ISSUE N0. 9 | APRIL 2024

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About the APRIL 2024 Issue: 

 

Issue No. 9  | Before the Rooster Crows

About the April Issue: Before the Rooster Crows

April is Genocide Awareness Month, due to the confluence of genocides that began or crescendoed in many Aprils of the twentieth century, including, of course, the genocide of Armenians living in the Armenian Highlands and Cilicia during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. But what about today? The Armenian Genocide never ended, and not because "denial is the last stage of genocide"—as we so often hear in reference to the fact that the events of 1915-23 are still denied by their perpetrators. We saw that last October 2023, with Artsakh. 

Are we living as a people that believes their fate has been sealed, or do we continue to find our strength in the struggle for justice, in our continued existence and thus resistance? And, if we are not doing the latter, to what extent are we denying ourselves?

Issue No. 9 takes its title from Matthew 26:34, where Jesus says to Peter: “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And Peter did. Disowning Jesus each time he was asked if he knew that man or had any affiliation with him. We recently reflected on these readings during the Thursday evening darkness vigil, or the Khavaroom Service, before Good Friday. It is during that service that the priest sings, from the altar, as the church's candles are extinguished and the sanctuary is shrouded in darkness, "Ուր ես մայր իմ?" (Where are you Mother?)—in my opinion, one of the most beautiful hymns in the Armenian tradition.

Speaking of mothers specifically, and of women more broadly, this issue features two interviews, one of Astrid Kamalyan, the author of the children's book BABO: A Tale of Armenian Rug-Washing Day, who reflects on the responsibility women have shouldered in preserving and transmitting the intangible elements of Armenian culture heritage, while also allowing their children that lightness, to learn through play and remain joyful. The second interview is of Emily Mkrtichian, who recently debuted her documentary film There Was, There Was Not, following the lives of four women in Artsakh who maintain that vibrancy in the face of all that was to come. She shares with us, "One of the women in my film, Sosé, constantly reminds me that we will go back to Artsakh, that the child I am about to have will be able to see those lands, and walk in those mountains." This, we must believe, lest we deny ourselves.