For the last two days I have been quoting politicians and journalists hoping that my readers will familiarize themselves with the facts concerning that dark era in our history, the Armenian Genocide. For all of you who read my posts I thank you from the bottom of my heart. As Dr. Mark Vonnegut (M.D) wrote:
“We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”
One of my all time favorite books is “Blubeard” published in 1987. It is a story created by one of America’s finest writers, Kurt Vonnegut, known for his use of science fiction in his stories.
In his book “Bluebeard”, or “The autobiography of Rabo Karabekian 1916-1988”, however, there is no reference to science fiction. The key character is Rabo, an Armenian artist, and the story is narrated by him. He writes:
“My mother and father had families bigger than those two of mine back in the Old world- and of course their relatives back there were blood relatives. They lost their blood relatives to a massacre by the Turkish Empire of about one million of its Armenian citizens, who were thought to be treacherous for two reasons: first because they were clever and educated, and second because so many of them had relatives on the other side of Turkey’s border with its enemy, the Russian Empire.
The German Empire, allied with the Turks, sent impassive military observers to evaluate this century’s first genocide, a word which did nit exist in any language then. The word is now understood to mean a carefully planned effort to kill every member, be it man, woman, or child, of a perceived subfamily of the human race.
The problems presented by such ambitious projects are purely industrial: how to kill that many big, resourceful animals cheaply and quickly, make sure that nobody gets away, and dispose of mountains of meat and bones afterwards. The Turks, in their pioneering effort, had neither the aptitude for really big business nor specialized machinery required. The Germans would exhibit both par excellence only one quarter of a century later. The Turks simply took all the Armenians they could find in their homes or places of work or refreshment or play or worship or education or whatever, marched them out into the countryside, and kept them away from food and water and shelter, and shot them and bashed them and so on until they all appeared to be dead. It was up to dogs and vultures and rodents and so on, and finally worms, to clean up the mess afterwards.
“One million, one million, one million,” he (my father) might say. This is the generally accepted figure for the number of Armenians killed by the Turks in the massacre from which my parents escaped. That was two thirds of Turkey’s Armenians, and about half the Armenians in the whole world.
“Musa Dagh!” he might say. This was the name of a place in Turkey where a small band of Armenian civilians fought Turkish militiamen to a standstill for forty days and forty nights before being exterminated.”
All of this and more from an American writer!
Musa Dagh is where I come from. Both my grandfathers fought the Turks then and I am proud to say “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh” by Franz Werfel is their story, my story.
Thank you Kurt Vonnegut. May you rest in peace!