25 October 2007

2117) The Armenian Diaspora Does It And It Works!

My wife reads three or four books each week, mostly crime or drama stories. She usually goes to the ‘Returned Book Section’ at our city library as these are the books borrowed most often. Imagine my surprise when she brought home a just returned book “Black Dog of Fate”, a novel by Peter Balakian, published in 1997. . .

Titled a memoir, this novel is a cleverly told story of a young American born Armenian who is “awakened to the facts of history through fragments of his grandmother’s stories of the events in Eastern Anatolia in 1915’.

The majority of the novel is a regurgitation of the writings of Henry Morgenthau and others as if they were fact. All the claims of Armenians regards Hitler, Taalat and so on are interwoven in a heart-rending story of the suffering of his grandmother’s family.

So! Here is a book, ten years old and it is still being read, it’s lies still infecting ordinary people who know nothing of Armenia or 1915.

What does this tell us? It shows that the power of books lives on and on, long past newspaper articles, scholarly booklets and historical works by respected historians.

And it does this through storytelling that engages the reader in the lives of individuals or families that touch us emotionally. The reader believes in the characters and when they suffer, the reader suffers. That’s how stories work.

I found one part interesting, probably most readers would miss this- the downtrodden, oppressed Armenian family submits a claim in 1920 for compensation for goods and money lost in the deportation- a total claim of over one hundred thousand US dollars at that time, 1915. If the claim were to be upheld today it would be over a hundred million dollars US.

Where are the Turkish entrepreneurs and rich companies who will publish and promote pro-Turkish novels and films in English to the American and European markets?

The Armenian diaspora does it and it works!


Harry Blackley

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