“The Eyewitness”: They lived in Kars as in paradise
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 12, ARMENPRESS: After a short-time pause “The Eyewitness” special project initiated by Armenpress news agency resumes, this time presenting the stories of the last eyewitnesses and survivors of the calamity who live in the territory of Armenia.
The heroine of the project is Margarit Mkhitaryan, born in 1915 in Kars. In her words, she is from a village near Kars, the name of which she does not remember. As soon as the massacres started, parents took her and her brother and emigrated from Eastern Armenia. Margarit Mkhitaryan has heard from her mother that they cast a slur upon her face so that Turks could not take her. A prayer that passed from the mother to her is still in her memory.
“Kars was a paradise on earth for them. They lived very well there and were rich,” told the heroine’s daughter – Gayane. According to Gayane, though her mother has no education, she is a skilled tailor. She said that the path her mother passed was full of difficulties as in case of many emigrants.
Margarit’s granddaughter lives in Moscow but she comes to Yerevan every year to see her grandmother. She describes her grandmother as a strong, clever and kind woman.
Margarit has eight children. Five of them are now alive. With ethnicity her husband is from Van. The eyewitness spends the most part of the day in bed. In spite of different senile problems she looks younger for her age. In spring Margarit Mkhitaryan will turn 100. She is the contemporary of the crime committed in Turkey a century ago.
The creative group of “The Eyewitness” summed up the first part of the Yerevan series still in 2013. We did not manage to establish contact with Margarit Mkhitaryan because of the name change of the street where she dwells. For assisting us in finding the eyewitness, we express gratitude to Head of the Department of Social Security at Yerevan Municipality Ruzanna Zakaryan.
Kars is a city in northeast Turkey – in historical Western Armenia and the capital of Kars Province. During World War I, the Ottomans took control of the city in 1918, but were forced to relinquish it to the First Republic of Armenia following the Armistice of Mudros. During the Turkish–Armenian War in late 1920, Turkish revolutionaries captured Kars for the last time and massacred 8 thousand Armenians. The controversial Treaty of Kars was signed in 1921 between the Government of the Grand National Assembly and the Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, which established the current north-eastern boundaries of Turkey. Currently Kars has a population of 54 000. The Cathedral is the most precious historical and architectural monument of the city. A number of great Armenian intellectuals were born in Kars, including prominent poet Yegishe Charents.
Article by Tatevik Grigoryan
Photos by Arevik Grigoryan