Presentation of the Book “100 Years… True Stories” in Yerevan

The presentation of the Armenian and the English versions of the book “100 Years… True Stories” took place today, on December 23 in Yerevan. The presentation was organized by the “European Integration” NGO, which is the author of the project and is responsible for it.

It should be noted that this book shares 47 true stories that were narrated by the descendants, relatives, close people of the survivors of the Genocide based on what the witnesses of the events had told. The stories have been collated by joint efforts of “European Integration” Non-Governmental Organization and “Armedia” Information, Analytical Agency with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom within the project “The Turk Who Saved Me”. The partner in Turkey is “ production”.

During the presentation of the book the people whose stories are found in this book, those who have shared the stories of their family, their memories were present. Among the guests the journalistic staff of “Armedia” IAA, several media and TV companies were present.

During the event the president of the “European Integration” NGO Karen Bekaryan, the chief editor of “Armedia” IAA Anna Mkrtchyan, the board member of the “European Integration” NGO Narek Minasyan, the translator, editor and the proofreader of the English version of the book Nune Melkonyan and the partner of the project in Turkey, IMC TV editor, T24 columnist, Aris Nalcı delivered their speeches.

In his speech Karen Bekaryan referred to the project, talked about the different phases of its implementation and expressed his gratitude to all partners by stating that without their support the project could not succeed. According to him the whole idea of the project was to collect those stories of the descendants of the Genocide survivors, where one could clearly see the image of the saving Turk as a neighbor, as a friend. “It is not a secret that during the Genocide, which took place 100 years ago, this was also a reality”, – said Karen Bekaryan. One of the aims of the project, according to K. Bekaryan, was not to forget the good that was done, that lives were saved, as well as to give an opportunity to the story tellers to have the stories of their families in a written form. The other aim that he mentioned was the following. “We speak a lot about the fact that the Turkish authorities deny what happened and they speak about a “just memory”, concerning which different comments are being made. There was a need to really demonstrate all the components of the just memory.”

“Yes, it was Genocide, it was organized, it was a great tragedy and at the same time there was one segment of the society, which, still at that time, went against that, very often putting their lives under danger, and helped us, the Armenians”. – said K. Bekaryan. According to the speaker, because of various taboos, a considerable part of the Turkish society is not aware of the 100-year reality and there was a need to make it known to the large public, because this can have a significant role in building a bridge, a trust.

The chief editor of “Armedia” IAA Anna Mkrtchyan mentioned that it was a difficult decision for her and the whole “Armedia” team to agree to participate in the project and take such a responsibility. At the end, however they agreed to participate. A. Mkrtchyan explained their decision in the following way: those are the true stories of the Genocide survivors. She also stated that it was important especially now to collect and to write them down, first of all as an evidence of Genocide.

“Today we feel immense pain not only because of the memories of Genocide atrocities, but also for the feeling of injustice, which is the result of refusal of our neighboring country. Consequently, second motive that made us agree to implement the project was the realization that before expecting the justice, we ourselves should act fairly without denying all those Turks, who gave us a helping hand, when we were in need”, – mentioned A. Mkrtchyan.

The partner from Turkey Aris Nalcı in his speech stated that there is nothing impossible in this life and the fact that those stories were published in Turkish eight media websites, with high rating, proves it. He highlighted the fact that there was no editing in the Turkish version of stories, and as in the Armenian and English versions, in the Turkish version as well the words Genocide and Western Armenia were used.

“All the partner Turkish media agencies hoped that due to professional journalism it was possible to publish those stories. All of you know that there is a problem of free expression in Turkey. We gave them a hope that there is nothing impossible and in case of right approach everything becomes possible. ” Aris Nalcı stated.

The “European Integration” NGO board member Narek Minasyan, who was also present in the presentation of the Turkish version of the book in Istanbul, highlighted the fact that in the official part of the presentation in Turkey, none of the speeches questioned the fact of the Armenian Genocide. On the contrary the necessity of recognition and proper estimation was underlined. Commenting on the social reaction that followed the publication of the book in Turkey N. Minasyan stated:

“The reaction was various – ranging from the expression of gratitude directed to the publishers to expressions of threats and insulting words. This serves as a proof that in our neighboring society there are both healthy and conscious individuals and the ones, who have radical, refusing position. This proves that we still have to work in this sphere. ”

The translator, editor and proofreader of the English version of the book Nune Melkonyan expressed her gratitude for such an initiative and mentioned how difficult it was to translate those stories without excitement and tears. Speaking about the style of the translation she said that she did her best to keep as close to the original text as possible not to lose the emotions that were put in the stories.

It should be noted that earlier on December 16 in Istanbul, Turkey the presentation of the Turkish version of the book “100 Years… True Stories” took place, during which dozens of people were present, among them 7 media, local TV companies, representatives of the Armenian community.