Assyrian Genocide Memorial Unveiled in Yerevan

YEREVAN (A.W.)—The official dedication of the Assyrian Genocide memorial on Nalbandyan Street in Yerevan took place on April 25, a day after Armenians worldwide commemorated the 97thanniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The monument was unveiled in the presence of Armenian officials, representatives of various local and international Assyrian organizations, representatives of Armenian political parties, members of the press, and the public.

A scene from the unveiling of the monument. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo)

The gray marble monument, which stood about five-feet-tall, bore the inscription, “To the Memory of the innocent Assyrian victims of 1915.”

The dedication began with a moment of silence for the victims. Armenian-Assyrian Association Vice President Arsen Mikhaylov greeted those present first in Assyrian then, in Armenian, and thanked the attendees for their presence. He spoke about the process of bringing the project to fruition. Discussing the challenges and obstacles facing the construction, he said some objected to the design of the memorial; others to its location; and some to its construction. However, he added, what is important is that the memorial was finally completed. “We must eternalize the memory of our victims,” he said. Mickaeil thanked President Serge Sarkisian, the parliament, and the Yerevan municipality for their financial and moral support.

Calouste Sahakyan, head of the parliamentary faction of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), said that the world has recognized this Genocide, however Real Politick has prompted many to put political considerations before truth. “The Armenian people have welcomed and supported the Assyrians… Armenia is your country, and Yerevan is your city… 7,000 Assyrians live in Armenia today,” he added.

A scene from the unveiling of the monument. (Photo by Aaron Spagnolo)

Hormuz Shahedin, Deputy Secretary General of the Assyrian Universal Alliance Australian chapter, said, “[This] is a significant event in the life of our community. This memorial is a monument to Assyrians, as well as all others who have suffered.” He spoke about the massacres, the loss of a homeland, the persecution Assyrians suffered because of their Christian faith. He urged international organizations to pressure Turkey to acknowledge the Genocide. “Let us condemn these acts for what they are—Genocide,” he added.

Some of the children present were dressed in traditional Assyrian attire. “We Assyrians gathered here today are the children and grandchildren of Genocide survivors—the Genocide that destroyed our lives… We will never forget 1915! Never again 1915! Never again Genocide!” said Sabri Atman, Director of the Assyrian Genocide Research Center in Sweden.

The line of speakers was cut short due to a heavy downpour that sent many of those gathered scrambling for cover. One speaker described the heavy rainfall as the “tears of our victims.” The monument was quickly unveiled, and many rushed over to lay flowers on its step.

Weekly assistant editor Nanore Barsoumian filed this report from Yerevan.

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian

Nanore Barsoumian was the editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2014 to 2016. She served as assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly from 2010 to 2014. Her writings focus on human rights, politics, poverty, and environmental and gender issues. She has reported from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabagh, Javakhk and Turkey. She earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and English and her M.A. in Conflict Resolution from the University of Massachusetts (Boston).
Nanore Barsoumian

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  1. This is significant. The genocide of the Armenians in 1915 , in a broader context, was a major portion, of the Christian genocide perpetrated by the ottoman Turks. It was about the removal of Christians from their historic homes in Anatolia by the last to arrive in the neighborhood… the Turks. The Assyrians deserve our respect, support and collaboration.May God rest the souls of this crime.

  2. As an Armenian I’m greatly encouraged by this news of a monument to the Assyrian Genocide right in the heart of Armenia’s capital. Right on!

  3. This is very good.
    Next step is to build a memorial to the Genocide of Pontic Greeks.
    And next is for RoA’s Government to officially recognize the Assyrian and Pontic Greek Genocides at the hands of the Turks.
    Armenia should get the ball rolling.
    With Armenia’s official recognition of Assyrian and Greek Genocides, backed by solid historical foundation and genuine debate at the Parliament, other countries will have a precedent to follow.
    Many European countries would be eager to build more barriers to Turkey’s entry into EU.
    The more allies we line up against Turkey and have them dilute their resources on multiple fronts, the easier it will be for us to expend our limited resources for maximum effect.

