Commemorating the Genocide in Meghri

I was lucky enough to be in Armenia during the month of April and even luckier to be in Meghri, an Armenian town far from the glimmering lights of Northern Avenue and the raving nightlife of Yerevan. Meghri is one of the many cities in the region of Syunik that has hosted battles that shaped the current borders of the Republic of Armenia such as the 1727 Battle of Halidzor as well as the 1919 Battle of Zangezur and others.

Commemorating the Genocide in Meghri, April 2022

As the rest of Armenia was preparing to commemorate the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) “Arevig” Gomideh in Meghri, with the help of the AYF Netherlands “Karekin Nejdeh” Chapter, organized a commemorative event which included an opening prayer at a local church and a march to a local genocide memorial for a candlelight vigil. It was an odd sight for a town commemorating a genocide as it is currently under the threat of annexation. After the event, we went to “Khachats Doon” where some of the Gomideh members and I spent the night singing “Kini Lits” over glasses of wine. It wasn’t the typical April 24 I had experienced as a Diasporan in Lebanon and the Netherlands.

Candlelight vigil at the Genocide memorial in Meghri.

After the Artsakh War, there has been this chilling feeling that Syunik, which is in the southern region of the Republic of Armenia, was going to be the next piece of territory to be handed over to the enemy. Tactical advances by Azerbaijan and constant artillery fire have solidified the intentions of the Aliyev regime. A few weeks ago, the Iranian government released a video stating that the border of Syunik is a red line that the Republics of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia should refrain from shifting. Since the Iranian government maintains a firmer stance than the current government of Armenia on the matter, I can only see that it is up to us, individually, to make a change. 

Syunik is not just a culmination of mountains and beautiful landscape. The region and its people are an integral part of Armenia. They too have ambitions. They too want security. And they most certainly do not want to live under the constant threat of attacks. They too mourn the losses of the Armenian Genocide. They too remember and demand. 

Alek Elbekian

Alek Elbekian

Alek Elbekian is a Lebanese Armenian and a graduate student in theoretical physics at Utrecht University, specializing in quantum field theory and condensed matter. He also works at the Yerevan Physics Institute researching cosmic rays and naturally occurring radiation.

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