Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
For just a little while today, the voice of my grandfather lingered here on the earth.
Bits of his story were heard. His struggles were uncovered. His trauma validated. The hearts of survivors and the souls of the victims were recalled for moments on the United Church of Christ
Surviving the Armenian Genocide of 1915 remained with my grandfather from the time he was six years old. Images of death flashed back into his head now and again throughout this life. In his final two years, he abided in silence, confined to a wheelchair post-stroke. I often wondered what he relived in his head, haunting him, as he waited to die.
…in everything by thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
So today, I thank my denomination. For me, this was the most personal resolution brought to General Synod that I can remember. This is my larger church body affirming what atrocities my grandfather saw and that my kin endured nightmares while awake.
Today, more people learned about this hideous piece of history. My sisters and brothers tweeted and voted and spoke on a well-buried piece of history.
Maybe my country won’t call this a genocide. Maybe some people would rather focus on politics than justice. But today, the people of God stood up and named it for the injustice that it truly was: genocide.
And maybe if we keep calling injustices what they truly are, they will never happen again.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
May hope abide.
Michelle, I’m so grateful to read this and to “know” you.
For some reason I have always felt very connected to this untaught part of history. It started when I was small. While other children were told to clean their plates because of hungry kids in China, my mother would tell us, “remember the starving Armenians.” I’m sure that’s what she was taught by her own mother, who would have been a child herself at the time of the genocide.
I would say, “who are the Armenians, why are they starving?” and she didn’t have much information for me; but she finally took me to the library and helped me look up “Armenians.” Then we sat together, horrified. I was about 7 at the time. I knew about Nazis at the time, thanks to some neighbor kids. I said, “was this worse than the Nazis?” My mom couldn’t tell me.
I always wondered, and sometimes asked, why we were not taught about “the starving Armenians” in history classes. Teachers had no idea.
A few years ago, when I went to Washington DC to do a training, I saw a sign across the street from where I was teaching (G Street NW) that said, “Future home of the Armenian Genocide Museum of America.” I was incredibly excited and I Googled madly, trying to find out when it would open. So far, no news on that. Their website, which I’m sure you have seen, is excellent. But I would really like to visit that museum.
Thank you for keeping your grandfather’s story alive. Thank you for championing this cause. I stand with you.
Thank you so much for your nice note!