“There is a small area of land in Asia Minor that is called Armenia, but it is not so. It is not Armenia. It is a place. There are only Armenians, and they inhabit the earth, not Armenia, since there is no Armenia. There is no America and there is no England, and no France, and no Italy. There is only the earth.”
This passage appears in William Saroyan’s Inhale and Exhale, written in 1936, 21 years after the Armenian genocide whose 100th anniversary we mark this week.
The human race has splintered itself into clans, tribes and nations. These groupings have regarded each other warily. Some, maybe most, have inflicted terrible sufferings on others.
But beneath the feet of every clan, tribe and nation lies, in Saroyan’s words, “only the earth” – the one earth, our island home. Saroyan yielded to no one in his fierce loyalty to his Armenian heritage and identity. But the earth itself, he says, is undivided.
This week of Earth Day, we’re also remembering the terrible violence inflicted on the Armenian people 100 years ago. The shed blood of generations defiles the earth beneath our feet. Yet this same earth sustains us all, across every boundary. Perhaps a common endeavor to care for the earth will help atone for the damage we have done not only to her, but to each other.
Rev. John M. Graham