25 Years After His Abduction, Lebanese Armenians Remember Prominent ARF Activist Apo Ashjian

ARF Bureau Member Mgrdich Mgrdichian with prominent ARF activist Apo Ashjian's photo in background

BEIRUT (Aztag)–Lebanon’s ARF Sardarabad Chapter held last week a vigil in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the abduction of prominent ARF activist Apo Ashjian. The memorial was attended by friends, family, ARF comrades, and a large number of others from the Lebanese Armenian community.
The opening remarks of the event were delivered by Sako Eskinian, a member of the Sardarabad chapter. Eskinian stressed that Ashjian was an objective advocate with the spirit of a hurricane. He had a decisive approach and strong conviction toward his belief of “liberty or death.”
A short intermission where George Grpoyan played revolutionary songs on the piano followed Eskinian’s remarks.
The audience was then shown a short documentary about Ashjian, prepared by the Sardarabad chapter. The short film presented Armenian and international press coverage coverage of Ashjian’s abduction, as well as press releases issued by the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon condemning the abduction.
The second half of the documentary featured clips from Ashjian’s friends and reminiscing about the missing humanitarian and Dashnaktsakan activist.
Following the film presentation, the evenings keynote speaker ARF Bureau Member and Mgrdich Mgrdichian rose to the stage to speak in greater detail about Ashjian’s character and legacy.
The minor details of Ashjian’s fait remain a mystery, Mgrdichian said, noting, However, that we always expect such a fate for people like Ashjian–for people who completely devote themselves to a cause.
According to Mgrdichian, Ashjian believed that constructive dialogue between Lebanon’s different communities and political factions was the only way to reach positive results in Lebanon, because the Civil War weakened the entire country.
But Ashjian’s neutral position in the civil war and his political outlook toward the Armenian cause made him many enemies, Mgrdichian said.
Ashjian and many of his contemporaries did not live to see the independence of Armenia. Through his sacrifices, Ashjian helped maintain the principles of the ARF and contributed to its robust return to an independent Armenia, Mgrdichian remarked. Ashjian was the product of a tradition set forth by Dro, Mgrdichian added. He was a noble person who understood the importance of truth and justice.
“His legacy and patriotic example guides us on our path toward realizing our ideological vision,” he added.

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