Book Reviews

Book Review: There was and there was not


The author grew up in the U.S.A, but her family ensured that she never forgot her roots of Armenian heritage.

California is home to thousands of Armenians from any Middle Eastern and other countries, this being the result of the genocide of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire’s elite ministers, including the minister Talat Pasha.

Diaspora Armenians, especially those living the U.S.A, are forever lobbying every American president, but the incumbent, soon after establishing his administration, realizes that the Turkish government, being a NATO member, and spending $ 50 million annually on buying American historians, including using lobbyists and every other deception possible, is an impossibility.

Meline Toumani decided to move to Istanbul for more than two years to personally find out from today’s Turks how much they know about their history, and history of Armenians living in modern Turkey.

The story she tells is well told and documents for all readers to understand how the Turkish government deflects responsibility using every possible deception and untruth.

Her eloquence of documenting the past and present, and her effort to understand the psyche is laudable.

This is a courageous, intriguing and candid memoir, reflecting on what it really means to come into the heritance of a tragic past. She discovers during her stay in Istanbul how Armenians, and for than matter all non-Muslims (Greeks and Jews), are treated as second-class citizens.

They are never hired as government employees, and are treated with contempt by all officials.

Actually thousands of Armenians in the countryside were forced to convert to Islam to survive, and today are in a quandary, whether or not to come forward and reclaim their faith. Very recently an Armenian jazz ensemble production that was recorded in front of the Yerevan Opera has been circulated as a Turkish performance in Istanbul. Imagine the blatant deception.

This a brave, deeply intelligent, written eloquently and eminently readable oeuvre.
I felt compelled to read one page after another, until I finished this book.
I recommend it highly to all everywhere.

Hrayr Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
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