From childhood, my parents and grandparents and relatives told me about my ancestors from Western Armenia. The people of Musa Dagh. Their story is unique amidst the millions of stories about the Armenian Genocide. Unlike millions of horrific stories of massacres, these people held their ground against Ottoman military and defended their right to life. 4000 civilians from 6 villages (Kheter Bey, Bitias, Vakef, Yoghunoluk, Kabusia and Haji Habibli) around the Moses Mountain (translated from Turkish) believed in their rights and chose to perform a fundamental action- reject the Turkish deportation plan and climb the nearby mountain and organize self-defence. However unrealistic that might have sounded, the fear did not creep in, because one can choose between giving it all in a fight or losing it all through surrender. But to reach such a choice people need to know their rights, contain elements of self-organization and most importantly produce actions, realistic, measurable actions. 250 Armenian men fighting off more than 1000 Ottoman soldiers is a measurable and realistic action in a mountain area self-defence plan. But why didn’t 1.5 million Armenians have similar plans? I ask this question every day. And I have yet to find an answer beyond my own or other intellectual’s speculation.
I wasn’t told the story of Musa Dagh from school (except a small paragraph in a textbook). My teachers didn’t heavily propagate the pictures of the self-defence of Van, Musa-Dagh, Zeytoon and other locations. But I remember clear as a day the tragic, horrific and mesmerizing stories that teachers endlessly pounded into our heads in middle school and high school. I’m tired of the helpless victim agenda though. I can understand this approach when propagating the Genocide to foreigners, but not to Armenians. The new generation needs heroes of the past to move them out of its misery. By giving them martyrs (literally, according to the Armenian Apostolic Church since 2015) we condemn a whole nation’s survival to a downfall of pity and unorganized mediocrity. There is a saying, “Nothing is forgotten, no one is forgotten.” But some heroes of the self-defense movements of the Armenian Genocide are more forgotten, than the sung martyrs of Ottoman massacres.