Book Review: ‘Trauma and Resilience’

The Armenians in Turkey are hidden, not hidden and no longer hidden

Trauma and Resilience: Armenians in Turkey 
By Raffi Bedrosyan
Published by Gomidas Institute, London, England, 2019
Available on Amazon.com, by emailing books@gomidas.org or directly from the author.

This book is a collection of articles about events in Turkey which have profoundly affected the lives of Armenians, hidden Armenians and no longer hidden Armenians who have recently returned to their roots. The genocide in 1915 not only caused the disappearance of 1.5 million Armenians from their historic homeland, but also resulted in the assimilation and Islamization of thousands of Armenian orphans, creating the ‘hidden Armenians,’ the living victims of the genocide.

This collection of articles belongs to the canon of must-read texts on Armenian identity…Whether you read it from cover to cover or pick and choose chapters, this book is a journey well worth taking.
-Khatchig Mouradian, Columbia University, New York

Almost 100 years later, certain events encouraged the grandchildren of the hidden Armenians to re-awaken and return to their Armenian roots, language and culture. Some of the articles explain these events and the author’s role in them. Some other articles reveal little known historic facts about Armenians and hidden Armenians, their contribution to culture and architecture in Turkey, still denied by the state or unknown by the peoples of Turkey.

In all the articles, there is a common theme of ‘trauma’ – a mixture of negative emotions resulting from risk to one’s own life or livelihood, fear, danger, and discrimination combined with anger, sadness and defiance in the face of continuing denial and injustice. But there is also the other common trait of ‘resilience,’ the instinctive skills of flexibility, adaptation and intelligence, resulting in survival against all odds.

 

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Raffi Bedrosyan

Raffi Bedrosyan is a civil engineer, writer and a concert pianist, living in Toronto. Proceeds from his concerts and CDs have been donated to the construction of school, highways, and water and gas distribution projects in Armenia and Karabakh—projects in which he has also participated as a voluntary engineer. Bedrosyan was involved in organizing the Surp Giragos Diyarbakir/Dikranagerd Church reconstruction project. His many articles in English, Armenian and Turkish media deal with Turkish-Armenian issues, Islamized hidden Armenians and the history of thousands of Armenian churches left behind in Turkey after 1915. He gave the first Armenian piano concert in the Surp Giragos Church since 1915, most recently at the 2015 Genocide Centenary Commemoration. He is the founder of Project Rebirth, which helps Islamized Armenians return to their original Armenian roots, language and culture. He has appeared as a keynote speaker at numerous international conferences related to human rights, genocide studies and Armenian issues.

2 Comments

  1. Oh my! I have been wondering how to go about looking for my Grandfather’s three nieces who were “taken” possibly as servants in Bitlis. If they survived, had children, today grandchildren who perhaps remember hearing the family name. That whole family including my Greatgrand parents perished.
    A friend told of receiving a phone call from a Turkish woman who did a DNA test found and contacted with her Armenian relatives. Many in Diyarbakir have been baptized into the Armenian church.

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