Armen Kaleshian (akale) wrote,
Armen Kaleshian

"Our revenge will be to survive."

One hundred, and two years - Long enough for three generations to hear every excruciating detail of how members of their family were driven from their homes into the desert, or slaughtered where they stood. Among the sorrowing detail, a few describe the fear, struggle, and eventual relief of escape from the Ottomans. It's because of their selfish desire to survive that the Turks did not succeed.

Today, we remember those souls who were lost, yet we should not forget those that escaped! They fled, leaving everything behind, knowing that their family and friends would never receive proper burials. Unbeknownst to them, their desire for self-preservation had an unexpected result - a future for a race set for annihilation.

It's because of those survivors that Armenians thrive in every country around the world. Without them, neither the free and independent Republic, nor the population of the diaspora would exist. Instead of becoming a race described in a chapter of a history book, Armenians hold positions of prominence and respect in every field, trade, and profession just as they did in the Ottoman empire. Communities flourish with schools, churches, and community centers in every state so that the next generation learns to speak, read, write, pray, sing, and dance like their ancestors did for hundreds of years.

This weekend, the film 'The Promise' was released as a Hollywood narrative of the Armenian plight in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. As I watched the on-screen portrayal of the Genocide take place, all I could hear was my mother's voice retelling the hell that my family endured. The sadness and anger in her eyes overlaid the screen stirred emotion in me that I had never felt. At that point, the purpose of the film was clear. To convey to us, generations removed from our ancestors that experienced the Genocide first hand, that without their ability to survive, we would not exist. With tears welled in my own eyes, on the way home, I started to think of the phrase by the character Ana, "Our revenge will be to survive."

I returned home to two boys, who learn to speak, read, and write in Armenian.
We sing and dance to Armenian folk music every day.
Each night, we pray for our family in Armenian.

This is my revenge.
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