By Rosario Teixeira
Executive Director, Peace of Art, Inc.
During the month of April 2013, Peace of Art, Inc., will be displaying Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling for recognition and condemnation of the genocide. Peace of Art, Inc. is a nonprofit educational organization that uses the universal language of art to address human concerns and to promote peaceful solutions to conflict. In Massachusetts, the billboards will be located in Foxboro, Watertown, and Cambridge.
One 10′ x 30′ digital billboard is on display now on Route 1 in Foxboro, MA, 1/4 mile south of the main entrance to Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. A second 11′ x 27′ billboard will be on display on April 1st in Watertown, on Mount Auburn Street in the heart of the Armenian community, close to the Armenian cultural centers and churches. In addition, a third 11′ x 27′ billboard will be on display on Cambridge Street, near Lechmere Station, East Cambridge. This area, with high traffic and high visibility, is the gateway between Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville.
The artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian, president and founder of Peace of Art Inc., said that “with these billboards we are honoring the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, calling upon the international community to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and to condemn the perpetrators. He added, “98 years have passed but the bloody hand prints of the horrible events of 1915 stained the pages of the world history, when 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives.”
The 2013 billboard depicts the bloody hand prints on the words ‘Armenian Genocide’ over a black background. Since 1996, Mr. Hejinian has been calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In 2004 Peace of Art, Inc. began to sponsor the commemorative billboards honoring the victims and calling for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. This year’s message further calls for the condemnation of genocide.
To date, the Armenian Genocide has been recognized by over 20 countries and 43 U.S. states. However, in spite of his campaign promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide, in the last four years President Obama has failed to use the term genocide in reference to the slaughter of Armenians, which took place almost to a century ago. Once again we urge the President on his second term, to honor his first campaign promise.
The Armenian Genocide is not a matter of concern for Armenians alone but to everyone. Genocide is a crime against humanity. Without recognition and condemnation, the Armenian Genocide remains a wound that continues to bleed, under the hand prints of the culprit.
In a separate and ironically unrelated event, genocide billboards are being displayed in South Florida. Paid for by “Individuals concerned about the plight of Armenians,” and displayed in South Florida are four 14′ by 48′ Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards on heavily traveled freeways to honor the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and to thank the countries that officially have recognized the Armenian Genocide. The billboards can be seen on I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties and on the Florida Turnpike intersection with Interstate-595. Peace of Art, Inc. is not involved in the Florida Armenian Genocide billboards.
This article originally appeared on Peace of Art, Inc. and is reprinted with the permission of the author.
CORRECTION: This story was updated Tuesday, April 23 at 2:10 pm to clarify that the Massachusetts billboards are separate and unrelated to the South Florida billboards.
Armenian Genocide featured in Miami Dade College’s First Annual Genocide Awareness Week
By Tina Varjabedian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor
Miami, FL – On Wednesday, April 4, Miami Dade College’s Homestead campus launched their First Annual Genocide Awareness Week with an opening event presenting the Armenian Genocide. Over 200 students and faculty members of non-Armenian backgrounds were present to learn about the history and politics surrounding the events of the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Jeffery Thomas, Dean of Miami Dade College’s Homestead Campus, enthusiastically gave a welcoming introduction where he emphasized the significance of recognizing what he pronounced as a “denied chapter in world history.” Professor Hannibal Travis, J.D. from Florida International University’s College of Law, presented a discussion about International Law and Middle Eastern Politics. Taniel Koushakjian, Director of Grassroots at the Armenian Assembly of America, concluded the discussion with a segment on Survivor Accounts and Current Political Aspects Surrounding Armenian Genocide Recognition.
The lectures were followed by a “March for Genocide Prevention” ceremony, where students and faculty marched from the auditorium to the campus’s courtyard while holding sunflowers symbolizing the martyrs of the genocide. The event was concluded with a casual Q & A between the event’s speakers and students, while they enjoyed samples of Armenian pastries and music in the courtyard displaying the students’ Genocide artwork.