In this respect, the popular memoirs and songs of historical nature created under the immediate impression of the said events are, besides the published official documents, also of an important historic-cognitive value; nevertheless, they had almost not been written down and studied in Armenia for various reasons.
Beginning from the nineteen fifties we have started, on our own initiative, to write down (and also record) a great number of memoirs, diverse folklore materials and particelar1y historical talks and songs from the eye witnesses rescued from the Genocide, deported from the Armenian-inhabited provinces of Western Armenia, Cilicia and Anatolia and resettled in the Motherland. We have assembled the folklore materials concerning the Genocide in our twin books, whence the mentioned folklore materials are cited.1 Along with the memoirs (more than a hundred in number), written down from the deported-repatriated Western Armenians, numerous songs of historical nature have also been brought to light, which reproduce in a simple popular language the mobilization, the arm collection, the deportation, the massacre and slaughter of more than 1.5 million Armenians organized by the Turkish government, as well as stirring and impressive episodes about the righteous and noble struggles of the Western Armenians.
1. SVAZLIAN V., Moussa Dagh. "Armenian Ethnography and Folklore", Vol.16, Yerevan, 1984; Cilicia. The Oral Tradition of the Western Armenians. Yerevan. 1994; Genocide. Oral Evidences of the Western Armenians. Yerevan. 1995 (in Armenian).
These folklore songs have been created both in Armenian and in Turkish.
With regard to the Turkish language songs, it should be mentioned that the following features characterize these songs:
1. Created under the immediate impression of the appropriate historical events imposed on the western segment of the Armenian people, these songs are saturated with historicity.
2. Similar songs have been simultaneously created in different variants and modifications, a fact, which is an evidence of the popular character of these historic songs.
3. Although the said songs have been created in Turkish 1anguage, they are, however, of Armenian origin.
There are testimonies stating that in the past "those who pronounced an Armenian word had their tongues cut, consequently Armenians living in a number of towns of Cilicia (Sis, Adana, Tarson, Ayntap) and their environs had lost their mother tongue"2 or "the oppression and the persecution of the Turks were so severe that the Armenian speaking Ayntap became Turkish speaking like the other Armenian inhabited principal towns of Asia Minor. And the last sharp, terrible blow to the Armenian speech came from the Yenicheris who mutilated the tongue of those speaking Armenian."3 The ethnographer Sarkis Haykouni, living at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, has described the political, economic and spiritual state of the Western Armenians of his period and has written: "The Armenian language was forbidden by Turk mullahs and the use of seven Armenian words was considered a blasphemy, for which a fine of five sheep was established."4
2. GALOUSTIAN Gr., Marash or Guermartik and hero Zeytoun. New York. 1934, p. 698 (in Armenian). 3. SARAFIAN G., History of Armenians of Antep. Vol. I. Los Angeles, 1953, p. 5 (in Armenian). 4. SVAZLIAN V., Sarkis Haykouni (Life and Work). "Armenian Ethnography and Folklore." Vol. 4. Yerevan. 1973, p. 35 (in Armenian).
Finally, the popular Armenian
song we have written down testifies also to that fact:
entered the school and caught the school mistress,
They opened her mouth and cut her tongue,
The outrages became more violent during the forced deportations. It is not possible, of course, to exclude also the influences and the interactions of the spiritual cultures of the two peoples in the course of a prolonged co-existence. The names of Armenian localites and people, Armenian words and expressions have been cited in these Turkish language songs with their incomplete knowledge of the Turkish language.*
* In the original texts we have written down, it is possible, naturally, to observe deviations from the rules of Turkish language, as well as to encounter Armenian words and expressions in the Turkish sentences. It is distinctive, in this respect that we have endeavored to preserve in an unaltered form the information communicated by the narrators not only in its contents, but also in its form language). The materials communicated by the narrators are kept at the Folklore Archives of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, as well as at the Scientific Funds (Verjine Svazlian Fund) of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia.
