To Be Armenian

``To be Armenian is not easy and to choose to remain is a trial and obligation,'' Avedik Issahakian claims. But William Saroyan answers in the spirit of fun: ``Being Armenian means merely saying you are one.''

``After all those massacres,'' my grandfather says, ``to be born at all is a miracle; to remain just stubbornness.''

``To be born Armenian,'' says my father, ``is to inherit a cause and a case; to remain Armenian means using pen and sword in their place.''

``To be Armenian means hoping,'' (Antranig Zarougian's word) ``when a plane crash is in the news, no Armenian is aboard.''

To be Armenian means choosing Hittite and Urartuan roots. To remain Armenian means eating history's forbidden fruits.

``To be Armenian you must love land held by others,'' Tavtian insists. Remaining Armenian means trusting justice that does not exist.

``To be born Armenian is to be orphaned,'' Shiraz wrote in his poem. And to remain Armenian is believing a mother and father wait at home.

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