Will they forgive us?

By Heghinar Melkom Melkomian

It just makes me wonder…

I wonder, will my grandfather and his sister, who lost their parents and were orphaned at the age of 10 and 5 respectively, forgive me.

Will my grandfather and his sister, who were the only ones in their family to survive the Armenian Genocide, forgive you.

Will my grandfather and his sister, who were separated during the Genocide and were reunited by fate only 20 years after the genocide, forgive us…

Nowadays, I am losing a lot of sleep over an issue, which I do not know if I have any influence on or not.

I have been thinking about my grandfather, his sister, his other sisters and brothers, his parents, who were probably cousins with or knew your ancestors, who, in their turn, were probably cousins with or knew the ancestors of those Armenians who today live in Paris, Lebanon, America; to cut my list short, I can simply say, in almost every country in this world.

Almost everyday I pass next to the beautiful buildings of the Government and Foreign Affairs Ministry, both on Republic Square, situated across from another, and I look at the worried faces of people signing the petition, protesting against the protocols or trying to understand what in the world are these people doing night and day in front of these buildings for the past ten or so days.

The hostile Turkish-Armenian relations stretch way back in history; earlier than me, before my parents or even their parents were born.

I am not a politician, neither a historian or journalist to allow myself to discuss the current political situation in Armenia, its further development or the reason why the Turks began hating our ancestors, but I know one thing and I know it very well, we and the Turks are not brother and sister and even if I were a hippie and believed in peace and making love not war, I could not accept Genocide- denying Turks as my good- willed neighbors or friends and Genocide- denying Turkey as our savior; a country that will help my beloved country to develop and grow!

I don’t know how to explain this all, but for me the possible opening of the Turkish-Armenian border, or should I say the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border is like a nightmare or a black and very bad absurdity.

I just read Robert Fisk’s article in the Independece.co.uk and I feel ashamed. All my life I have been told that I have to be proud because I am an Armenian, but right now one thing I definitely do not feel is pride.

My name is Heghinar, I am the granddaughter of a man who barely escaped the claws of death not destined to him from above, but forced on to him; I am an Armenian, I live in Armenia, I am a citizen of Armenia, I represent my people, I represent my country, I know the truth of the Armenian Genocide and I believe in the independence and territorial integrity of Nagorno-Karabakh, I believe the lands of my ancestors, western Armenia, currently located in today’s Turkey belong to us and not them, but who am I once the President of my country opens the doors of my house to the enemy and the Foreign Affairs Minister of my country signs a paper, which places the Turks on a pedestal, turns history upside-down, denies the Armenian Genocide and jeopardizes Nagorno-Karabakh’s territorial integrity, scrubs off the little proof years have left us and flushes the blood, the sea of blood of the 1.5 million innocent massacred Armenians in 1915 and dozens of Armenian men and adolescent boys and women and girls (we always forget to mention them) who knowingly signed away their life on their way to the most bizarre war I can imagine (Armenia demanding its lands back and Azerbaijan not returning something that does not even belong to it to begin with) down the toilet.

Let me go over this one more time; I am Heghinar, I am a citizen of Armenia, I live in Armenia and if the President and Foreign Affairs Minister of my country sign a paper, which opens the doors of my home to enemy number one (Turkey) and announces that Karabakh does not belong to me but to enemy number two (Azerbaijan), a paper which maybe not verbally do so, but in its essence states that we Armenians are liars, all this has been a lie and my ancestors were liars and that enemy number one and two suffered because of the Armenians and not the other way round and all the blood shed is wasted and gets flushed down the toilet; who or what does all this make me?

I represent my country, I am my country and I bear the face of my country. I tell you what the signing of this paper will make me. All this will make me a liar, my grandfather a liar, my mother who passed on the story to me a liar, my nation who believes in this story a liar. Next time I tell someone I am Armenian, I don’t have to explain the location of this little country, because everybody has already pointed out its index finger to the liar. If I am my country, that means if my country agrees to the protocols, then I agree too. If I am my country, that means if my country does not recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, then I do not too. If I am my country, that means if my country wants to forget about the Armenians Genocide, then I do too. If I am my country, that means if my country is a treasure hunter and chases 40 pieces of silver, long locked behind the Armenian-Turkish borders, then so do I…

I cannot talk anymore, because two pages, 20 pages, even 200 pages will not be enough to explain how and what I feel. This, this chaos is what goes though my head every time I pass near the Republic Square, watch the news or hear people talk about this issue. You know when someone you love does something wrong and you try to justify that somehow, even though deep down inside you know it is wrong? That is how I have always treated my country: like my own child. This is not about politics and just to enlighten you, I am not a member of any party and I am not pro or against this or the past governments. I am a person who is for Armenia, I am a person who loves her motherland, I am a person who believes in her fatherland and finally I am a person who lives in her homeland because she wants and loves to and not has to. Every time my country makes a wrong move, I try to justify and understand my child, but today I am in a total state of shock. My child has stabbed me in the back; I feel ashamed, I feel sad, I feel lost.

I don’t know what can be done, because I have already signed against the protocol, tried to explain the reason why I am against the opening of the border especially at this specific cost and I intend to participate in any meeting, rally, protest against the signing of the protocols, I do not know what else I can do, how else can I contribute to the salvation of my country, how else can I ask the forgiveness of my ancestors and your ancestors who were brutally massacred thought the years of the Armenian Genocide, your father, brothers and uncles who went to die and thus prove the international community that they wholeheartedly believed that Karabakh belonged to us.

