Saturday, August 4, 2007
Mount Ararat, towering symbol of Armenia, is an awful reminder of wrongs unrighted
By Robert Fisk
"There is nothing so infinitely sad - so pitiful and yet so courageous - as a people who yearn to return to a land forever denied them; the Poles to Brest Litovsk, the Germans to Silesia, the Palestinians to that part of Palestine that is now Israel. When a people claim to have settled again in their ancestral lands - the Israelis, for example, at the cost of "cleansing" 750,000 Arabs who had perfectly legitimate rights to their homes - the world becomes misty eyed. But could any nation be more miserably bereft than one which sees, each day, the towering symbol of its own land in the hands of another?
Mount Ararat will never return to Armenia - not to the rump state which the Soviets created in 1920 after the Turkish genocide of one and a half million Armenians - and its presence to the west of the capital, Yerevan, is a desperate, awful, permanent reminder of wrongs unrighted, of atrocities unacknowledged, of dreams never to be fulfilled. I watched it all last week, cloud-shuffled in the morning, blue-hazed through the afternoon, ominous, oppressive, inspiring, magnificent, ludicrous in a way - for the freedom which it encourages can never be used to snatch it back from the Turks - capable of inspiring the loftiest verse and the most execrable commercialism......."