Friday, April 24, 2020

John Kaprielian: Genocide

This happened
let no one deny it.
You took us from our homes
our schools, our churches
dragged us from our seminaries
our hospitals, doctors and patients alike.

Marched us through the square
hung or shot the men outright
drove the women and children
through the desert
to die of starvation or dehydration
after days of abuse and humiliation.

This happened.
Let no one deny it,
I have heard it from the mouths
of those who were there
and those who were left behind.

Let no one excuse it as
“casualties of war”—
pregnant women are not
hiding bombs in their wombs;
toddlers are not “enemy combatants”
Rape and mutilation are always crimes.

But year after year
you refuse to admit it
to acknowledge the acts
of your ancestors
most now dead
to admit your collective guilt
and accept some judgement
however attenuated by time
and fading memory.

This happened
let no one deny it.
Let no one forget it.

©John Kaprielian

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