Truth • Justice • Recognition

Վարդահեղեղ Արշալոյս 


Ու անհամբեր հեռո՜ւն, հեռո՜ւն ակնապիշ
Պիտի սպասեն վարդահեղեղ գալուստին
Արշալոյսի մ’Արշալոյսի մը՝ որուն
(Հաւատացէք ինձ, Մայրեր)
Ես ոտնաձայնը կառնեմ…
    Դանիէլ Վարուժան



Mr. Zaven Khanjian delivering his message, “The Crimson Dawn” at Times Square, NYC, April 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Anahid Kaprielian

How I wish I could stand before you today and share the joyful news of the arrival of the ‘crimson dawn” as sung by the literary genius, Taniel Varoujan, sickled and silenced by evil hands at the turn of the last century.

Alas, the crimson dawn, the footsteps of which Varoujan assured the mothers of our innocent genocide victims to have heard, still lies in our future.

For 50 years after the Genocide, we struggled to stand up, recover and heal from our physical wounds. A generation of orphans lost their precious childhood for another generation to enjoy. And by the grace of God, thanks to God loving and God fearing people around the world, we rose back from the ashes and survived.

1965 brought us an awakening that burst into the open both in the Homeland, from behind the Iron Curtain and all around the Diaspora. Having survived, we took the road to quest for justice and collectively did a fairly good job. By the Centennial of the Genocide last year we confidently claimed a degree of reward and victory raising our national struggle to an unprecedented plateau of universal awareness, respect and recognition worthy of the cause and powerful in its impact.

I indeed realize that it is absurd to compare human pain and suffering. But the fact is that the crime committed against my people a century ago not only resulted in the ‘murder of a nation’ but in the uprooting of an indigenous race peacefully toiling on the lands they called home for many millennia. This fact should not fall victim to ‘absurdity’ and should never be forgotten. It deepens the pain and raises the magnitude of the crime reminding us of the prophet Elijah who took the Lord’s message to King Ahab saying “Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too?” «Մեռցուցիր ու կը ժառանգե՞ս ալ:» I Kings 21:19

Lives are priceless and can never be brought back.  But there is also a wealth of tangible and intangible loot that needs to be recovered and a crime that needs to be brought to justice.

Despite all of our many achievements we have not gained much on the road of reparations, restitution and recognition from the heirs of the perpetrators. All recognition, sympathy and acknowledgement in the civilized world have come with impunity and with no legal muscle. And the perpetrators themselves are in a coma of self-denial. Adding insult to injury, the same civilized world, with total acquiescence, turns a blind eye to the crime committed today by the same perpetrator in Syria or by a cousin in Nagorno Karabagh.

We can only depend on our selfless and sacrificial devotion and commitment to an iron ladle. I have an unwavering confidence in a new ‘miracle’ generation, regiments of professionals, excelling in the arts and sciences, education and business, journalism and public service, literature and technology and that is our way to go.

God incarnate advocated for the poor and the oppressed, challenged unjust behavior and confronted arrogance, promoted justice and condemned bigotry. Jesus Christ lashed out at the self-promoters at the temple. We will trust the Lord and struggle for justice all alone, today, tomorrow, for 50 more years or a hundred if need be. We will acquire the iron ladle in our pursuit of justice and together with immortal Varoujan

Impatiently and attentively staring afar
Will await the arrival of the crimson dawn
A dawn,
The footsteps of which,
-Believe me mothers-

Zaven Khanjian
April 24, 2016

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