“Armenia is dying, but it will survive. The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation. A nation that does not want to die, does not die”.
Anatole France (1916)
As I was debating whether or not I wanted to make this third blog entry an informational article about the Armenian Genocide, I felt overwhelmed between what I thought people should know about that part of history and how I felt as an Armenian, writing about it a hundred years later. It took me weeks until I finally figured out what I wanted to tell you about my history and the history of many generations before me.
Today, as I’m writing these words, I do not feel sad. I do not feel angry. For a long time, I used to feel pain. I used to feel confused. I used to feel hurt. Hearing terrifying stories from my grandparents, seeing atrocities through films and photos made me so angry, yet very powerless for a sixteen year old who grew up in a household where genocide was almost a synonym for Armenians. As we enter the centennial of the Armenian genocide, it is time to focus on how far we have come.
Today, I feel hopeful. For the first time in years, I feel very powerful. I finally realized that my voice counts. Of course, my voice won’t heal the pain of parents and grandparents who grew up as orphans, nor restore the lands that Armenians lost during their deportation. My voice counts because it exists. A hundred years later, I AM HERE.
Anatole France was right. “A nation that does not want to die, does not die.” I have never felt more alive and ready to share my heritage with the upcoming generations. A hundred years later, Armenians not only exist, but they’ve flourished. For every bit of history they share with the world, the world listens and acknowledges.
I was in college when one of my classmates asked me why there were more Armenians around the world than in Armenia itself. I told him what I believed was the truth: “because my grandparents survived”. The confusion on his face encouraged me to elaborate more: “If my grandparents didn’t survive the genocide, I wouldn’t be here today. I carry that survivor gene, as do all Armenians in the world.” That’s what I had in mind when I started writing this article. I AM A SURVIVOR. I’m not a victim of the genocide, I am a fighter. They tried to exterminate all Armenians hoping that with enough time, nobody would remember them.
As Anatole France predicted, “The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation”. I am part of that heroic generation, as will be my children. That’s the story that I want them to remember.
This April 24th, we will march together, again, so that people can see us, hear us, and realize that no matter how much time has passed, we are still here, we still care, and most importantly, we are still Armenian.