CRANSTON, R.I. (A.W.)—The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Kristapor gomideyutiun of Providence celebrated the 127th Anniversary of the ARF at the Cranston Country Club on Dec. 2.
Unger Levon Attarian welcomed the crowd of over 100 people, including ARF members from Boston and New York, and introduced the chairperson of the Providence ARF, unger Hagop Donoyan, who thanked the guests for attending the celebration. A short moment of silence was requested for all of the ungers who have given their lives for the cause of a free, independent, and united Armenia for the past 127 years.
The national anthems of the United States and Armenia and the ARF anthem “Mshak Banvor” were presented by members of the Yerakouyn Band.
Der Hayr Kapriel Nazarian and Archpriest Gomidas Baghsarian, both of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church, offered words of encouragement to the organization for playing a prominent role in our community throughout the decades, and blessed the dinner tables.
The guest speakers of the evening were introduced by ungerouhi Lala Attarian. They included unger Vatche Proudian, journalist and former editor of the Hairenik and Asbarez newspapers, and unger Seto Boyadjian, attorney and former ANCA executive director.
The speakers discussed the formation of the ARF on a cool August day in 1890 in Tiflis, Georgia, recognizing the three founders, Mikaelian, Zavarian, and Zorian, who in spite of their youth (all in their early or mid-20s), established an organization that has withstood the test of time.
They noted the ARF has evolved over time and remains faithful to the Armenian Cause. They admitted that while the ARF has not always been successful, the party has accomplished great things over the decades, including planning and executing Operation Nemesis; the official recognition of the Armenian Genocide by various nations and the European Parliament; playing a central role in the defense of Armenian borders in Artsakh; and organizing and leading a strong diaspora, such as the community in Rhode Island, where the state’s legislature was the first political entity in the world to officially recognize the independence of Artsakh.
Unger Boyadjian quoted U.S. President John F. Kennedy and asked all in attendance, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” He spoke of how the Armenian people need to rely on themselves and not the governments of Russia, the U.S., or the European Union.
After the conclusion of the speaking portion of the event, unger Hrag Arakelian conducted the traditional momavaroutiun (candle-lighting), to help raise funds for the organization.
Entertainment was provided in the form of traditional and patriotic songs by unger Shant Massoyan, Raffi Massoyan, and unger Raffi Rachdouni of the Yerakouyn Band. The gathering listened to and joined in singing the inspiring ARF revolutionary and patriotic songs throughout the remainder of the evening.
Mark your calendars for next year’s ARF celebration event, scheduled to take place at Harbor Lights in Warwick, R.I., on Dec. 1, 2018.