The 5th Annual Walk Against Genocide took place Sunday, April 22, beginning at The Holocaust Memorial and concluding at the Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway in the North End.
Survivors from several countries including Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Sudan and their families, friends, and advocates walked in solidarity to raise consciousness on the issues of genocide, including the consequences of inaction, and made connections to the current political landscape in the United States.
Fred Manasse, a child survivor of the Jewish Holocaust reminded the attendees that the United States did not open their arms to Jewish people at the time and that is was extremely difficult to get out of Poland. Manasse later described his worry over current actions in the U.S. that include an increase in military and homeland security personnel, the discrediting of the media, and proposed laws on immigration.
Bora Chiemruom, a Cambodian Genocide survivor described the long-term effects of genocide and indicated that she has nightmares about being separated from her children. Bora advised, “We must learn to protect each other and promote one another. We must be inclusive, tolerant, and open-minded. Kindness and compassion are so crucial in solving the world’s problems. We must look at the problem as humanity’s issue and not a political issue”.
At the Armenian Heritage Park, Herman Purutyan informed the crowd that in 1894, discussions on the plight of Armenia were taking place in downtown Boston and that not enough was done to help Armenians at the time. He went on to discuss what we can do to stop future genocides and to bring awareness to current atrocities. He said, “We can educate and we can act. We educate by taking every opportunity to ensure that the younger generation is aware of genocide and ongoing genocide and we can demand that our representatives take action against such atrocities”.
The event was led by Eric Cohen from Investors against Genocide. Other activists present were Dan and Barbara Palant from the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. The survivors in attendance were Fred Manasse-Poland, Paul Rabchenuk-Ukrainian Holodomor, Chantal Kayitesi-Rwanda, Edina Skaljic-Bosnia, Jim Kalustian-Armenia, Claudia Fox Tree-Arawak, Seyhmus Yuksekkaya-Kurds, and Mohamed Kalifa-Sudan.