May 22, 2010 - 14:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - In early May, St. Chamassy honoured the memory of Vice-Admiral Louis Dartige du Fournet, the saviour of the Armenians of Musa Ler in September 1915 while commanding the Allied Fleet in the Mediterranean. Bernard Musset, a naval officer, chaired the ceremony at the invitation of Claude Fauret, Mayor of the town.
In the small cemetery of the village, overlooking the valley where the admiral once lived, the Armenian delegation and those who conducted the research to find the grave of the Admiral, gathered for the event along with officials of the community, naval officers, young singers and musicians of the Naregatsi orchestra and the public.
Forced again to flee their land in 1939, the Armenians of Musa Ler settled in Anjar, a village in Lebanon. There they created a museum which houses all that relates to their past history; a white sheet with the red cross, carefully folded, a symbol so dear to the hearts of all Mousalertsi people. This same flag was carved in white marble for this event, by Lebanese-Armenian sculptor Boghos Agassi, a descendant of the survivors.
A delegation of Armenians from France, Armenia, Lebanon and the United States along with elected officials of St. Chamassy in France, unveiled the symbolic plaque on the tomb of Vice-Admiral Louis du Fournet.
Three days before the ceremony, the sculpture was blessed and embraced by the solemn Mass celebrated in memory of the Admiral in Anjar, Lebanon. It is now affixed on his grave, keghart.com reported.
Musa Ler (Musa Dagh) was the site of resistance by the Armenians during the Armenian Genocide. The denizens of that region were violently expelled from their six villages (Kabusia (Kaboussieh), Yoghunoluk, Bitias, Vakef, Kheter Bey (Khodr Bey), Haji Habibli) by the Ottomans in 1915. As Ottoman Turkish forces converged upon the town, the populace aware of the impending danger fell back upon Musa Ler and repeatedly thwarted assaults for fifty-three days. Allied warships, most notably French, in the Mediterranean responded to distress signals and rescued the remaining survivors just as ammunition and food provisions were being exhausted. The warships then transported them to Port Said, Egypt. These historical events later inspired Franz Werfel to write The Forty Days of Musa Dagh novel in 1933.