Genocide Memorial Day

Every April 24th is a day where Armenians take time to remember, grieve, and honor those massacred in the genocides of the 20th century. This particular day is chosen because April 24th, 1915 was a day when many of the intelligently/culturally elite Armenians were executed.

In Vardenis the only thing you’ll notice is a wreath and some flowers in the quaint memorial park near the only 4 way intersection in town. But in Yerevan it’s another story, as nearly 1 million people flow in and out of the Genocide Memorial monument. Each drops a flower around the eternal flame, creating a floral wall that is as breathtaking as it is depressing.

Every year they hold their breath to see what the United States says on this day of mourning. I think we don’t realize, as a nation, just how much the rest of the world watches us, observes us, and thinks about us. It was alarming for me to see today on my favorite Armenian news site that there were 2 separate headlines about the disappointment of Obama’s words (check it out here: http://www.armenianow.com/).

To mark this day on the same day the Christian world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a bit interesting to say the least. Regardless, the Armenians will carry on, hoping that some day the U.S. calls it what it truly is, a genocide (and almost every U.S. state already recognizes the genocide). For Armenians, the genocide is a weight that burdens their souls in a way I will never understand.

Tsitsernakaberd

On a lighter note, I ate “marijuana” dolma at work on Friday. For Easter a traditional dish is dolma (rice/meat wrapped in grape or cabbage leaves) with an interesting twist: a sauce made from ground hemp seeds. It was pretty good but odd all the same. Also, at the post office I walked in to an animated discussion between my main man Sako and a couple of young Armenian dudes. I couldn’t understand what was going on, but one of the young guys was grabbing his friend’s arm (just like the way you would see a woman grabbing a man’s arm as they romantically walk down the street after a nice dinner and movie) per usual. What struck me was that he then moved from the arm to the face. He began stroking his buddy’s earlobe as the discussion raged onward. I couldn’t contain a smile and almost burst into laughter. And these people think I’M weird!

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2 Responses to “Genocide Memorial Day”

  1. Wayne Burt Says:

    I’ve also seen a few times what you mention about the two guys in the post office. I would be interested to know if it is nothing more that a physical version of “jan” placed after ones name. That’s the sense I got.

    On another note, I remembered a parade in downtown Vardenis and thought it might have been on Genocide Rememberance Day. I looked up my daily log and I was quite wrong. So now I’m not sure when that parade and speeches were, maybe their Veteran’s Day. It’s made me now look daily as to what was happenning one and two years ago and I’ll pass on anything that seems interesting (hence probably very little to pass on). I can tell you it snowed on 4/28/10.

  2. icenugget Says:

    NO MORE SNOW….

    Very little to pass on..hahaha, life in Vardenis 🙂

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