ANC-AU demands apology for racial slur by Sydney University tutor


SYDNEY: The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) has written to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney in protest of one of the university’s tutors using a journalist’s Armenian origin to attack him for an article he wrote for The Daily Telegraph.

Armenian-Australian News Limited journalist, Kylar Loussikian’s article reportedly exposed links between University of Sydney lecturer, Dr Tim Anderson and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In response, University of Sydney tutor, Jay Tharappel, took to social media accusing that “Armenians (‘..with that surname..’)” are “back stabbing”, “traitorous scum” and deserve a “second Armenian Genocide”.

“It is absurd and offensive to suggest that just because a journalist of Armenian heritage writes an article expressing an opinion, that that opinion reflects the opinion and views of all those of the same ancestry,” said ANC-AU Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian. “The Armenian people will always be grateful to Syria, which gave safe haven to the survivors of the Armenian Genocide of World War I by Ottoman Turkey, and allowed them to rebuild their lives over the last century, with flourishing educational, cultural and Christian institutions. We hope and pray that peace will soon return to that devastated country so that the Syrian people can rebuild their lives.”

The letter to Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence read: “We are utterly shocked and dismayed that, in this day and age, a tutor of a respected and prestigious university such as the University of Sydney would publish such racially vilifying slander.”

“Whether or not one agrees with Mr Loussikian’s article in question, his ancestry (and the ethnic community to which he belongs) is completely irrelevant and should not be the subject of vile, racially charged public comments by a academic staff member of the University of Sydney.”

“Let there be no mistake, this is not an issue of academic freedom of expression. It is outright racial vilification of not only an Australian journalist of Armenian heritage, but also of the entire Armenian-Australian community.”

“We completely respect the right of anyone, in particular, academics freely to express opinions and views which may not be consistent with or challenge the views of the mainstream. What cannot be respected or countenanced by any university are the racially offensive and vilifying comments such as those of Mr Tharappel.”

The letter continued: “Such anti-Armenian comments are all the more egregious as Armenians around the world, including Armenian-Australians, will be solemnly commemorating in a couple of weeks the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.”

ANC-AU is demanding an apology from Jay Tharappel.