Chance had it that I was born and raised in Lebanon, hence I am a Lebanese citizen and as such carry a Lebanese passport, even though I am Armenian by origin. Both my parents came to Lebanon as refugees from Musa Dagh, a part of Armenia in the South East Turkey, that belongs to Turkey now. They were very young when they lost everything, my father was ten and my mother seven at the time. Had politics been different then, perhaps they wouldn’t have left their homeland, or they might have ended up somewhere else, not necessarily in the Middle East. The book “The Forty Days Of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel is the story of my grandfathers and great grandfathers.
When I was a little girl I did not fully comprehend the stories my grandparents told me. All I knew was that they had lost everything to the Turks and upon reaching Lebanon, had lived in unbearable conditions under tents in this place where no one had lived. Through much suffering and hard work, they turned it into the paradise it is today, Ainjar. I did not understand how a nation can be annihilated. I always thought that maybe, just maybe, we the Armenians could have done something to prevent the genocide. Was I missing something? What had we done? I could not understand the cruelty, the hatred aimed at us. I did not totally comprehend why until I read about the Jews and how they suffered and what they went through under the Nazis and what Hitler did to them. To quote Robert Fisk;
“Encouraged by their victory over the Allies, the Turks fell upon the Armenians with the same fury as the Nazis were to turn upon the Jews of Europe two decades later.”
The month of April has a lot of conflicting meanings for me. It is the month that I and my two nieces were born. It is the month that my first book The Lost I was published in Dubai in 2004, and then in the US in 2009. It is also the month when the civil war in Lebanon started. It is the month when my grandfather died, it is when we Armenians commemorate the genocide, and the Jews commemorate the holocaust. Hemingway wrote;
"Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another."
It kills me to think of all the torture, of all the suffering that first the Armenians and then the Jews went through. They died the same death as the people of Rwanda so many years later. Something inside of me dies every time I hear of people suffering, of them going through the same thing over and over again, specially lately in the Middle East, the Arab world, the Ivory Coast and in different parts of the world. Is it too much to ask for a peaceful world?
Quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn;
"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains an unuprooted small corner of evil. It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person."