CK Garabed: Betting Against The Azeri Track Record?


A ugust 2, 2009

"RADIOLUR," the Public Radio of Armenia, carried an article on July 20
(reprinted below) which touched off a series of thoughts I desire to
share with my fellow Armenians.

My family hails from Western Armenia-Dikranagerd, specifically. And,
like many Armenians of that city, we were massacred and scattered to
the four winds during the 1915 genocide. None of us have ever visited
Dikranagerd since, but we still retain the deeds to property that
was seized from us, and have never lost hope that one day justice
will be served our people.

Given my background, one can imagine my delight upon learning that
archaeologists had recently discovered another Dikranagerd-apparently
one of several built by King Dikran the Great during his reign-this
one being found in, of all places…Karabagh! One day, I hope to
visit this "new" Dikranagerd, but in the meantime, when my brother
Harry passed away three years ago, I consulted with his family and we
agreed it would be appropriate and symbolic to bury his ashes there,
on sovereign Armenian soil.

With the help of Karabagh Armenians, we were able to achieve our
goal. My younger brother’s ashes are now buried in the garden before
the restored church overlooking the city’s remains. The epitaph on
his gravestone is in Armenian, translated as follows:

"Sarkis Haroutiun Der Kasbarian was born in the United States
of America in 1929 and died in 2006. He was the son of Hagop Der
Kasbarian, a native of Alibunar, a village just outside the western
wall of Dikranagerd, in Western Armenia. He was also the grandson
of Der Kasbar, village priest of Alibunar, who was martyred in the
Hamidian massacres of 1895. Sarkis Haroutiun is a son of Armenia,
and his ashes rest here in Karabagh, near a historic site believed
to be one of the four cities of ancient Dikranagerd (built by King
Dikran the Great)."

And so, my brother’s spirit migrated from Dikranagerd to Dikranagerd.

If our family’s ancestral hearth cannot be reclaimed for now, then this
tiny portion of liberated Karabagh will do just fine. Nevertheless,
I worry. Given all the back-and-forth of recent negotiations, what
will happen to this gravesite if the area is returned to Azerbaijan,
especially given that country’s record of desecration of religious
monuments? Will Karabagh go the way of Nakhichevan, which has been
depopulated of Armenians, and yet retains its Armenian name?

Perhaps a proviso should be inserted in the agenda for any talks
between the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The proviso would require
Azerbaijan to officially acknowledge such past desecrations (which
have been documented by independent researchers) and make restitution,
and include in any treaties assurances that such heinous crimes will
no longer be tolerated.

*** Excavations to Prove Armenian Traces in Karabagh

By Lena Badeyan

While the world powers and politicians are trying to resolve the
Karabagh issue, historians and archeologists are trying to prove that
the territory has been originally Armenian. The Armenian specialists
reached the greatest success in 2005, when they found one of the four
Tigranakert cities founded by Armenian King Tigran the Great on the
liberated land of Aghdam, to the southeast of Martakert region.

"For me this is Troy, this is how I would assess it. We continue
finding different items here, but it’s not the most important. What’s
important is that the city once existed here," said Vardges Safaryan,
member of the Tigranakert expedition, assessing the political and
historical essence of the diggings.

"The two main walls and the towers of the Hellenic city have been
discovered. The city was founded in the 80s B.C. and survived through
the 15th century, about 1,500 years. That is why here we have not
only Hellenic monuments, but also Christian ones. We have discovered
an Armenian church built in 5th to 7th centuries, where we found
one of the most interesting items last year-a clay, disk-like item
with an engraving: ‘Me, Vache, the slave of God.’ This inscription
dates back to the 6th to 7th centuries and it is the most ancient
Armenian inscription found on the land of Karabagh up to now,"
Vardges Safaryan said.

The authorities of Nagorno Karabagh also attach great importance to
the excavations of Tigranakert and the government has been financing
the works for about two years.