Sarah’s grandfather, Edward R. Bedrosian of Boston recounted that many of his parents’ relatives were herded to Armenian refugee camps in Baghdad and Bombay. His own parents had lived in Iran before coming to the U.S. He related how his sister’s mother-in-law had found an infant abandoned by the road when she was fleeing the Turks and had carried the baby for some time until her own exhaustion and hunger compelled her to leave it behind. Mr. Bedrosian said it was a decision that haunted her for the rest of her long life.
Christina read a moving and graphic excerpt from her great-aunt Mary Ovian’’s book Seeds of Change, which is a historical account of her own mother’s experience escaping the genocide.
Christina commented: “Since I was little, my grandma, Aroxy Zacarian, always made a point to share with me the unique stories of her mother’s struggle in the Armenian genocide and how important it is to remember and be proud of my Armenian heritage. Not many people are aware of the severity and cruelty of the genocide, which is why Sarah and I were so excited to share our families’ experiences in the Armenian genocide with our fellow students and school faculty.”
Sarah said: “I grew up learning about the genocide. Every member of my family had been affected by it, even the ones who had grown up in America. The Armenian culture is so amazing and vibrant, and the fact that we as a race pulled through this stronger than ever is just so amazing and empowering. Christina and I felt it had to be shared. It was a tragedy, to say the least, but it is one that needs to be recognized and learned about.”
The students’ presentation served as an important reminder of the peril of forgetting history. They stated that Adolf Hitler was emboldened by the fact that the Armenian genocide had been largely forgotten by the time he began plotting to exterminate the Jews just a couple of decades later. Turkey still officially denies the Armenian genocide, which took the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Christian Armenians between 1915-18.