“Nowhere, A Story of Exile” book on Armenian massacres in Baku presented

06/09/2014 16:50

“Nowhere, A Story of Exile” book on Armenian massacres in Baku presented

Novosti international press center in Yerevan yesterday hosted “Nowhere, A Story of Exile” book about a family of Armenian refugees from Baku. The head of Ordinary Genocide Project Marina Grigoryan said at the event that the book was published in the U.S. and is unique in the sense that it is the first English-language book about the Armenian massacres in Baku.

According to M. Grigoryan, the book is based on Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte’s diary that she kept at age of 10-12 when she lived in Baku. Later in the United States where she moved along with her family, Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte published the book that contains her memories of the 1988-1992 events. The book also includes recollections from witnesses of persecution and atrocities committed against Armenians.

M. Grigoryan said that because of the records made in the diary, Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte can be compared to Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who described the Nazi terror in her wartime diary.

Ms. Grigoryan informed those present that the creative group of “The Baku Tragedy in Eyewitness Accounts” Project that was launched on the 25th anniversary of the Armenian massacres in the Azerbaijani capital went to the U.S. to meet with Armenian refugees residing there. “As a result, extensive interesting materials with unique accounts were gathered to be used for a new collection and a film,” the project head said, adding that new forms of presenting the tragedy will be sought.

“We consider it important to show that not only Armenians, but also families in which one of the spouses was of Armenian descent suffered from the tragedy,” Marina Grigoryan said. She announced that the English- and Russian-language premieres of the film are scheduled for January 2015.

Novosti-Armenia news agency reports that Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte who is on a visit to Yerevan said for her part that the Americans are not familiar with the Karabakh problem and the Baku events, but following the book’s publication and the meetings held, many of them started taking a sincere interest.

She told those present that in September 1989 when she was 11 her family fled Baku and moved to Armenia. The plight of Armenian refugees from Baku worsened after the 1988 Spitak earthquake, amid the Karabakh war and the disintegration of the USSR.

“After living in quite difficult conditions in Armenia for two and a half years, our family made a decision to move to America. We arrived in the U.S. with four suitcases, $180 and refugee status: that was all we had. It was the beginning of a new peaceful future,” Astvatsaturian Turcotte noted.

In her words, at that time she took a decision to preserve the diary for her children and grandchildren so that “they could be aware of their roots, their past and imagine those hardships that the people of Artsakh have endured,” she said.

“Interest in the Baku events and the Karabakh independence process is increasing in American society in recent years. Many members of the Armenian Diaspora had no idea of it, and I consider this inadmissible. My husband and me worked together to contribute to the adoption of the resolution about Karabakh’s independence by the State of Maine,” Astvatsaturian Turcotte stated.
In her words, she has repeatedly made speeches, sharing her memories not only in various U.S. states, but also in the Congress, and she received an invitation to deliver a speech in the European Parliament in October.

“I will speak about the difficult path that Armenians of Baku have followed, as well as the Karabakh problem and the work aimed at the recognition of Karabakh’s independence,” said Anna Astvatsaturian Turcotte, a lawyer and a mother of two. She was granted U.S. citizenship in 1997.

The Ordinary Genocide Project is implemented the PR and Information Center of the Armenian President’s Administration. As part of the project, a series of documentaries was filmed in five languages about the events in Sumgait, Baku, Maraga, the Ring Operation, Karabakhrecords website was launched, and a number of books were published, republished, and translated.

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