We are a nation. We are a nation in exile…

Sezai Babakuş


We are a nationsacrificed for the power wars of the Age of Empires, just one hundred and fifty years ago. We succumbed to the desire of expansion of an empire and the desire of predominance of others. Sometimes we burned in a fire of bravery, sometimes we hid in the shadow of fear. We tasted neglect and betrayal. We have stumbled, as much as we have shown heroism. We were defeated, broken, divided and exiled. We are the children of an exile we elegize, tell stories about and recall like yesterday.We are a nation. We are a nation in exile…

We are a nation. The war was for us and the exile too.

Some had an eye on our land. Tzar made the decision: Leave !...

Some had a say on our people. Sultan conferred a favor: Come !..

Some had a strategic plan. The queen abandoned: Retreat !...

We were the ones who lost. Few of us stayed, ‘wretched’, most of us went on their way, ‘detached’.

Those who stayed say

We were wounded, few, helpless. We rested in our land’s bosom, we were healed by the generous hands of our land, we renewed our spirit in the sanctuary of our forests. We were few but we built up hope, we held on to our roots and picked ourselves up. We were wretched but we built up courage and set up a new world. We resisted new invaders, we fought. We held our ground with our teeth and nails, with obstinacy and hope. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. We had a taste of freedom and independence. We felt proud and honored again. We held on till today.History flows slowly. We have only one wound yet unhealed, one grief yet not off of our hearts. We feel the absence of the ones who left.History flows slowly. We are waiting for our other half to build our future together.

Those who left say

We were beaten, exhausted, we surrendered.We drifted to the furious waves of Black Sea in jalopies. We were on the road, without a farewell to our land or to the ones who stayed. Perished by disease, starvation and cold weather, giving bodies to the sea, we arrived at our new homes. We paid the price, while holding on to our new lives. Then, we were many, now, we are millions. Then we were starving, we were out in the cold, now we have bread and butter, a roof over our head. We are living quietly in our new worlds, as if we have forgotten the ones we left, as if we do not care about the ones we have lost.History flows slowly. As if our minds get blurred, as if our hearts get rusty.History flows slowly. Roots do not forget, they never leave us. They hold us down like anchors, keep us from losing our grip. They keep us from exhaustion. We know that we are a nation in exile. We know that it’s time to return.History flows slowly.