Your part in ending world hunger

Expressing spiritual qualities can help to feed hungry people.

In 1915, the Ottoman government deported Armenians living in Western Armenia into what are now the Syrian deserts. About a million people died from lack of water or food, or were killed by Ottoman soldiers, Arabs, or Kurds.

I was a little girl at the time, and everyone said I should eat everything on my plate because there were "starving Armenians." Most of us didn't know about what was perhaps the first genocide in modern times. But even though I didn't understand the political situation, something touched my heart. There were kids out there who did not have enough to eat. What I did or didn't do related to it.

Wondering if "starving Armenians" was just a phrase from my culture and era, I recently searched the Internet and found several Web sites using it. On one woman's site, she told of the childhood pressure to eat her Brussels sprouts because of "the starving Armenians." She's developing a Web site to help Armenians communicate with one another. It doesn't directly address hunger, but her compassion was obviously aroused by a childhood experience similar to mine.

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November 27, 2000

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