Everybody’s Always Looking For It

For the past six months I have been waiting for an important phone call that I hope will change my life. And until I receive that call I feel like I am just walking around, getting along and counting the hours. I do not have any control over the situation. I seem to have zoned out of my life lately. I don’t feel comfortable anywhere and most of the time there’s so much going on in my head that getting started on the simplest task becomes sort of an ordeal for me. 

I am stuck and I can’t move forward. For some reason or another I cannot even do what I like to do most, write. That’s so hard to do when you’re in pain. To be able to create I need to silence all the little voices in my head and concentrate on the moment, the now. On most nights I go to bed angry and frustrated at myself for wasting yet another day. And that hurts. 

But then again I am trying to cope with the situation as best as I can and waiting for things to get better, if they will ever get better. And the waiting, oh the waiting. You wait and wait and wait, and all the while you wish and hope against hope for some miracle to make your troubles go away. It’s hard when your life sort of depends not on the decisions you make yourself, but on others, and harder still is the uncertainty of the situation.

Eckhart Tolle writes:
“There are two levels of your pain; the pain that you create now, and the pain that comes from the past that still lives on in your mind and body.” 

On days that I’m too overwhelmed with the difficulties of the present, with all the troubles, I try to calm myself the only way I know. I close my eyes and go back to my childhood days. I try to remember the smell of home, the smell of my mom’s cooking that welcomed me every noon when I hurried home from school during lunch break. Early in the morning the little talks I had with my family over coffee. The things they said or did. The tranquility that enveloped me despite the noise around me. The precious moments I spent with my best friend, sometimes doing nothing more than walking along the streets of my village.

So much has happened since then. I’ve left the village and the entire country, escaping the civil war, seeking a normal and peaceful life. And eleven years ago I finally settled in Canada with my family and chose to make Montreal my permanent home. A country where I don’t have to worry about displacements or wars. But the many sad memories, the many things that went wrong during that time never allowed me to find what I was looking for. And I don’t know if I ever will feel at peace again.
 
Eckhart Tolle writes:
“Emotional pain is the main cause of physical pain and physical disease. Resentment, hatred, self-pity, guilt, anger, depression, jealousy, even the slightest irritation, are all forms of pain.”

I found out the hard way what it costs us to love and lose, to dare and to fail. Not the superficial or material costs that life is full of, but the real cost of losing a loved one, and the pain that comes with it, the real pain of loss. 

That’s why the happy memories for me are rooted in that small village called Ainjar, east of the Bekaa valley in Lebanon. A place where everyone knows everyone else. A place where my mom and part of my family and friends still live. The place where I had all that could never be bought with money.

Sometimes when I sit at my desk and stare at the blank page I get this urge to write about that place. I want to remember the dawn, the weather, the river, the orchards, the mountains. I get this longing, this yearning for that place, the place which I sometimes become so nostalgic about that it hurts.

Maya Angelou writes:
“The truth is you can never leave home. You take it with you, it’s under your fingernails; it’s the hair follicles; it’s in the way you smile, it’s in the ride of your hips, in the passage of your breasts; it’s all there, no matter where you go. You can take on the affectations and the postures of other places, and even learn to speak their ways. But the truth is, home is between your teeth. Everybody’s always looking for it.” 

ChK 

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Only The Echoes Of My Mind

Some day in July when I read my horoscope from my phone app it said:

“If you could go back in time and explore a period when everything was happy and hopeful for you, Aries, it might give you a sense of serenity and security that you can tap into now. Although you do not have a time machine, you do have the ability to project yourself into the past during those moments when you are relaxed and optimistic if you work at it. This week, the universe will be sending you seemingly random memories that will form a kind of pattern for you. If you study this pattern, and look back with a real sense of purpose, you’ll be able to forge a path to a happy, successful, fulfilling future, starting immediately. So look for memories that take you back, and use them to build a new foundation.”

The writing hit home simply because these last two months I survived by tapping into the past and remembering. The months of June and July are difficult for me and my kids. Perhaps more difficult than any other time since my kids’ birthdays and both our anniversaries, engagement and wedding, fall in June and July respectively. And even after almost five years it still feels difficult to accept his absence.

As my horoscope indicates, the past was a time when everything was happy and hopeful for me. Looking back I long for that sense of security and serenity that I once had. And remembering the past and living it gives me some kind of hope that maybe just maybe things will change somehow for the better for me.

