Tomorrow is the 24th of April 2015.
Tomorrow, Armenians from all over the world are commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
A hundred years ago this day, began the persecution of the Armenia Community by the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
A hundred years ago, my grand mother, along with her mother, started her march to the unknown.
News broke that Armenian men were being arrested, imprisoned and executed. Women and children were being exiled from their homes. My grand mother is one of the many who escaped the massacre thanks to the helpful warning and care of the Kurds.
She passed away in 1995 at the age of 95, however never forgot to share her story with me and my brother.
Here is the tale of a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.
The persecution of the Armenians had already began in the Empire. One night, their Kurdish neighbor, a Sheikh, woke them up and told them to leave all their possession behind and proposed to take my teta and her mother with him and pass them as members of his family. They were fleeing Bitlis as well, scared of the unknown future.My great grand father could not leave and was left behind not to be seen again.
During their long march, my grand mother was a 15 years old young girl. Her mother was concerned of her fate knowing that her advanced age and ailing health will not permit her to continue for long. When the convoy arrived in Syria and knowing her time was up, she grabbed the Kurdish Sheikh’s hand and made him promise to never give his child away to a non- Christian man. She promised to haunt him if he ever broke his word. She passed away a couple of days later. The Sheikh being very superstitious and having in his hands a young Armenian girl started looking for a suitor. He took care of her as her own and a year later introduced her to an Armenian man, himself from Bitlis.
My Grand parents got married and established themselves in Beirut. As any immigrant who had lost everything and left their dear ones behind, they worked hard and succeeded in establishing themselves within the Lebanese society. They embraced Lebanon, its culture and its society. They became part of the Lebanese history of Genocide survivors.
Then followed the next generation of the KhanA family.
We are proud of our heritage. We are Lebanese of Armenian origin. Lebanon is my country. I was born and raised in Beirut. However, as any other person of Armenian descent, I will never forget the Armenian Genocide. I will never forget my history and where my ancestors are from.
I am a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.