18 Jan 05
It was a taboo till recently to write of the Armenians who were
forcibly turned into Turks and Kurds during the Ottoman reign. Most of
them, living today in Western Europe, Western Armenia and Cilicia
(modern-day Turkey), are going through a revival of national
identification. After the Armenians of Hamshen, those from Sassoon,
Mush and Taron, who were forcibly converted into Islam,are especially
easy to talk with about their past and present. They try to return to
the bosom of their nation by overcoming their "guise", the names and
surnames, and to fight for their rights and to recover the historic
legacy of their forefathers massacred by the Turks.
One can meet those Armenians returning to their roots in Germany as
well as in Armenia especially after the war in Iraq and the vents at
the Turkish border. Some "Kurdish" Armenians fought in the ranks of
the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) and got disappointed after Ojalan's
capture and left for Germany where they could find a wide field for
political and national activity. They settled in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden,
Stuttgart, Mainz and elsewhere.
"I was born in Karmir Khach (Kzl Akhach) village of Taron. We shunned
the Armenian Genocide as we accepted Islam feigningly and were
Kurdish-speaking. My father and brother enrolled in the PKK to fight
against Turkish fascism, they were imprisoned and tortured numerous
times. I've been studying andworking here in Germany for a long time
and am in touch with the Armenian communityand the progressive
forces. But in Western Armenia, especially in originally Armenian
Vardo town, which was stricken by an earthquake in 60s and where my
relatives live, human rights violations are rampant", Simon Kostanian
(Sardet Kosdun), who regained his Armenian identity today, tells.
Razmik Hakobian (Nureddin Yagub) from one of Cilicia villages was a
PKK warrior but was arrested and jailed in one of Ankara's horrific
prisons. He is a writer and a film director who is planning to shoot a
film about the life of Diaspora Armenians.
"My parents concealed our identity particularly because being an
Armenian was an unforgettable affront in Adiamani where I am coming
from. Despite this, many "Kurdish" and "Turkish" Armenians were called
"gyavur". The film I am trying to shoot is about an Armenian outcast
and also is an odyssey of a Western Armenians who survived the
Genocide. I shall realize my plans if I find necessary support in
Armenia and by the help of our confederates in WesternEurope", Razmik
The number of Armenians, who only now discover their identity, above
all in Sassoon and Mush, amounts to thousands.
"There are around 1000 Armenians in Mush. The Turkish government has
forgotten us for a while, as there are the Kurds to deal with. The
sons of the Kurdish people say sorry for their fathers' deeds who were
killing Armenians together with the Turks", Armen from Mush says.
By Hamo Moskofian in Wiesbaden-Marseilles
Edited by Arpa, 18 January 2005 - 09:31 PM.