This is the story about the Armenian Genocide on April 24th, 1915. This happened 105 years ago. The story takes place on the evening before, April 23rd, 1915.
Today is Saturday. Good Friday was yesterday and tomorrow is Easter. Springtime is abuzz. Parties all day as the men discuss the state of the world. World War I is raging. The Armenian can either supporting the Ottoman Empire or align Armenia with the Russians to create an Armenian nation.
On this Saturday, the Turkish officers call all the men to a meeting. Most of the men are skeptical, but all must attend. The meeting is so that the Armenians can defend the Ottoman Empire. One of these men is Ohannes Iguidbashian, John, my grandfather.
Once all the men are in the church, the doors are barred. The soldiers pull out their guns. Pop Pop Pop. The gun fire went on until all the men were dead. John and all his friends, George, Krikor, Michael, are all gone.
This is the start of the Armenian Massacre, Holocaust, Genocide. The leaders in Constantinople (Istanbul) are killed first. Without their leaders, and their men, the woman and children are at the mercy of the Turkish warriors.
Now, Armenian women are thought to be special. She is revered for her lovely home and beautiful children. The Armenian faith in God is thought to be unshakable. Armenia is where the apostles and disciples went after Jesus’ death.
Armenia became the first Christian nation in 301 AD. Twelve years later, Roman emperor Constantine proclaimed the Edict of Milan, decreeing tolerance for Christians in the Roman Empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325; the Nicene Creed is professed by Christians.
The year 2020 marks the 105th Armenian Remembrance Day. The killing in 1915 went on for about 7 years .One and a half million Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Coptic’s were killed for their faith.
At the 100th anniversary in 2015, the church celebrated these souls becoming saints. Last October, when Trump allowed the Turks to wage war on the Kurdish people, the United States Congress finally recognized the Armenian Genocide in order to punish the Turkish aggression.
I don’t know what will be done in the USA, or world, now that Turkey has been held to account for her actions. What will their government do? The Kurdish people live on the southern border and occupy land in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Turkey is doing to the Kurd’s what they did to the Armenians. Is there no one willing to stand up to the Turkish Government? As Hitler said, “Did they remember the Armenian?”
Some Kurd’s in 1915 played a role in the killing, but some also saved many Armenians. My family was sheltered and hidden by a Kurdish family. I would not be here if not for the Kurdish people. This makes me realize, God made sure that my family should live.
And, the Armenian people should live. I love being Armenian. We dance and sing, love life and God. Love our homeland near Mount Ararat and with wine making. My dad’s village, Arabkir was a textile town.
I do want my homeland back even though America is my home now. I will be faithful to my Armenian love of God and merriment and I also love the freedoms that used to be America. We must take our belief in God wherever we go. I despise murder, it’s not God’s plan for us.
Please recognize that the First Nations, American Indians, had their own Genocide by the European settlers. America now belongs to the Indians, and the immigrants. We still hold our roots even though we are in the American melting pot.
On this note, I raise my pinkies and sing “God Bless America, land that I love”
Bow, Madam Toastmaster.
Picture below: Four Generations, Roupen back row left. Hyeganoush front row right. Bill Bill Hanoum is Hyeganoush’s mother, front row left. Linda’s nickname was also Bill Bill. Man back row right could be Vahan or Levon.
(c) Copyright 2020 Linda Iggy Dean. All rights reserved.