“I have so much pain in my heart”: Anahid Voskericyan Kuyumcu

“I have so much pain in my heart”: Anahid Voskericyan Kuyumcu –

“I have so much pain in my heart, I walk,” Anahid Voskericyan Kuyumcu says of the March for Humanity and Against Genocide. She was joined by her daughter Céline and granddaughters Sarine and Nazane Papakhian. DARIO AYALA / MONTREAL GAZETTE




Her right leg is paralyzed and she gets around with a walker, but that didn’t stop 78-year-old Anahid Voskericyan Kuyumcu from participating in a Mother’s Day march through downtown Montreal on Sunday afternoon to focus awareness on genocide.

“I have so much pain in my heart, I walk,” said Kuyumcu, who was joined by daughter Céline, 48, and granddaughters Sarine and Nazane Papakhian, 10 and eight, respectively.

Kuyumcu, who moved to Quebec from Turkey in 1967, said her maternal grandmother — “who always wore black” — lost 10 brothers in the Armenian genocide, while husband Rupen, 80, lost all his family.

“We have to stop this perpetual violence, by remembering and with non-violent actions,” daughter Céline said as the march headed out from Cabot Square along Ste-Catherine St. to its final destination in the Quartier des Spectacles.

It was the second edition of what organizers are hoping to make an annual event. Organized by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and the Alliance for Genocide Awareness and Remembrance, it’s intended to raise awareness about crimes against humanity.

Many nationalities were represented in the turnout of several hundred.

Soreach Nget was there because her native country, Cambodia, has been the scene of many atrocities.

“My husband’s family, they were all killed. And the killing and violence is still going on,” said Nget, who’s called Canada home since fleeing the war in Cambodia in 1983.

Oswald Manirakiz, 40, had a poster denouncing the violence in his native Burundi.

“What happened in Rwanda in 1994, the same kind of thing is happening there now,” Manirakiz said. “A lot of young people are being tortured and killed. People participating in legal demonstrations are being killed. And it’s happening in silence. Internationally, nobody’s doing anything to stop it.”

Apraham Niziblian, one of the organizers of the march, said it’s important the Quebec population remember all these crimes, because you need to “learn the lessons of history” to ensure they aren’t repeated. 

He said there’s still violence in many parts of the world, notably the Middle East and in Africa, and urged both the Quebec and federal governments not to stay impassive in the face of those conflicts.

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