In his book “Requiem for a Nun,” William Faulkner gave one of his most famous lines, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The past is never past for an Armenian. The wounds do not heal if they are left open. We are survivors of an event that has never stopped.
Fast forward 99 years of Turkish negationism and threats. On March 21, 2014, the past again appeared not to be past. Turkish-backed rebels attacked the historic town of Kessab in Syria populated by Armenian Christians where they had taken refuge after the genocide. Kessab, a symbol of Armenian survival, was depopulated, civilians kidnapped and killed. All-too-familiar images of displacement and Armenians huddled in churches are reminiscent of the past.
The participation of Turkey in the destruction of Kessab hits a nerve with Armenians.
This was not the first time Armenians were forced to flee their homes during the Syrian civil war. An estimated 10,000 Armenians fled Aleppo. Churches were defaced and crosses removed. On April 5, 2014 a missile attack on the Armenian Catholic School in Damascus killed a 9-year-old child and injured 60 people.
It was in this region of the world where Saul the persecutor on his way to Damascus converted to Christianity and became Apostle Paul.
According to an Open Doors survey the persecution of Christians doubled in 2013. Armenia, the first nation to adopt Christianity, has paid the heaviest price for its citizens’ faith.
We work hard with our own lands, when we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).