Remembering Lisbon Five 22 Years Later

BEIRUT–Commemorations honoring the heroism of Sarkis Abrahamian–Setrak Ajemian–Vatche Daghlian–Ara Kuhrjulian–and Simon Yahniyan took place at the Bourj Hammoud National Cemetery on Tuesday.

On July 27–1983–the five men–known as the Lisbon Five–stormed the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon demanding Turkey acknowledge its 1915 genocide of Armenia’s.

The five members of the Armenian Revolutionary Army seized the Turkish Ambassador’s residence and set off explosives which destroyed the building and killed themselves. In a note delivered to the news media during the takeover–the Armenian Revolutionary Army (as they called themselves) said: "We have decided to blow up this building and remain under the collapse. This is not suicide nor an expression of insanity–but rather our sacrifice to the altar of freedom." The note also said that they had resorted to armed struggle because peaceful means for the "pursuit of our just cause" had failed.

Opening remarks at this year’s ceremonies in Lebanon were delivered by Sako Eskidjian who stressed that the five men proved that strong ideals give birth to a type of heroism that can transform words into action.

The keynote speaker Kajhag Koulajian began by quoting Karekin Njdeh who said–"A people that do not strive to die a noble death–are not worthy of a homeland–as a homeland is created with the sacred ashes of martyr’s."

The message of martyrdom–he stressed–is to die a deliberate death–to become immortal by etching in the minds of generations–the sacred traditions–national preservation and cultural development.

The speaker turned to national and Armenian establishmen’s that have instilled and propelled a spirit that

The observance concluded with the singing of "Verkerov Lee."


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