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Audrey Johnson

on 24 January 2017

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Transcript of Armenia

Grief by Siamanto

What is the Nature of War?
"...holding my two children by hand, I climbed the cavalry. Horror! ... I received a sword blow to my head, another on my neck ... I was thrown into the well with my children. I was on a pile of cadavers wet with blood."
“Now my parents were arguing. My mother can’t part from him… my mother kept looking back to the child and kept crying. But my father kept saying ‘Walk, woman. We will each stay behind too, one by one. We must. This is our fate.'"
"Our Turkish neighbors were very good people. They cried so much at our departure. ... We were peaceful and friendly with each other. We had no fear of Turks...When the orders came for us to leave, our Turkish neighbors could not face us. They felt so ashamed. And they did try to keep some of us."
You, stranger soul mate
Who leaves behind the road of joy,
listen to me.
I know your innocent feet are still wet with the blood of yours.
Foreign hands have come and yanked out
the sublime rose of freedom,
which finally bloomed from the pains of your race.

Let its divine scent intoxicate everyone,
Let everyone—those far away, your neighbor, the ungrateful,
come and burn incense
before the goddess of Justice
that you carved from the stone with your hammer.
Proud sowers, let others reap with your scythes
the wheat that ripens in the gold earth you ploughed.
Because if you are chased down by raw Evil,
don't forget that you are
to bring forth the fruitful Good.

Walk down the avenues of merriment
and don’t let the happy ones see in your eyes
that image of corpse and ash.
Spare the passerby, whether a good man or a criminal,
because Armenian pain
rises up in the eye’s visage.
As you walk through the crossroad of merriment
don’t let a speck of gladness or a tear
stain grief’s majesty.
Because for the vanquished, tears are cowardly
and for the victors, the smile is frivolous, a wrinkle.

Armenian woman, with veils darkening you like death.
You, young man with native anguish
running down your face,
walk down roads without rage of hate
and exclaim: what a bright day,
what a sarcastic grave digger...
What a mob, what dances, what joy
and what feasts everywhere...
our red shrouds are victory flags.
the bones of your pure brothers are flutes...
with them others are making strange music.
But don’t shudder, unknown sister
or brother of fate.
As you study the stars,
take heart, go on.
The law of life stays the same
human beings can’t understand each other.

And this evening before the sunset
all of you will go back to your houses,
whether they are mud or marble,
and calmly close the treacherous
Shutters of your windows.
shut them from the wicked Capital,
shut them to the face of humanity,
and to the face of your God...,
Even the lamp on your table
will be extinguished
by your soul’s one clear whispers.

Literary Analysis
The Author: Siamanto (1878-1915)
Armenian Genocide
Causes of Genocide
Atom Yerjanian
popular activist and acclaimed poet from Armenia
wrote about Armenian pain, suffering & freedom from oppression
In 1915, he was tortured and killed by the Ottomans during the Armenian Genocide
Armenians under Ottoman Empire faced inequality and oppression
desired independence
January 1915 - Turks attacked a Russian controlled city in Armenia and were
believed Armenians aided the Russians
Armenian regiment attacked a group of Turks
Turks were opposed to Armenian culture and religion
The Act of Genocide
What was the Armenian Genocide?
War forces people to wear a mask of happiness and indestructible national pride for the public, even when they feel grief, in order to make war bearable.
Lamp on your table
" - The light represents the active war - when its turned off, the war is perceived to be forgotten.
Rose of freedom
The bones of our pure brothers are flutes
Stranger, soulmate
" - these words create a paradox, how can a stranger be ones soulmate?
Our red shrouds are victory flags
occurred April 24, 1915 - 1916
over a million Armenians in the Ottoman empire were massacred during deportation by the Turks.
"I could barely shoot.
I only pretended too"
Enver Pasha:
leader of the Ottoman army - When asked where exactly in Mesopotamia the Armenians should be sent, he responds:
1,750,000 Armenians Deported. 800,000 Dead. 600,000 Vanished.
Temporary Law of Deportation

Issued May 15, 1915
Gave government legal authority to deport Armenians at will
April 24, 1915
Ottoman authorities rounded up and killed some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople.
ordinary Armenians forced to march to Mesopotamia through desert
the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre
over 800,000 Armenians died
2 Phases
April 1915-1916
Outside Reaction to the Genocide

German officials deemed it strictly Turkish issue
Americans protested along with their Ambassador Morgenthau, but these efforts went unrecognized
Arabs treated the Armenians with kindness, and took them in as they were deported or children were orphaned
By Cate Ryan, Audrey Johnson, Bruce Benjamin,
and Charlie Lubenow
"...I tried to find something amusing in everything. All this was like a game, a game that I could not believe was happening "
Full transcript