By Mike V.Derderian
Amman, The Star
“April is a cruel time, even though the sun may shine, and the world looks in the shade as it slowly comes away, still falls the April rain, and the valleys filled with pain and you can’t tell me quite why.” With these words Rod Evans breaks nine minutes of classical and rock music in Deep Purple’s April.
Many things have been going on in my mind as I was trying to decide what to write for this week’s prelude. I watched V for Vendetta, The Little Drummer Girl and 40 Days on Musa Dagh for inspiration, however, after listening to this 12-minute song, I decided to write about the latest development in the story of my people, as April is an important date for us.
Why April when it is October? April marks the date when our Diaspora first started back in 1915. The recent news of France’s issuing a bill related to the Armenian genocide caused quite a stir and has enraged Turkey. This week’s column comes in response to the few articles written by some Jordanian writers about this sensitive issue.
Those journalists decided to use the word “Armenian genocide” as a prologue to their political columns that starts with a very thin and brief recounting of it—indicative of their ignorance to our history. Their columns would then funnel into the atrocities committed in Palestine and Iraq on a daily basis.
Some dubbed France’s bill as another blow in the face of Muslims worldwide and an insignificant monkey wrench thrown in the cogwheels of Turkey’s endeavor to join the European Union.
France’s using our strife with Turkey is probably no more than a ploy to add hardship and hurdles to Turkey’s plans of joining the European Union. Westerners never cared about anyone else save themselves and to use our tragedy so blatantly is a shameless act of cowardice. They are simply beating around the bush faster than a Mongoose after a snake, as they cannot announce “publicly” that they simply don’t want a Muslim country to become part of their league of extraordinary usurpers.
Many of our Arab “ink freedom fighter” writers forgot that Armenians have been living in the Middle East since 1915, which means over 90 years. Throughout the years Armenians have become an integral part of their host countries and helped build and contributed to society. They even adopted the Arabic language and I for example regard myself an assimilation of Armenian blood and Arab traditions.
As an Armenian it angers me to stand helpless and watch how the world and these opinionated writers describe our story and existence. Do you know how many times I heard my grandmother mourn and tell me our story and the reason why we are not living in Armenia, where we can spy the proud mountain cliffs of Ararat.
As a Middle Eastern Armenian I have always and will always be part of the Arab world no matter what happens with France’s politically driven bill. Anyone saying that Armenians and the Armenian genocide are part of the West’s blind and racist crusade should have his/her brains checked because we—especially the Armenians living in this part of the Arab world—have become deeply in-rooted in the soil of the land that took us in times of hardship and agony, which brings in this question, what are we doing here in the first place?
The following movies that I watched growing up might acquaint you with our people and help answer this question that many know the answer to but dare not acknowledge: Sergi Parajanov’s Sayat Nova (1968), Sarky Mouradian’s 40 Days of Musa Dagh (1982), Henri Verneuil’s Mayrig (1991), Atom Egoyan’s Calendar (1993) and Ararat (2002).
Armenians are at times accused of being fanatical especially when it comes to speaking their mother tongue in the presence of Arabs, yet we would never forget how Muslim and Christian Arabs embraced us 90 years ago, when one of my ancestors decided to head out from Istanbul to Haifa and from there to Jordan, where my father was born.
I was born in Amman in 1979. I have lived here all my life surrounded by Muslims and Christians and the only time I left Jordan, my country, was when I went to university abroad. If God permits it I will never leave this country…unless…