Armenian Genocide: Intimate Realities of the Genocide of the World's First Christian People

Turkey, 1915. Immediately after committing his crime, the murderer - a friend of the family - was invited to dine with the family of his victim, still unaware of the facts.

Lhe young widow had to continue raising my grandfather and his 11 brothers and sisters without a husband. My grandmother, for her part, had to squeeze between the corpses and the heads littering the streets. She prayed and used ploys with her mother and sisters to avoid the atrocities usually reserved for women and girls in such circumstances.

My other grandfather drowned the nightmarish memories that haunted him in alcohol, while my other grandmother hushed up her trauma in a silence no one could ever break. They had to leave the land they had inhabited for 3000 years. The roads of exile gave me cousins ​​- many of whom are unknown to me - in various parts of the world.

Intimate Realities of the Genocide of the World's First Christian PeopleIntimate realities of the genocide of the world's first Christian people, whose 102nd sad anniversary we are commemorating today. There are the dead, and there is the pain that the survivors transmitted through their stories as much as through their silences. More than a century later, like every April 24, I take part in the commemorations. To recall that, when the bodies fell into the graves, the suffering and historical realities will not be forgotten. But also to reach out to the descendants of the executioners. To tell them that they can refuse the deadly legacy that their ancestors left them - and in which their current leaders continue to lock them up by denying this stain of their history. There is a way that allows the liberation of some and the appeasement of others.

Forgiveness is a reality that asks for, gives and receivesForgiveness is a reality that asks for, gives and receives: it demands a voluntary approach and honesty with oneself and with the other. There is neither forgetting nor admission of weakness. Whoever enters into this process, whether on the side of the victim or the side of the executioner, has done his part and opens the way for the other to do his own.

I grant my forgiveness to your people for the sufferings they have inflicted on mine.Nothing will be the same again, and our stories are now being built in our countries and our host cultures. But today, I extend my hand to the Turks so that they know that people of Armenian origin have love and a sincere desire for peace towards them. Because I myself have been loved unconditionally and I have asked and accepted to receive total forgiveness for my faults, dear Turk (that), brother or sister in humanity, I want to teach you love more and, as far as you want to receive it, I grant my forgiveness to your people for the sufferings they have inflicted on mine.

Pascal Portoukalian

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