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GIVE THE LAND BACK By Kevork K. Kalayjian, Jr. The land where my people lived once was being shown on TV for its pristine beauty for having vast stretches of untouched nature and scattered remains of the ruins of an ancient glory. The fertile land that I was forbidden to touch the picturesque mountains that I haven't climbed were being showcased on TV to encourage tourism and entice new peoples to settle the depopulated land My land etched in my soul with its rich heritage and history was on sale together with the enslaved souls of my ancestors. No one could see the sorrow of my ancestors as their ghosts danced behind the scenes with the centuries before and centuries after Jesus Christ, the other prophets, including all the new corporations. Your children look at me bewildered, how can a soul remember all this? Where is this mythical dance? Were there ever people called natives? How could millions of humans perish in only a few years? Why hold the current inhabitants responsible for the ethnic cleansing? Centuries have passed, sentiments have changed, a way of life perished! Your march of victory through history squishes in the blood... of the butchered souls of the City of Thousand-and-One Churches the screech of burned Armenians within their own houses of worship, and all those starved, scorched to a slow torturous death in The Desert. Injustice: your markets chime with stolen gold and stripped sanctity of the land Enslavement: squaw men push the natives into prisons of misery in Reservations Your Democracy: teaches global consumption of burgers, cola, and cars Your Cultural Revolution: is to eliminate the civilization of Tibet Your Cultural Unification: aims at the assimilation of the different Your Apartheid Racism: creates refugees of people living on their land. Give the land back to the natives; forget the number of centuries, Hand over the instrument to the musician who knows how to play love ... to yourselves, to nourish the different unique native way. Give the land back to the natives before it's too late to plant the crops! to read the signals of the land, and the messages of the turbulent winds. Give the land back to the natives before your brutality permeates your soul. -- Kevork K. Kalayjian, Jr. A graduate of the AGBU's Melkonian Educational Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus, holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Rutherford, NJ, and a M. Ed. Counseling Psychology, from William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ. Kevork resides in NY with his wife Maral, and three sons Aramazt, Tro, and Ohanes.