On the Vandalism of the Colorado State Capitol Genocide Memorial

(Colorado State Capitol Khachkar Memorial on May 30, 2020. Photo: Pastor Brian Henderson, First Baptist Church of Denver)

We are heartbroken to inform you that the Colorado State Capitol Khachkar memorial to the Armenian Genocide and to the victims of all crimes against humanity has been vandalized with spray paint graffiti during the ongoing protests in downtown Denver.

Since the Khachkar commemorates the victims of all crimes against humanity, including slavery and state-sponsored racism, it is ironic that individuals who claim to seek justice have vandalized the very monument that honors the victims of injustice.

Protest leaders have repeatedly denounced violence and vandalism. We do not hold the peaceful protesters responsible for the behavior of violent individuals. As Armenian Americans, a community that has survived genocide and centuries of oppression, we recognize and condemn the ongoing injustices against our African American community and we join them in calling for justice for George Floyd.

Earlier today, our community leadership discussed scenarios for protecting the Khachkar monument before we found out that it had been vandalized. One idea to protect the monument was boarding it up, which could have made the khachkar more vulnerable by making it inflammable. Any vandalism against the Capitol khachkar is particularly painful given that it is a replica of one of the 3,000 medieval cross-stones of the legendary Djulfa cemetery destroyed by Azerbaijan’s government in 2005 as part of their plan of erasing the Armenian history in Nakhichevan.

We will continue to monitor the ongoing protests and consider short-term and long-term solutions for the protection of the Colorado State Capitol memorial to the victims of all crimes against humanity. If necessary, we will rebuild our sacred monument again and again, while defending human rights and equality for all.

—Board of Directors, Armenians of Colorado
May 30, 2020
(Photo: Simon Maghakyan)
UPDATE: June 1, 2020
Acting on good will, several individuals – independent of each other – have attempted cleaning the memorial from the spray paint graffiti, as a result of which they have damaged the monument even further.
To prevent further damage, the following message has been posted near the monument: “Please do not attempt cleaning this monument. The monument is made of volcanic ash and requires professional restoration by highly-skilled craftsmen. While we appreciate your good will, cleaning this monument will cause more damage. Thank you for your concern and please do not remove this sign. You are welcome to lay flowers in front of the monument (not on it) in solidarity.”
Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

1 Comment

  1. This attack is part of general, indiscriminate mob violence against everything. It happened because the khatchkar is on state house property. You can see that in the messages painted.

    If something had been placed there by Azeris or the Talaat Pasha Society, the same thing would have happened.

    Let’s not over-analyze it.

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