Editorial published in the Armenian Weekly’s April 2009 Magazine
I can’t stop looking at Mujgan Arpat’s photographs of doors and windows of old Armenian houses in Diyarbekir (p. 30 of April 2009 magazine). They seem to have the immediacy of a Komitas song, a Daniel Varoujan poem, or a page from Krikor Zohrab’s stories.
I feel a deep desire to knock on them.
And perhaps one day I will. But at the moment, dear reader, this magazine you are holding in your hands is another way of knocking on those doors.
In April 2007, at one of my lectures, I heard the story of an Armenian Genocide survivor in Boston. When asked about her family’s experiences in 1915, she would talk about them, then she would laugh after speaking a sentence or two. Then she would apologize for laughing and continue her story. By the time she had finished, she had laughed and apologized several times. In the end, she said, “I am sorry. But I have no tears anymore.”
A few days later, I gave a talk in New York about the legacy of Hrant Dink. After my talk, I was chatting with some members of the audience when a young woman approached me and introduced herself. She was a Turkish student doing her Ph.D. in New York. We asked her to join our discussion. A short time later, when a slideshow about Hrant Dink was being shown, I saw tears running down her cheeks.
“What is your story?” I asked her.
“I don’t have a story,” she said. “I did not know anything about Hrant or about 1915 before his assassination. Now I read all I can find on the Armenian Genocide.”
As she was saying those words, I felt that somewhere, on a certain plane of consciousness, the laughter of the genocide survivor and the tears of the Turkish woman had met.
The scholars and commentators who have contributed to this magazine also have a meeting point: They are all knocking on the same door. A door that has the immediacy of a Komitas song, a Daniel Varoujan poem, or a page from Krikor Zohrab’s stories. And a door that, one day, will inevitably open.