YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Armenian Presidential Candidate Vahan Hovannesian and his campaign manager Armenian Revolutionary Federation of Armenia Supreme Body Representative Armen Rustamian Tuesday lead a procession of students from the ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Union to the grave of prominent ARF revolutionary Aram Manoukian to commemorate the 89th anniversary of his death.
The ceremony for the national hero took place in Yerevan’s Tokhmakh Central Cemetery. Hovannesian also visited the graves of prominent ARF members Hrair Marukhian and Eduard Hovannesian.
Manoukian, who was a founding father of the first Republic of Armenia was born in 1879 in the village of Zeyva (modern day David-Bek) in Ghapan and joined the ARF at an early age. In 1903, he became involved in the ARF led defense of Gandzak and Kars.
Between 1912 and 1915, Manoukian lived in Van as an ARF activist, teaching at schools, writing in the press, and encouraging Armenian youth to organize. When World War I broke out in 1915, he led the successful "Resistance of Van." In 1918, he helped organize Armenians to fight in the Battle of Sardarabad.
"As the first Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia, Manoukian lived alongside the people and personally visited the refugee camps where he was infected with typhus by survivors of the Armenian Genocide," Hovannesian said. Manoukian died from the disease on January 29, 1919."
Also known as "Aram of Van," Manoukian was a unique individual and statesman who endured the hardships of his people alongside them, according to Hovannesian.
"Aram Manoukian was a founder of our first independent country," Hovannesian noted. "There are certain things that just can’t be displayed in museums, one is our struggle for national liberation, the other is the establishment of an independent homeland, Aram Manoukian was instrumental in both."
"Our national heroes, most of whom were ARF members, do not belong to our party any more. They are national heroes and their legacy, apart of our national values," Hovannesian said. "Dro, Njdeh, Aram Manoukian and many other prominent leaders in our liberation movement were all ARF members, but they were all Armenian and thus belong to our entire nation."
"We should never forget that we gained independence and won the Artsakh war because national heroes like Aram Manoukian were able to restore Armenian statehood in 1918," Hovannesian added.