The Webster’s Dictionary defines Hope as: to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment, to long for with expectation of obtainment, to expect with desire.

And to Wait is: to look forward expectantly, to stay in place in expectation. 

The late Elie Wiesel wrote:
“If everything was concentrated in the present, there would be no possibility of transcending the present. We are suspended between the absolute past and the absolute future over which we have no control. It’s a creeping flame. Sometimes it brings light and sometimes fire or destruction. Take away the waiting, what remains?”

For some time now I have been waiting for things to change in my life. Sometimes I get impatient but then I try to convince myself that there might be a reason why it’s taking too long. At other times I think that it will take forever or it won’t even happen. But then again what if it does? Who knows when or how or what may happen to change one’s life. But I do know this for sure: that my life without waiting would be so empty. 

Friedrich Nietzsche once claimed that the formula for his happiness was: “a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal…”

I used to think that if I worked hard and did my best in everything I tried, I would be happy too. My line, my path was pretty straight. I had a great job teaching and coordinating the math department in an international school. I had my home, my family, my husband and two kids, and was living a blessed life until we decided to put an end to it and move to Canada in search of a better life.

But wasn’t what we had already the best? Why did we take all we had and all the blessings given to us for granted? Did we defy providence by turning our back to it all? Did we make the universe and the gods angry by leaving all that behind? All that serenity and security that comes with a loving and caring home and a steady job, we lost it all when we moved.

Unlike Nietzsche, at some point in my life that straight line changed its course and curved into a U-turn.

Unfortunately I could not set it straight again. I continue to live and face all obstacles thrown in my face. I listen to those around me and nod in agreement and go along for a while. That kind of makes me more angry and sad. Because that’s not who I am. The going along does not define my character.


 
I wait and wait and wait. In my mind I want to leave all this and go somewhere where the sun always shines. In my head I play Harry Nilsson’s song: 

“Everybody’s talking at me
I don’t hear a word they’re saying
Only the echoes of my mind.
People stopping, staring
I can’t see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes….”

There was a time in my life when I had my dreams and my visions that were different than everyone else’s. I had the courage to swim against the current and take risks in order to fulfill my dreams. Life for me was not to listen to the voices around me but to “the echoes of my mind,” just like in the song. To hear that inner voice inside telling me I can do it. Is it too much to ask for that kind of courage and hope again?

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard wrote:
“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly.” 

ChK

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I Wish I Had Known!

Jean Paul Sartre wrote:
“We are our choices.”

I don’t agree with what he wrote. If it were true, would I choose to be a widow? Would I choose to lose a loved one? I don’t think so. In fact no one would!

Sunday was Father’s Day. Another stressful day for us, the fifth one without him. It’s painful even after all these years, four years and seven months to be exact.

I wanted so much to write something that day but I couldn’t. On a day like Sunday my emotions ran too high. We had promised to grow old together. And whenever I think of the future, of facing old age alone, I shudder. I am weighed down by the present too, thinking of the life ahead, of the life I can never have, our life together.

After all these years it still feels like it was yesterday and sometimes it hurts even more. You have this life with a wonderful partner, you have your beautiful family, you are looking forward to a great future and working hard to achieve it, make it possible, and boom, tragedy strikes.

You’re confused. You don’t know what to do or say. There is no manual that prepares you for widowhood, that teaches you how to continue. Suddenly you find yourself alone and in charge of not only your life but your loved ones’ too, the lives of your children who have also lost their dad.

You put on a brave mask and go through your daily routine as if nothing has changed. But at night, alone, you cry yourself to sleep. You cry for your loss, but mostly for his loss, thinking of all the things he won’t see, of all the occasions he will miss, like birthdays, Father’s Days, Christmas and graduation to name only a few. You cry for the way his life and his dreams were cut short. You cry because a future without him is too overwhelming and the present too painful.

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard wrote:
“The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you will never have.”

You go back in your mind, you travel down memory lane, you remember every single day and all the good times you had together. You think that maybe you could have had a better and happier life if you hadn’t been too busy working and earning a living and providing for your family.

You think for a while of the opportunities you have missed because you were busy doing this or that. And all the while you forget yourself. You forget your needs. You forget who you are and your primary goal becomes to take care of others.

