“To My Mother” – Soghomon Tehlirian

“To My Mother” – Soghomon Tehlirian

Below is the farewell letter of Soghomon Tehlirian that he dedicated to his mother who had died tragically near the city of Yerznka during the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

To my mother…

In the bottomless gloom of a faded memory, I was looking for you, my mother, horrified at the thought of losing you forever… I wandered from country to country, from desert to desert. I went through the tormented cities and villages turned into a bunch of ruins, the mountains and valleys of our homeland…

My searches were in vain… Everywhere before my eyes, a picture of total desolation appeared. There was no longer that ebullient life, the charm of people, the murmur of streams, the cheerful twittering of birds…

Everything disappeared as a result of the satisfaction of a bloody hyena that surrendered to the brutal instinct. The kingdom of owls has established itself in the homeland… Desert! Desert!

The Euphrates was restless and upset because of the violation of its eternal course by your tormented corpses… From its waves only came a rebellious plaintive roar. The Euphrates was also mourning its past.

The clear waters were stained with the innocent blood of Armenian mothers, children, the youth, and the elderly… Its soul was upset because it was a living witness to the terrible tragedy of the Armenian nation…

The distant and unfamiliar deserts were silent and indifferent – they seemed to be fed up with the skeletons scattered on their burning sand…

I bitterly mourned the most terrible disaster that has occurred in the foreseeable history of mankind. My hesitations could take me to the limits of inglorious despair, but grief and the terrible pictures of the tragedy shocked my soul and instilled strength and vitality in me in order to continue living, drowning out the aching pain.

I continued living perhaps in order to fulfill my filial duty, the duty of an Armenian to you, my mother, and in relation to the millions of Armenian mothers who were crucified at the Armenian Calvary… In order to somehow perpetuate the memory of the shed blood streams…

You, my mother, who gave me life, with tears in eyes, full of bitter forebodings, kissed me goodbye, and you were right. Your lamentations were true and correct: “It was difficult to raise you, you have feathered, and now, you are flying away, you are moving away from me.” Yes, I have left.

I retired to never see you again, but the milk that you fed me, your unlimited maternal affection took such deep roots in my soul that to forget all this, to remain indifferent, especially after your tragic death, is impossible…

Today, like an idolater, I want to build in my heart the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Mother’ and devoutly worship this monument as an ancient temple.

I want the mystery of my pagan prayer reconnected with the fragrant smoke of incense to be scattered and lifted to limitless mysterious heights as evidence of my deep reverence for your unforgettable memory, my mother, as well as the thousands and thousands of those burnt alive who fell innocent victims in the name of struggle for the freedom of our nation and disappeared forever without graves, without tombstones…”




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