Monday, December 31, 2007

Desmond Tutu.

Last Sunday I was watching Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. His guest was Thomas Cahill and they were discussing evil and cruelty. Follow the above link for the video and the transcript of the show. Near the end of the show, Moyers showed a portion of an interview with Desmond Tutu.

Desmond Tutu is a South African Anglican Archbishop that took part in liberating the citizens of African ancestry in that country from the apartheid and also resided upon the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission". It was because of him and people like him that when the apartheid was eliminated there was no bloodshed and revenge. His idea of forgiveness was that when the aggressor oppresses someone (or some nation) and thus gives the oppressed the RIGHT for revenge. This right, and the anger and hatred that result from this desire for revenge, continues to victimize the victim even after the abuse has stopped. Forgiveness, he says, gets rid of this anger and allows the victim to move on. He also says that the oppressor then would need to apologize in order to clear themselves, too.

Can we forgive Turkey for what they did to us? I would like nothing more than to live in harmony with that country and work towards prosperity of the Armenian nation. But I find it difficult to imagine forgiving that society for what they did to my nation and to my ancestors.

What comes first? The victim forgiving the murderers, rapists and thieves; or the apology?

Should we give up our right for justice? We have lost the majority of our nation to the genocide. We have lost our territory and our properties. We are being denied of our history and cultural heritage.

The worst thing is that the moment we lose our vigilance, they will do it again.

To see what has been going on, check these National Geographic articles:
October 1915 - this article was written before the main genocide events took place and there are pictures of Armenians who are still alive and living in Western Armenia.
August 1919 - this article, titled "between Massacres", is about the Armenians trying to defend themselves in Van with wooden swords and such.
November 1919 - this is the story of the countless refugees from Western Armenia.
June 1978 - the survivors are now spread all over the world.


markgrigorian said...

Happy Birthday! All my best and warmest wishes!

Haik said...

The National Geographic articles are amazing.
I am not sure that what Turkey should do to make an acceptable apology.

nazarian said...

haik, I don't think we are at a stage where we can even think about forgiveness. I have thought about this issue a lot more since I wrote it. One thing I noted was that Desmond Tutu was talking from the point of view of the victor. It is only the victor that can think about delivering justice. If you are not the victor, all you do is dream about delivering that justice.

Armenians, unfortunately, are not yet victors when it comes the The Genocide. We are fighting but are still far away from victory.

nazarian said...

Mark, thanks for the good wishes. It is not my birthday yet but still...

I think LiveJournal sends out emails when a friend's profile reaches its birth date. My profile on LiveJournal probably has a bogus birth date - I see no reason to disclose personal information to a web site I know nothing about.