December 25, 2021 marked the 200and birthday of “Angel of the Battlefield” and founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton. Among her many notable accomplishments in her lifetime, one was her trip to the Ottoman Empire of Turkey in 1896. At 75, Clara Barton left New York for Istanbul on January 22. “The image of that scene is still vivid in my memory,” wrote Barton after his return. “Crowded piers, wild with cheers, white with farewell salutes, hearts beating with excitement and expectation – a little band of five shorn, forbidden, unsupported by government or other authority, destined for a harbor five thousand miles distant, the approach of which even the powers of the world had diminished.
Barton obtained permits from the Ottoman government, remained in Istanbul, sending doctors and other teammates to historic Armenian settlements. According to his estimate, the trip saved the lives of 50,000 Armenians. Upon her return, she wrote a report titled “America’s Relief Effort in Asia Minor”. The Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan published it in 2012.
The traditions started by Barton continued throughout the Armenian Genocide. US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Dr. Clarence Ussher, Dr. Ernest Yarrow, John Elder and James Arroll of the YMCA, actor Jackie Coogan and many others have engaged in an unprecedented humanitarian effort to help suffering Christians. In gratitude, a group of Armenian children stood in front of an American orphanage and signaled, “America, we thank you.” Four hundred girls waved a carpet of gratitude with nearly four million handmade knots, donated to the White House in 1925. In 2021, an Armenian producer Manvel Saribekian prepared a film to highlight the historic help of the American people .
Today, in helping Armenian families living under Azerbaijani-Turkish siege, International Christian Concern seeks to continue the noble efforts of Clara Barton and the missionaries who tirelessly helped suffering Armenians. The small Christian country resists the continuous pressure and aggression of the radical forces also thanks to the substantial material and moral support received. It shows that the Christian island of Armenia, at the intersection of Europe and Asia, is not alone.
Today, as Azerbaijan officially threatens to erase Armenian cultural heritage, the assistance of the ICC or other American and international organizations is hard to overestimate.
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Since 1995, ICC has served the persecuted world church through a three-pronged approach of advocacy, outreach and assistance. ICC exists to heal the wounds of persecuted Christians and to build the church in the most difficult parts of the world.
Haykaram Nahapetyan is the American journalist of the Armenian First Channel. He holds a doctorate. student at Liberty University in Virginia.