Mouradian: The Sound of Footsteps on April 24 in Istanbul
If you were one of the few hundred people in Istanbul that publicly commemorated
the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2010, you probably heard the sound of footsteps.
I am not referring to the footsteps of the defiant Turks, Kurds, and Armenians who gathered
at open-air commemoration events. Nor am I referring to the footsteps of counter-demonstrators
holding placards that read, “The Armenian Genocide is an imperialist lie,” and yelling,
“Death to the Armenian Diaspora.”
Daniel Varoujan—the prominent Armenian poet who was arrested on April 24, 1915 and eventually
killed, just like hundreds of his fellow Armenian intellectuals—says in one of his poems that he can
“hear the footsteps of a rose-flooded dawn” of victory. From a distance of 95 years, you probably
were hearing, dear friend, the sound of the very same footsteps.
I know I was.
And the sounds of footsteps were gradually becoming louder.
I was hearing those footsteps as I watched Kurdish women hold pictures of their “disappeared” sons
and pictures of Armenian intellectuals murdered in 1915. I was hearing those footsteps as I was at the
commemoration at the Haydarpasha Station. I was hearing those footsteps as I was delivering a genocide
commemoration lecture in Beyoglu.
And I was hearing those footsteps during the vigil on Taksim Square.
The footsteps of Varoujan’s rose-flooded dawn of victory.
The victory of memory over amnesia, affirmation over denial, and action over indifference.
On April 24, 2010, I was in Istanbul for you, Varoujan. For all that your work, your life, and your murder
means to me. And I, too, heard the footsteps.
The Turkish version of this article appeared in this week’s issue of Agos.
(to grasp the extent and vibrancy of Armenian and other people's lives before the Armenian Genocide,
go along to the Armenian Institute/SOAS exhibition at the Brunei Gallery.
It's a must))
Armenian contribution to Ottoman Empire/Turkey