|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|
|Publication Date||November 2, 2017|
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Ravished Armenia tells the tragic and horrific story of Aurora Mardiganian, a young Armenian woman fleeing genocide as a refugee. This edition includes the five original illustrations.
The Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century were largely Christian. Although the ethnic Turks were mostly Muslim, the two groups had long co-existed. At the outbreak of World War I, many Armenians signed up to fight for the Ottoman cause - this show of loyalty led to an assumption that existing persecutions of the Armenian minority would stop, or at least decline.
The author of this book was also desired by a local Turkish sultan to be his harem. Although she doesn't want this fate, Aurora realizes that in principle it would at least ensure the safety and well-being of her family. However, nothing could prepare the Armenian for the sudden and sustained horrors that soon followed.
The author describes how the situation rapidly escalated: news of massacres in the Armenian city of Van was swiftly followed by a Turkish official confronting the author's family, handing them a note ordering that they stay at home until further notice. Many of the men of Tchemesh-Gedzak, the author's hometown, were rounded up and jailed. The author's father tells the family of how confessions of treason were obtained by force, and many men executed.
More rounding up ensues, as news of indiscriminate murder and incarceration spread. Although Aurora and her family remain in their hometown for a time, the deteriorating situation comes to a head with a notice for forced deportation. With no form of transport, thousands are made to walk the barren roads of Turkey with little food or water - as they make the terrible journey, they encounter town after town where grisly scenes have ensued.
Published in 1918, not long after the author escaped from Turkey, we benefit from the rawness of Aurora's memories. Although the book is not pleasant reading, it opens the reader's eyes to the horrors of genocide and how quickly the worst tendencies of man can erupt and cause abysmal suffering.
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