April 24 Commemorated by Somber Joint Program

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By Alin K. Gregorian

Mirror-Spectator Staff

WATERTOWN — The Hovnanian Hall of the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) was packed with hundreds of people who wanted to hear Armenia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Garen Nazarian on April 24, the day of the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, around the world.

Before the start of the program at 7 p.m., many had gathered at St. James Armenian Church on Mount Auburn Street for a requiem service, before heading to St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in a procession to lay a wreath, led by the members of the clergy from several churches, including St. James, St. Stephen’s, Holy Trinity Armenian Church in Watertown, Holy Cross Armenian Catholic Church in Belmont and First Armenian Church, also in Belmont and Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown.

The somber procession included members of the Homenetmen Scouts Boston Chapter carrying flags.

During his talk, Nazarian alternated his comments between English and Armenian. He opened his remarks by conveying the condolences of the Armenian government over the events of April 15, adding that the nation of Armenia wishes a speedy recovery for the surviving victims of the bomb attacks.

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Regarding the Genocide, he said, “Let’s make this day and these events an act of remembrance, but remember to act.”

He said he was glad to see so many younger people participate.

Nazarian said that for the government of Armenia, the recognition of the Armenian Genocide was a part of its foreign policy. As Armenians, he said, the Genocide plays a large role in “shaping our identity.”

He said, “April 1915 is the dividing line: before and after Genocide.”

After praising the spirit of the Armenian escapees who miraculously survived the forced marches and went on to start new lives elsewhere, Nazarian spoke about the more recent pogroms in Azerbaijan and the victory on the battlefield in Artsakh.

He praised the host community, noting, “The Armenian-American community is one of the most ardent catalysts for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”

In addition to the Armenian-American community, he praised “Turkish citizens, intellectuals and journalists” who frequently speak up about the Armenian Genocide.

Nazarian noted that in the upcoming months, meetings were to take place to plan the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. It was the lack of official recognition of the Armenian Genocide that led to the subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Sudan.”

Nazarian noted that the United Nations Human Rights Council recently adopted a resolution initiated by Armenia, and co-sponsored by almost 60 member states of the international body, which “stresses the importance of truth, justice, reparation and that perpetrators should be held criminally responsible on the national or international level.”

“Sooner or later,” he said, “Turkey will be compelled to accept the truth.”

After Nazarian’s speech, the film “April” by Vigen Chaldranyan was shown.

Before Nazarian’s speech, the young performers, Zangakner, sang two songs in Armenian.

Acting as emcees were the Armenian Youth Federation’s Tsoler Avedissian, who spoke in Armenian, and George Barmakian, who spoke in English.