Origins: Discovery

Ծագումը: Բացահայտում

A story of human courage and our beginnings

Մարդկային արիության և մեր ծագման պատմությունը

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Origins: Humanity

In Western Armenia – part of the Ottoman Empire during the early twentieth century, Armenians form a vital part of society. They are well educated, skilled in crafts and generally prosperous, with a history that stretches back thousands of years in the region.  The lands are pleasant, with abundant orchards and vineyards, and fish aplenty from rivers and Lake Van.

But there are signs that everything is not well. Near the city of Van, the great medieval Armenian city of Ani (known as the ‘City of 1001 Churches’) lay broken, destroyed by the invading Seljuk Turks in the 11th century. The dangers were all too clear after the events of 1894 to 1896 when Christians were slaughtered by the thousand during the Hamidian Massacres. Now there is talk of villages being burnt, Kurds attacking refugees, and Turkish criminals called chetti being released and armed by the authorities to kill hapless Armenians.  

The Three Pashas have led the Ottoman Empire into war on the side of Germany against the Allied Powers: Great Britain, France and Russia. It seems like the world is turning upside-down.

There is still hope. An Armenian hero named Andranik on a white horse has been a thorn in the side of the Turks for decades, and after Russia is attacked in a cowardly unheralded strike by the Ottoman navy, the Russian Tsarist forces are approaching Western Armenia from the snow covered Caucasus Mountains.

There are Armenians serving in the Ottoman Army like Sarkis Torossian, but then everything changes. As Allied ships approach Gallipoli, the Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople are taken away, and most murdered. As Torossian valiantly defends the Empire his family are being killed in a most treacherous act. Christian missionary Clarence Ussher and many others witness Turkish military, gendarmes, and chetti, along with the Kurds begin an organised orgy of extermination that results in millions of civilians being killed, and Armenians losing their ancient homeland. The plunder of Armenian property during the genocide is even used to pay the chetti and line the pockets of Ottoman officials. Where is humanity?

At the end of the Great War the Ottoman Army invades Eastern Armenia, to wipe out this first Christian land from the world’s collective memory. How can Armenia and the remnants of its people survive?

Looking back on these days of horror four decades later, Taguhi knows that the history lessons she and her husband Peter and her Congolese friend Ndaya have shown the world – discovery of the Ark and something just as precious: genetic memory – haven’t been learnt.

Areni village is serene and wonderful, a safe place to bring up their first child; a place of ancient festivals and life-long friends. But even now, trouble is brewing on the horizon in a nearby land called Nagorno-Karabakh, and there are fresh challenges that threaten everything they hold precious. So can Taguhi and Ndaya’s science – the memory of human history from our earliest times – finally end trouble between the warring tribes on our planet, or will our penchant for self-destruction prevail?