Comments on “When They Died…” II

Wanted to share the comment below…in response to the article I had written a few months back:

Dear Gonca,
After reading your article, it occurred to me that I had an experience
similar to yours. During a 1979 visit to the Los Angeles Consulate to get
an extension on my Turkish Passport I met Turkey’s  Consul General
Mr. Kemal. Mr. Arıkan, a kind, good natured “Babacan” gentlemen who
after signing my passport, asked me questions and was interested to hear if
I was able to cope working and going to school, and that I could call if I
needed help, and he was proud of my accomplishments. Every year I
looked forward to visiting the TR Consulate, getting my passport signed,
drink the çay and tell the consul general how I was promoted to a project
engineer and how everything was just great and so on and so forth. The last
stamp I received on my passport was January 27, 1982.
The next day, our Kemal Bey was shot and killed.
Harry Sassounian took his revenge for the crimes committed long before
our Kemal Bey was born. The Armenian Revolutionary Federation
supports Sassonian as a hero to this day. How does one deal with this?

First of all you stop all thoughts for a while and just get on with life. Next
step is to disassociate the underdeveloped individuals from the ethnic
group they belong.
Today, I enjoy the company of my good friends Agop Bey and Corina
Hanım, the owners of the Armenian restaurant Shiraz in Worcester. I have
completely disassociated the killer of Kemal Arıkan from my Armenian
friends. Similarly, my Armenian friends appear to have disassociated me
from the revolutionaries who murdered our citizens and destroyed our
empire.
Going forward, what can we do to soften the anger Armenians feel towards
the Turks and the seeming lack of compassion Turks exhibit towards
Armenians?   Frankly I don’t think there is a lot we can do. Since 1915
mankind has evolved, however not enough for the majority to value a
human being for what he or she is, rather than clutter the equation with
gender, age, race, religion, nationality, etc.

Gonca, we have both been subjected to ultra nationalistic and downright racist
primary education, I have begun to question things ten years ago after turning fifty,
and having read your article, you are obviously well ahead of me and at an earlier age. I truly admire your sense of right thing to do.
Ahmet Erkan