    • Greeks don’t care about you. Never have and never will. Over the last decade, Turkey and Greece have started to warm their relations. Both countries share a common culture. In 2003, Cypriot Turks and Cypriot Greeks began warming relations as well. Armenians aspire to create friendships with countries that, quite frankly, don’t really care much about you. It is of your best interest to do what many Armenians did after the 80’s earthquake and that is to look for work in the Republic of Turkey. Armenians are quite business savvy. Take advantage of your big bad wolf neighbor having a strong economy and currency. Learn a few words in Turkish and get to know thy neighbor so to speak. We’re not the savage beasts that is taught in schools. We’re human like you are. We hug, we kiss, we laugh and we cry just like everybody else.

    • Eren,

      Greece and Cyprus care about Armenia so that they recognized the Armenian genocide committed by Ottoman Turks. There are also Armenian monuments in Greece and Cyprus.

    • you also still murder unarmed, defenseless Armenians in your midst, by shooting them in the back of the head in broad daylight. (Hrant Dink).
      Then Turkish police officers pose proudly with the murderer.

      you also murder Armenians in your army because they are Armenians (
      Pvt. Sevag Balıkci, on April 24 no less).

      you also march by the thousands displaying placards that say “All Armenians are bastards”; “We will invade Yerevan”: “We will bury you on Mount Ararat”. (paraphrased). In 2012.

      Armenians working in Turkey ? There are about 13,000 Armenians working in Turkey, out of a population of 3 million (per TodaysZaman) .
      There are about 5 million Turkish citizens, out of 75 million, who escaped poverty and hopelessness in Turkey to find employment in Europe.
      Per capita, 10 times more Turkish citizens work in Europe, than Armenians working in Turkey.
      After being rebuffed for decades, “prosperous” Turkey is still begging, on her knees, to be allowed into EU. Why ? So it can leech off of the wealth of another Christian host ? – after having stolen the accumulated wealth of previous Christian victims Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians ?

      Both counties share a common culture ? When Greeks invented teh revolutionary concept of democracy, your ancestors were riding horses between their yurts on the Mongolian steppes.
      In 7BC Greeks were developing high concepts of mathematics. What were your ancestors doing at that time ? Developing advanced techniques to kill and pillage ?

      The only common culture Turks have with Greeks is what they stole or misappropriated from Greeks – and are misrepresenting to the world as “Turkish Culture”.

    • YES! Turkey-Greece-Cyprus-Northern Cyprus have fantastic relations. I believe it was the Greeks themselves who invited Turkey to drill for oil off the coast of Cyprus. The whole Cyprus thing is COMPLETELY a non-issue at the moment. In fact, there are talks of Greece and Turkey combining into one “super state” in Southern Europe. THAT is how you spread propaganda Eren. Go big or go home!

    • “Greeks don’t care about you.”

      Is this your favorite song? You sing it over and over and over again. Well, thanks for letting us know. Do they care about you?

      FYI, Turkish lira is actually weak.

    • Gina,
      1 Turkish Lira = 222 Armenian Dram
      1 US dollar = 1.76 Turkish Liras

      Basically, the Turkish Lira is strong. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that.

      RVDV, I never said “fantastic” relations. Did I???? I said warming relations. Greek Cypriots are drilling in the south and Turkish Cypriots are drilling in the north. I wish them both success lol.

      “In fact, there are talks of Greece and Turkey combining into one “super state” in Southern Europe.”

      That is a genius idea RVDV. Can you imagine if it goes even further and if Cyprus, Armenia and Azerbaijan join the mix. Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia and Azerbaijan forming 1 country. OMG talk about a super power. America would be an after thought compared to us. :)

  4. eren
    Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians existed on the world map and developed into civilizations when there was no such a thing as Turk. Although there were tensions in history, these three ancient nations saw more peace than wars amongst them, and certainly none of the three ever perpetrated on any of them such a barbarism as Turks did in regard to all three of them: Pontic Greeks were slaughtered, Greeks in Western parts of the Ottoman empire were ethnically cleansed and forcibly deported, while Assyrians and, most horrifically, the Armenians were subjected to genocidal extermination. Are you proud of your murderous nation, eren?

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