Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, by Grigoris Balakian, Peter Balakian

By Grigoris Balakian, Peter Balakian

By no means prior to in English, Armenian Golgotha is the main dramatic and entire eyewitness account of the 1st smooth genocide.

On April 24, 1915, the priest Grigoris Balakian used to be arrested in addition to a few 250 different intellectuals and leaders of Constantinople’s Armenian group. It used to be the start of the Ottoman Turkish government’s systematic try to cast off the Armenian humans from Turkey; it used to be a crusade that persisted via international battle I and the autumn of the Ottoman Empire, wherein time greater than 1000000 Armenians were annihilated and expunged from their ancient place of origin. For Grigoris Balakian, himself condemned, it used to be additionally the start of a four-year ordeal in which he may undergo witness to a probably unending caravan of blood.

Balakian sees his countrymen despatched in carts, on donkeys, or taking walks to stand sure loss of life within the wasteland of northern Syria. Many wouldn't even live to tell the tale the adventure, affliction hunger, disorder, mutilation, and rape, between different tortures, sooner than being slaughtered en direction. In those pages, he brings to existence the phrases and deeds of survivors, overseas witnesses, and Turkish officers desirous about the bloodbath technique, and in addition of these few courageous, righteous Turks, who, with a few of their German allies operating for the Baghdad Railway, resisted orders calling for the demise of the Armenians. Miraculously, Balakian manages to flee, and his flight—through woodland and over mountain, in conceal as a railroad employee after which as a German soldier—is a suspenseful, harrowing odyssey that makes attainable his singular testimony.

Full of wise insights into the political, ancient, and cultural context of the Armenian genocide—the template for the next mass killings that experience solid a shadow around the 20th century and beyond—this memoir is destined to develop into a vintage of survivor literature. Armenian Golgotha is bound to deepen our figuring out of a catastrophic crime that the Turkish executive, the Ottomans’ successor, denies to at the present time.

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Translation Bringing Armenian Golgotha into English has involved a complex collaborative process of translation that began in 1999 when Anahid Yeremian, a particle physicist at Stanford University generously offered to start translating the first chapters of Armenian Golgotha for me to translate further. The process was halted due to my work on other books and when it recommenced around 2004, I was working with Aris Sevag as the primary translator, though Yeremian continued to provide assistance.

Nazim of war crimes and sentences them to death in absentia. 1920 APRIL 22 The United States recognizes the Democratic Republic of Armenia. APRIL 23 In Ankara, Turkish nationalists form a separategovernment and elect Mustapha Kemal as theirleader. The Allies, negotiating the Treaty of Sèvres, askPresident Wilson to draw the boundary lines of the Armenian Republic. MAY 24 President Wilson goes before Congress seeking a mandate for Armenia. The Senate will reject it on June 1. SEPTEMBER Kemalist forces launch a major offensive against the Republic of Armenia.

As he managed to stay alive through an extraordinary chain of circumstances, Balakian became an observer of what one might call the inner life of the Armenian Genocide. Thus the perspective of witness here is more multifarious and broad than in most survivor memoirs. We see, in process, the “government planned, systematic, race extermination,” as The New York Times referred to it in 1915, from conception to execution; from its impact on the victims—women, children, and men of all ages—to its impact on the perpetrators and bystanders.

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