DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—An Armenian Genocide commemoration event will take place in Diyarbakir on April 24 at the Surp Giragos Armenian Church.
“Diyarbakir is the location where—100 years after the genocide—the grandchildren of forcefully Islamized Armenians showed the courage and determination to reveal their true roots. All this happened after the reconstruction of the Surp Giragos Church, and was encouraged by the organized Armenian-language classes and trips to Armenia,” Raffi Bedrosyan, a Toronto-based civil engineer and a concert pianist, told the Armenian Weekly. Bedrosyan will perform a concert of works by Armenian composers at the commemoration event.
“It means a lot to me to celebrate, not commemorate, the rebirth of these new Armenians with a concert right where the whole movement started, in the beautiful Surp Giragos Church,” said Bedrosyan.
Bedrosyan was also involved in organizing the Surp Giragos Church reconstruction project, and in promoting the significance of this historic project worldwide. In September 2012, he gave the first Armenian piano concert in the Surp Giragos Church since 1915.
“Diyarbakir was one of the bloodiest sites of the Armenian Genocide. About 97 percent of the Armenian population of the province disappeared in 1915, so it means a lot to me to be there commemorating the victims of the genocide with the music of Komitas and [Aram] Khatchaturian,” said Bedrosyan.
For the past several years, proceeds from Bedrosyan’s concerts and two CDs have been donated to the construction of school, highway, water, and gas distribution projects in Armenia and Karabagh—projects in which he has also participated as a volunteer engineer.
The event, which is organized by the Diyarbakir Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation, the Gomidas Institute of London, and the Human Rights Association of Diyarbakir, will include a candle lighting ceremony to remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
Last year, hundreds gathered at the Surp Giragos Armenian Church to commemorate the Armenian and Assyrian Genocide, with the participation of Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayor Fırat Anlı and former Sur Municipality Mayor Abdullah Demirbaş. The first genocide commemoration event took place in Diyarbakir in 2013.