Elena Akopyan
Doctor, Editor-in-Chief of the Heritage and Progress Foundation
"Do Not Forget Me! Do Not Forget!"
There is this legend. When once upon a time the Lord created flowers, he gave each of them its own name and ordered them to remember it. But no sooner had he said it than one of the little flowers exclaimed with tears in its eyes:

"Forgive me, I forgot my name!" Looking at it affectionately, the Creator replied: "Do not forget! Don't forget about Me!"

And another legend. About how in the old days steel was tempered in the juices of forget-me-nots. For this purpose, a red-hot blade was immersed in this juice and kept in it until it cooled down. Such steel turned so hard that it cut through iron and grindstone. The famous Damascus and Toledo blades were created specifically from it. That is the kind of flower it is. Delicate, defenseless, modest, but tempering. Forget-me-not. The symbol of the Armenian genocide...

"In the recently obtained issue… the simple, but warm appeal of the Yaroslavl teacher N shines through. Focusing attention of the Russian society on the miserable situation of the Armenians who escaped from Turkey, she sacrifices 5 rubles from her measly funds. Everyone, who happened to recently visit the localities adjacent to the Turkish boundary, could witness with their own eyes how great the need is and how necessary the aid is for these victims of inhuman Turkish regime… Stuck together, the crowd of the emaciated, dressed in the rags Armenians moves. All ages come across, from a nursing baby to old people. No groans, no sighs and screams are heard, not a single hand reaches out for alms. And what could add words and gestures, that has not been said by these haunting dead eyes, which experienced the loss of all and everything that was dear to human heart" - "Russian Journal" dated November 12, 1896.
Seriously, moans, screams. They are so unnecessary. Only the facts. Here are a few of them…

Before the First World War, the extermination of Armenians took the form of massacres in the regions where they constituted the majority. Sasun, Istanbul, Van, Adan, Aleppo, murders across the entire empire during the winter of 1895, Killikia massacre. But in February 1915, Nazim Bey, the young Turk ideologist, declared: "It is imperative to completely destroy the Armenian nation." Shooting was too slow of a method of extermination. Shadadi's cave, long and spacious, was what the assassins needed. They brought the Armenians here and pushed them in by the thousands. The more of them appeared in the cave, the further along the passage the first ones retreated. Then the guards dragged bushes to the entrance, set them on fire and guarded all night, camped. In the morning they returned to the city. But one child survived, got out, crawled over the bodies through the ash of the fire and was gone.

On April 24, 1915, the Turkish authorities arrested six hundred eminent Armenians, citizens of Constantinople. They drove together another five thousand from the Armenian quarters of the city. Those who were not killed immediately were gathered in convoys and driven south. Here are the lines of one of few eyewitnesses to those events, the American consul in Harput, Leslie Davis. This is a report, just a dry report about one of these convoys that came out from Harput on July 1, 2015.

Day one. Three thousand Armenians leave Harput. A guard of seventy Turkish gendarmes – Zaptieh, under the command of Faik Bey.

Day two. Faik Bey demands four hundred lire from the convoy for security purposes; and disappears.

Day three. The first cases of abduction of women and girls. Open violence by the Zaptieh.

Day nine. All the horses were sent back to Harput.

Day fifteen. They take the men away, slaughter, rob the convoy. Another convoy joins. The total number is 18 thousand people.

Day fortieth. Eastern Euphrates. Bloody robes by the river. There are corpses in the water.

Day fifty-second to fifty-ninth. Naked, without food or water, women bent over with shame. Die from the scorching sun. Many throw themselves into water pits. The inhabitants of the Arab villages give some clothes out of pity.

Day sixtieth. Of the 18 thousand, only three hundred people remained.
Day sixty-fourth. Men and sick are burned alive.

Day seventieth. 150 people arrive in Aleppo.

How many such convoys were there, how many such caves ...

Only later there will be a Joint declaration of May 24, 1915 between the countries of allies (Russia, France, Great Britain), in which the mass murders of Armenians were acknowledged as crime against humanity. Only later the term "genocide" will obtain codification in international law and the author of this term lawyer Rafael Lemkin will attain its acknowledgement in the United Nations in conformance with his memory and conscience. Only later, according to all the canons of human civilization, it will be recognized by countries and republics, provinces and regions.
The story of exile. From Tsitsernakaberd to Yerablur. From photos in front of the Armenians hanged in white robes in Constantinople to today's photo shoot on the alley with Armenian helmets and skulls in Baku. The story of destruction, desecration. But it is also a great renaissance Story. Through stones and blood, through centuries and graves. As an eternal overcoming of darkness and chaos with triumphant daily creative work and light thought. And the Armenian churches rise like insoluble architectural riddles (outside the cone, inside the dome, outside the edge, inside the vault). Again, like centuries ago, through the tall windows, the rays of the early sun touch the old bindings, where in the holy ligature of letters, thick as blood, there is the perfect word of Mashtots. Back in today beats, hammers in the temples the music of Komitasa who lost senses from the grief; and in the lace band of Goshavankskiy khachkar, where each inch is grooved and suffered, in Gordius stone labyrinth, the only Armenian thread that has been found leads and leads the initiates.

It's spring again today on Earth. And this spring again bloomed and became blue forget-me-nots - on the earth blackened from the grief and the tears, on the fresh graves of the heroes of Artsakha, who laid their young dazzling talented lives for the native land. In their blueness through the generations – the Van eyes of the boy from the next door, the remained fragments of the native prayerful Karabakh sky; and, as in the juice of modest flower from the ancient legend, as in the blood and the tears again hardens steel of indestructible faith and eternal memory. And from the yellow tiny core the eternal sun rises and floods the great ancient land with light. And from the sky it seems to be heard: "Do not forget Me! Do not forget!"
3 Dnepropetrovskaya Str., Moscow, Russia, 117525
Heritage and Progress Foundation for the Development and Support of Russian-Armenian Humanitarian Initiatives