EILIAN WILLIAMS OF WALES WIDENS CRACK IN TURKEY'S WALL OF SILENCE ON TURKEY'S OCCUPATION OF ARMENIAN LANDS
By Appo Jabarian

USA Armenian Life Magazine
Issue #1207 May 20, 2010

Over the years, long-time pro-Armenian activist Eilian Williams of
Cardiff, Wales has spoken out on the great injustice inflicted upon
the Armenian people.

On various occasions, he has also brought to Welch public attention,
the plight of the more than 2,000 Armenian, Assyrian and Syriac
churches and religious monuments confiscated by the Turkish government
after the 1915 Genocide, demanding their return to their rightful
owners.

But in April of this year, Williams surpassed himself. The pro-justice
activist delivered a ground-breaking speech - not in Wales or some
other parts of Europe, but in Ankara, Turkey, during the Armenian
Genocide Conference, held on April 24 and 25.

In his Ankara speech titled "Another way for Anatolia - The Restoration
of 'Turkish' Armenia, the Return of crypto-Armenians," he courageously
stated: "The issue of Reparations for the Genocide has a sound base
in Natural Justice and the whole issue of future Armenian-Turkish
relations cannot be divorced from Reparations. ...

The denial of the 1915 Genocide by Turkey is contradicted by another of
its positions, namely the non-existence or disappearance of 'Turkish'
Armenia. Turkey cannot continue to maintain these contradictory
positions. I propose that there is another possible path for Turkey
... . We are talking not only about the Restoration of the Armenian
and Syriac Cultural heritage of Western Armenia but also Restoration
of a People to their proper identity. Two million Armenians and
Syriacs lost from Anatolia in 1915 can be recovered today if Turkey
creates the right conditions for the 'Crypto'-Armenians, and 'Crypto'
Assyrians to return to their true identities."

In Ankara, Williams elaborated with much clarity: "It is still
dangerous for this to happen in many parts of Turkey. To start with
they must be allowed to state their identities as they wish in a
future census e.g. Muslim Armenian, or Turkified Armenian or Kurdified
Armenian or Assyrian. The Armenian language must be offered officially
in large areas of Van, Bitlis, Erzerum, Sivas etc. ... Similarly
the Syriac language must be taught and given official recognition
and support."

Recently, Williams lobbied the Representatives of the United Kingdom in
the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the rights of
all minorities and especially for the rights of the forcibly turkified
Armenians, Assyrians, and Syriacs of Turkey.

In his petition titled "Lobby for the Minorities of Turkey," Williams
echoed his own views expressed in Ankara: "Let us not forget though
the culpability of the former Great Powers, especially Britain, in
legitimizing the award to Turkey of her present borders following the
successful genocide of her Armenian and Syriac/Assyrian populations.

Turkey's entry into the European Union will undoubtedly mean that
the European Union assumes a great part of Turkey's liability for
reparations.

This offers the prospect of diverting part of the potential benefits
of EU Membership into the "Great Project " of a Restoration of Western
Armenia that is to revert back to the position when people of many
ethnicities, languages and cultures could live alongside each other
before the Turkification of the area destroyed this rich-in-diversity
area inhabited by Armenians, Assyrians/Syriacs, Greeks, Kurds and
Turks."

Williams also reiterated his Ankara statements: "In parallel with
this, people whose ancestors were forcibly converted but who know
their origins must be allowed to revert back to their normal everyday
life and traditions. This includes Turkified or Kurdified Armenians
and Assyrians, and this may lead to a stronger, more vibrant region.

... Muslim authorities could recognize publicly that the forced
conversions of 1915 were a crime and that the descendants should
be encouraged to assume their rightful identity without fear of
retribution."

Who is Eilian Williams?

Williams does not have one drop of Armenian blood in his veins,
but his spirit is entirely inhabited by the Armenian one. ... He
became interested in Armenians as a result of teachings at school,
through a weekly subscription to an encyclopedia. His first readings
made him come face to face with the 1894 massacres of Sassoun. Later
he read the book on the Armenian Tragedy by Llewellyn W. Williams,
a veteran Welch journalist-turned politician," wrote Jean Eckian,
a Paris-based independent journalist in popular Nouvelles d'Armenie
magazine's October 2007 issue.

In 1894-96, Wales had been deeply troubled by the massacres perpetrated
against the Armenians. Many protest demonstrations were organized
in the entire country. The small Armenian community working toward
securing assistance. And decades later, then 22 year-old Eilian
Williams asked the question: "Why did they strangle this people?"

