We learned this week from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) that the beautiful rug created in 1920 by orphans of the Armenian Genocide and gifted to the United States five years later, might actually be placed on public display — as soon as this fall. Such news is certainly welcome, but we’ll believe it only when we (finally) see it.
After all, it took years of community pressure, a joint letter from members of Congress, another letter from Armenian leaders and a website petition to apparently convince the White House, which has not displayed the rug since 1995, that it would be a good idea to make it accessible to everyone to admire it for its artistic qualities and reflect upon the tragedy from which it was born.
The rug, all 4 million knots of it, was created by the orphans as a handmade thank-you note for our country’s assistance during the genocide and the American people should be allowed to see it.
Although we can’t help but worry that the White House, which apparently wishes to stay in the good graces of ally Turkey, will drag its heels even longer in allowing the rug’s display, maybe there is reason for hope.
With diligent work on the behalf of Armenian leaders as well as Schiff and other officials in local, state and federal positions, strides have been made toward raising Americans’ consciousness about the systematic decimation of 1.5 million souls during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. Who knows? Perhaps it will go on display as promised later this year and our president will gaze upon it, contemplate its origin and rethink his studious post-election avoidance of the word “genocide” in connection with the tragic event.