Letter to Hrant 

The following poem by Khatchig Mouradian appeared in the Armenian Weekly on Feb. 3, 2007, days after Agos Editor Hrant Dink’s assassination in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007. We would like to share it with our readers once again on the anniversary of Hrant’s death.

Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul around 12:00 GMT on January 19, 2007, as he returned to the offices of Agos (Photo: Rupen Janbazian)
Hrant Dink was assassinated in Istanbul around 12:00 GMT on January 19, 2007, as he returned to the offices of Agos (Photo: Rupen Janbazian)

Dear Hrant,

I believe by now, the water found its crack; you found in the great beyond those whom we lost 92 years ago.

Hrant, I have some favors to ask.

Embrace Krikor Zohrab for me. Tell him I have been reading and rereading his short stories ever since I discovered them.

Give Daniel Varoujan my best. Tell him he enlightened my youth with his poems, and he continues to inspire my soul.

Hrant, do not forget to chant songs of survival with Siamanto.

Tell them they are on our bookshelves, they are on our classroom tables, their words are on our lips and in our hearts.

And tell them I believe-I’m sure you do too-that one day, they will be on the bookshelves, classroom tables, lips and hearts of Turks as well.

One day their statues-and yours-will also adorn Istanbul.

Do not forget to pray with Komitas, and tell him that one day, Armenian women will sing again in the villages of Anatolia.

Please find my grandparents. Tell them we carry their names and their love to the land they never left, the land we never saw.

Hrant, kiss the blessed foreheads of each and every victim of the Medz Yeghern of 1915.

Tell them we shall continue to walk on the road of their dreams. Because their dreams are our dreams.

Tell them we shall make the deserts flourish with the scent of their memory.

Tell them that from Talaat to Samast, we are survivors.

Tell them we are all Zohrab, Varoujan, Siamanto, Komitas and Hrant.

 

Love,
Khatchig Mouradian

 

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Khatchig Mouradian

Khatchig Mouradian is a lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University, where he also heads the Armenian studies program. Mouradian’s first book, The Armenian Genocide and Resistance in Ottoman Syria during WWI, is forthcoming. Mouradian is also the author of articles on genocide, mass violence, unarmed resistance, and approaches to teaching history; the co-editor of a forthcoming book on late-Ottoman history; and the editor of the peer-reviewed journal The Armenian Review. His most recent publications include: “The Very Limit of our Endurance: Unarmed Resistance in Ottoman Syria during WWI,” in End of the Ottomans: The Genocide of 1915 and the Politics of Turkish Nationalism (London: I.B Tauris, 2019); and “Internment and Destruction: Concentration Camps during the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1916,” Internment during the First World War: A Mass Global Phenomenon (London: Routledge Studies in First World War History, 2018). Previously, Mouradian has taught courses on imperialism, mass violence, concentration camps, urban space and conflict in the Middle East, the aftermaths of war and mass violence, and human rights at Worcester State University, Clark University, Stockton University, Rutgers University, and California State University – Fresno.

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