By Zaven Khanjian
“Nearly a century after the Armenian Genocide, these people are still being slaughtered in Syria.”
No one would foresee it coming.
With the flash of the first bullet they were terror-struck.
They all lost their means of survival.
Some lost their homes.
Many lost their lives.
They have no power most of the time.
No heating oil, no cooking oil.
They have no running water.
Bread is a scarce commodity, if one has the means to afford it.
Their schools have been bombarded, damaged, destroyed.
Some have been closed.
School children are dispersed all over.
Kindergartners are killed on their way to school.
Their places of worship are desecrated.
Some are not serviceable.
Some have been abandoned.
Others are occupied by vicious mercenary bandits.
Families are broken.
Families are dispersed in a geographic maze.
A community is under siege.
Some have been kidnapped or killed because of their faith.
Some have been kidnapped or killed because of their identity.
Dozens have been killed.
Those left are struggling to hold on, resist, endure and survive.
I am not talking about the Genocide.
I am not talking about what the Young Turks perpetrated in 1915.
I am talking about the crimes that current day Turkey and it’s financiers in the West and the Arab Gulf are committing every day in Syria.
I am talking about Syria today, in the year of our Lord 2013.
And yet we seem to be in a deep coma.
Yes, it’s thousands of miles away.
Our TV stations do not disseminate pictures of the sufferings.
Our mainstream media does not cover the crime.
They don’t talk about it.
Some think it’s surreal.
But we know what’s going on.
And we know who the culprits are.
Do we share the guilt?
Do we realize our role in it?
Do we raise our voice and condemn?
What’s wrong with us?
The mother of the Diaspora communities is suffocating.
The mother of the Diaspora communities is moribund.
Here’s how a community leader recently described Aleppo, Syria.
“Syria and specially Aleppo is the cradle of the Western Armenian Diaspora. The name Aleppo is indelibly etched in the psyche of the post genocide generation because Aleppo means survival, rebirth and safety from the bloody sword of the Ottoman Turk. Aleppo means revival of the Armenian spirit. Losing Syria and Aleppo to the destructive machine of war will mean losing very vibrant Armenian communities and a cultural heritage that took 100 years to build, and will leave a gaping hole in the soul of every Armenian.”
Speaking of 100 years, it took a valiant British journalist, Robert Fisk, to recently remind the world: “Nearly a Century after the Armenian Genocide, these people are still being slaughtered in Syria.”
Our pundits every day prey on Turkey, Azerbaijan, Hay Tad, Artsakh, the Orphan Rug and Armenia but rarely scratch the surface of the extinction that our Syrian communities are facing.
Our pundits are elated by their knowledge and expertise.
Our pundits are blinded with their knowledge and expertise.
Our newspaper headlines herald news of munificent gifts and contributions. Thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars gallantly donated to good causes.
Our well-to-do graciously fund music and art, knowledge and education, roads and churches.
More power and resources to them.
But little notice is given to funding LIFE to a community facing the perils of physical destruction.
If they are ignorant of the facts, we are to blame.
If we haven’t reached them, shame on us.
But if we have reached and failed, we humbly apologize.
We don’t have medals or certificates to bestow. We don’t have decrees and encyclicals to confer.
We have no ability, nor the desire for lavish parties and receptions.
We will not beg or plead.
It’s not a favor to ask.
It’s an obligation.
It is MY obligation.
It is YOUR obligation.
It’s simply a human obligation, a national obligation, a divine obligation.
Call on your conscious today. Look at the mirror and respond.
We will not judge anyone.
Act now. Act today.
Tomorrow WILL be too late.
Zaven Khanjian can be reached at Zaven@kanjyanrealty.com.