YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

'Why Armenians Can't Forget'

May 07, 1985

Donald Miller's article (Editorial Pages, April 28), "Why Armenians Can't Forget What the World Doesn't Remember," is another plea for recognition that a genocide did in fact occur during World War I. As an Armenian-American, I have found these reminders to be both redeeming and embarrassing.

It is impossible for me to consider that the recent attention given to these horrors is not in itself politically motivated. I know that there are many well-intentioned Armenians who go on dreaming of a free and independent and greater Armenia because, historically, that is what Armenians have always done. But the recent influx of others to the cause makes my ears stand up.

I must ask the shrewd question taught by centuries of Armenian ancestry: "What new horror is being cooked up out of the dead army of women and children?" Indeed, a full new generation of Armenians have grown and are ready for harvesting. In the name of the dead, so that they shall not have died in vain, these also shall be sacrificed.

Says Miller: "The genocide ruptured the Armenians' sense of a well-ordered universe." Indeed, if that was so (as in the case of my own parents, who lost all their families and suffered the hatred and indignity of Turks and politically differing Armenians alike), it were better to leave it so in this century of nuclear weapons. Those who rail for recognition too often harbor ambitions of an independent Armenia, an unrealistic dream that can only result in tragedy (as in fact it did in 1918). Now Armenia would be South Vietnam.

Nothing has really changed since World War I. West Armenia would be pitted against Soviet Armenia. The Turks would again be struggling for the dirt under their feet. The carnage would again be over control of waterways, trade routes and oil supplies, which would, of course, not fall to those who actually died for the right to live on their historic land, neither to Turks who claim it nor to Armenians, but to those nonaligned of all countries who acknowledge neither God nor country nor decency nor any limit to the vaunting of their own vain shadowy ambitions.

As an Armenian-American I hold that this century has punished all decent peoples and that the resolution of hostilities lies not in more nationalism and division but in the ability of people to live together, to share and compare cultures amicably and to forgive past transgressions each of the other.


Temple City

Los Angeles Times Articles