“Take the time to take care of yourself. If you become ill, it may be the body’s way of saying “slow down,”” writes Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She then continues and says: “Cry whenever and wherever you want.”

These last two years all I have been trying to do is slow down and literally catch my breath. Last week I had an important appointment and was sitting in the room waiting for my name to be called. All of a sudden I felt so overwhelmed by the entire process, the wait, the people in the room, the reason I was there that I felt like crying. I so wanted to leave everything and go home that day. But I didn’t. For the first time in my life I did what I had never done before, I cried in that room full of strangers. I turned my face towards the wall I was sitting by and cried. Silently of course.
 
Thinking back on that day, I have to admit it took lots of courage for me to let go, especially since I am very good at hiding my feelings. Afterwards when I felt calmer I took out my notebook and my pen from my purse and I started writing.

Writing is my companion in a world where I stand alone. It has always been. I carry so many memories, feelings, hopes, dreams, untold stories and unanswered questions that are wanting to get out. It’s my way of saying that I am here, still breathing, still trying to make sense of the world, of my world, and that part of my life that I no longer have and that was taken from me. 

“Now more than ever be gentle with yourself and protect yourself. Don’t do more than you want and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul.” writes Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
 
Julia Cameron too advises to be gentle with ourselves.

Maybe I was too angry at the beginning, too lost, too confused and worried about my future, our future, that I forgot to take care of myself. I ignored all the signs my body was telling me. Maybe I jumped right back and didn’t give myself time to rest.

Maybe I listened to other voices instead of listening to my inner voice telling me on most days to hide in my room, to stay in bed and do nothing but cry. Instead I did things I didn’t want to at the time. I did things that didn’t feel right for me to do and yet I did it all to show my loved ones I was okay while in reality I wasn’t.

A year after my husband’s death I told a friend that it’s time for me to do something about my late husband’s artwork, go through his paintings and store them properly. She warned me to be careful. She said your emotions will affect your physical well being, your health. And working with his paintings might be emotionally painful. “You are not ready and you are still vulnerable,” she said. I wish I had listened to her. 

It seems when we hide our grief and put off our pain, it doesn’t go away, but it nests inside somewhere and worsens and intensifies in countless ways. And when the body’s resistance is lowered and the defenses weakened, severe stress activates and triggers all that is hidden inside.

It’s easy to think now about what I could have done or should not have done then. As Søren Aabye Kierkegaard writes:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.”

ChK

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Postscript

The film The Promise is still playing in the theaters in Montreal. I had the chance to see it last month. The sad part was that there were only fourteen people in the theater, myself included. I wanted so much to talk to some of them, especially the foreigners among us. But of course, being me I couldn’t.

As a film it is the first of its kind. I got emotional watching it, especially the last part about Musa Dagh and the resilience of its people and their fight against the Turks.

As I mentioned earlier I am a proud descendant of Musa Dagh. The granddaughter and great granddaughter of those resilient fighters, the brave men and women up on that mountain. And as Chris Bohjalian once wrote:

“If anyone knows bits and pieces of this story, it is likely through German writer Franz Werfel’s magisterial 1933 novel, “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.” The novel was an international bestseller when it was published, though it was loathed early on by the Nazis. When the Germans were mercilessly putting down the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1944, the soldiers were surprised by how many copies of the novel they found among the dead Jewish fighters.”

It’s been more than a month since I posted my thoughts in my last blog on the Armenian Genocide,1.5 Million Reasons To Live Laugh And Move Forward. I feel that I have to share what some of my non-Armenian readers wrote to me after reading it.

“This is really interesting. Have you read The Forty Days of Musa Dagh? It makes me want to find a copy.”

“Great Article! It helped me have a clearer perspective of the thing.”

“It’s still a very touchy subject and difficult to have all the details in one article. Touching story.”

“Great post. A will to survive and a will to love override all.”

“You have made some powerful points, here. One must never forget those who have fought for our freedoms for if we forget, their lives would seem forfeit. They need our respect and they need us to continue to strive for understanding, compassion and peace among all people.”

“WOW! there is a huge story here…anyway that just my opinion… As for your post your final sentence that rings true for all mankind not only your nation well said thanks you for the journey…respect again”

“There is an older lady in my church who is Armenian. She used to tell stories if you got her in the right mood…talking about her grandparents who only miraculously survived and their struggles to adjust in the US. For an American girl with American roots generation upon generation back, such a touch with reality and history is startling. I am glad the stories are told, the dead unforgotten.”

