YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The photo exhibition "Lost Territories," featuring over 100 pictures of Northern Artsakh–opened on February 25 at the Alexander Tamanian Institute-Museum.
Photographer Samvel Karapetian said his mission was to collect traces and remains of Armenian culture and to prevent further losses from the area that saw the forcible removal of Armenia’s from 1989 to 1992.
At the opening ceremony–Museum Director Tamanian called for urgent action and critical measures to protect the region’s Armenian historical monumen’s currently being bulldozed by the Azeris.
The exhibit is significant–said Karapetian–because it emphasizes the need to never forget the losses Armenia has suffered–recalling the forced deportations of Shahmor–Dashkesan–Tovuz–Khanlar in 1989–Getashen and Martunashen in 1991–and Shahumian in 1992. "The names of these villages say nothing to our young people. How can we struggle for the territories we know nothing about," he asked.
He stressed that Azerbaijan constantly refers to the "occupied" territories as their homeland–working to convince the international community of the assertion–when–in fact–they are originally Armenian lands. "They speak of mutual concessions," he said–"but these concessions were made long ago."
Commenting at the opening–ARF Bureau Representative Hrant Margarian said that the exhibition is a difficult and painful sight for the people who had been there–on the territories that are considered lost. "The main thing is to preserve the military spirit. I am sure that this spirit will find its place and protect our rights," and emphasized that liberated territories will never be returned to Azerbaijan.
Former field commander Vardan Mirzoyan–recognizing a photograph of a church in the village of Gharachinar that housed his detachment during the defense of the Gharachinar-Khrakhapor line–recalled–"These were key territories; the fact that we failed to retain them does not merit the Azeri army–but is because the Soviet Union fought against us."