Page:Ravished Armenia.djvu/24

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16
FOREWORD

state religion. This is said to be the oldest Christian Church in existence.

“In face of persecutions which have had no parallel elsewhere, these people have clung to their early Christian faith with the utmost tenacity. For 1,500 years they have lived there in Armenia, a little island of Christians, surrounded by backward peoples of hostile religion and hostile race. Their long existence has been one unending martyrdom. The territory which they inhabit forms the connecting link between Europe and Asia, and all the Asiatic invasions—Saracens, Tartars, Mongols, Kurds and Turks—have passed over their peaceful country.”

Aurora Mardiganian has come to America to tell the story of her suffering peoples and to do her part in making it possible for her country to be rebuilt. She is only a little girl, but in giving her story to the American people through the daily newspapers, in this book, and the motion picture which is being prepared for that purpose by the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, she is, I feel, playing one of the greatest parts in helping to reestablish again “peace on earth, good will to men” in ancient Bible Lands, the home in her generation of her people. Her mother, her father, her brothers and sisters are gone, but according to the most careful estimates, 3,950,000 destitute peoples, mostly women and children who had been driven many of them as far as one thousand miles