"I am granddaughter of Garabed and I remember "

The wedding picture of Garabed and Satenig Manoogians
The wedding picture of Garabed and Satenig Manoogians

Photo: Margaret Manoogian’s archive

Margaret Manoogian at Ani. Gazing from Turkey to Armenia
Margaret Manoogian at Ani. Gazing from Turkey to Armenia

Photo: Margaret Manoogian’s archive

In April 2015, the month in which world marked the 100 years since the Armenian genocide, the Guardian asked readers in the country, and those in Diaspora, to share their stories of how the violence had affected their family history.

The project, led by the New East network, had a an overwhelming response with over 500 people sending letters, photos and testimony, some of which were used in the coverage of the centennial.

A year on and Mediamax have worked with the Guardian to revisit some of the stories, published here as we approach the 101st anniversary.

Margaret Manoogian

I am the granddaughter of Genocide survivors. My grandfather, orphaned, banded with a small group of young boys and after many attempts, made it finally to Canada stowed away in the belly of a Greek liner.

Joining her brother, my grandmother came to the United States with her sister. Her father was killed at his home and her mother, my great grandmother, died while forced to march across the desert.

My father had no grandparents and his sorrow marked his life and our home, often leaving him bereft and unable to connect emotionally with my sister and me. Many children of Genocide survivors suffered greatly. I feel this legacy as well.

Over a year ago, I discovered that I had family letters penned from my great grandparents in Turkey to my great aunt and grandmother in the United States. The last letter was dated 1915, the year they were killed.

These letters (98 pages) have yet to be translated but their existence connected me to a group of Armenians from the Diaspora with whom I traveled past summer (2014-Mediamax).

We visited places of Armenian significance and I finally stood on the land where my grandfather’s family once lived and where so many of them died. Each hour on this trip brought a new adventure. We moved from town to town in search of treasures that marked the memory of Armenian presence in this landscape. I grew excited as I searched for clues but often ended feeling deep melancholy. We were still there I thought...in a whisper.

In my grandfather's town, I left notes under rocks and in crumbling walls of an Armenian church for each son, grandchild, and great-grandchild who are the fruits of his labor and his courage.

"I remember. Granddaughter of Garabed. Margaret."

Photos: Margaret Manoogian’s archive


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