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Archive for April, 2009

Panoramic shot from Alaska

Here is a panoramic shot from my last visit to Alaska.  This was created by stitching together several photos.

Alaska Panorama Glacier Photo

Alaska Panorama Glacier Photo

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A Survivor’s Account of the Armenian Genocide – My Great Grandmother

As I mentioned earlier, my Great Grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.  As a young girl, she lived with her large and wealthy family in Aintab, Turkey.  Her father was a well respected and liked merchant, well known by Turkish officials.  In the months leading up to the events now called the Armenian Genocide, officials of the Turkish government repeatedly assured my Great Grandmother’s family and father that there was no need to worry about the safety of the family.  They promised not to harm the family.

The family’s neighbor’s had a son, a youngster, who worked as a servant boy in the officials’ offices.  One night, while working, he overheard the officials stating that they would be getting rid of my Great Grandmother’s family like all the other Armenians.  As soon as he could, he left work and informed by Great Grandmother’s family of what he had overheard. Likely saving my Great Grandmother’s life.

On hearing what was about the happen to their family,to prevent the Turks from taking everything, my Great Great Grandmother began burning some of their belongings and instructed a few of her children to bury the most valuable of these belongings under a nearby church.  Not much later the Turks arrived at their doorstep.  Beating them with whips and sticks, demanding that they leave their home.  My Great Grandmother hid in the home, witnessing her family members get tortured, beaten, raped, and killed, from her vantage point.  Soon, the remaining surviving members of her family and herself were forced to march hundreds of miles, first to the city of Aleppo and then to the desert of Havran Cholu.  They were left there in the desert to die without water or food.  Of her large family only a handful were able to survive the beatings and later the treacherous conditions of the desert.  These remaining members managed to escape to Aleppo.  With no money and no belongings they survived by eating grain that they found trapped in the bristles of brooms and off the coats of horses.  Later, what remained of the family lived in Iskandarun, before moving to Lebanon.

My Great Grandmother lived an incredibly long life passing away, in Los Angeles, at a very very old age on Christmas Eve in the late 1990’s.  Please take a moment today to remember those who were murdered in the Armenian Genocide…

The series of posts on the Armenian Genocide:

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Recognition of the Armenian Genocide

In an effort to avoid blame, a bad reputation, and paying of retribution, the Republic of Turkey does not recognize the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire as a “Genocide,” but rather as “war deaths.”

In spite of this, there is much international affirmation that the events which occurred were clearly a genocide.  This international affirmation includes the records of systematic killings, eye witness accounts, countless news articles regarding the events as they took place, survivors’ stories, and resolutions passed by other countries.  Currently, 21 countries and 42 U.S. states have passed resolutions officially recognizing the event as the Armenian Genocide.  In discussions, the Armenian Genocide is even widely recognized as the first modern day genocide.

In addition there are many memorials built to commemorate the Armenian Genocide, around the world.

More Resources:

The series of posts on the Armenian Genocide:

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The Armenian Genocide – What Transpired

Though Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is discussed and debated around this time of year, what actually transpired during the Armenian Genocide is not always explained.  In my second blog post in the Armenian Genocide series I want to outline the events as they occured and provide a few links for those who want further information.

April 24, 1915 marks what is generally regarded as the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.  On this day Ottoman authorities arrested the Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, theorizing that without these individuals it would be easier to terminate the rest of the Armenian population.  Following this date Ottoman authorities removed the males from the cities and villages either by masking their removal as a “military draft” or by removing them by force.  The Armenian villages and cities were also asked to give up all of their weapons to donate them to the war effort.  After the Armenians were left weaponless and without a considerable portion of their male population, the women and children were told they were going to be relocated for their own safety.  At this point Ottoman military went to areas inhabited by Armenians, attacking, raping, and murdering inhabitants before forcing the rest to be uprooted from their homes with few or no belongings.  Next, these Armenians were forced to march hundreds of miles with no food or water into the deserts of what is now Syria.  Those who managed to survive these marches were either left to die in the desert or forced into underground caves where they were burned (similar to how people were forced into gas chambers during the holocaust).  These actions by the Ottoman empire took place over a number of years (1915-1918).  Those that survived either escaped from their villages initially, escaped during the marches, or were helped by Arabs or those called “good Turks,” who took Armenians into hiding to protect them. In total there were nearly 1.5 million Armenians murdered during the Genocide.

The series of posts on the Armenian Genocide:

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The Armenian Genocide

April 24th is the day Armenians around the world have set aside to remember the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  April 24, 1915 marked the beginning of a large scale Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians.

My great grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide and before her death was able to share the story of her experiences with my family and myself.

In the next few days, leading up to April 24th, I will be posting information and a variety of links about the Armenian Genocide, survivor accounts, and photo collections.

Here is a great article outlining the Armenian Genocide and events within it.

And an article from the NY Times in 1922 giving accounts of the Genocide and dispelling the stories put out by the Turkish Government.

The series of posts on the Armenian Genocide:

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DO NOT watch Crank High Voltage

Seriously… DO NOT watch Crank High Voltage.

It was awful.  Sure, some of the “artsy” crowd will say “it was great, what are you talking about?” because they seem to attribute the lack of a story line, awful camera angles, trashy humor, and awful cut scenes to “artistic flavor,” but just trust me when I say it was bad.

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Happy Easter

Happy (belated) Easter

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