‘It was heartbreaking’: Memorial to victims of massacre defaced in Sydney’s west

  • Written by:

A memorial to genocide victims has been defaced in Sydney’s west. (Supplied)
A memorial to massacred ethnic groups has been cruelly defaced with Nazi imagery in Sydney’s west.
The monument to Assyrian victims of genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I was defaced with swastikas and abuse towards Jewish groups, Armenians and Assyrians overnight.

It was the third time the memorial had been targeted since it was erected in August, 2010.

The site remembers the estimated 750,000 Assyrians who were among more than 1 million people belonging to ethnic groups slaughtered nearly 100 years ago.

The Australian Secretary of the Assyrian Universal Alliance David David said he drove past the 4.5m monument this morning, as he does every day, when he noticed the graffiti.

It was really heartbreaking,” Mr David told 9News.com.au.

“Today it’s heartbreaking to be Assyrian, not just in Australia but worldwide.

“This monument means a lot for us.”

The memorial was erected in 2010. (Supplied)

The memorial was erected in 2010. (Supplied)

Mr David acknowledged the memorial was controversial but said his community was pleased to have been allowed to erect the statue.

“We were very honoured to have the permission to build the monument,” he said.

“Unfortunately even in this free democracy, we have [people] vandalising a monument that means a lot to us.”

He said the vandalism was particularly distressing as the 100 year anniversary of the Assyrian mass murder approached.

The crime follows recent comments by Pope Francis labelling the slaughter of Assyrian people by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

The remarks, made at a mass in St Peter’s Bassilica in Rome, made him the first pontiff to publicly do so.

Turkey denies the claims of genocide, stating thousands Armenian Christians and Turkish Muslims on both sides died during the fighting.

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued a stinging rebuke to the Pope online.

“The Pope’s statement, which is out of touch with both historical facts and legal basis, is simply unacceptable,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Religious offices are not places through which hatred and animosity are fueled by unfounded allegations.”

The European Union has joined calls for Turkey to officially recognise the killings as genocide.

Terror group ISIL has been systematically erasing thousands of years of history across the Middle East, targeting a host of minority groups with violence.

An ISIL video released last week showed militants destroying an ancient Assyrian Chrisitan site in northern Iraq with sledgehammers and explosives.

© ninemsn 2015

Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/04/16/13/46/memorial-to-victims-of-genocide-defaced-in-sydney-s-west#x1pUKVzUepf8miSK.99