Once there were and there were not …
#We become the story we tell ourselves
On Friday, April 24, 2015, I walked among hundreds of thousands snaking through the reflective pathway to the needle monument and concrete slabs nesting our eternal flame.
We held hands, moved in unison, tweeted pictures and carried flowers underneath a sheltering sky of gloom.
One hundred pathological years of lies had passed since one of the greatest human catastrophes, when the physical manifestations of our iconic culturemakers and culturekeepers had been gathered and sent to heaven.
But their souls were freed. And they became the caretakers of those who survived, empowering them to defeat the deletion… and undelete our ancient culture.
We would not be aborted.
We escaped to the remote corners of the world. We were dumped on beaches and built shantytowns from scraps to shelter our haggard bodies and souls.
Some of us changed our names in xenophobic places. Others unpretended believing in our God, hiding on our ancient, ancestral lands as Turks.
Ethiopia. Kolkata. Colombia. Kaka’ako. Estonia. These became our homes. Economic despair. Marginalization. Melancholia. Unbelonging. These became our norms.
Many died from heartbreak after surviving the desert. Millions of tears were shed, enough to fill the Pacific and Atlantic. But that was part of our destined journey.
The scorching heat that melts any individual’s past, identity and history in so-called melting pots of yesteryear reached a boiling point, but we arrived at our tipping point.
Our sons and daughters took up guns, pens, brushes, toothpicks. They wrote newspapers, sounded musical instruments, preached from pulpits and traveled cyberspace to fulfill a predestined undream – a lifetime mission to preserve a race of a then-placeless, unimportant people.
One hundred years later, we walked to Dzidzernagapert – one and a half million of us – listening to the creations of Khatchatourian and Hovhannes and the Vocalise of Zakarian, Yesayan and Bayrakdarian.
From above, the swooshes – in sync – of blades from hovering machines of flight, hired by an alphabet soup of global news organizations. The images and words streaming in multiple languages, reporting to the world that the progeny of the monster genociders of yesteryear had apologized, righting-rewriting wrongs, making reparations.
Our third Republic’s borders were open, peace agreements signed, economic and political treaties blessed, and a thousand years of cultural, financial and spiritual rebirth for the Armenian people of the world had begun.
After laying down the orchid and plumeria lei I had brought from the Ohaun rock in the middle of the Pacific, I looked up to thank the Creator for this moment and day. She opened the clouds, a rainbow fell upon Yerevan, and She asked me to come Home.
#Her millenary daydream pushed against our collective consciousness
I walked slowly to the Gentron – our center – from where the lifeforce of Hayastan pulses to all the thriving Diasporas which have harbored-in this rebirth in the new Age of the Armens.
Smiling and nodding at strangers, I bid a silent Namaste to every soul on this solemn day, feeling gratitude and happiness that we collectively survived of our unyears – the days when politics failed us, when megalomaniacs stole from our citizens what was rightfully theirs, what was meant for their individual well-being and when we were doomed by materialism and vanity.
Outside the Golden Apricot Cinema, formerly known as the Gino Moscow, I paused, inhaling the moment, the red carpet, paparazzi, fans, the celebrities walking in – Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Shekhar Kapur, Sona Tatoyan, Vahe Yacoubian, Nora Yacoubian, Jose Rivera, Edgard Tenembaum, Cigdem Mater, Alex Kalognomos.
Marcom had pushed against our collective consciousness, Tatoyan had turned the “poison into medicine,” and the auteurs of our epic story had transformed the generational trauma springing from one hundred years ago into singularity with new lifetimes of pride and success.
On the silver screen, Kharpert had come to life in the masterfully well-made motion picture, “Three Apples Fell from Heaven.” Our Genocide was now in High Definition. Its ghosts and angels for the world to see for millennia. Its lessons touching viewers at a cellular level.
Our Genocide Film had made our story viral, launching dialogues inside homes, in cities and nations, at the White House, the Kremlin, the United Nations and European Union. It had been destined to be our tipping point, our historic turn.
Art had paved our way, and our voices were finally heard.
And three apples fell from heaven: one for the storyteller, one for him who made him tell it, and one for you the reader.
Paul Chaderjian is a television news producer at the ABC station serving the Hawaiian Islands. He has worked at ABC News in New York as a writer-producer for “World News Now” and as a reporter in Fresno. He served as the Arts & Culture and West Coast Editor of the Armenian Reporter, anchored English-language news at Armenia TV and has hosted the annual Armenia Fund Telethon. He may be reached by email: [email protected]