Letter Writing the Road to Peace
By Michael Boyajian
When I was a little boy I signed up with an organization that brought together people as pen pals. This was before email and people as pen pals would exchange letters via snail mail.
I was all excited as I checked my mailbox every day awaiting a letter from my new pen pal who at that point was unknown to me. Then one day a letter arrived from a distant land. It was from a Turkish girl and she enclosed a photo of herself in a swim suit.
Well I should have been excited by this new friend but my bubble actually burst for two reasons. First I was expecting a letter from a boy so we could have a Sherlock Holmes-Dr. Watson discourse. You see I was at the age when girls were of no interest.
Secondly, I was an Armenian and she was a Turk and so the Armenian Genocide stood between us and the relationship was doomed at that time. This, my friends was a missed opportunity not between boy and girl but between a Turk and an Armenian, a Muslim and a Christian, an American and a foreigner. One had reached out across thousands of miles for friendship only to be rebuked.
How different would my life have been if I had written back? My early life would have had more of a world view rather than an insular American one which I held until middle age.
Perhaps our relationship would have led to peace between two peoples. Apologies, forgiveness, a bridge between two worlds. Consider the possibilities under Chaos Theory. You know where a butterfly flaps a wing in Mexico and it develops a storm in the Northeast. Two children become pen pals and world peace breaks out all over and there is no longer a clash between East and West, Muslim and Christian, the New World and the Old.
Well in a way this little dream of mine has come to fruition with the internet, email and social networking sites. People around the world join together for instant communications and perhaps soon peace will break out all over however long delayed.