Although I am a Canadian (and extremely proud to be one), I'd like to write a letter to President Obama, with a little bedtime story which he can read anytime...
Once upon a time there was a little boy with a large family. Now this was 1914, near the village of Ourfa (in the Ottoman empire). He was happy with his large extended family, even though they weren't wealthy, they were happy, with children and parents, and grand parents, aunts and uncles. Freshly made meals, and playing within natures playground, made this 4 year old child feel loved and lucky.
One day, the big bad army marched into their village and gathered up all the adults who lived in his neighbourhood. Now just to back track, the boy was Christian, and Armenian. The Armenians refused to denounce Christianity and mesh into the Turkish culture completely. They wanted to keep their cultural identity and their strong religious beliefs. So when this day came with the big bad army, it changed this little boys life forever. They took his parents, grand parents, aunts and uncles. Where they took them, the little boy didnt know, but he never ever saw them again. They also took him, his 2 year old sister, and his 4 older siblings, to a holding compound for children. Here, they seperated the older siblings from the younger ones. The boy never ever saw his older siblings again either.
He and his little 2 year old sister cried in the corner of this 'shelter'. They waited for their parents to come and get them. To yell at the soldiers and the big mean man in the funny hat, telling them that they made a mistake! These were their kids and they belonged in their loving home, not in this room full of other kids. They belonged at home with their family! As the days went by, no one came. No Mama, no Baba, no one. Sometimes, Turkish couples came and took some of the younger babies, especially the baby boys. But Mama and Baba never came.
Luckily for this little boy, one of his aunts was a famous midwife, not only in Ourfa, but in this whole area. She didnt only work for Armenian families, but the wealthy Turkish families always called upon her to deliver their babies. When this Auntie heard what happened in her village, she covered herself and her face with a black headscarf and went to the home of a prominant Turkish politician, whom she worked for. She told him what had happened to her sisters children. The man told her that, unfortunately the older children had perished...and were no longer able to be saved... However this man did tell her where the two younger children were being held. Auntie, still looking quite Turkish in her outfit, went to the holding area for the children. Because Auntie worked for prominent Turkish families, she spoke Turkish extremely well, and knew all their cultural traits. So when she got to the holding area, she marched up to the Pasha running this orphanage, and in her most indignant Turkish voice, she told him that the soldiers had accidentally taken her children! She had come to take them home. Now, since she had worked for this man in the past, he was quite aware that she wasn't Turkish, but he said that he would turn a blind eye and let her go get her children. She walked up to the boy and his sister, bent over them and opened the black face veil covering her face, to reveal to them who she was. The boy hugged his Auntie but his little sister, didnt recognize her and cried and wouldn't go to Auntie. Auntie tried harder and harder to convince her niece to come with her, but the more she tried, the more the child panicked and pulled away! The kind hearted Pasha came and said she would have to leave now, because she was causing a scene and if he might be caught helping her! So, with a heavy heart, she left her niece behind, in the Turkish holding cell, and ran off with her nephew, thanking God that she was at least able to save him.
This boy grew up in an orphanage, but when he was an adult found whatever relatives he had left, which was his Auntie and her family. Sadly, the Turks had 'taken care of' all his siblings, and he never saw them, or his parents again. He fought in the French Foreign Legion, got married, had children, grand children, and great grand children before he died at the age of 83 a few years ago.
Now, President Obama, this little story is a TRAGEDY. If this only happened in his village, that too would be an atrocious TRAGEDY. The fact that this happened to 1.5 MILLION ARMENIANS IS A GENOCIDE! I hope that if you read this as a bedtime story, it will keep you awake tonight...maybe you will think about what your official stance on this subject is.
Grand child of above little boy