PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Under a bright sunny sky, the Providence Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) “Kristapor” Gomidehoutiune hosted its annual picnic to celebrate the Liberation of Shushi and remember the Khanasor Expedition. The picnic was held in the parking lot of Sts. Vartanantz Church following church services. Armenian flags and banners of the ARF and Armenian National Committee (ANC) proudly welcomed guests as they entered the picnic area.
Hrag Arakelian, the master of ceremonies of the event and a member of the Providence Gomidehoutiune, provided welcoming remarks that included an account of the significance of the two events in Armenian history. Arakelian shared that 23 years ago on the evening of May 8, Armenian forces captured the city of Shushi and drove out the occupying Azeris. Armenian military commanders based in Nagorno-Karabagh’s capital of Stepanakert had been contemplating the capture of the town after a hail of Azeri military bombardment had begun shelling Stepanakert.
Arakelian explained that the Khanasor Expedition was conducted by the ARF in retaliation against the Mazrik Kurdish tribe for their role in the Hamidian Massacres and their ambush on the defenders of Van. The plain of Khanasor lies between the district of Van and Iran, and was once heavily populated by Kurds.
The event was a great success that featured delicious meals and tributes to Shushi and Khanasor. The picnic included shish kebob, losh, and chicken dinners. The youth from the Homenetmen and AYF sang “Khanasori Arshvankuh,” a piece written to celebrate the Khanasor raid. The AYF Junior chapter sold ice cream as a fundraiser to offset Junior Seminar expenses. The Mike Gregian Band provided favorite songs to honor these events in Armenian history.
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