Rosario Teixeira
[email protected]
Peace of Art, Inc.
Fort Point P.O. Box 51660
Boston, MA 02205

May 1, 2006

Ripped Armenian Genocide Billboard on Arsenal Street is Up Again
by Rosario Teixeira

Watertown, MA - The Armenian Genocide commemorative billboard that
was up on the week of March 13th on Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA,
on Saturday April 22nd, was found ripped eliminating the message that
read "Join us recognize the Armenian Genocide." Initially it seemed to
have been an act of vandalism, but the police investigated the matter
and concluded that the damage on the poster was weather related. Peace
of Art, Inc., the organization that sponsored the billboard, replaced
the poster on April 27th with a new one that reads "A poster may be
ripped but history remains." The new poster will be up until May 15th.

For the last ten years, since 1996, the artist Daniel Varoujan Hejinian
has been sponsoring the Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards,
to honor the survivors and bring awareness to the genocide. "I feel
sorrow in my heart to see the billboard destroyed" he said on WCVB
Channel 5 news story on Sunday, April 23rd. In the last three years,the
Armenian Genocide commemorative billboards have been sponsored by Peace
of Art,Inc., a non-profit organization founded by
Mr.Hejinian which uses art as an educational tool to bring awareness
to the universal human condition.

On Monday, April 24th on my way home during the evening commute,
I noticed a little boy with big sad eyes holding onto his mother
riding the train seated across from me. As he looked at me, thoughts
raced through my mind faster than the evening train. Through the sad
eyes of the little boy, I saw the eyes of a nation, whose houses were
destroyed,their churches were burned, masses marching barefoot through
hot desert sand to an unknown destination. Images of Armenians who
were forced out of their homes, killed, deported to die of starvation.
Innocent children without mothers to cling onto and without homes.
contrary to that little boy with large sad eyes seated across from me
with a mother to hug and a home to return. I felt a deep sadness for
the loss of a nation, and for the loss of the billboard on Arsenal
Street with a symbolic message of remembrance.

It didn't matter if it was the weather, unseasonably hot sun, or the
soft wind, the cold April rain or an act of vandalism that ripped
the billboard. What maters is that the poster was destroyed two
days before the official 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,
at a time when the community comes together to remember the loss
of 1.5 million Armenians. As it didn't matter ninety one years
ago that the extermination of the Armenian population during the
turmoil of World War I, was the result of forced evacuation across
Anatolia to the Syrian desert of Dayr al Zawr or was the result of
a state-sponsored plan of mass destruction. What matters is that it
was the first Genocide of the 20th Century, and it will remain in
the history as a crime against humanity.

History can not be rewritten, the pages off the history books may be
ripped, leaving the book with ripped pages but history remains, just
like the ripped poster on Arsenal Street in Watertown. April 24,
1915,is a dark date in the history of Armenians, that is engraved
in the collective memory of a nation, it molded the psych of every
generation even since, and became part of the Armenian heritage.
However, the indomitable spirit of Armenians has prevailed in spite of
it all, and it has flourished through five continents. Peace of Art
Inc., will continue calling for recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
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