Monday, April 19, 2010

Sculpture and Armenian Golgotha

I grew up with my mother repeating her mother's admonition to finish all the food on my plate. "Think of the starving Armenians!" To a child in southern California of the 1960's, it made no sense. "What's an Armenian?"

Driving to the studio, I was riveted to the radio. Poet, Peter Balaklian, was discussing the Armenian Genocide of 1915. His great uncle, a Christian bishop and survivor wrote the book Armenian Golgotha.

Balakian describes the plan that inspired Hitler; the Turkish systemic destruction of the Armenian culture by first cutting off the head of Armenian cultural life. All the intellectuals, all the religious leaders, the poets, the journalists, anyone who could speak up was arrested and executed. Over a million people were wiped from the face of the earth. Then the silence descended.

Turkey denies it ever happened.
90 years later, any mention of the genocide is a punishable crime in Turkey.

Where am I going with this on a beautiful spring morning? Death and rebirth? The power of the arts to survive and tell of history? I don't know......

After listening to the program, Carolyn, the little one and I went next door to help our neighbor. She's a new mom, her cherry tree was destroyed by the high winds we had yesterday. Baby down for a nap, we went to work.

The three adults were working, chopping, sawing, making piles of branches while little Lulu "helped". She piled the small branches for a while. She discovered that the flowering branches made peace signs. "Two kinds!" "Babu, Do you know this kind of peace sign?"

Somehow the morning fits together. An unspeakable horror finally being told, working with women, one old, one young, one a child. Cleaning up a shattered fruit tree. A child learning how to work, but mostly playing, showing us flowering symbols of peace.

Peace to you.

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