For all Armenians, the date April 24th resonates in our minds and identities. Far from it to be our only distinguishing fact, it is nonetheless intertwined with our current status. Many of us are here today – in London, so many miles away from our ancestral homeland – as a result of the genocide that befell us. For each and every one of us the date April 24th conjures up memories of stories told, images seen and inhumanities suffered by our forefathers.
On the night of April 24th, London Armenians once again gathered for the annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide organised by the ACCC in St Yegiche Church. After an introduction by the honoured guest Nouritza Matossian, a speech on behalf of the ACCC came from Matilda Megerdichian, who stated that “denial is a continuation of genocide”. The viewers then sunk into deep thought and remembrance courtesy of Varazdat Khachatryan on the piano.
The evening continued with further speeches by Rev. Dr Nerses Nerssesian; the Primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain, and an embassy representative, accompanied by more music written by famous Armenian composers and performed by talented members of our community. Karine Bedrossian, a London Armenian actress, recited Baruyr Sevag’s poem “We are few but we are Armenian”, which ignited the flame of patriotism inside everybody who was present. “Simply with us death has fallen in love with” is a segment from his poem which we are reminded of every year in the month of April.
Anais Heghoyan, Ani Batikian and Sipan Hakobyan were also members of the cast that together that evening paid tribute through their various talents to those who suffered so horrifically 97 years ago.
The Primate, Bishop Vahan Hovhanessian, spoke words promoting unity among Armenians. It is true that only by uniting around the organisations which have kept the Armenian community alive and vibrant over the many decades we’ve been situated here, becoming pillars of our national identity, can we have our cries for justice heard.
— Vahe Boghosian
Photo: Shant Bablanian