By Rosario Teixeira
WATERTOWN, Mass.—During the month of April, in Foxboro, Watertown, and Cambridge, Peace of Art, Inc. will display Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and call for recognition and condemnation of the genocide.
“With these billboards, we are honoring the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling upon the international community to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and to condemn the perpetrators,” said artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, the president and founder of Peace of Art Inc., a non-profit educational organization. “Ninety-eight years have passed but the bloody handprints of the horrible events of 1915 stained the pages of the world history, when 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.”
The 2013 billboard depicts bloody handprints on the words “Armenian Genocide” over a black background. One 10′ x 30′ digital billboard is on display on Route 1 in Foxboro, a quarter of a mile south of the main entrance to Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. A second 11′ x 27′ billboard is on display in Watertown, on Mount Auburn Street, in the heart of the Armenian community, close to the Armenian cultural centers and churches. A third 11′ x 27′ billboard will be on display on Cambridge Street, near Lechmere Station, East Cambridge. This area, with high traffic and high visibility, is the gateway between Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville.
Since 1996, Hejinian has been calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2004, Peace of Art, Inc. began to sponsor the commemorative billboards. This year’s message further calls for the condemnation of genocide.
To date, the Armenian Genocide has been recognized by over 20 countries and 42 U.S. states. However, in spite of his campaign promise to recognize the genocide, in the last four years President Obama has failed to use the term “genocide” in reference to the slaughter of Armenians, which took place almost to a century ago.
The Armenian Genocide is not a matter of concern for Armenians alone but to everyone. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Without recognition and condemnation, the Armenian Genocide remains a wound that continues to bleed, under the handprints of the culprit.