By May 24, 2012 0 Comments

24 April 2012 – The Armenian Genocide

“They did not behead them in a conventional manner.  They flipped the knives over and used the dull side so that they could inflict a far greater level of pain and suffering to their intended victims.  Their deaths were slow and agonizing; the beheadings took place in full view of the remaining family members, who were forced to watch and they too imminently met the same fate under the same bloodied knife.”

The above is an excerpt from one of the many stories that my grandfather recounted to me about the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  This specific one was about an Armenian family who were betrayed by their Turkish neighbours at the start of the massacres in April 1915.

The horrific details are etched into my soul and even now I find myself shuddering at the prospect of what it must have felt like to be beheaded in that manner.  Surely there must be a level of depravity and madness that even a diseased mind would refuse to cross but as I grow, I recognize that evil knows no bounds.

1.5 million Armenians were massacred in 1915 at the hands of the Turks who till this day shamelessly deny that such an event ever took place.  Their denial has served no purpose but to further the Armenian conviction to demand justice.

History has demonstrated through time immemorial that mass killings or genocide can never truly eradicate a civilization.  In fact, it goes to strengthen the survivors and makes them hold on to the values and beliefs that their predecessors gave their lives for.  On the 24th of April every year, Armenians all around the world, demonstrate their solidarity by honouring the victims of the grand atrocity.

A large chunk of Armenia is still occupied by the Turks and I doubt if it will ever be returned in my lifetime.  I have come to understand that the Turks’ attitude is that the sands of time will eventually dissolve ‘the Armenian problem’ and all will be forgotten.  Take for instance Adolf Hitler.  It is a known fact that during a meeting with his officers and at the start of the Jewish genocide, Adolf Hitler was ‘warned’ by one of his officers about committing murder on a mass scale and the repercussions from the rest of the world .  Hitler’s dismissive reply was “Whoever speaks of the Armenians!”

On our last trip to Lebanon, early April 2012, I visited The Bird’s Nest Orphanage with my wife Claudine (I wrote about the Bird’s Nest in my April 2011 note

We were guided through the grounds and eventually we were led to the cemetery where dozens of the orphaned Armenian children were buried (see photo).  The poor souls died in Lebanon in the orphanage as a result of disease, malnutrition or other complications.  Most had arrived weakened and diseased after being evacuated from Armenia.

Observing the tiny graves made me think of how truly vicious humanity can be.  I contemplated in silence, humbled by the fact that there I was with my latest electronic gadgetry, money in my pocket, food in my stomach and in good health and yet before me lay children in their graves – victims of savagery.

To the outside world, our problem is almost forgotten and only really matters to the politicians who prey on the sentiments of local Armenian communities to stir their feelings in anticipation of their votes.  After the elections, we are dismissed and ignored, until the next round, when hope is once again dangled before us and we are led to believe that the Armenian cause will be officially recognized.

Maybe one day and miraculously, the Armenian genocide will indeed be officially recognized, the survivors will be compensated and our lands will be returned but that is a ‘dream’ and ‘dreams’ have no place in real life or do they?

It was not too long ago when Martin Luther King declared that he has a dream at a time when the blacks in America were being deprived of all humanity.  His dream came true and in fact went much further than he could have ever anticipated.

Martin Luther King was not ‘dreaming’ his vision was a spark from his soul that spread and illuminated the darkest recesses of the American civilization and eventually brought a new truth.

While our prospects as Armenians look bleak at present, there will come a time when there is a change – it may even be sooner than we all think.

In the meantime, we will continue to honour our loved ones and remember them.  Today, we light our candles and pray for their souls.

The souls of one and a half million Armenians who perished at the hands of the Turks will shine today and every day until the light of God spreads and illuminates the world with his truth.  They will never be forgotten nor dismissed and one day our dream will be no more and the truth will prevail.

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