Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Represent the Second Generation After the Armenian Genocide-In the memory of Sarkis Ashjian, a Genocide survivor

When I was young, I knew that I, unlike my schoolmates in the United Armenian School of Baghdad, used to hear the stories of the Armenian Genocide directly from my deceased father, an eyewitness-survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Later on I understood that I represent the second generation after the Armenian Genocide. My schoolmates used to hear these stories from their grandfathers and grandmothers or fathers and mothers who had heard these stories from them. This was because my father Sarkis Ashjian (born in the city of Urfa in 1904 and died in Baghdad in 1981) married my mother (after the death of his first wife) at the age of 53.
Anyway, the most grievous thing to me in my young age was to hear from my father the stories of outraging Armenian children and women during the Armenian Genocide. All my father's family members were martyred during Urfa's self-defense war and then deportation, except his elder brother whom he lost and found after years by newspaper advertisement (!!) when my father was in an orphanage in Lebanon. My father was sold four times to Kurds and his name was changed to Hussein before he could escape and restore his Armenian identity.
My father arrived in Iraq after the Genocide. My mother (with my two uncles and grandmother) immigrated to Baghdad from Aleppo in 1947.
Genocide was an oft-spoken topic in my family, especially by my late father and this had left a great impact on me. When I grew up I began to work for the Armenian Cause and carry out research to the Armenian Genocide.
On May, 27, 2013, I visited a photo exhibition titled “Along the Trails of the Armenian Orphans”, which was opened in Yerevan at the imitative of Naregatsi Art Institute and with the support of the Near East Relief and the U.S. Embassy in Armenia.
After the visit I wrote the following on Facebook:
“I visited this exhibition today. It is very impressing. I stood long in front of the pictures representing the life of the Armenian orphans in Jbeil Orphanage in Lebanon after the Armenian Genocide. My late father (born in Urfa) was there. I remembered him telling me about his hard life in the orphanage. The pictures I saw today describe what my father used to tell me in sorrow. I tried to recognize my father's face among the many faces in the pictures. My father as the other orphans suffered from malnutrition and Nyctalopia. The picture that illustrated the many orphans in the dining room caught my attention. On the picture it was written: "Little Nutrition" !


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...