By Ken Martin
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
BOSTON – Armenian-Americans from New England and beyond hit the streets of Boston again to protest the two-week-old war against Artsakh by Azerbaijan and its eager ally Turkey, this time with a noisy protest at the Turkish Consulate of Boston, followed by a raucous car horn blaring march around Boston Common to the Armenian Heritage Park located on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Protestors masked against the Covid-19 virus, two thousand strong, chanted slogans and carried signs calling for Turkey’s ouster from NATO, stopping Azerbaijani aggression, recognizing Artsakh, and demanding the return of Armenian lands. A more than average number of Bostonians and tourists, given pandemic restrictions, were stunned by yet another protest march during nearly a year of human rights marches in the city.
Traffic along the Rose Kennedy Greenway near the Italian North End and Boston Harbor slowed to a crawl as demonstrators including many youth and families, representing Boston, Massachusetts and the New England States swirled into the circular configuration of the labyrinth and settled in next to the abstract sculpture Armenian Genocide monument and reflecting pool.
Many young participants occupied the sidewalks with their signs so that residents and visitors could see them as they wandered from the Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the North End to the normally tranquil Armenian Heritage Park. A brief period of chanting against Azerbaijani aggression and pro peace led to the opening of the rally by Ani Zargarian singing the Star Spangled Banner and Mer Hairenik, the Armenian national anthem, and the entire rally joined in, singing in unity and solidarity.
Master of ceremonies George Barmakian began the rally by inviting the Armenian clergy’s blessing. Fr. Antranig Baljian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Watertown, Massachusetts made an impassioned speech about Turkey’s true intentions, decrying Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s actions in Artsakh as inhuman. He stressed the power of prayer — “Don’t be afraid to pray!” – during these and all difficult times, emphasizing that prayer really works. Fr. Baljian said that what is happening is not about land, but about Genocide.