These songs have been created at their appropriate time, they have been widely propagated, they have persisted passing from mouth to mouth and have been subjected to popular processing giving rise too different new versions. All the arguments mentioned above provide grounds to ascertain these Turkish language folk songs of historical character have been created under urgent political circumstances representing the initial level of language amalgamation. As for the narrators, they were Armenians exiled from their historical native cradle, who have been deported from Western Armenia (1915), Cilicia (1921) and from the Armenian localities of Anatolia (1922) as a result of the Genocide and the subsequent events. As a consequence of these historical events, a considerable part of the Western Armenians has been annihilated, while those who have been rescued miraculously survived somehow, after being plundered and left destitute and exhausted on the roads of exile.After surviving in different countries of the world, many of the eyewitnesses of these terrifying scenes have been repatriated to their Motherland, Armenia, from Constantinople, Greece, France, the Balkan countries, Syria, Lebanon. Egypt, Iraq and other colonies and settled in newly built localities symbolizing the memory of their former native cradles such as Nor (New) Arabkir, Nor Kilikia, Nor Zeytoun, Nor Hadjn, Nor Marash, Nor Ayntap, Moussa Ler, Yedessia (Urfa) and others.
Numerous representatives of the
senior generation of the repatriates (230 narrators), who were the eye
witnesses of that horrible tragedy, have remembered and told us with tears
in their eyes their deplorable past and how the Turks had bestially cut
to pieces their fathers and mothers and had violated their sisters. Among
our memorable narrators are Hovhannes Dudaklian and his wife Sima, Poghos
Soopkukian, Serop and Grikor Gyozalians and Mariam Baghdishian from Moussa
Dagh, Karapet Tozlian, Hovsep Bshtckian. Eva Chulian and Gayane Atoorian
from Zeytoun, Yevguine Mayikian and Mayranoosh Vartian from Marash, Arshaluys
and Hakop Djerdjians, Nuritsa Kyurkdjian and Gevork Hekimian from Ayntap,
Claroohi Baharian and Gevork Gyozalian from Beylan. Khoren, Khacher and
Nvart Ablabootians from Urfa, Satenik and Aharon Mankrians, Nazeni Satamian
and Yervand Albarian from Hadjn. Soghomon Yetenekian from Mersin, Harutyun
Alboyadjian from Fendedjak, Mariam Khalburdjian, Tagoohi and Garegin Turudjikians
from Harpoot, Azniv Teroonian from Tigranakert. Serpoohi and Petros Kikishians,
Louise and Nazaret Varzhapetians from Arabkir, Satenik Guyumdjian from
Konia, Armenik Yeganian from Van, Tagoohi Antonian from Bitlis. Siranoosh
Tashdjian from Malatia, Sooren Sarksian from Sebastia, Paytsar Yergat from
Kayseri and many others from the Armenian inhabited localities of Western
Armenia, Cilicia and Anatolia. Many of them are deceased today; homage
to their memory. Following the overthrow of Sultan Abdul Hamid's reign
and the declaration of the 1908 Constitution, the Young Turks, who formed
the government, adopted Sultan Hamid's massacre policy and professing the
Pan Turkish and Pan Islamic ideology, endeavoured not only to preserve
the Ottoman Empire, but also to annihilate and to amalgamate and turkize
by force the Armenians and the other dependent peoples and to create a
universal Pan Turanic state. Under these historico-political circumstances,
the "Cilician night" was organized in 1909 in Adana, which remained in
the memory of the Armenian people as "Kiyma Adana" (slaughtered Adana).
Serpoohi Makarian (born in 1903) and Mikael Keshishian (born in 1904) from
Adana have testified to that fact in their narratives.The following popular
song saturated with expressive depth and descriptiveness has been created
under the immediate impressions of those historical events.
camlar, camlar, al acik camlar!