Having read the Ararat monthly where the Armenian novelist Michael
Arlen (Dikran Kouyoumdjian) used to write, Williams was struck by
the following sentence pronounced by a character named Sarkis:
"An unbearable sadness weighs on your soul." From that day on,
shocked by the overwhelming and abusive oppression of the Turks,
the young Williams started his research. ... The Welch people have a
proverb dating from the 19th century that says: "He looked at me like
a Turk," meaning the feeling caused by someone looking at another as
a drugged-out or a diabolic individual, reported Eckian.

"Incredible, but true! Eilian Williams, a shepherd in Wales, has done
more in support of the Armenian Cause than most Armenians, despite the
fact that he is not related to Armenians by heritage or marriage. For
all his good work, he has received no recognition and no appreciation.

Most Armenians, except for a small circle in London, are neither
aware of his existence nor his selfless efforts. ... My hat off
to Eilian Williams! I only wish that Armenians would emulate the
righteous activism of this good shepherd whose efforts deserve proper
recognition by the Republic of Armenia, the Church, and Armenians
worldwide, Harut Sassounian, Publisher of The California Courier wrote
about Williams back in July 2009. Sassounian went on to list many of
Williams' accomplishments on behalf of the Armenian people's plight
and their Cause:

- In 1998. an Armenian acquaintance asked him to arrange for the
Armenian Church Choir to perform in a Welsh Cultural Festival; Next,
he formed the "Wales Armenia Solidarity" group;

- On April 24, 2001, Mr. Williams organized the first Armenian Genocide
commemoration in Cardiff, Wales;

- In October 2002, he succeeded in getting the National Assembly for
Wales to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide;

- In March 2004, through his persistent efforts, the Gwynedd County
Council became the first municipality in the UK to recognize the
Armenian Genocide;

- In October 2004, Mr. Williams arranged for the Prime Minister of
the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh) to be received by the
Presiding Officer (Speaker) of the National Assembly for Wales,
thus boosting the legitimacy of Artsakh's statehood;

- In 2006, he persuaded the majority of the members of the National
Assembly for Wales to support the Assyrian/Armenian Genocide Early
Day Motion (EDM);

- In January 2007, he organized the Hrant Dink Commemoration in the
British Parliament. He also lobbied for the Armenian Genocide Motion
in the House of Commons which garnered the signatures of 182 Members
of Parliament;

- In November, 2007, at the inauguration of the Armenian Genocide
Monument in Cardiff, which Mr. Williams and John Torosyan helped
organize, the Speaker of the National Assembly for Wales made
scathing remarks about Turkey. Turkish hooligans tried to disrupt
the solemn proceedings; several months later, they desecrated the
Genocide Memorial;

"Eilian Williams was also intrigued by the astonishing similarities
existing between the Armenian Cross-stones "Khatchkars" and the Welch
Celtic Crosses; as well as certain linguistic similarities coming from
a very old link. For example 'Dwr' in Welch and 'Djour' or 'Tchur'
('water' in Armenian) ; 'Hen' in Welch and 'Heen' ('old' in Armenian);
'Chwaer' in Welch and 'Chuyr' or 'Quyr' ('sister' in Armenian);
'Carreg' in Welch and 'Carr' or 'Karr' ('stone' in Armenian),"
added Eckian.

It is the injustice regarding the Armenian Genocide that energizes him:
the disappearance of a whole race from its ancestral lands. ...

Thus his objective: recognition of the Genocide of the Armenians
by the British government. ... The royal gift of November 3, 2007:
At the inauguration of the first Armenian Genocide Monument in Great
Britain, Ed Balls British Secretary of State for Children, Schools
and Families, a close ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has sent
a message wishing all the success to Wales-Armenia Solidarity. This
marked the first such message presented to the Armenian community by
any minister of United Kingdom, noted Eckian.

To his credit, thanks to his integrity and his steadfast position in
Ankara, Mr. Williams single-handedly widened the crack in Turkey's
wall of silence on Armenian Genocide, and on the continuation of
Turkish occupation of Armenian lands.

For all his genuine efforts and devoted activism for justice on
behalf of the victims of the first genocide of the 20th century,
he deserves both our moral and financial support.

Write to him. His e-mail address is [email protected] Readers may
make their financial contribution to Wales-Armenia Solidarity. through
the following "Walea Armenia Solidarity" Bank Account; international
Bank account number GB64MIDL40160211568922; Branch Identifier code
MIDLGB2123R.