BELMONT, Mass. — Rev. Karekin Bedourian was the guest speaker at the commemoration of the 91st anniversary of the defense of Marash, at a program held at the hall of the Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church.
Speaking in Armenian, Bedourian said, “Marash was a prosperous and beautiful Armenian city, our city, our land and birthplace of your ancestors. The love of the homeland, the dream of the mother city is in all of us.”
Marash (or Kermanig), he noted, is located in the eastern part of Cilicia; a historic Armenian city which was home to thousands of Armenians before 1922. The city, now known as Kahraman Marash, lies on a plain at the foot of the Taurus Mountains and as of the year 2,000, has a population of 326,000.
“All of the Armenian churches and Armenian institutions of Marash are now destroyed. (By the way, I have been in Western Armenia and Cilicia twice, and once in Marash. In the year 2008, I went to Marash as an Armenian pilgrim, searching for any evidence of our people . . . I found none; ‘they’ have attempted to destroy any visible evidence of our existence in Marash. Not so in other Armenian cities like Aintab, Ourfa, Moush, Mousa Ler, Van, Kharpert, Kars and Sassoun . . . but in Marash, no evidence of Armenians ever having lived there.
“In Marash, before 1920, there were Armenian churches, Armenian Cathedrals, streets of Armenian people and Armenian schools. Of the 38,000 Armenians living there, only 5,000 were able to escape the afflictions, persecutions and death of the Genocide,” he said.
“The evidence is not only the stones — the structures — but you are the living testimony, dear Marashtsis, that 91 years later after the war and Genocide, you are gathered here in this blessed country to remember and commemorate freely, without any pressure to respect and prove your commitment toward your mother city, the city of the birthplace of your ancestors. Even today, ‘they are committing white genocide by keeping us away from our homeland in Western Armenia.”