Her gunes vurinca sakiz damlar,
Of, of, Adana irmagi lesilan kanlar!
Iste geldim sana kiyma Adana.
Of, of, iste gordum kiyma cocuklar!
cedars, cedars, variegated cedars,*
resin drips every time the sun strikes,
Behold! I've come to see you, slaughtered Adana,
Alas! I've seen you, massacred children.
This was essentially the beginning
of Genocide, when the Young Turks feverishly prepared the total extermination
of the Armenian people waiting for a propitious occasion. That occasion
presented when the First World War burst out. That invasive war has also
been reflected in the popular song:
Bak disari kim geliyor?
Deste-deste gul geliyor,
0lum bana zor geliyor,
Uyan sultan, zalim uyan!
Kan agliyor cumle cihan!
wind is blowing from the window,
Look who is coming from outside,
Bunches and bunches of roses are coming,
Death is hard to bear for me,
Wake up, sultan, tyrant sultan!
The whole world is weeping blood!
gavur*, dogru soyle:
Senin martin var imis?
gavur*, tell the truth,
Have you got a gun?
No, Mister, it's a lie,
I don't know, I haven't seen,
I don't know, I haven't seen.
And adds secretly in Armenian:
gavur, dogru soyle:
Sen Serop" pasayi, tanirsin?
-Hayir, efendim! Iftiradir:
gavur, tell the truth,
Do you know Serop* pasha?
No, Mister, it's a lie,
I don't know, I haven't seen,
I don't know, I haven't seen.
And adds secretly in Armenian:
The Armenian youth forcibly drafted
to the Turkish army had the presentiment that "That was the road to death"
and in fact "lots and lots of Armenians were there."
uyandir beni, gideyim talime,
Aynali martini alayim elime,
Gitmege dogru vatan yoluna,
Buna olum yolu, derler,
Ermeniler cokdir, derler,
wake me up, let me go to the training,
Let me take in my hand my mirrored rifle,
And go straight on the road of the homeland,
This, they say, is the road to death,
God, protect us!
There, they say, are lots of Armenians,
God, save us!
yaptirdim bir ucdan uca,
Icinde yatmadim bir gun, bir geca,
Tivenkim cadirda asilli kaldi,
Cehizim sandikta basilli kaldi,
Konma, bulbul, konma mezartasima,
Su genclikte neler geldi basima!
had rooms built end to end,
I didn't sleep in them a day, a night,
My gun remained hanging in the tent,
My dowry remained folded in the trunk,
Don't perch, nightingale, don't perch on my grave stone,
I had a lot of misfortunes in my youth!
cerkez, kiyama tatli canima:
Yeni nisanlim var karalar bag lar
spare my sweet life,
I have a new fiancée; she will be bound in black.
olur Stanbulun fistigi,
Tastan olur ermeninin yastigi,
Kor olasin su meydanin dostilgi*:
Aldilar nazli yarim, duyan aglasin,
Aman, aman, mayrik**!
hazelnut Istanbul is salty,
The cushion of the Armenian is stony,
Cursed be this shame friendship*,
They abducted my beloved, let the hearer cry,
Alas, alas, mayrik**!
da benim tuz ekmeyi yiyenler,
"Ehbap olmeden, ben olurum"
are those who have eaten my salt and bread?
And those who said "let me die before my friend does."
Taslak*** Misak*** vurulmus,
Taslak(ian) Missak*** were killed.
** The Armenian word "mayrik" (mother) has been used in the Turkish version.
*** Armenian name.
The Armenian soldier himself
|Mapushanede ustumuzedamliyor.||It's dripping on us in the prison.|
da bas ustune agliyor,
Becara nisanlim karalar bagliyor.
mother is weeping over my head,
My poor fiancée is tying black.
soyleyin anneme-damda yatmasin,
Toros* oglum gelir diye
Anama deyin-bogcam acmasin,
Cuha salvarima uskur dakmasin,
Gayri ben silama varamaz oldum,
Iskuhi* nisanlimi goremez oldum,
my mother not to sleep on the roof,
And not to look at the road expecting her son
Toros* to return,
Tell my mother not to open my bundle of clothes,
And not to pass a cord to my woolen breeches,
I am already not able to help my Motherland,
Unable to see my fiancée Iskoohi*,
And not able to come out of this narrow path.
