Artak Beglaryan (photo Kenneth Martin)

Artsakh War Remembered in Boston

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BOSTON – Armenian Americans from the greater Boston area gathered on the Armenian Heritage Park along the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston on Sunday, November 7 for the one-year remembrance of the victims of the 44-day war. The event was called “Genocide Continued: Azerbaijan Attempts to Rewrite History through Ethnic and Cultural Cleansing.” The event was organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Boston while Armenian churches of all denominations and affiliations in the Boston region served as cosponsors, and various other Armenian organizations provided support.

Attendees held signs in support of Artsakh (photo Kenneth Martin)

The national anthems of Artsakh, Armenia and the USA were performed by vocal artist Ani Zargarian and tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan sang Der Voghormia [Lord Have Mercy]. Opening remarks by Dr. Vazrik Chiloyan presented the history and contemporary events concerning Karabakh, including the Russian Tsarist control of the Caucasus, the Soviet period, the first Karabakh war in the 1990s leading to local Armenian control of the Nagorno Karabakh enclave, and the establishment of the Artsakh Republic. War crimes by Azerbaijan in the recent war were enumerated, including illegal use of weapons of mass destruction including white phosphorous, anti-personnel cluster bombs, Turkish and Israeli drones, deliberate beheadings of Armenians and more attempts to ethnically cleanse the region.

Dr. Vazrik Chiloyan (photo Kenneth Martin)

The keynote speaker was Artak Beglaryan, former Human Rights Ombudsman of Artsakh and former Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic. Currently Beglaryan is State Minister of the Republic of Artsakh and he coordinates the activities of four ministries and two committees in the humanitarian field.

Tenor Yeghishe Manucharyan singing, with clergy behind him (photo Kenneth Martin)

Beglaryan related the events of the war and laid out a detailed plan for recovery of the remaining areas of Artsakh under Armenian ethnic control and protected by Russian peacekeeping forces. He stressed the need for the Armenian diaspora in the United States and around the world to support the current republic especially concerning infrastructure, hospitals and schools. He also proposed diaspora Armenians travel to Armenia and Artsakh as further ways to support the homeland against the continuing genocidal plans of Turkey, Azerbaijan and others.

As often at such occasions, little children were present (photo Kenneth Martin)

He related his personal story about the horrors of war. His father died fighting during the first Karabakh war, and Beglaryan himself lost his sight as a child in 1995 due to an exploding mine found in a garden. He was six years old. Two friends lost their limbs.

Some of the Armenian clergy, including, from left, Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, Fr. Khachatur Kesablyan, Fr. Antranig Baljian, Rev. Dr. Avedis Boynerian, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and Fr. Vasken Kouzouian (photo Kenneth Martin)

Prayers and blessing were performed by the Armenian clergy of eastern Massachusetts led by Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Ecumenical Director and Diocesan Legate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.

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A soulful rendition of Amazing Grace was performed by mezzo-soprano Victoria Avetisyan.

Among the audience of more than 200 attendees, a separate demonstration was conducted by the group National Democratic Alliance, which advocates for Western involvement and a more democratic movement in Armenia. The Alliance believes Armenia’s alignment with the European Union, NATO, and the United States is necessary as a result of public frustration with Russia’s treatment of Armenia during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The following video by the author is a brief excerpt from the event, including at the end the performance of Amazing Grace.

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