A great number of scientific investigations books and collections of official papers concerning the Armenian Genocide have been published in different languages, the great majority of which are based upon true historic documents. On the other hand, the memoirs and especially the popular songs (in particular, the Turkish language songs) of the eye witnesses rescued from the Genocide include, besides their poetic character, exact historical testimonies about those monstrous events; in spite of that, however, they have been almost condemned to inattention up to the present time. They are exact, because they have been created and narrated by ill treated eye witnesses, who have directly felt upon their own skin the horror of the massacres; they are, at the same time, vivid and emotional, since they reproduce the real experiences of the afflictions caused by the Genocide. In this respect, these specimens of oral tradition represent the historic reality in a deeper, more effectual and more impressive manner than the mere dull statistical facts and data of the official archival documents.

The ethnographer Dr. Prof. Verjine Svazlian has, for a number of years, indefatigably investigated the memoirs and the Turkish language folk songs depicting the events of the Genocide on the basis of the abundant materials (the original texts are summarized in the voluminous collections published recently: "Cilicia. The Oral Tradition of the Western Armenians". Yerevan. 1994 and "Genocide. Oral Evidences of the Western Armenians". Yerevan, 1995). She herself has written down &om the aged male and female representatives of Western Armenians, who had witnessed and suffered the Genocide; moreover, she has skillfully put together their factual data with exact historical testimonies and has revealed the historical authenticity of the vivid and emotional images of the reality reflected in the oral tradition.

These Turkish language songs composed by the Western Armenians according to the idiomatic principles of the Turkish oral tradition, which are presented by the author with the original text and the adjoining translation, are the screams 'of the unheard of suffering, of the protest, as well as of the heroic resentment of the people subjected to genocide, expressed with a live poetic language and images. They are new and undeniable testimonies addressed to the Turk historians and politicians of today who are denying the Genocide, in their own comprehensible language.

This study writes a new page in the history of the Armenian Genocide, it attests to the psychology of the afflictions of the Armenian people; it is of an extreme actuality owing to its contents and, especially in its Engbsh version, it will give the foreign readers and specialists access to the events of the Genoeide from a new standpoint and its forthcoining publication will be the best gift for the 85th anniversary of the Genocide in the year 2000.

Sarkis Harutyunian

Editor, Doctor of Philological Sciences

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