Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Courage to be Kind

So there they were, sitting in the back of Panera, old friends from college days, talking about an upcoming trip to Turkey.  "It takes courage to be kind, you know," Marash Girl commented.  "My father used to always say, 'If it weren't for the Turks, not one Armenian would be alive today.'  Whenever he said that, of course, it would make other Armenians angry;  they would always answer, 'If it weren't for the Turks, 1.5 million Armenians would not have been slaughtered,'  (referring, of course, to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1922, a Genocide perpetrated by the Young Turks, a genocide that Marash Girl's father had survived).  But Marash Girl's father loved irony and often employed it . . . Marash Girl's father knew of the courage to be kind; his Turkish neighbors often alerted his family as to when the next local death march gathering was to occur, and where his family could safely hide. . . Not much, but when your life was at risk for protecting an Armenian in any way, a lot.  The Good Turk, the Good German . . .  the courage to be kind.

The group of ladies played with that concept for awhile until one of the ladies cried out, "But I didn't have the courage to be kind and I regret it to this day."

The ladies all turned to her.

"When I was four years old, I witnessed our tough 16 year old neighbor beating up, really beating up the local shy fat boy; I wanted to say something, but I never did.  I have never forgiven myself."

The ladies all chimed in.  "But it wasn't your fault.  How could you make a difference at 4 years old?"

 "I could have made a difference, but I didn't.  I think I feared he would beat me up as well."

No matter what the ladies said,  the four year old now adult could not forgive herself.

"Do you still know the boy who was beaten up?" one of the ladies asked.

"My sister does."

"Can you get in touch with him and tell him how sorry you are that you did nothing to help?"

"I can try to find him."

"Do it," the group said in unison.  "Find him and tell him how you feel."

"Okay, I'll try," said the four year old now adult lady. "I'll try."

1 comment:

  1. I would be curious to hear if that lady found the boy/man in question and how the meeting went.

    I sometimes think about how many people who have had a positive impact on the planet would never have existed at all if things like the Holocaust or the Armenian Genocide never took place. That is not, of course, in any way to condone either even - it just makes you wonder.