WATERTOWN — An emotional program on Sunday, January 22, at the Keljik Hall of St. James Armenian Church paid tribute to the memory of Hrant Dink, a man whose death marked a definite shift in greater understanding about the Armenian Genocide and its ripples through the century.
The three main speakers at the program were Turkish: Prof. Taner Akçam of Clark University; Gonca Sönmez-Poole, a television producer and writer, and Dr. Emrah Altindis, a scientist studying at Harvard and a member of the Bostonbul Group.
The tribute was done in the style of an Armenian memorial meal for the deceased, with traditional Istanbul food, as well as photos of Hrant Dink with candles lit in front of them.
Fr. Arakel Aljalian, the pastor of St. James, opened the program by offering a prayer for the repose of Dink’s soul. The emcee for the program was Herman Purutyan, who said he recalled upon hearing the news of Dink’s assassination, he was “shocked, saddened, outraged and infuriated” that the late Agos newspaper founder had been “silenced brutally in broad daylight.”
He recalled how in the week before his assassination on January 19, 2007, he had been found guilty of insulting Turkishness for referring to the Armenian Genocide in his last article.
Altindis, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, compared Dink to some of the great activists in history, including Galileo Galilei, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.