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May, London. An enthusiastic crowd of about 200 London Armenians and friends and student and parents of Gevork Tahtaian Sunday School gathered to celebrate this important and heroic landmark in modern Armenian history: The 25th Anniversary of Shushi’s Liberation and Artsakh Army Day. What made the celebration particularly interesting was the participation of three heroes of the Artsakh war of resistance, and Shushi’s Liberation in particular especially invited for the event. These were: Colonel General Romik Margaryan, born in the family of a Genocide survivors from Sasun; Major General Sergey Chalyan; and last but not least Mr Samvel Tadevosyan a documentary filmmaker and script writer who from 1989 to 1994 frequently went to Artsakh, took part in almost all the war actions and shot a great deal documentary war footage.

The event began with the National Anthem of the Republic of Armenia after which Mr Vartan Ouzounian, Honourary Secretary of the Tekeyan Trust, which had organised the event, made a short welcoming address in which he praised the great sacrifice that the whole Armenian people had made, both in the homeland, including and especially in Artsakh, together with Diaspora in unison which had made independent statehood and liberation of Artsakh possible. That achievement, freedom and independence, he stressed, are values that must be protected and the motherland strengthened to stop Baku’s aggression as was witnessed in the Four Day War of April 2016. Our heroic soldiers and army, just like the previous generation which fought to create the army and to liberate Artsakh, with great patriotic devotion and sacrifice have proved capable of defending the motherland and its frontiers against aggression.

In conclusion Mr Ouzounian stressed the value of Armenian cultural heritage and the need to protect and promote it through high quality cultural events and engaging the youth, a task which Tekeyan Trust and its affiliated bodies had been doing successfully and enthusiastically for decades.

Colonel Romik Margaryan was then invited to the rostrum bedecked with Armenian and Artsakh flags and started by delivering warm greetings of our compatriots from the motherland. He said he considered it an honour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this glorious victory with such an enthusiastic gathering of fellow Armenians in Great Britain. “I would like to use this opportunity”, said the Colonel, “to thank all those British friends of Artsakh and Armenian people, especially Baroness Caroline Cox who did so much with their unflinching material, moral and diplomatic invaluable investment to protect the just demands of the Armenian people of Artsakh and make the world hear it. The Armenian people never forgets its friends”.

The Colonel then recounted the historic and heroic actions during the critical days of May 8 and 9 in 1992 when, thanks to the unity and participation of the entire Armenian people, and the execution of the military actions directed towards the liberation of the “Armenian fortress city of Shushi” resulted in victory on 9th May. The overall Command of this incredible military feat was General Arkady Ter Tadevosyan, “Comandos”. This victory was achieved, as so often in our history, in the absence of formal state and military structures when the heavy burden was, once again born by dedicated volunteer fighters, “the most committed and self-sacrificing phalanx of our people, which simultaneously was creating and strengthening the foundation of the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia”.

The sacrifice of these heroes has gifted our people the possibility of a secure existence and the right to be proud, the general said and concluded by stressing that “we do not desire war but nor do we shun from any challenge directed towards us… at present we don’t even expect a prolonged or meaningful peace because we are fully conscious of the fact that we have not yet fought the last battle and victory is not complete and is still ahead of us. Our army is capable and out people stands fully behind it”.

After that the cultural part of the evening commenced with performances by Komitas Chamber Choir directed by Mr Grigor Najaryan, of three patriotic songs and one instrumental piece by talented violinist Ms Angela Najaryan, poetry recitals by two Sunday School’s students, Epic poetry recited by Ms Jenya Nersisyan and finally three boisterous and energetic folk dances performed by Akhtamar Dance Group’s young boys and girls.

All these performances were met with enthusiastic and energetic applause of the audience which produced an encore by the Komitas Chamber Choir of the patriotic song “Dzayn Me Hnchets”… and more enthusiastic applause….

The evening came to its end with rousing words of Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, the Primate, and his closing prayer.

The master of ceremonies (MC) for the entire evening was Mr Ara Petrosyan, a participant in the Shushi Liberation who came to UK in 1990s, and who received a commendation medal from his commanding officer and especial guest of the evening, Colonel Margaryan.

Report prepared by Bagrat Nazarian.


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