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By Mariette Minassian-Okhanes


The 6th anniversary of the assassination of Istanbul Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was commemorated on Sunday, January 13, at 6:00 p.m., at OIA Krikor & Aved Kurkcuoglu Hall. The event was organized by OIA.

Dr. Ohannes K. Avedikyan opened the evening, conveyed his thanks to all the guests, the attendees, and the organizers, and invited all for a moment of respect for Hrant Dink’s memory. He invited Rev. Frs. Shnork Demirjian and Vicken Vasilian for prayer. The MC of the event was the Editor in Chief of Asbarez daily Mr. Apo Boghikian.

The program continued with a musical duduk performance by Master of Armenian Duduk Teacher and Performer Albert Vartanian, and a singing performance by OIA member Iren Gavrilof accompanied on the accordion by her father Mr. Melik Gavrilof.

Singer Lucia Moon’s musical video, featuring her performance of the song “Der Ezzor” was shown on the screen.

Chairman of OIA Board of Trustees & Chairman Ex-officio of Armenian Bar Association Edvin Minassian, Esq., reflected upon the current state of affairs in Turkey, with specific emphasis on the progress ,roadblocks and setbacks vis a vis issues involving Armenians as well as the current state of the criminal investigation. Mr. Minassian also informed the audience about various projects, initiatives, activities and programs of the Hrant Dink Foundation. He acknowledged the presence of Dr. Viken Hovsepian, PhD. Chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee Western Region; Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Board Member and Editor of Masis weekly newspaper Mr. Kapriel Moloyan ;as well as veteran journalist Oshin Keshisian, Publisher and Editor in Chief of the Armenian Observer . He further thanked the organizers, led by Dr. Avedikyan, The Chair of the Cultural Committee; Raffi Marukian, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Mrs. Erlin Marukian, member of the Executive Board for their generous contribution as to the nice reception that followed; Mr. Hagop Halici for coordinating all matters as well as Mr. Garbis Sarafian, Mr. Sarkis Salgin and the Mrs. Mayreni Cam and Bayzar Aynejian of Ladies Society who prepared the Semolina Halva. He also shared with the attendees the deep regret that the OIA Executive Board President Mr. Kurken Berksanlar had expressed for not being able to be present due to a very important business trip.

A very impressive speech was given by Garo Ghazarian, Esq., Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Armenian Bar Association, who stated that ”if we want call ourselves Armenians, we have to be loyal to our nation’s memory, as well as to Hrant Dink’s memory by continuing our struggle until the acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide, until our martyrs rest peacefully”.

The keynote address by Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian focused on the choices people are faced with every day: taking a stand during the present versus procastrination and inaction. He gave explanations about Historic Armenia between the revealed and the Hidden presenting a photographic journey of Armenian khackars, churches and buildings. He spoke about the empty seats left behind by the victims of the genocide. “These commemorations are reminders of the empty seats, the shattered dreams, the destroyed communities, and the loss of a homeland,” he said. Mouradian emphasized the importance of being present, of taking a stand and fighting for justice in the present. “We will be able to achieve that day when those [empty] seats in the Turkish Parliament are acknowledged, and the victims who occupied those seats are acknowledged,” he said, referring to the murdered Armenian Parliamentarians of the Ottoman Empire. Choices are faced by all of us, he said. “A similar choice faces Turkish civil society today: of moving on or confronting their reality. The past is demanding an explanation. It is not an issue of memory, but about justice“.

The Lord’s Prayer was then sung in unison. A reception followed the photography session.

It was a unique night when right prevailed over might. Let us, therefore, never forget that Hrant Dink, the courageous hero paid the ultimate price for our freedom with his life trying to keep the flame of our freedom alive. We, therefore, owe it to him to never let that flame be extinguished.


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