The 100th anniversary commemoration of the calamity in 1909

On Saturday the 4th of April 2009 at 7pm, took place at the holly trinity church the 100th anniversary commemoration ceremony of the calamity that occurred in Kessab in 1909. The event was organised by the Armenian-Syrian youth organization. The program started with an opening speech given by Miss Asdghig Ashekian which was followed by a recitation of the poem ‘voghchouyn kez’ by Verej Tourian (kessabtsi poet) recited by Miss Sarin Haneshian, and a single singing of the song ‘Adanayi godoradze’ performed by Miss Dzaghig sahagian. The main speaker on the occasion was Mr. Hagop Cholakian. The speaker reviewed in general and sometimes in details the circumstances were present in the region before the calamity particularly in 1908 when a new system was constituted by the ‘Itihad and Taraki’ Ottoman party and the implicated promises of a better and more prosperous life which filled the people with hope and positive expectations. Kessabtsies were similarly full of hope for better conditions. But the Ottoman order had something totally different in Mind. In April 1909, about thirty thousand armed Turkish soldiers invaded Kessab and they put the whole region into fire and destruction. About 300 men in Kessab tried in vain to defend their village using whatever was available to them of simple hunting guns and rifles. All Kessabtsies in that period of time experienced humanitarian crisis. After the catastrophe was over, Kessabtsies returned to their village and started reviving it receiving help from Jerusalem, the Armenian diocese of Aleppo, the Armenian benevolent organization and the Latin missioners. The speaker particularly emphasised two people who had a very humanitarian approach towards the afflicted Kessabtsies; priest Movses Voskerichian who not only was an active participant in the reviving process, but also had provided shelter and food to the Kessabtsies who had arrived to Lattakia fleeing the calamity.  The second person was the agha Sadek lateef who sympathised with the Kessabtsies despite the fact that he was Turkish. Mr. Cholakian concluded his talk reminding the Kessabtsies that this tragedy have thought their ancestor how to survive, to love their land and to endure afflictions patiently.Later on, Mr. Ara Keshishian read a verse he wrote in Kessab’s dialect comparing Kessab before and today. The event was concluded by the preacher Sevag Trashian who thanked the Armenian-Syrian youth organization for organizing this event and also expressed his gratitude to Mr. Cholakian for his tender speech, then he ended the event with a prayer.

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