By Bedros Kojian, M.D.
There is a great disparity in a statement of establishing a magnanimous Private Foundation in Armenia, successful fund raising activities and donations to NON-VITAL, but important Armenian causes. And the GLARING absence of funds and/or donations to the Syrian Armenian CRISIS, eloquently stated in “Will You Be The First to Call” article by Mr. Zaven Khanjian.
It is unconscionable that most of us, Armenians, like the rest of the world are acting as if we are oblivious that the entire vibrant and prosperous Syrian Armenian Community is in a catastrophic state. To survive, most of them were forced to leave their destructed and looted homes, businesses and belongings that took them a century to built or acquire, hoping that in a “short period the nightmare” will be over, and they will return, reclaim and rebuild, but unfortunately as the conflict lingers it is becoming more and more clear that this is an illusion rather than a reality.
As an American Armenian, and the son of genocide survivors, (both parents) I, among others feel their pain and suffering. It reminds me of my parents’ stories of survival of the Armenian Genocide. At that time they were somewhat unfortunate because no one actually helped them except their skill, hard work and the determination to survive.
Now times have changed, thanks to the United States of America and other nations, we not only have a roof on our head and food on our table, we also have enough to spare to help others, especially our own Syrian Armenians that are destitute and in critical need.
Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian, scientist, explorer, statesman, humanitarian, and Noble Prize Laureate, after World War 1, was commissioned by the League of Nations to settle refugees and prisoners. He successfully helped settle hundreds of thousands of Germans, Austrians, Greeks, Turks, Russians and Armenians. In 1925, he was able to settle about seven thousand Armenians in soviet Armenia, ten thousand in Lebanon, and 40 thousand in Syria. The task was enormous and he needed additional funds, but his request to the League of Nations and his affluent friends for additional funds fell to deaf ears.
Demoralized he returned to his desk and noticed an envelope made of cheap paper addressed to him. Curiously he opened the envelope and found “a dime” and a note that said:” We are poor, and all we can afford is a dime, but we feel the pain and suffering of the Armenian refugees.” That gave him the idea to talk to people and lecture, thus he raised 10 cents and more at a time and eventually he raised hundreds and thousands of dollars to help settle many more refugees.
Now in this gravel state of the Syrian Armenian community, it is our turn to become “Fredtjof Nansens.” Through facebook, emails, texting and twitting, within seconds we can spread the word to our family, friends and others. And if we each contribute $5.00 or $10.00 or $1,000.00 or whatever else; me, you or others can afford, ANYTHING EXCEPT NOTHING, we will raise substantial amounts of money, and hopefully even enough to spare some to our Syrian brothers and sisters.
Please write your checks to SARF (Syrian Armenian Relief Fund) and mail to:
SARF (Syrian Armenian Relief Fund)
Glendale, CA 91209-1948
All donations are tax-deductable.
If you need additional information please get in touch with Zaven Khanjian Chairman of SARF Executive Committee at [email protected]
I am not a committee member, nor a Syrian Armenian.
Thank you. I am counting on you.