We had to put our cat Pamuk down the other day…she was old, very sick, and had lost her ability to walk or to enjoy food. She was wrapped in a cozy blanket, after which I left the vet’s room because I couldn’t bear to see the inevitable…While it’s true I was sad over our cat, I could not stop thinking about the faces of those twenty beautiful little children who were massacred inside their school last Friday. Nobody wrapped those babies up in their favorite blankets when they died at the hands of a deranged man whose mother happened to keep three guns, including an assault rifle, inside their home! I have been reading non-stop about all of the issues, concentrated as they are on the two major ones at hand: mental health and gun control. I certainly know about the second amendment, about the gun lobby, about how easy it is to buy guns in the U.S. without a proper background check…I also know how pathetically insufficient our mental health care system happens to be in the U.S. I just learned that the state of Connecticut is one of six states that don’t require mentally handicapped individuals to be on medication if they were to live outside of a hospital setting. I have listened to experts explaining the subpar care available for more than 600,000 people who live with bipolar disorder…and the fact that only about 1 percent of people diagnosed with any level of autism ever get violent…and how only 10 percent of mass murderers who are in jail suffer from actual mental disorder…the facts and figures will keep coming but they will not change this simple fact: If Adam Lanza did NOT have access to those three guns kept in his house by his mother, he would NOT have been able to shoot three to eleven bullets into any of the first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut! Period.

I pray for all of those babies who are now in heaven and hope they will forever Rest in Peace…As to our ever-dueling politicians, all of the lawmakers on Capitol Hill and especially our president, I hope that they don’t rest in peace, not even for a minute…until they take real measures to stop the prominence of a gun culture that makes it very easy for a deranged person to have access to deadly weapons.

And NO, I don’t believe all of our rights are limitless in these United States. If our right to free speech is limited by hate crime legislation, or if it’s illegal to falsely scream “fire” in a crowded theatre, then surely our right to “bear arms” can be limited. Nobody needs three guns in their house, and certainly not a mother living with a severely troubled child.


On social media, sunlight and other gifts…

Yes, it’s true, I have had a few of those instances when I felt particularly grateful for the Internet.  Granted I still hate the narcissistic tendencies of face book, the privacy issues of LinkedIn and various other superficial aspects of social media, but I am here to vouch for the fact that sometimes, the internet is truly a gift…which is why I want to tell you about a book called A Gift in the Sunlight by Dr. Kay Mouradian.  Fate has it that I met Kay online, on a particular list serve a few years ago.  Bombarded by the usually ferocious and vindictive back and forths, the tit for tat shenanigans, and “I’m smarter than you, haha” comments that have become the norm for list serves which deal with controversial and sensitive topics (Armenian-Turkish relations in this case), I remember writing a conciliatory type of sentence and waiting for the bombs to fall on me as usual.  A few of those did fall indeed, but what I also found on my computer screen was a simple and short message from Kay, author of the novel A Gift in the Sunlight, An Armenian Story.  She simply told me that I may enjoy reading her book, which was based on the life story of her mother Flora.  She sent it to me right away and after a gap of a few months when I was consumed by another project, I read the book in one sitting and as I reached the last few chapters, I understood why Kay wanted me to read it.  This book was not simply about the Armenian genocide, it was not about Turks hating Armenians or Armenians hating Turks, and it certainly was not about the myriad political machinations stretching from İstanbul to Yerevan and everywhere in between…this book was about the remarkable story of Flora and her last few years, when she escaped death more than once, becoming more lucid and alert each time…It’s also about the legacy of one survivor who, just before laying herself down for the last time, left her daughter some of the most beautifully simple last words anyone ever could:

Do you know what life is all about? Its all about love and understanding, but everyones brain is not the same, so you help when you can. Thats what lifes all about.[1]


[1] A Gift in the Sunlight, Kay Mouradian, Taderon Press, London, 2005, Page: 207