Welcome to my blog about Grit and Grace in a World Gone Mad.
The latest post is first, and the others descend by date:
The pathetic words and actions of powerful men in the news reminded me of a 38-word poem by Langston Hughes. He expressed my thoughts so succinctly.
It’s been a long haul trying to convince a publisher that a story about a remarkable group of missionaries and relief workers was worth printing. At last!
The current trend is to remove statues of historical figures because they are “offensive”. Is history so easy to erase? Are people so easy to appease?
It’s frightening how a few powerful, conservative men can force their own interpretation of the Quran on millions of Turkish women.
A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe, but apparently we can begin reconciliation in one, too. Unity through united effort!
Reconciliation is only possible with understanding and some sort of empathy. And there's one key ingredient to open that doorway.
This story gives me hope, and reminds me that people can change their attitudes and behaviours—if they have courage.
Living during apartheid was like time travelling back to the 1950's segregated southern USA... but with an Afrikaans accent.
It is never easy to acknowledge horrible truths nor take action to make peace with those you’ve wronged. Germany did it.
Is it possible for Turkey to have its own truth and reconciliation commission regarding the genocide of the early 20th century? Maybe yes.
What is it like to be in a siege? We have an inkling of what civilians in Mosul today are experiencing, thanks to diaries and reports of relief workers almost 100 years ago.
Canada has survived 150 years. Let us celebrate the end of our growing pains, hope for maturity and take action toward reconciliation.
Is there a difference between a fact and the truth? How does context relate to them? Is reconciliation possible without truth? How good a witness are you?
A simple but profound story of survival during World War II reminded me of the importance of taking care of yourself.
The idea of children as plants to be nurtured and teachers as gardeners turns out to be an old idea, but one that spread quickly and firmly around the world.
Violence is legitimate cause for fear, but what if the reports of crime aren’t legitimate or are exaggerated or assumed? e.g., villages in Turkey 1909 and my Mom in Canada 1999.
May 19 is the day of remembrance for the Pontic Greeks of northern Turkey who were almost entirely wiped out during the Greco-Turkish War (1919-22).
Turkey and the USA have a long history of a delicately balanced political dance, but there's one safe prediction for today.
There was, and still is, a “lamentable lack of understanding” of attitudes to one’s own country, sometimes at the expense of good relations with others.
Yesterday I was honoured to be guest at the citizenship ceremony of my dear friends. They are officially the newest Canadians.
Filmmaker Luc Besson warns the French they are being scammed by a woman who is changing her public image to get elected: "We are the scammed."
April 30 marks the 40th anniversary of the march of the Mothers of the Disappeared. They refuse to allow denial in Argentina.
The Promise’s slogan is “Empires fall. Love survives.” That’s an interesting take on a movie set against the background of the Armenian Genocide during the late Ottoman Empire.
Large chunks of history are missing from textbooks and national conversations, because all countries have an Official Version of history. What’s yours?
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
We think of capitulation as surrender, but in 16th-20th centuries it meant something different to the Sultans, and something crazy but wonderful for foreigners.
Editor-writer Ahmed Aghayev made an eloquent argument for the instigation of reforms in the predominantly-Armenian Ottoman vilayets.
The Whittall’s home was known in Constantinople as a refuge for Armenians and Greeks, but the lady also saved a famous Turkish general during the Sultan's counter-coup.
Truth is often a casualty of those who seek to maintain power. It’s a growing trend to imprison or kill journalists and suspend media agencies.
War never occurs without heartbreak. In April 2017 it was the terrible gas attack on civilians in Syria. In April 1917 it was the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers at Vimy.
These brief tales show some consequences of corruption and nepotism: bad and dangerous advice to a leader, and damage to the education system and democratic reforms.
Despite claims in most newspapers of "bad administration" and a "despotic attitude," the Committee of Union & Progress turned joy into condemnation, and seized total power in 4 short years.
Neither black Canadians nor Armenian Ottomans were trusted to bear arms in WWI. Could it have had something to do with their racial heritage?
Was the 1910 solution the government found for the infamous dog “problem” in the famous city a forerunner to the Armenian question in the Ottoman Empire?
Missionaries had a lot of gold. They used it to pay for the vital needs of refugees and those under their care. But other people wanted to get their hands on it, too.
Did you know that Australians not only participated in the infamous WWI Gallipoli Campaign, but witnessed the genocides, and gave humanitarian aid to the survivors?
How world-weary does one have to be to call destruction and murder “the usual business”? The motto of this Scottish nurse seemed to be Keep Calm and Carry On.
Fun evenings’ entertainment used to be sing-alongs by the piano, or a rousing game of charades. This new-fangled contraption elevated it to the next level!
