The khachkar (cross stone) dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide was unveiled in the Flemish city of Geraardsbergen, Belgium. The khachkar was made in Armenia and brought to Belgium with the efforts and support of the local Armenian community of 53 families.
“The author of this initiative were me and my late son, Khachatryan Sarhin. My son left, but his mind remained,” says Suren Khachatryan, author of the initiative, member of the Armenian community of Belgium.
Sadness and happiness are legible in Suren Khachatryan’s eyes. Today, Khachatryan thanks all the members of the community, the embassy and, of course, the city authorities for implementing the initiative.
“We have friendly relations with the Armenian community, that's why we responded positively to their initiative. We are in one of the most beautiful gardens in Grammont, which has recently been renovated and opened to the public. It was ready to accept this monument. This is a way to condemn the genocides that took place in the past and the genocidal actions that continue today,” says Guido De Padt, Mayor of Geraardsbergen.
According to Armenian Ambassador to Belgium Anna Aghajanyan, this khachkar symbolizes the successful cooperation of the Armenian community with the local city authorities.
“The more people understand that such a crime took place, the more I hope they understand that it is inadmissible to repeat it,” says Anna Aghajanyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to Belgium, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to EU.
The ambassador states that especially the relations with Flanders have developed a lot both at the parliamentary and state level, and “the role of the community is great in that.”
Arman Galstyan, one of the organizers of the event, says this is the result of collective work. Each member of the community has contributed, and they will not be limited to this.
“This is the beginning, our work will not be limited to this,” says Arman Galstyan, member of the Armenian community.
Flemish politicians, ordinary Flemings, who came with a heartfelt call, also attended the event.
“The first Armenian I met was Charles Aznavour, then I discovered the Armenian community, I know the Armenian history and the path Armenians passed,” Hugo Ann Lin de Heno, a resident of Geraardsbergen says.
Far from the Homeland, but educating generations living in the Armenian spirit. This is the image of an Armenian in the Armenian community of Belgium.
“In the future, our children, their children can always visit and pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Genocide,” says Zhanna Frenjibashyan, resident of Geraardsbergen.
The khachkar placed in Avde Park is dedicated not only to the memory of the Armenian Genocide, but also to the victims of the 44-day war. The next step will be the installation of a plaque.