Since Then We Never Stopped

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. Through much suffering and hard work, they turned it into the paradise it is today, Ainjar. Chris Bohjalian writes:

“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.”

Musa Dagh is where my parents and grandparents come from. Their story is one of survival and that’s why I am a survivor too.


However, I did not understand then as I still don’t how an entire 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.”

So my childhood was anything but normal as I grew up on these survival stories. I grew up attending vigils alongside my parents and grandparents in memory of all those Armenians who perished at the hands of the enemy. I grew up remembering our dead. Because:

“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”  Elie Wiesel

I grew up marching and protesting against injustice. On the 24th of April we still march peacefully on the streets of the cities we live in, all around the world. Unfortunately genocides are still a part of history and atrocities against people and nations still continue. Not much has changed in the world since April of 1915, since the first genocide of the 20th century. And since then we never stopped marching. We march in protest because in the words of Elie Wiesel:

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”


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8 Responses to Since Then We Never Stopped

  1. klyse3 says:

    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.

  2. kalilmeier says:

    WOW! there is a huge story here…anyway that just my opinion…

    As for you post your final sentence that rings true for all mankind not only you nation well said
    thanks you for the journey…respect again

  3. kalilmeier says:

    ….rats my ‘r’ key is gone again, oh well new keyboard on its way YOU should read YOUR…

  4. 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. 🙂

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