PROVIDENCE, R.I. (A.W.)—It does not seem like it was 25 years ago that our aspiration for the independence of Artsakh took shape with the Liberation of Shushi on May 8-9, 1992.
Rhode Island honored this feat by being the first state to recognize Artsakh’s independence with House Resolution H-8180 on May 17, 2012. The resolution passed unanimously, and provided momentum and groundwork for other states to follow. It is with immense pride and respect that the Providence Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) community expresses its gratitude to all those who fought and died in the battle for Shushi.
While Providence celebrates the Liberation of Shushi, Providence also never fails to honor another historic battle, the Khanasor Expedition. The tradition in Providence, which dates back at least 70 years, began at the Bargamian Farms in North Providence and is continued annually by the Providence Kristapor gomideyoutiun.
The picnic, which celebrates Shushi and honors Khanasor, took place in the adjacent parking lot of Sts. Vartanantz Church. Flags of the U.S., R.I., and Artsakh were posted between a multitude of Armenian flags, which surrounded the perimeter of the parking lot proudly welcoming the guests.
The shish, losh and chicken dinners were prepared and served by members and hamagirs of the Providence ARF. The dinners were blessed by Der Hayr Kapriel Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church, as he shared words of encouragement and expressions of thanks for remembering these momentous events.
Emcee unger Sevan Donoian welcomed the crowd, which included ARF Bureau Unger Hagop Der-Khachadourian and his family. In his remarks, unger Donoian explained the significance of the Liberation of Shushi and the Khansor Expedition. Homenetmen Scouts sang national and revolutionary songs, including “Khanasori Arshvankuh,” which recounts the battle against the Mazrig Kurdish tribe on July 25, 1897, in retaliation for their attacks on the unarmed and defenseless Armenian population of Van.
Live music was provided by the Mike Gregian Ensemble, whose members donated their time to this picnic in memory of their fathers who were members of the Providence ARF. The Mike Gregian Ensemble, which features Mike Gregian on clarinet and Hagop Garabedian on organ, was accompanied on vocals by Carl Goshgarian.