Remembering the Unforgettable

Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex, April 24, 2018 (Photo provided by the author)

I still remember. 

I still remember standing inside the Genocide Museum in Armenia and asking my mom, “Why did they do this to us? Why didn’t God protect us?” That innocent 10-year-old girl, staring at the black and white pictures of the bony bodies piled on top of each other, couldn’t understand why. 

I still remember my second-grade teacher calling my mom and telling her how inappropriate it was for her to allow me to choose “The Road from Home” by David Kherdian as the subject of my book report. That year was the first time I had a nightmare of being in the Genocide. 

I still remember persuading my fourth-grade teacher to allow me to do my science project on the Armenians of Worcester. I knew I would never have a chance to win given its lack of application of the scientific method. That was okay though, because I knew I was going to be able to present to my whole grade and teach them what it meant to be Armenian. 

I still remember my first April 24th away from home at college. I used all my printing money from my student card and photocopied infographics on the Armenian Genocide. I walked around the student center and library and put them on all the tables. I felt so alone yet motivated to try to make a difference. 

I still remember walking with my fellow AYF members from downtown Yerevan to the Armenian Genocide monument. The flickering light of the torches accompanied by the silence as we were approaching the monument, spoke more than any essay I had ever written. 

I still remember all of my non-Armenian friends, colleagues and peers, who have protested alongside me, who came to watch “The Promise” with me, who have signed up to be ANCA Rapid Responders, who have posted about the Genocide on their personal social media platforms, who send me texts on days like today saying, “We are thinking of your family today.” 

I still remember the story my grandmother told me of my great-great-grandfather Movses who returned to Kharpert after journeying to Franklin, MA, as soon as he heard about the intensity of the massacres. My great-great-grandfatherhis selflessness, his innate reaction to protect his familyis who I live for every day. 

I still remember because how could one forget. 

I still remember because others don’t. 

I still remember, and I will never forget. 

Kenar Charchaflian

Kenar Charchaflian

Kenar Charchaflian is the executive director of AYF Camp Haiastan in Franklin, MA. Active in her local Armenian community, she is a member of the Worcester Aram ARF and serves as an advisor for the Worcester AYF juniors.
Kenar Charchaflian

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  1. I understand that right before Hitler invaded Poland, someone asked him how he expected history to remember him, and he said “Who today speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

    Similarly, he proclaimed that in forcing the Jews and Poles off the land, Germany was taking a cue from the US in its extermination of its indigenous population.

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