Armenian Khachkars of Artzap'
The village where the so called "Anchor Stones" are located is called Artzap' (Azrep). While driving towards that village I start having an agony and a strange feeling about what I will see there. It was as if something was drawing me to that place. The van stops right in front of this stones. I get out of the van and I can feel that I am standing on land where once Armenians used to live. This stone is a typical Armenian Khachkar (cross-stone), with the exception that it is not constructed with the usual artistic decorations. I look around the location, and I can see in the background of this stone an area with a series of stones, arranged in a way similar to that of a graveyard. As I walk closer to that spot I realize that the whole area is indeed a massive cemetery, and that those stones are tombstones. This graveyard is right underneath the shadow of Ararat and its summit is clearly visible. The place where I was standing yesterday. As I am wandering around, lost in my mixed emotions, taking pictures with my camera, local villagers gather around me saying "no photo, no photo!" I continued walking and getting shocked at every other step I took. At the edge of the graveyard the villagers' tents and huts were found. I start noticing that the protective surrounding walls where build out of those cross-stones. They have actually displaced them and used them to construct their walls and houses. There is no respect for those souls that are buried here. Each sight is like a stab-wound to my heart. Inspecting each one of these Khachkars I can see that the number of crosses is not consistent on all of them. Some have two, others three, four, five. It's clear that those are mass graves. There are probably whole families buried under this land. The proof of the existence of Armenians on those lands is right in front of me. We have been the only Christian nation living on those lands. The proof that Armenians were killed in masses is also here. The fact they did not have a decent death is clear. One does not create mass graves when there are no mass killings. The proof of the first genocide of the 20th century is right here. Some of those Khachkars have engravings with Armenian characters of family names. Yet another blatant fact that those are not "Anchor Stones". Some of those Cross Stones have paint over the Armenian engravings, a sign of vandalism and an attempt to destroy the cemetery and any Armenian evidence. A little boy points to a place and starts saying "chemic, chemic". I do not understand him, so I follow him to the place were he is indicating. I come across some open graves. Human skulls and bones are visible. The boy shouts "Ermeni" (Turkish for Armenian) ... My thoughts and feelings start getting blurry, and feelings of rage and anger emerge. They could well belong to one of my forefathers. Never the less I stay calm. In contrast, the local villagers get aggressive when we mention to them that we are Armenians. Please let the people that are buried under this land (their own homeland) rest in peace.