In April 2015, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, The Guardian invited its readers in Armenia and the diaspora to talk about the consequences of the Genocide for their families.
More than 500 people responded to the New East Network project by sending letters, photographs, and other materials, some of which were posted on its website.
A year later, on the eve of the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Mediamax and The Guardian decided to jointly present some of the unpublished materials.
Here’s what Margaret Manukyan said about the Genocide.
“I am a descendant of genocide survivors. My orphan grandfather, after many attempts, with a group of teenagers finally managed to board a Greek steamer and cross to Canada. My grandmother came to the United States with her sister to join her brother. His father had been killed in their house, while my mother and [other] grandmother had died in exile in the desert.
The grief of the genocide left a big mark on my father and engulfed our home. He seemed devastated and could not establish an emotional connection with me and my sister.
The descendants of the survivors of the genocide suffered greatly. I can feel it too.
About a year ago, I discovered that we have family letters that my grandparents had been sending to my grandmother and sister in the United States. The last letter was sent in 1915. They were killed that year.
These letters (98 pages) have not yet been translated, but their content united me with a group of Armenians living in the diaspora. In the summer, we went on a trip together.
We visited places of great importance for Armenians, and I finally found myself on the land where my grandfather’s family had lived and died.
Every hour of this journey brought a new adventure. We moved from city to city in search of “treasures” that testify to the Armenian presence in the area. I was very happy to find evidence, but it all ended in deep melancholy.
‘We’re still here,’ I whispered. In my grandfather’s town, between the rocks and in the dilapidated walls of an Armenian church, I left notes with the names of all the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of my grandfather – the fruits of his diligence and courage.
I remember. Karapet’s granddaughter, Margaret.”
Photo from the archive of Margaret Manukyan