Friday,17 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)
Friday,17 August, 2018
Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

In memorium

‪For the first time in Egypt, the Armenian community joined millions of people around the world to commemorate the centennial of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, writes Nora Koloyan-Keuhnelian‬

In memorium
In memorium
Al-Ahram Weekly

On Friday morning, Armenians gathered at the Nasr City Unknown Soldier Memorial. Boy and girl scouts from the Homenetmen Ararat Sporting Club in their uniform along with members of the community wearing T-shirts designed for the occasion walked to the monument holding the Egyptian and Armenian flags as well as banners in Arabic that read “I Remember and I Demand” and “Centennial of the Armenian Genocide”. They laid wreathes on the memorial in remembrance of the 1.5 million victims of the genocide committed by Ottoman Turks in 1915. In the evening, a special mass service was held at the Armenian Apostolic Church on Ramses Street in memory of the victims. ‬After the Holy Mass, hundred candles were placed by the faithful on an artwork erected at the church’s yard symbolising the centennial. Boy and girl scouts blocked Ramses street and marched with fanfare some 500 metres.

‬At ‪19:15 pm on Thursday, to coincide the canonisation of the martyrs that took place at the Cathedral of Armenia in Etchmiadzin, where the church bells tolled 100 times in a symbolic gesture, the Cairo St Gregory the Illuminator Church also sounded its bells 100 times — together with many other Armenian churches across the world. In Egypt the faithful could follow the canonisation service live on a screen that was placed inside the church. ‬

There was ample media coverage on both days, with satellite TV channels paying attention. ‬

Egypt sheltered refugees and survivors who fled the genocide, for which Armenians have always been grateful. An Armenian community in Egypt had formed since the 19th century, and Armenians played a crucial role in building a modern Egypt. ‬

Nubar Pasha Nubarian, the politician of Armenian origin, became Egypt’s first prime minister in 1878. The community once numbered 25,000 but has dropped to 5,000 members due to a mass migration since Gamal Abdel-Nasser nationalised major sectors of the economy in 1952, and again after the 25 January Revolution in 2011. ‬

Armenians in Egypt are concentrated mainly in Cairo and Alexandria. They have their own schools, social, cultural and sporting clubs as well as churches, benevolent associations and newspapers.

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