believe that justice will ultimately come the way of the Armenian people. But I am also reminded that justice delayed is justice denied. After 103 years, the delay, the denial and the disingenuous excuses need to be expunged in favour of acceptance, acknowledgement and apology. It is my hope that Australia will be in the vanguard of this just endeavour to obtain recognition and reparation for the plight of the world's Armenian peoples, as our forebears were 100 years ago in providing food, support and practical assistance.