This officious guy was a high ranking representative of the United States of America. Does he remind you of any other officious official today?
We associate post-traumatic stress disorder with soliders, but health care professionals and humanitarian aid workers experience it, too. Now and 100 years ago.
A fact used to be something known to exist or to have happened, right? Not so fast. In the 1920s there were also true facts, actual facts, alternative facts, and real whoppers.
Do you think of missionaries of old as “somber-garbed, psalm-singing, nasal-voiced, narrow-minded proselytizers?” If so, you’d be as wrong as I was.
Writing is hard work. To liven it up, I run movies in the theatre of my mind. The people I’m writing about come alive in my head, except they look an awful lot like famous movie stars.
Substantial humanitarian aid in the Ottoman Empire came from the British Empire: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and other countries.
The book I’m writing will NOT be published without help. Not financial help. No, I need as many “likes” as possible because that’s what publishers want.
International humanitarian aid is more than a hundred years old. It started in and around the Ottoman Empire. This is a brief account of how it began – in grand American style.
Paul Simon’s powerful song “The Sound of Silence” is relevant to any time in history. But especially today, we need reminding that silence, like a cancer, grows into ugliness.
Even when it’s not a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, we can still take solace from the wisdom of Mr. Rogers: There are so many helpers in the world.
Are the anti-Christian sentiments and violence in 1915 being repeated in reverse in 2017? Do you think it's impossible for genocide to happen in North America?
I know the two women on the left, but need help identifying the other American and Canadian missionaries and NER relief workers in Talas and Cesarea, Turkey 1919.
Five Armenian children were sweetly loved by a Bedouin sheikh and his family, but bureaucracy bitterly interfered with everyone’s happiness.
ABCFM missionaries were very well educated, some with two or three university or college degrees. Check it out: 177 people, 68 institutions, 239 degrees.
Though born a century apart, with many differences, the similarities between Trump and Talat are scary. So we have to ask: Could they have been separated at birth?
It’s the basis of tabbouleh, but do you know how to make bulgur? Here’s the recipe: First, get a bunch of orphans. Then add bushels of wheat...
Young, innocent Aurora Mardiganian had finally escaped her abusers. Now she was ripe for exploitation by Hollywood, Madison Ave and wartime propaganda.
Aurora Mardiganian and Farida Khalaf were kidnapped during genocide, and taken into slavery in 1917 and 2017 respectively. Could they ever really recover from physical, emotional and sexual abuse?
For many young, college-educated, single American and Canadian ladies circa 1900, the choice between remaining home or thrilling international work was no choice at all.
In 1913-14 a series of pamphlets circulated in Constantinople detailing the treasonous actions of mainly Greek merchants. Could this be an example of fake news, Ottoman-style?
The kindness of friends is wonderful. The kindness of strangers can be astounding. Together this support can transform lives in unexpected ways, both large and small.
In many parts of the Western Front of WWI, there were no guns, no killing, on Christmas Eve 1914. It was truly a silent night. A blessed night that renews my faith in humanity.
The Whirling Dervishes were Sufi Muslims specific to the Konia region. In 1909 the well-respected sheikh of the order saved Armenians and Greeks from massacre.
While he’s no Dylan Thomas, a visiting ABCFM secretary gives us a glimpse into a 1910 Christmas at a mission station. And I add my two cents, too.
Acronyms save time—but only if you know what they mean. ABCFM? ACASR? ACRNE? And what exactly is “Oriental”? This glossary will help you keep it straight.
The evacuation of innocent civilians is once again delayed. Bombs continue to fall and people continue to die. And we continue to say, Never Again.
Lee Vrooman was one of the first relief workers in Turkey. As a dutiful son, he wrote to his mother... with content guaranteed to give her nightmares.
Our choice of language affects our relationships, for better or worse. Examine the specifics and generalizations used about Turks, Russians, Armenians, and Americans in Erzroom.
"Grit and Grace in a World Gone Mad" is off to a good start thanks to the tremendous support by Kamo Mailyan, "the man behind the book."
Is the term Syrian or Assyrian? Why did the Armenian genocide did not occur in Armenia, nor the Greek genocide in Greece? Confused? Check out this brief glossary.
The diary of a Red Cross nurse gives us a glimpse into what the siege of a city must feel like. Aleppo falls today as Marash did in 1920.
The owners of the Baron Hotel in Aleppo helped Armenian and Assyrian refugees in 1916. They are helping refugees in the war-torn city today.
What are the consequences of a boycott against products based on religion? Is it a positive protest or can it lead to something more sinister?
Why should we care about the destruction of an evil empire and the great humanitarian efforts of a hundred years ago? Read my blog regularly to find out.