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Friday Slide Show: Mount Davidson Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

21 April 2017

Every now and then we revisit the site of a previous slide show. Our earlier visit to Mount Davidson amounted to only three black-and-white images so we thought this week would be a nice time to return to the tallest peak in the city.

Not only was the cross illuminated for Easter, but on Apri 24 it will be lit again to commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian genocide is the subject of Armenian Golgotha by Grigoris Balakian, who on April 24, 1915 was arrested along with some 250 other leaders of Constantinople's Armenian community and lived to tell an unforgettable story.

At one point, he reports what two Armenien soldiers told him when they discovered to their surprise that he was an Armenian clergyman:

It is impossible for human language to describe what those who went to Der Zor experienced. Thousands of families put on the road from Aleppo, to be sent to Der Zor; of these, not even five percent reached Der Zor alive. Because bandits in the desert, called Yeneze, in groups on horseback and armed with spears, attacked these defenseless people; they killed, they abducted, they raped, they plundered, they selected those appealing to them and carried them off, subjecting those who resisted to horrific torture, before picking up and leaving. Because it was forbidden and impossible to turn back, those who survived had no choice but to go forward and were subject to new attacks and plundering. Not even five percent reached Der Zor.

It would be an incredible story but for the news coming from the Middle East today.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Dept. has posted a sign at the top of the hill to explain how the Armenian American Organization of Northern California acquired the historical site:

The flat, cleared area at the top of Mount Davidson, including the land upon which the cross stands, is not owned or maintained by the City and County of San Francisco. The city sold this land in accordance with the constitutional principle of separation of Church and State, which is fundamental to our political system. The transfer was made to comply with a federal court decision holding that the presence of the cross on public land violated the California constitution. The city sold the land at a public auction to the Council of Armenian American Organizations of Northern California, a non-profit, secular corporation. The conveyance was approved by the San Francisco voters on November 4, 1997.

The images in this set were taken over several years with three cameras: the Konica Minolta 5D, Canon PowerShot SD100, Nikon D200. They were all processed in Lightroom CC but only the Nikon images were Raw. The Konica Minolta JPEGs, however, gave us plenty of editing headroom, in contrast to the PowerShot images, which had barely any.

After a signature initial shot, showing the view of downtown, we've arranged them as you might experience a walk up the hill yourself. If you want to get back down, just view them in reverse order.

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