And the mother of the Armenian
soldier cursed the mobilization, which was more like a massacre, since
the young Armenians went away with spring roses and nightingales, only
olasin sen, Enver pasa!
Ermeni cahel kalmadi,
Gitti gul, gitti bulbul,
Ister agla, ister gul, ne diyelim!
should lose your sight, Enver pasha,
No more Armenian youths are left,
The rose and the nightingale went away,
what should I say,
You may cry, you may laugh, what should I say.
pasa esek gibi,
Biytklari yular gibi.
pasha like an ass,
His moustaches long as reins.
On March 15 and April 3, 1915 the Russian Intelligence informed about Turkey that Armenians were arrested throughout the country, systematic massacres were committed in Erzeroum, Deurtyol and Zeytoun bloody clashes took place in Bitlis, Van and Moosh, atrocities, plunder and murders occurred in Akn, economic collapse and a general massacre of the population were noted all over Asia Minor.
In the vilayet of Van involved in war operations, the Turks had time, until the progress of the Russian troops, to exterminate on the spot thousands of Armenians and when the Russian army entered Van, accompanied by the Armenian writers Hovhannes Toumanian and Alexander Shirvanzade, they became witnesses of bewildering scenes. "Nails had been hammered into the forehead of children," wrote H. Toumanian in his memoirs, "various body parts of live people had been cut and arranged in different patterns; games had been invented: people had been put below the waist in cauldrons and boiled so that the live half could see and feel...; they had cut with red hot iron bars the various parts of the body and roasted them on fire; they had roasted live people; they had massacred children before the eyes of parents and parents before the eyes of children."5
5. TOUMANIAN H., Works. Vol. 6. Yerevan, 1959, pp. 21Z 213 (in Armenian).
And when the Russian troops retreated, a great number of Armenians, who had heroically fought in the self defensive combats of Van, Sassoun, Moush, Shatakh, Shapin Garahissar aml other localities, migrated after them to Eastern Armenia.
The atrocities had grown to an unspeakable extent also in Harpoot, Pontos, Malatia, Diarbekir, in the Armenian inhabited localities of Western and Central Anatolia: Izmit, Bursa, Ankara, Konia and elsewhere. They exterminated everybody with an inexpressible cruelty, not sparing even the infants.
The life of the Armenians in Cilicia had also become a nightmare.
The Baghdad railway, which had a particular economic importance, passed through Armenian populated Cilicia. This circumstance troubled the Turkish government, since the laborious and active Armenians living in Cilicia could, by their prosperous state, become predominant in Turkey's economy.
The Armeman villages and settlements were scattered in mountainous Cilicia from Hadjn, Zeytoun to Deurtyol and their populations, although engaged in silk production, carpet making and other national handicrafts, had a sufficiently enlightened new generation owing to the presence of Armenian and foreign schools and colleges. Besides, the outrages and the massacres, which had started in many provinces of Turkey connected with the promised, but not rea1ized, "Reforms" following the Russian Turkish war in 1877-1878, had not completely exterminated the naturally freedom loving Cilicians.
Zeytoun, the eagle nest of Cilicia, had, for a long time, become the burning point of Turkish tyranny and it was high time to square accounts wifh the bold inhabitants of Zeytoun as well. The details of these events were divulged in the narratives of the eyewitness survivors from Zeytoun, Karapet Tozlian (born in 1903), Hovsep Bshtikian (born in 1903), Eva Chulian (born in 1903), Sedrak Gaybakian (born in 1903) and Gayane Atoorian (born in 1909).
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