Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Walking for Armenia – 1000 Kilometres Walk from Armenia (Turkey) to Lebanon to remember Armenian genocide

Posted by Fredsvenn on January 6, 2015

Walking for Armenia

Vartan Melkonian is a composer and conductor of classical music, working chiefly with the Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also the Patron of the Consortium for Street Children.

In his capacity as Humanitarian Ambassador, he speaks at the United Nations and at the All-Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons on matters of Street Children.

A century ago, his ancestors lived in Mus in Armenia (Turkey), until the day Ottoman rulers made a decision to “deport” Armenians. They didn’t just have no food and water, but were attacked, raped and murdered on their way, or taken as slaves, including sexlaves.

Despite his achievements, he was brought up at the Birds’ Nest Orphanage in Byblos Lebanon in the 1950s and spent his formative years scouring the slums of Beirut.

Maria Jacobsen, a Danish Missionary, began working with Armenian orphans at the age 18, during the First World War, dedicating her life to them until her death in 1960, at the age of 77.

She looked after around 4000 Armenian orphans at the Birds Nest Orphanage. The orphans living at the Orphanage from 1926 through to 1960 referred to Maria Jacobsen as “Mama” – so did Vartan Melkonian who was sent to the orphanage in mid 1950s.

His daughter, Veronica-Haiganoush, is a university student in UK, studying towards a degree in Economics. She has just finished her one-year internship at Ernst Young in London.

Melkonian and his daughter Veronica will be in Turkey in February for their “Walking for Armenia” project — a 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) march they plan to start in Van in Armenia (Turkey), and complete at the Birds’ Nest Orphanage in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

The Syrian stretch of the route poses a serious risk for the Melkonians, but they are determined to walk it despite the threat of war and the Islamic State (IS). There are reports of people being kidnapped, beheaded and raped.

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