The Lisbon 5 (also known as the Lisbon Five) drew the world’s attention to the Armenian issue on July 27, 1983. Five members of the Armenian Revolutionary Army – Vache Daghlian, Setrak Ajamian, Simon Yahniyan, Ara Kuhrjulian, and Sarkis Abrahamian – opened a new page in the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the restoration of justice.
Below are interesting facts about the five young Armenians who participated in the operation.
None of the participants have ever been to their homeland. Living in Lebanon, they only heard stories and extensively researched the country that they dreamed of visiting.
The oldest participants in the operation, Simon and Sarkis, were 21 years old. Ara was 20, while Vache and Setrak 19.
The Turkish Embassy in Lisbon unexpectedly increased the number of police officers patrolling the embassy on the day of the incident.
Simon Yahniyan, who loved to play the flute and was inseparable from his instrument, was the first to die in the battle with the police. However, he did not have the flute with him that day.
The actions of the Armenian Revolutionary Army were directed exclusively against Turkish officials, so the participants in the Lisbon operation did not return fire on the Portuguese police.
Before the operation, it was decided that the operation would be an act of self-sacrifice that would break the shackles of indifference that buried the Armenian Question.
The guys had prepared for the action for a long time․ They had trained and discussed all the details, but none of their friends and relatives had known or even noticed any oddities in the behavior of the young people.
On the eve of the operation, everyone lied to their loved ones and gave different reasons for leaving home.
Each left only a few parting words to their family members, mainly emphasizing that they were leaving for business and that there was no need to look for them anywhere.
Before blowing up the embassy building, the guys made a statement: “Know what we are doing. The freedom-loving Armenian youth decided not to wait and stay inactive. We lost everything and therefore decided to blow up this building and stay under it.
This is not suicide or insanity but the highest sacrifice in the liberation struggle. Let the international community call us adventurers or terrorists and executioners – it’s alright. We decided to use force because the Turkish government and other countries that support this government violate the rights of the Armenian people.
The Armenian people have long waited for the international court to find a solution to the Armenian Question. The only way out for the self-determination of the Armenian people is armed struggle. The Armenian people have the right to live and develop in the free and independent homeland of their ancestors.”
The boys are buried together at the Bourj Hammoud National Cemetery in Beirut. Attached to the tombstone is a map of Armenia, over which five daggers rise.
The boys’ cemetery is a destination of pilgrimage for thousands of Armenians living in different parts of the world.