I find it difficult to write about the Armenian Genocide each year, but I feel that doing so is a personal obligation that I have in order to acknowledge the atrocities of April 24, 1915.
The reality is that as a musician, I outwardly commemorate the Genocide in most of my performances. When given the opportunity to perform in a concert, there is a storytelling component that I have incorporated into those performances. No, I am not a historical expert by any means, but I can related personal experiences woven with some historical elements while playing Armenian folk music. As a matter of fact, I feel that I am performing at my best ability when given the opportunity to talk and interact with my audience while providing insight into the Armenian culture.
Storytelling, an important tool can be one of our most powerful means for conveying important topics. My storytelling focuses on the struggles and triumphs of the Armenian people. After these types of performances, I can’t help but feel a sense of achievement. This is not meant to sound arrogant, but when given the opportunity to share ones culture with a group of people that may be hearing about it for the first time – there is a sense of pride you feel for providing this enlightenment. I have never experienced an audience that was unappreciative of this concept of performance. So many, for the first time, get a glimpse of what is an Armenian. I think this is all of our (as Armenians) obligations to teach others and share stories to a non-Armenian world.
Ironically on April 24th, I had an opportunity to be interviewed by the niece of a friend of mine (non-Armenian) who was working on a college research project focusing on different ethnicities. We had a wonderful conversation and I was able to share with her some historical information but also provided her with my personal thoughts and impressions of our rich culture and background. This had more to do with educating her about the Armenian people as supposed to me as an Armenian. This, proves my point of the gratification I feel in sharing those experiences.
105 years later, we are a strong people. Our memory has not wavered these many years and I pray we will never forget.
On this day, I especially think of family. My parents, grandparents, and their ancestors that gave their life for us to continue our own. On this day, please share your story.