Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemorated in Maine
By Anthony Mezoian
PORTLAND, Maine—The Armenian Cultural Association of Maine observed the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Portland on April 18. Father Krikor Sabounjian of the Metro-West Holy Translator Armenian Church of Framingham delivered the Devine Liturgy at St. Paul Anglican Church.
A brief service was held at the Armenian Plaza overlooking the area of Portland where the Armenian settlement was located from 1920-60.
An exhibit of photographs and memorabilia documenting the Armenian experience officially opened on April 16 at the KLAHR Center, at the University of Maine, Augusta, entitled, “NOR Ashkhar: Maine Armenians and the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.” The exhibit runs through the end of May.
Several people spoke at the opening of the exhibit, including Gerard Kiladjian, president of the Armenian Cultural Association of Maine. Paul Proudian of Gray, Maine, gave an excellent overview of the Armenian settlement of Portland (1896-2015). His talk was accompanied by a slide presentation. The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine is run by Prof. David Greenham.
Memorabilia attracted many people, especially a 3-ft long, 10-inch diameter clay pipe from the Portland Winslow Potter, where the first Armenian settlers worked. The pottery was within easy walking distance to Lancaster Street, where most of the settlers lived. Paul Proudian’s beautiful Armenian Oriental rug, which he purchased in Yerevan years ago, was also on display. “I kept pulling out money from my pocket until the dealer said, “Paveh” (Enough), said Proudian.
The Armenians of Maine gathered to honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who were killed and the countless others who were driven out of their ancestral homeland in Ottoman Turkey during the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23. These observances serve to remind us of the tragic legacy of what was lost and renew the call for justice for a crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Turks 100 years ago.
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