He Is Risen! And So Are We!

Մեռելներուս իբրեւ խաչ՝ ես այս ծառը տնկեցի
As a cross for my dead ones, I planted this tree

Levon Zaven Surmelian

By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO

In my adult life, the most tormenting subject on my psyche has been and remains to be the inner turmoil and agony of the mind, caused by the immeasurable and unconscionable pain and suffering my forebears were subjected to by a heinous cabal, unabashedly recognized as the state government of Ottoman Turkey, at the turn of the 20th century.

Forgetting the cruel and brutal sickling of an indigenous people, peacefully residing, toiling and tilling an over four millennium homeland, is beyond my human capacity. I have no right to forget the abominable fate of a million and a half innocent victims uprooted from an ancestral home and led to their extinction by the sword, starvation, sickness or the desert sand.

I rejoice with many brave and astute fellow Christians who have reconciled with the pain in their faith. I have read articles, listened to sermons and received mail reflecting that soaring spirit of joy and reconciliation in Christ, all of which have broken the cuffs of bondage for many.

I have total admiration for all.

In a few days we shall celebrate the victorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Easter is a core, pivotal celebration, the cornerstone of our Christian faith. Together we proclaim, sing and rejoice that Jesus rose from the dead. This is a vital and fundamental reality of our faith, the spring of hope that flows into our minds and souls with the promise of divine justice and eternal life for our martyrs who will attain a heavenly life away from the miseries and anguish experienced on earth.

I realize the infinite divine love demonstrated by Jesus on the cross when He said “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

But ‘they’ knew what they were doing and ‘their’ progeny are still sucked into the slime of a denial to cover the crime and maintain the loot.

I have no prejudices against any race or creed and hold no hatred toward any living human being. I recognize that all mankind are the children of God. Overcoming my resistance, I experienced the joy and pain of visiting my ancestral home in 2006 where my paternal and maternal grandfathers had been murdered in 1915. In a gesture of goodwill and demonstration of peaceful coexistence and in the footsteps of the poet’s advice

Մեռելներուս իբրեւ խաչ՝ ես այս ծառը տնկեցի
As a cross for my dead ones, I planted this tree

I planted a walnut tree considering its longevity and protective nature in the garden of the house with the help of the current resident, a Turk. I wished and prayed that the tree would grow and provide shade to the house and fruit to the occupant, any occupant, for many, many years to come.

Today, with the celebration of Easter, as we jubilantly praise God and hail the resurrection of the nation from the ashes of the crime against humanity, we bow to the memory of our martyrs who perished for bravely anchoring their existence in their ethnicity and their refusal to deny their crucified and risen Lord.

We vow to perpetuate the faith, the language, the culture and overcome evil with more song and dance, hope and prayer, smiles and joy all for the Glory of God who said “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)

Քրիստոս Յարեաւ Ի Մեռելոց,
Օրհնեալ Է Յարութիւնն Քրիստոսի!
Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed!

March 2015