Saturday, April 4, 2015

April 25

The Tatev Canyon. Photo by Suren Manvelyan.
April 25 will come. I promise. 

It will come a day after April 24, the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. It will be the day after hundreds of thousands have made the pilgrimage to Tsitsernakaberd, the Genocide memorial that sits atop a lonely hill in Yerevan.

Official delegations that had flown in for a few hours, will have left. The millions of flowers surrounding the eternal flame at the memorial will remain there for a few days more and then they too will be taken away and recycled. Armenians from the Diaspora, who had come to be part of the centenary in the homeland, will stay on for a few more days and then they too will leave.

News organizations who had sent crews to cover the commemoration ceremonies will write their articles, file their reports, pack up their gear and go back to cover more pressing events around the world. Hotel rooms will be empty.

The billboards calling for justice and recognition of the Armenian Genocide in cities around the world will be taken down. Exhibitions that had been held at some of the most prestigious museums and institutions will be dismantled and packed away. Conferences that had been organized, televised, and live streamed will conclude, their proceedings published and uploaded.

The academics, panelists, experts who had delivered their speeches will leave the podiums, the audience will go back to their lives and the conference halls will be empty.

The demonstrations, candlelight vigils and marches will come to an end. The articles that were written will be read and then deleted from computer screens. The purple forget-me-not, the symbol designed to mark the centenary that had been made into pins, posters, t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, bracelets, necklaces, phone covers, umbrellas, and hats will be discarded.

Books about the Genocide by descendants of survivors will be published, poems will be written, feature films will be screened, plays will be performed, as will rock concerts and symphonies in the heart of Yerevan.

The millions, if not billions of dollars earmarked and raised for the commemoration on every continent of the globe will be spent.

April 25 will come. I promise.

And 100 is just a number. It is not an end, it must be a beginning to something… You see, the 1.5 million will still be dead, towns and villages in historic Armenia will still be missing their native children, wealth and prosperity will still be lost, justice will continue to be elusive, Turkey will still continue to deny and we will still need to fight the good fight.

And after the marches end, after the conferences are over, after the signs are taken down, after the world who had come to Yerevan has packed up and gone, we will be here. The land and its people. Armenia and Artsakh, the two fragile Armenian states will still be here. And the Diaspora, born from that crime 100 years ago, today, with its limitless possibilities and potential will still be here.

As a century of pain, sorrow and loss comes to an end, a new century will begin. Let us make it our century. A century of purpose. Let us start that new century, finally on April 25.

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