Cultural Identity, Repeated History

105 years ago, our ancestors were driven from their homelands by the order of the Turkish government. A well documented massacre that can be easily researched for those unfamiliar with this important and dark piece of Armenian history. In order not to trivialize the destruction this had caused, the outcome for those Armenians (including my own relatives) was an extreme loss of life that that extended to a level of extinction that hit our culture. By destroying 1.5 million Armenians, we lost historical significance that we may never be able to quantify ever again.

I firmly believe that the 1915 Genocide dealt a near-fatal blow to Armenian culture. Luckily it did not eliminate it. Armenians who unknowingly were creating history for future generations, had it interrupted with an attempt to be eradicated. An example of this blow pertains to our traditional Armenian music. The creation of it – stopped in 1915.

Thankfully, the Turkish government was unsuccessful of completely erasing our history back in 1915, but unfortunately the attack on peaceful Armenians continues to this day and with it comes the fear of increased historical erasure.

Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. Photo by Aram Kirakosyan (

The recent war and persecution of the Armenians continues in Artsakh. Over the last few decades Armenians have defended their lands from the Azeri Turks. Sadly, a treaty agreement (which was a surprise by Armenians worldwide) ended the military violence but gave land back to the Azeris and thus began the next phase of destruction – the elimination of Armenian historical elements.

For thousands of years, the Armenians have been persecuted, in one shape or another, by the Turkish government. The difference between 1915 and 2020 is technology which provides the ability to document acts of massacre as it happens. As we continue to worry about the lives of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh, we are witnessing the horrific destruction of our heritage.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently posted a statement in regards to the devastation in Artsakh by saying “The loss of cultural heritage sites is permanent, and is a grievous theft from future generations” said Daniel H. Weiss, President/CEO⁣ and Max Hollein, Director.

To watch the photos and videos of this destruction online is heartbreaking, to say the least. Azeri soldiers laughing and kicking over Armenian tombstones, statues being destroyed, churches dismantled, etc. Centuries of culture being destroyed right before our eyes since the treaty agreement was signed giving land back the the Azeri Turks. Depriving centuries forward of the opportunity to experience artwork, historical buildings and music.

In the six weeks of fighting, Armenians that live in the Artsakh regions now taken over by Azeri Turks have lost everything.


Related news stories:
Cultural erasure may spark next Nagorno-Karabakh war
Why Scholars, Cultural Institutions Are Calling to Protect Armenian Heritage
A Quick End to a Dangerous War (OpEd)
Major Armenian Cultural Heritage Sites Under Threat of Erasure in Aftermath of Second Artsakh War

This entry was posted in art, Artsakh, culture, Genocide, Reflections, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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