A Message from 1878

As the Armenian town of Kessab in Syria is under siege, its Armenian population has been completely evacuated, with many Armenians hiding in churches. CivilNet reports that the church is sending a delegation to Latakia to see what help the escapees need.

Raffi (Hakob Melik Hakobian)

Given the circumstances, I thought the passage below was appropriate. It was written in 1878 by Raffi (Hakob Melik Hakobian) in his book, Jalaleddin. 1878. Sixteen years before the Hamidian massacres and 27 years before the Armenian Genocide.

“O fathers! O forefathers! I drink this cup, but not to you. If instead of all these monasteries that you filled our homeland with you had built fortresses; if instead of exhausting our wealth on the purchase of holy crosses and sacred vessels you had bought weapons; if instead of filling our churches with clouds of sweet smelling incense you had burned gunpowder, our homeland would already be free and the Kurds wouldn’t be here raiding our villages, killing our children, ravaging our women…Our country’s destruction began here in these monasteries, for it was in them that our courage and daring were extinguished. Since the moment Drtad exchanged his sword and crown for the cross and disappeared into Maniah cave to practice asceticism, these monasteries committed us to slavery…O ancient gods of the Armenians! O Anahit! O Vahakn and Haik! It’s to your sacred memory that I drink from this cup. You, come and save us!”

Also relevant is Khrimyan Hayrig’s Iron Ladle speech the same year.