Azad-Hye, Dubai, 30 April 2006: Kuwait is one of the most relaxed Arab countries about press freedom. Journalists exercise self censorship and avoid tackling officially unacceptable policies.
Nevertheless, Kuwait has a lively media. This is why when the Armenian Prelacy headed by Archbishop Gorun Babian approached Kuwaiti media through press conference on the 24th April 2006, the immediate result was the publication on the next day of series of articles and reports on the Armenian Genocide, in a way that formed a sort of surprise to the ordinary reader.
Journalist Leila Al Sarraf signed the following article in “Al Qabas” daily (25th April 2006), translated into English:
Prayer in the Armenian Orthodox Prelacy
Gorun Babian: “Turkey?s blockade of Armenia is against humanity”
Archbishop Dr. Gorun Babian, Head of the Armenian Church in Kuwait, said that the whole world should recognize the Armenian Genocide which was committed by the Turks 91 years ago. He described the Genocide as an act against the whole humanity, not only against the Armenians. He made his remarks during a press conference that took place in the Armenian Prelacy on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, underlining that the Armenians demand from the world and the Turkish government acknowledgement and condemnation of the Genocide.
Archbishop Babian added: “The Turkish government is proud of its war criminals. It shamelessly erects monuments of those criminals in various Turkish cities. Is it fair to reward the criminals and to deprive the oppressed? The Christian faith urges us to forgive, but the wrong doer should first confess his mistakes. The Turkish government has not acknowledged the enormity of the mistake it has done by committing the Genocide”.
Archbishop Gorun Babian demanded the recognition of the Genocide and the right for compensation. He also called to establish good relations with the Turkish government and the lifting of the Turkish blockade against Armenia, which is in fact a criminal offence against humanity. On the other hand, the Head of the Armenian Youth Organisation said that “In school we teach our children how to demand the Armenian rights and we do not instruct any kind of hatred against the Turkish people. 91 years have passed without the Turkish government recognizing the Genocide, although more than 200 political, legal, governmental entities have recognized it”, he concluded.
At the end of the press conference Archbishop Gorun prayed, with the members of the church, for the souls of the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
END OF THE ARTICLE
Besides “Al Qabas”, other Kuwaiti dailies covered the press conference. Ousama Abu Al Khair from “Al Raielam” referred to the declaration of the Ruler of Mecca in 1917 (Sherif Mecca Al Housein Bin Al Ali), in which he officially asked all the Arab tribes and his allies to protect the refugee Armenians and to grant them the much required peace and support. A copy of this declaration appears in many sources.
Journalist Abu Al Khair mentions that the Armenians demand from the Turkish government recognition of the Genocide and compensations, the way Germans did regarding the Jewish Holocaust caused by the Nazis. Armenians also demand the opening of the borders and the normalization of the relations between Armenian and Turkey and the lifting of the inhumane blockade.
Journalist Boushra Mohammed of “Al Anbaa” daily refers to the gratitude of the Armenians towards the Kuwaiti government for the policy of tolerance and the endorsement of peaceful co-existence amongst the nations. The religious and cultural tolerance in Kuwait allows the Armenians to lead flourishing community life.
Journalist Rima Al Baghdadi of “Al Seyassah” daily quoted Archbishop Babian saying that all Armenians who have survived the Genocide are living proofs that the Genocide really took place and had many tragic faces. Every Armenian family has a story related to the Genocide. Every one has lost beloved ones. More than half of the Armenian population was destroyed. Hitler made a statement before invading Poland in 1939 in which he said: ?who remembers today the destruction of the Armenians??
“Arab Times” English language daily?s Francis A. Clifford Cardozo posted the following report on 25 April 2006
Armenians celebrate 91st anniversary;
“Genocide committed by Turkey a crime against humanity”
KUWAIT CITY: The genocide committed by Turkey against Armenians is a crime against humanity, says Archbishop Goriun Babian, the Armenian Prelacy of Kuwait and Arabian Gulf countries. Armenians all over the world commemorate genocide victims on April 24 and this year celebrate the 91st anniversary. Addressing a press conference at the Armenian Church on Sunday, Archbishop Babian added that “what angers the Armenians most is the fact that Turkey has not acknowledged the crimes committed against the Armenians.
This is the main reason why we have not been able to reach a peaceful agreement with Turkey and as result the Armenians are continuing to struggle.” As part of the celebrations, the Armenian Youth Federation on Sunday organized a cultural programme at the church followed by a lecture focusing on the genocide. A high mass will be held at 11.30 am on Monday preceded by special prayer service for the martyrs.
Archbishop Babian went on to add that Armenians are grateful to Arabs because they took them under their wings and extended them their hospitality when they were being targeted by the Turks, adding a decree was issued by the Sharif of Makkah in order to safeguard the rights of Armenians. “I am a living testimony of the Armeninian genocide. Both my parents survived the genocide and moved to Lebanon at the age of 5. I lost many members of my family during the genocide,” added the Archbishop.
Goriun said Turkey sentenced to death in absentia three of its top leaders who were involved in the genocide and that other perpetrators got 15 years in jail.
1- Press conference in the Prelacy of Kuwait on 24th April 2006
2- Archbishop Gorun Babian