EDITORIAL: Armenian Celebrations of May 28

Every year, on May 28th, Armenians everywhere commemorate the anniversary of the First Independence of our Fatherland. This year in London, the celebrations of the 96th anniversary were two-fold, consisting of an informative lecture by Professor Ashot Melkonian and a celebratory luncheon at the Navasartian Centre, both organised by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

On the evening of Saturday, 7th June, Professor Melkonian delivered an inspiring lecture on the First Independence. Professor Melkonian explained in detail the events that resulted in the independence, namely the battles of Sardarabad, Pash Aparan and Karakilisa, and spoke of the main figures responsible for our self-determination – Tro (Drastamat Kanaian), Movses Siligian, Daniel Bek-Piroumian, Tovmas Nazarbekian, and of course the most notable of the heroes, Aram Manougian. Despite the short-lived independence of two years, which he expressed was achieved perhaps too soon after a long period of oppression, Professor Melkonian highlighted the importance of this autonomy in the development of our country thus far. Following a stimulating question-and-answer session, during which a large number of community members of all ages raised stimulating comments and queries, wine and nibbles transformed the event into a cocktail atmosphere as the attendees continued to discuss the points raised by Melkonian both amongst one another and with the professor himself.

The following day, the Navasartian Centre was filled with various community members once more, this time in the more informal setting of a luncheon. All present enjoyed the traditional kebab menu as well as a music playlist of both traditional patriotic and more modern Armenian songs. This was prepared by the AYF, who also led a section of singing patriotic songs, which older members of the community also joined. The atmosphere of patriotism and enjoyment was apparent.

All in all, the weekend was a resounding success, providing the correct balance of entertainment and formal information in order to commemorate what was undoubtedly a pivotal moment in Armenian history. Long live Armenia – here’s to the next 96 years!

— Arpi Stepanian

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