sâmbătă, 13 decembrie 2008

The Magnitude of Our Losses

Can you conceive of having lived in a place for so long, you have no idea when your ancestors settled there?

Can you conceive of standing on a prominent rock, viewing a panoramic vista of some natural glory, knowing that every one of your ancestors was probably inspired by the same beauty?

Can you conceive of everything around you being associated with you, historically, personally, societally, religiously, politically?

Can you conceive of knowing how place and plant names were chosen, who did what, when and why at the foot of which mountain and atop which hill-- viscerally grasping these associations?

Can you conceive of your food coming from your own hands or places you know intimately?

Can you conceive of “knowing” that sleeping under a mulberry tree is good, but not under a walnut tree because of their respective “auras”?

Can you conceive of recognizing individual animals from season to season and year to year, having played with them when they were young while you were young?

Can you conceive of truly being HOME?

I can't. I've never had it. I've been denied this by Turkey's actions. I can only get glimmers of what it might be like: when I hear Native Americans speak of their world; when I'm told that the villagers living near the cedars of Lebanon consider themselves descendants of god; or when I see pictures of the single block of wall left standing of the Soorp Garabed monastery of Moosh--a place of great learning and one of the Armenian church's centers-- juxtaposed with pictures of what the place looked like a century ago.

This is what we've lost due to the Genocide. This is what the murderous Turkish government has taken from us. This is what destruction they have wrought, so thorough, so irretrievable, so ongoing as to sear any decent human's soul.

And we're supposed to just get over it by going on cruises, buying overpriced things, lived in garish houses, taking lavish trips, perforating our bodies with inked needles or metallic objects, “working for the future”, living in debt, etc.-- in short, drinking the toxic potion that passes for modern “life”, that concoction of banality debilitating humanity's aptitude for greatness.

Is that how you want to live? Is it what we want for our community, nation, and host countries?


marți, 10 iunie 2008

I'm an Armenian, as old as Ararat;
My shoes were wetted by the waters of the Flood.
Beside these shining peaks where Noah sat
My sword once drew the dread Bel's* evil blood.
These boulders overgrown with moss since time
Beyond remembrance, my hand hewed to lie
In the foundation of an ancient shrine
Which my own blood I shed to sanctify.
One morning here, in Ararat's green valley
My hammer and my pick aside I flung
And lit a fire on the Chaldean altar.
Those days both Ararat and I were young.
Then crimson every valley-flower was dyed;
All we had sown in it through ages past
Grew on the blood of countrymen who died.
Beneath each hillock killed Armenians rest.
With trusty shield I met attacking hordes,
Suffering countless wounds from countless swords.
I'm an Armenian, as old as Ararat.
High as the hills I bear my head. My story's sad:
Each century that passed brought grief to me.
My sons throughout the whole wide world were scattered;
With bloody showers Ararat was spattered.
My ploughlands crops of misery would yield.
I lived and breathed among my burned-out fields
On wasteland rubble, ashes steeped in gore.
But now, with my own blood revived once more,
Again the holy altar-lights burn bright,
Warming my heart and gladdening my sight.
New ploughshares out of rusted swords I forged;
Our fathers' heritage to my children I gave back.
Our sorrow fills my verse with hot blood gorged.
A twentieth century Gregory Narek
I'm an Armenian, as old as Ararat.
Beneath my sorrows Ararat itself would bow.
Any ill-omened, blood-thirsty Attila that
Arose in history, would deal me his first blow.
Inured to massacres, I lived in thrall for ages.
An orphan, in the fight for life I'm steeled.
My thousand-year-old grain, preserved by hearts courageous,
Sown in new times, sprouts in my virgin fields.
Blessed be my roots, whose strength is marvelled at!
A homeless outcast once, a motherland have I.
I'm an Armenian, as old as Ararat.
I hold my head as high as eagles fly.

marți, 25 martie 2008

"We are few but we are called Armenians
We do not put ourselves above anyone
Simply we also admit that we, only we have Mount Ararat
And that it is right here on the clear Sevan
that the sky could make its exact duplicate
Simply David has indeed fought right here
Simply the Narek was written right here
Simply we know how to build from the rock, a monastery
How to make fish from stone, how to make man from clay
To learn to become the student of the beautiful,
the kind, the noble, and the good

We are few, but we are called Armenians
We do not put ourselves above anyone
Simply our fortune has just been so different
Simply we have just shed too much blood
Simply in our lives of centuries long
When we were many and when we were strong
Even then we did not oppress any nation
See, centuries have come and centuries have passed
Yet over no one have we become tyrants
If we have enslaved, only with our eyes
And if we have ruled, only with our books
If we have prevailed, only with our talents
And if we have ever oppressed,
it has only been with our wounds

Simply with us death had fallen in love
Yet we willingly did not give ourselves
And when we were forced to leave our own land
Where ever we reached, where ever we went
Everywhere we left indelible trace
We have joined efforts for everyone, always
We plowed everywhere, we built bridges, we tied arches
We plowed everywhere and we brought forth crops
We gave everyone mind, proverbs, and songs
Another words we defended them from spiritual coldness
Every where we left our eyes reflection
A peace of our soul and a sacrament from the heart itself

We are few, truly, but we are Armenians
And by being few we do not succumb
Because it is better to be few in life, then to control life by being many
Because it is better rather to be few, then to be masters by being many
Because it is better to be few, then to be swindlers
We are few, yes, but we are Armenians
And we know how to sigh from yet unhealed wounds
But with a new juice we rejoice and we cheer
We know how to thrust into the foe's side
And how to lend a helping hand to our friend
How to repay goodness which was done to us
by compensating for each one by ten
And the benefit of it just in the sun
We vote with our lives, not only with our hands
Yet if they desire to rule us with force
We know how to smoke and how to quench their fire
And if it is needed to disperse darkness
we can turn into ashes like burning candles
And we know as well how to make love with lust
And we do this always by respecting others
See we do not put ourselves above anyone,
but we know ourselves We are called Armenians
And why should we not feel pride about that
We are, We shall be, and become many."

Baruyr Sevag

duminică, 24 februarie 2008

Si dacã ramuri bat în geam
Si se cutremur plopii,
E cã în minte sã te am
Si-ncet sã te apropii.

Si dacã stele bat în lac
Adâncu-i luminându-l,
E cã durerea mea s-o-mpac
înseninându-mi gândul.

Si dacã norii desi se duc
De iese-n luciu luna,
E cã aminte sã-mi aduc
De tine-n totdeauna.

joi, 24 ianuarie 2008

"My soul is listening to the death of the twilight.
Kneeling on the far-away soil of suffering, my
soul is drinking the wounds of twilight and of
the ground; and within itself it feels the raining down of tears.

And all the stars of slaughtered lives, so like to
eyes grown dim, in the pools of my heart this
evening are dying of despair and of waiting.

And the ghosts of all the dead to-night will wait
for the dawn with mine eyes and my soul. Perhaps, to satisfy their thirst for life, a drop of light will fall upon them from on high."