By Florence Avakian
WASHINGTON — With almost all events, including the May 7 Ecumenical Service, the May 8 concert, and the May 9 banquet filling up and only wait lists available, final preparations for the Washington D.C. Genocide Centennial are progressing at top speed by the Genocide Centennial Committee.
“This is a milestone,” commented Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese, and a Genocide Centennial Committee member, in a phone conversation. “The momentum is with us. This monumental event in our nation’s capital is both a commemoration and a celebration of life and past commitments. These hundred years have demonstrated so forcefully that we refuse to die, and that the hearts and souls of our martyrs are with us.”
Taking a different approach to those whose aim is to raise awareness in the larger non-Armenian public, he believes that it is “wonderful to educate our people to learn the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide that we take for granted. It is more important that we pass on to future generations the knowledge so they can be educated and honor their history.”
He relates that in Mexico City, one woman, Sonia Arakelian fundraised for the Museum of Tolerance, with one room dedicated to educating the people of the Armenian Genocide. It is to be opened on April 16, and he will attend the opening “to honor her and the memory of the martyrs.”
Derderian predicted that the fight for justice and recompense will take longer than expected. “It is most encouraging that all parts of the Armenian community are coming together for this inspiring event. It gives a very strong message to our children and the world that though our nation is small, it is strong in soul and spirit.”