Philadelphia, PA – For the sixth consecutive year, the “ARMENIAN GENOCIDE WALK” took place, commemorating the 98th anniversary of the Genocide for Armenians. The event takes place in order to educate the public on Turkish denial of the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1918.
With the crumbling of the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 20th century, turmoil across the Ottoman Empire took place. Ottoman authorities began a systematic pogrom of ethnic cleansing across its lands of Christian minorities. Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks were systematically exterminated and driven from their homes as part of the 1st genocide of the 20th century.
Local chapter “Akritai” of Philadelphia, a Pontian Greek organization whose homeland and people were also part of these early 20th century atrocities, joined in to support the Armenian community. Together along with the Armenian community they gathered and walked from the Art Museum (next to the Mher Statue dedicated to genocide) to Independence mall on 6th street.
There, an afternoon of speeches and performances were put on by the Greater Philadelphia Armenian community. Nora Kzirian, current chairperson of the “Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region board” spoke, and was followed by Keynote speaker, Anna Astavatsaturian Turcotte, an Armenian refugee from Baku, Azerbaijan.
Turcotte spoke about current affairs involving the Armenian community today in Azerbaijan and then held a book signing for her book “Nowhere, A Story of Exile”. The book is based on her childhood diaries and experiences in Azerbaijan Baku, where she was driven out with terror and violence.
The event also included a dance performance by Meghry Dance group, which was recently established by the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, Philadelphia chapter.
Next month, on May 19th, The Pontian Society “AKRITAI” Of Philadelphia will commemorate genocide at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church in Upper Darby, The service will be held outside, next to the “Pontian Genocide monument”.