“Never under-estimate the capacity of peoples to engage in the systematic killings of other peoples. For every nearly forgotten genocide, there seems to be another that is more forgotten.”

My article might have been short and might not have seemed important to some of my readers, perhaps the Armenians among them. But I feel good that I could reach some of my readers and somehow interest them in my history. And that feels good. Because to use Elie Wiesel words:

“Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” 

ChK 

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If They Only Wrote So Much Less

I read an interesting book recently called The Main, written by Trevanian, an author unknown to me. I had never heard of him before. A friend of mine, himself also a writer and a retired English teacher, recommended it to me.

I was hesitant at first since I couldn’t find the book in any of the libraries in Montreal. Only one library had a copy and that was checked out. Luckily Amazon had it.

The book is about Montreal in the mid seventies and is written by an American writer. When I heard the name Trevanian my first reaction was that he is Armenian. Most Armenians have names that end with “ian”. As it turns out, Trevanian was just a pseudonym. I felt kind of sad and disappointed that no one mentioned him to me throughout all these years that I’ve been living here.

First published in 1976, The Main is a beautiful book in every sense of the word. Even though the subject matter is dire, it portrays Montreal’s swarming underworld where the dark streets echo with cries in a dozen languages. It’s a tale of death and danger, action and mystery. Throughout the book I was there emotionally. I felt whatever exaltation, panic, tenderness or despair the situation evoked in the book.

The protagonist is a police lieutenant, an unusual but remarkable hero. The supporting characters are also unforgettable. No character in the book was out of place. The author didn’t portray his characters’ entire lives and yet I could feel they were real. No incident was left unaccounted for. Every sentence served the story: the surprise ending, the attention to detail, an emotion, more than one thing happening at any given time… He knew how to write to give us readers what we deserve/crave.

After reading it, I felt sorry that I hadn’t read it before. It’s rare to come across such a book these days.

I am not a big fan of bestsellers. Maybe my taste in reading is different. I like to read a book that makes me think, that makes me jealous of the writer, that leaves me speechless in awe wishing I could write to the author and that we could be friends somehow.

Nevertheless once in a while I read them for two reasons: First as a reader to find out what all the fuss is about and second as a writer to see what in the book made the author stand out.

I don’t believe that writing a novel is simply a matter of plugging words into a set formula. Raw talent, a unique voice, originality, commitment, passion and luck are components in that quest, and those aren’t things anyone can teach. Unfortunately most bestselling authors of late don’t have any of these qualities. For example, they may be well structured and have a good story but the characters would be lacking, or vice versa. It’s hard to come across a book that has it all. And The Main, despite it being written in 1976, has it all.

I remember a book I read not very long ago. It was by the bestselling author Baldacci. I vaguely remember the story, hardly remember the characters. I only remember a scene in the book where the hero was in his boat and decides to fly with it and land it on the culprit’s house. It’s a scene I won’t forget not because it was great, but because while I was reading it I was thinking this is too much, too unbelievable. And as a reader I felt cheated.

Peternelle Van Arsdale writes:

“If the sentence can be deleted without losing the meaning of the paragraph, or the book as a whole, then delete it by all means. There are lots of writers who would have so much more if they only wrote so much less. A lot of novels I’ve seen may have one really great character and one intriguing plot line. The problem is there are also nine other characters and three other plot lines to wade through, so you lose all the nice trees for the unruly forest.”

ChK

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We Do What We Can We Give What We Have

“We work in the dark- we do what we can- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” Henry James

Whenever I face a challenge I try to deal with it the only way I know how without getting depressed. That is, I just try to ignore it for a while, or rather, for as long as I can afford to do so. I try to direct my thoughts away from the issue. I do so by reading and writing. Although I must say writing doesn’t come easy during these times, mainly because I get too many ideas at the same time. 

My mind gets crowded and it becomes difficult to focus on one thing. And right now I am at a stage where I wish I had superpowers to put all those ideas on paper. When I reach this phase of having too much on my mind, I become creatively blocked. I try to do all, everything at once, and only succeed in doing nothing. Which shouldn’t be much of a problem, right? 