Now tell me this; do you believe in ghosts? I know I don’t, but what if, what if they do exist and do not tell me if is good, because I am trying to prove a point here. You have come with me this far, stay with me for another second. If you do not believe in ghosts rationally, please use your imagination and think that they do exist. The moment I began believing in ghosts fictionally, I started to lose sleep because I realized that I am afraid of the dark and that is the time when they say ghosts come out. I do not want to live in a country full of ghosts; the ghosts of the 1.5 million Genocide victims and survivals, those who died during the Karabakh war and all those who were defending these causes. I am afraid of ghosts, I am very afraid of ghosts, because if they do exist, they are definitely going to come and haunt every single one of us down, because we have disturbed their sleep!

I am my country and a country haunted by ghosts is no longer a country, but a curse…


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  1. Viorginia L. Davies said:

    Thank-you for this. I am haunted too! Will my grandmother ever forgive me for actively working to elect a President who heads an administration that held a gun to the head of Armenians to force reconcilliation with Turkey and deny the murder and martyrdom of her entire family – mother, father, brothers, sisters,grandparents, uncles , aunts, cousins – all of them save one brother.
    My grandmother cried out in anguish every single night of her life including the night she died..
    I pray my grandmother , and all those who perished, forgive us.
    We have failed them.

  2. John Jay said:

    Thank you, Heghinar. Thank you so much for telling it like it is…! Like it really is…!! – and not what naked fiscal greed and Western orientated political expediency strives to bully an ignorant world into believing it is…!!! But you can bet that the powers responsible for this calumny and those eager for its blood-stained spoils were already busy re-writing a freshly composed history to salve their consciences, long before the ink was dry on their signatures.

  3. Edward Demian said:

    Thank you Heghianar. I feel your despair. However, we Armenians seem to be genetically predisposed to deal with despair and come on top. We don’t want to disturb things when things are just bearable. We act only out of despair. Perhaps it is too much to expect Little Armenia to take on the world and deal with its internal propblems. Perhaps Hai Tad has to take on a new dimention. The Otoman Armenians were severely agrieved by the Otoman State and its instruments, and today, allmost a century later, we still are second class cityzens in Turkey. Most Armenians think; Why bother, we don’t want to live with Turks. It is not about that. It is about Armenians , Proto Armenians and Turks of Armenian descent etc…. that stil live there in fear and shame. The Armenians in Turkey have a legal status of “untouchables” . Legally, socially, culturally and physically they feel and are discriminated against. Whille it is true that all other minorities are severely discriminated against, the Armenians enjoy the dubious distinction of being a hated minority. That culture of Ethnic discrimination can only be matched by that toward the Gypsy (Roma) minoritiy in Europe. However, even in Romania, the laws have changed to reflect EU laws toward the treatment of minorities.*
    Armenians need to start a new front on “Civil rights equal to that of the Muslims” in Turkey. Only when any Armenian can stroll unprotected and unafraid into any ancestral village or graveyard, only then can Armenians trive, multiply, remigrate, as they have done so many times in the past. The only way Western Armenia will ever be repopulated with Armenians again to any measure, is if western Armenia becomes a place of economic opportunity. That can only happen in an athmosphere of total tranquility, safety, and a legal system that protects life and property equally. Will this agreement provide that? I don’t know.
    That front is one that Turkey has no defense against. Hay Tad should start a “Why punish the survivors campaign”. Lets fight a battle that we can win. Armenia could help the diaspora at the UN by mentioning Armenian civil rights in Turkey.
    Don’t blame yourself, small countries take it in the neck. I had hoped that Armenia was going to be more like Switzerland.** But …..
    Chin up. My father who was young enough to have witnessed the genocide, died content that he lived to see an azad, angah, Hayastan. Perhaps in our lifetime we will see a Wilsonian Armenia restored, or even an Armenian reservation of some size in Turkey ( something the way the American Indians have) Huys!
    Best Regards, Edward Demian

    * I choose Romania because of my familiarity with that culture and Country. However, Roma discrimination was widespread ( allmost universal) in Europe. Social discrimination still exists and is severe.
    ** No, not better wach makers, but a totally self sufficient, don’t need anyone, your money is safe here, take no crap from anyone, every cityzen armed and trained for defense, type of Switzerland.

  4. Lusik said:

    I would not be afraid to meet a ghost of Arshile Gorky or Komitas or Varujan. Why are you confused? All the lie which is called diplomacy comes and goes. Actually, I would like to learn how to communicate my concern about dear country being in trouble to Great Andranik? Read a wise fable from silent lips of Tumanian? Armenian is never afraid of anything! Stay strong! Help each other to recover fast. This is an imperative. If you love your country.

  5. haig salibian said:

    dear Heghinar Melkom Melkomian , our generation will be remembered as the “tavajan” people! we could not ,
    when it mattered the most, say NO
    i have those same nightmares you are having. God help us all.

  6. Betty Apigian Kessel said:

    Heghinar’s agony is shared by so many Armenians, dismayed at the turn of events in our homeland. Betrayed? So far this is the only logical conclusion we can come to. How can it be otherwise? The greed and betrayal of the western nations has led us to this. Why hasn’t Turkey put that much effort into sentencing the killers(s) of Hrant Dink? What purpose did it serve for Pres. Sargsyan to have talks with Armenians in New York, Los Angeles, London, and elsewhere, when his mind was already made up? Scratch the surface of the sand in Der Zor and the bones of our innocent ancesters are revealed there, hundreds of thousands of lives lost. Lost for what? To give victory to the Turks? Absolutely not! the fight for Genocide recognition and Hye Tahd goes on.