Never Again

AYF D.C. “Ani” Chapter Hai Tahd Committee chair Sune Hamparian

The following are remarks offered by AYF-YOARF Washington D.C. “Ani” Chapter Hai Tahd Committee chair Sune Hamparian in front of the White House during the annual “March for Justice” held on April 24, 2024.

I can see myself at this protest from years past. 

Hearing the stories of survivors, and for the first time – as a young girl – seeing that the world was filled with a level of pain, an amount of cruelty I could not have imagined. 

Remembering my own great-grandmother Zevart, who was orphaned and forced to march through the blazing desert, to march under the gaze of an indifferent sun, to march as those around her were either shot, starved or drowned to death. 

I often had a hard time keeping the tears out of my eyes.

But I found strength, and I took comfort in the phrase “1915 Never Again.”

1915 Never Again. 

Those were the words we chanted. 

Those were the words we were promised.

Was their meaning unclear, or were our voices not loud enough, not strong enough, not demanding enough, not desperate enough? Did our hearts not show enough sorrow? Were our tears – was our blood – not enough to prevent us from seeing 1915 once again?

I was naïve. I did not understand that 1915 was neither the start nor the end of our pain. 

That it started before the Hamidian massacres of the 1890s, the loss of Western Armenia, continuing through the taking of Nakhichevan, to the pogroms of Sumgait, Baku and Kirovapat, to the genocide of Artsakh, to the future that I fear faces the villages the Armenian government is so easily surrendering. 

Genocide is not contained in the past. Genocide is the reality we see every day. 

Genocide is Armenian children hiding in bunkers and covering their ears as they ask their mothers when the bombs will stop. 

It is families starved, left in the dark with the looming threat of an attack they cannot defend against. 

It is Gurgen Markarian, axed to death in his sleep at a NATO conference. 

It is the children of David Bek who go to school across from Azeri snipers. Mere feet away from that same enemy that posted photos of Armenian women they wanted to rape, that proudly mutilated and killed Armenian soldiers, then posted trophy videos online. 

Genocide is the destruction of our lives, the desecration of our graves and the erasure of our names from history. 

I ask myself: When will it stop?

When will it stop?

The truth is that genocide is not only the brutal killing of our people but the attempted destruction of our identity, our hope and our future. An effort to convince us that we are no more than the “remnants of the sword” that the Turks and Azerbaijanis claim us to be. 

When will they stop?

They will not stop.

And we will not sit and wait for them to stop.

I cannot sit and wait for the village of Artsvanik, the place I call home, to suffer the same fate as Artsakh.

I cannot sit and wait for the people I know – by name, by face, by smile – to face the same destiny. 

So, as Azerbaijan tests the waters to see what the world will let them do, let us make our voices clear. We will not be complacent as Azerbaijan murders our people.

We will fight – giving every ounce of ourselves to this cause. 

We will not bend.

We will not bow. 

We will not break. 

We will rise. 

We will rise and break the cycle of genocide. 

Gamavor Banak Harach.

Sune Hamparian

Sune Hamparian

Sune Hamparian joined the AYF DC “Sevan” Juniors in 2014 and served as the chapter’s president. She is currently a member of the AYF DC “Ani” Senior Chapter. As a student at Sidwell Friends School, she has organized and fundraised for Artsakh and other humanitarian causes. During summers in Armenia, she volunteers for service projects, including organizing summer camps and supporting legal efforts on behalf of Armenian POWs.
Sune Hamparian

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