Awareness event: #AgainstAllGenocides

APRIL 20, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) On Sunday April 19, 2015, hundreds of lanterns lit the sky of Beirut during an awareness event entitled #AgainstAllGenocides. The event was organized by Zavarian Student Association of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, but aimed to remind the public of all genocides and crimes against humanity.

The event was preceded by a social media campaign where people were posting grayscale pictures of themselves carrying a white banner that reads “#AgainstAllGenocides”. It soon became popular as public figures and celebrities such as Zaven Kouyoumdjian, Esperance Ghanem, Elie Hawshan, Sevag Ketenjian, Eileen Khatchadourian and many others joined the campaign and posted pictures of themselves using the event hashtag.

The #AgainstAllGenocides stands for every inhumane atrocity carved in the dark pages of history or the ones happening now as we speak. The #AgainstAllGenocides stands for the genocide in Darfur, in Rwanda, in Cambodia, in Bosnia and in Ukraine. It stands for the genocide of the Assyrians, the Syriac, the Armenians, the Jews, and the Native Americans.

And last but not least, the #AgainstAllGenocides stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine, in Qana, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen and everywhere else where thousands of innocent lives have are still being massacred on a daily basis.

The social media campaign amounted to an awareness event that targets the youth to familiarize with all genocides that history has witnessed, and through collective action call for ending the cycle of violence.

The event which took place next to the Bourj Hammoud highway at Demco steel, kicked off by the opening speech of the organizers, where Hrag Avedanian explained that “what unites us tonight is our commitment to human rights, our firm belief in the right of every human being to live without any fear of being persecuted on the basis of his or her ethnicity, religion, opinion or orientation”.

Avedanian added that “today, we gather to raise our voice against every perpetrator of genocide. Today, we assertively affirm that enough is enough, and that the mere thought of annihilating an entire race is inhumane, unjustifiable and unacceptable”. He concluded that “As we launch hundreds of lanterns into the sky of Beirut, we also release hundreds of nightmares that survivors of genocides have carried with them all these years… We also release calls for truth and justice.”

Then took stage the award winning Lebanese Armenian artist Eileen Khatchadourian where she focused on the role of youth in social movements. She urged the youth to take on the responsibility to end the cycle of violence. The artist said that the amount of killings, massacres and genocides that humanity has witnessed is enough. “Let’s take action to demand recognition of all genocides and move on to the process of reparation. It is only by the correction of the past that we can ensure a better, safer and more peaceful future.” Khatchadourian concluded.

The guest DJ of the event was C-rouge. He played a mix of his work and creations. He was also accompanied by Carmen Balian on the vocals.

Throughout the event, a huge screen was portraying videos, movies, facts and figures of many documented genocides to raise awareness and pass on the message of the night. Some of the crimes against humanity took place in Rwanda, Darfur, Ukraine, Bosnia, as well as in areas where Armenians, Native Americans, Assyrians and other people lived.

The highlight of the event was the release of 500 lanterns into the sky, a record in the history of Lebanon, to pay tribute to all victims of inhumane actions and genocides.