Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Armenian Genocide

(by R.P.Edwards)

The spirit of genocide
Lingers still
With its lust for blood
And its tombs to fill
And all it needs
To work its will
Are minds that judge
And hands...that kill

 Genocide: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group
(Merriam Webster) 

"The 1915 massacre of the Armenians by the Turks 
makes one of the blackest pages in all human history.
 It was the first large genocide, planned by German military talent and carried out by Turks."
(From 'A Brief History of Armenia' by Rev. Sarkis Papajian)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:
who can know it?
(Jeremiah 17:9)

It was the mid 1980's and I found myself in the San Joaquin valley in central California. Known for grapes and nuts this fertile real estate also grew a city; Fresno. It was here I became aware of "Armenians" and their story. 

I was attending Fresno State (CSUF) at the time and, as an elective, I took the Armenian History class. Sorry, I don't remember the professor's name (30 years ago) but he was passionate. You see, a great evil had been done to his ancestors--a literal attempt by the Ottoman Turks to murder them ALL--and, although the evidence is overwhelming, the sons of the perpetrators refuse to acknowledge it and, to add insult to injury, in order to satisfy the illusion of political expediency, even our current president will not use the "G" word.

Anyway, not long ago the one hundredth anniversary of the event came and went. There was some media play but, as is so often the case, the need for "new" quickly pushed aside the justice due to 1.5 million murdered Armenians and their "in need of closure" heritage. The story caught my ear, and I remembered a book.

I don't have many remnants of my college years, but this little blue paperback remains. I reread it. And oh, how the Armenians have suffered! Hounded, hunted, mistreated and murdered; their history is replete with examples of slaughter and slavery (interspersed with periods of peace and prosperity) culminating with the event that truly warrants the term...Genocide. On this wise, the following excerpt is from a speech given by someone who was a contemporary and without question understood its depths of depravity:

I have placed my death-head formation in readiness...with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
(Adolf Hitler, Obersalzberg Speech, 1939)

I'll not belabor the point. If the reader wants to investigate the matter, there are many resources available. But, if you'll allow me; let me speak just a moment of the human condition. You see, murder is in our make-up. Without apology I believe in the God espoused by the Armenians (the first Christian nation). Indeed, Jesus said the devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8) and for those who give audience to his whisperings it is only a short journey from self-exaltation to the dehumanizing of others. Justification for murder comes easily to us (if we're not careful). Cain murdered righteous Abel. The Turks murdered the Christian Armenians. The Nazis murdered the descendants of Abraham. And today ISIS and their ilk show their true allegiance. And, again without apology, it was not the Lord's Spirit that walked the halls of the United States Supreme Court when they decided that humans of a certain age...were not worthy of life.

Let me conclude by saying: to those of Armenian descent among us; thank you for your contributions to society. Thank you for your tenacity in holding to your heritage and faith. And although many refuse to acknowledge the plight of your ancestors, and your struggle to honor them; there is at least one more...who does.



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