Until I log on to Facebook and I am bombarded with all these ads about being a published author, or becoming a successful writer. Then I get upset. Part of me, the idealist in me, wants to be all that and more. But on the other hand, realistically speaking I know that that is not possible. Because if you are a writer and get to write about what interests you or what’s closest to your heart, chances are nobody, no agent or publisher would want to publish your book.

Rejection is something I think I can handle. Indifference is much worse. The fact that your emails and messages don’t get answered, the silent treatment that you receive from the publishing world, is more heartbreaking. Because you keep hoping against hope that one day someone might say yes to your story. 

I took a leap of faith when I started on my journey to write. I was fascinated by the creative process and I was more than willing to sit in a chair for hours and try to create to the best of my ability, to give it all I had. Was it hard? Yes. But at the same time I believed that something good was happening to me as a person. Despite all the hurdles and hard work I felt elated somehow.

“The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication.” Cyril Connolly

I was ignorant of the publishing trade. I thought all I had to do was write a good book and the rest would follow. I was ignorant to say the least. I still am despite the many books and articles I read about the subject matter. Marketing is a skill that I think I cannot master because I must admit I don’t have it in me.

My first book “The Lost I”” was first published in Dubai in 2004. Publishing rules are different in Dubai. First of all, all manuscripts have to be approved by the Ministry of Information and Culture prior to printing. 

After my manuscript was accepted and upon my publisher’s request my late husband had to write a letter to the Ministry saying that he had no objection for his wife to write a book. Only after that letter was sent did the publisher forward my manuscript to them for approval (and censorship if need be) before printing.

2000 copies of the book were printed and placed in bookstores in Dubai. The ISBN, also provided by the Ministry, was valid only for the United Arab Emirates market. In 2006, when we left Dubai for good and immigrated to Canada, I bought the remaining copies of my book (in a few boxes) and my rights from the publisher and shipped them with me.

Since by law I couldn’t sell those books I started giving them out to friends and acquaintances here and there, all the while looking for an agent or publisher with the prospect of having it published in this part of the world. Upon approaching one agent this is the answer I got:

“Thank you very much for sending your query and for offering me the chance to review your material. I’m sorry to state that I will not be asking to represent your manuscript.
Please understand that this is a subjective industry. Although I cannot recommend someone specific, I encourage you to continue seeking out representation elsewhere. Should the occasion arise to submit a new exciting project for consideration, please feel free to contact me again. Thank you, once again, for the opportunity to take this on. 
Kind Regards.”

I have received nothing but positive comments from my readers for The Lost I, young adults included. I am often asked when I will publish the sequel! I don’t know if there will be a second or third part. Not only am I not able to sell the first book, but I cannot even promote it on social media like other writers do. 😥

There is a refugee crisis right now in different parts of the world and especially the Middle East. The entire world is interested in their stories of displacement, destruction, and terror. 

And if according to the agent my story is not “exciting” and she cannot recommend anyone, chances are I will never get published. Unless I write about sex maybe? Because sex sells.

E.L. James earned 50 million dollars for her erotic trilogy, in addition to which she received another 5 million dollars for the movie rights. As for her book Fifty Shades of Grey, here’s an article written on March 2016:

“An Oxfam charity bookshop in Swansea, Wales would like to request that people stop donating used copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, please.
The shop has received “literally hundreds” of copies of the literary masterpiece- so many, in fact, that shop employees went ahead and built a fort out of them.” 

Literary masterpiece indeed as the article’s author ironically calls the book!

John Grisham’s publisher only produced 5000 copies of his first book A Time To Kill, of which Grisham sold 1000 copies from the trunk of his car.

J.K. Rowling says she received “loads” of rejections before Harry Potter finally got published.

It’s a sad reality to see such a decline in the quality of books published lately. Sadder still the fact that there are so many unrecognized novels out there that deserve our attention. Of all the books I have read lately it is the ones that I haven’t heard of that have made a great impression on me both as a reader and a writer. 

Viet Thanh Nguyen recently won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Sympathizer. In his article in the LA Times, titled In Praise of Doubt and Uselessness, he wrote: 

“Of course, my novel “The Sympathizer” is not obscure at the moment because of the Pulitzer Prize. But the novel might just as well not have gotten it, might as well have sunken into obscurity because it lacked a prize, even if nothing in the novel was any different for having gotten a prize. The novel’s good fortune only changes how people look at the novel, not the novel itself.
I think of all the other novels that might have […] or should have won prizes. Some of those unrecognized novels, as time will show, will be triumphant in literary history. The point is that prizes and all that they symbolize in terms of our taste, our judgment, our vanity and our prejudices are ephemeral. What we are ignorant of in the present may be what the future will value.” 

