By Rosario Teixeira
BOSTON, Mass.—About one week before the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Peace of Art, Inc. was notified by Clear Channel that the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboard, which had been on display at Lechmere Station in Cambridge, Mass., had to be removed. It seems that this year, an anonymous entity had deemed the message on the billboard—“Recognize the Crime of the Century, the Armenian Genocide”—to be of a political nature. The 2013 message, which read “Honoring the memory of 1.5 million lives lost, Armenian Genocide. Recognition and condemnation,” was displayed in the same location and without incident.
Peace of Art, Inc., is a non-profit educational organization registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, and tax exempt under section 501 (C) 3. Its projects involve bringing awareness to the human condition, such as hunger, homelessness, and deportation. One of its projects is to sponsor billboards to bring awareness to genocide. Since 2003, Peace of Art has sponsored the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards that call for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Peace of Art maintains that it is not a political organization, is not associated with any political organization, and does not issue political opinions, beyond stating that genocide is a crime against humanity.
Clear Channel has classified the billboard as a political awareness message—”one of two sides of an issue”—and removed the billboard located at Lechmere Station, while offering to place the billboard in one of two unsold locations in Cambridge. Therefore, for the remaining of the month of April, the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboard can be seen on Massachusetts Avenue and Walden Street in Cambridge.
Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, the president of Peace of Art, Inc., said the removal is unjust and unjustified. “It doesn’t matter how many sides an issue has, the truth has only one side. The Armenian Genocide is recognized by 21 countries and 42 states of the Union including Massachusetts,” he explained.
For more information, visit www.PeaceofArt.org.
Rosario Teixeira is the executive director of Peace of Art, Inc.