Happy reading and writing everyone! Hope you get lucky publishing your work.

ChK

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1.5 Million Reasons To Live Laugh And Move Forward

Today is April 24. It’s a day where all Armenians around the world march by the thousands on the streets of their cities both in memory of the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Turks and to demand justice.

The thing we claim is very simple: Recognition. We ask that our genocide be recognized. We have been asking that for the past 101 years and we ask it this year. 102 years later Turkey is still in denial. Erdogan, president of Turkey, acknowledged that Armenians “lost their lives” but implied that they were victims of war.

Dr. Stephan Ihrig, in his article “Genocide Denial Goes Viral: ‘The Promise’ And The IMBD” writes:

“Writing this is dangerous: Speaking out on the Armenian Genocide means taking a huge risk. At the very least, it will be an exhausting experience, getting harassed online, trolled, threatened, down-rated on Amazon and publicly vilified. Until now this was true mainly for individuals- academics, artists and activists. Now it seems to apply to Hollywood movies, too.”

The film “The Promise” now playing in theaters- directed by Mr. Terry George and starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon- is the first of its kind to be produced in Hollywood. Privately funded by Kirk Kerkorian, the film sheds light on the tragic events during the Ottoman Empire, late 1914.

No such film has ever been made before.

“Eighty years ago the Turkish government forced Hollywood to drop a movie project based on “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.” Such a movie could have also raised awareness of the fate of the Jews in Nazi Germany at the time and later of the ongoing Holocaust. It could have shaped the “narrative” of the struggle against Hitler.” Dr. Ihrig

Robert Fisk had an interesting article on the same topic in the Independent: On March 22nd, he wrote:

“The Nazis, whom Erdogan pretends to hate so much, rather liked Turkey. Not only did Turkey stay neutral in the war, but the Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachler and other Reich dailies had, since the early 1930s, devotedly praised the “Turkified” state which had emerged from the ruins of the First World War. This was a thinly layered reference to Ottoman Turkey’s “racial purity” after the genocide of one and a half million of its minority Christian Armenians in 1915 a holocaust which deeply influenced Hitler in his own decision to destroy the Jews of Europe.
In several newspaper interviews before the war, Hitler referred to Europe’s own forgetfulness of the Armenian massacres. He even asked who “now remembers” them, in a meeting with his generals before invading Poland in 1939 an open invitation to kill Jews.”

We remember. Of course we do. How can we forget? We are descendants of survivors of genocide. Every survivor had a story to tell. Every Armenian family has its own story to tell. As Mr. Terry George (director of the film The Promise) said:

“The genocide is burned into the soul of the Armenian diaspora. And until they get some kind of recognition, it’s not going to go away.”

When I was a little girl growing up in Lebanon, the stories I was told by my elders were not of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Rather they were stories of survival told by my parents and grandparents. I did not fully comprehend them at the time. All I knew was that my grandparents had fought the Turks and eventually left their homes in Musa Dagh, and upon reaching Lebanon as refugees (when both my parents were very young, aged 7 and 10), had lived in unbearable conditions under tents in a place where no one had lived before, in a place where they didn’t even speak the language. Through much suffering and hard work, they turned it into the paradise it is today, Ainjar.

My parents and grandparents come from Musa Dagh, where they put up a resistance and fought against the Turks. “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel is their story, our story. My grandparents and great grandparents were on the mountain on that day. On this day and every day we owe our lives to all those who lost theirs. Their story is one of survival and that’s why I am a survivor too.

And on this day and every other day we have 1.5 million reasons to not only remember but to survive and thrive, to live and laugh and move forward.

Here are all my posts on the Armenian Genocide since the inception of my blog in 2011:

1.5 Million Reasons Why
Thank You Kurt Vonnegut!
We Can Never Forget!
“The Parallel To Auschwitz”
There Were A Million And A Half
The Mountains Are Still Very Wild
Since Then We Never Stopped
Is It Too Much To Ask?

ChK

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