Far away there is our neighbor- Islamized Armenian's impressions of
historical homeland

16:07 - 02.11.13

Nadem Karael, an Islamized Armenian from the Turkish town of Trabzon,
has shared his impressions of a recent visit to Armenia.

He has talked about his feelings and thoughts, and the sights he has
seen in the country.

Below are Karael's impressions of the visit, as presented by the
Turkish-Armenian publication Agos.

`It was quite a long time I wanted to visit Armenia. And I finally
managed that this summer. My friend Serhat and I would often visit
Georgia .Serhat has a Greek mother and an Armenian father. He knows
Armenia perfectly well and had been to Armenian many times before.
When he suggested that we leave for Armenia together, I didn't even
take a minute's time to think. The way from Batumi to Tbilisi and to
Yerevan is 650 m.

`Everything completely changed as we entered Armenia. We reached
Yerevan at 21:00. The atmosphere there was that of a capital, with the
city meeting us with shining lights.

`The traffic in the capital city is regular; the respect for the
pedestrian and the way people are dress (especially women are stylish
and well-groomed) produced the impression of a European capital.

`Reaching the hotel, we felt that we were both hungry; after having a
soup with buttermilk and a meat dish, we took a seat at a café near
the hotel to think about a place to visit the next day.

`The first thing I wanted to see was Tsitsernakaberd, the Armenian
Genocide monumnent

"With its inextinguishable light, Tsitsernalaberd is a 44 km monument
which symbolizes Western Armenia. It is quite an imposing construction
symbolizing the rebirth of the Armenians.

`Yerevan, which is geographically similar to Istanbul and Rome, has
flat surfaces in certain parts and hills in others.

`The next day of our arrival we were climbing up one of those hills.
The eternal fire, the voices of a woman and crying children and the
music that followed moves you back to the dark pages of history.

`We left the museum, unable to withstand the sight of the pictures on
display, the images reminding one of the 1915 [events] and the voices
of the children still crying. We spent the rest of the days talking to
passers-by. What I am most of all interested in is what they think
about the Turks. One remembers the murder of Hrant Dunk, the other -
1915. There are also people believing in the friendship of nation, as
well as those who say `this will never heal over'.

`The next day, while Yerevan was still asleep, we headed to Khor
Virap. The reason I travelled there was to see the sight of [Mount]
Ararat ... It looked as though you were about to reach it once you
stretched your hand.

`As we reached Khor Virap, the green valleys, which we had seen only
in pictures, evoked even deeper emotions. There seemed to be a chance
to get to the foot of Ararat ... with friendship being too far away.

`The villages we visited had people who were poor but quite
hospitable. A family whose ancestors were from Van was recounting the
story of the loss. A woman was treating us with yoghurt; and we all
were laughing. Then we were talking very, very long about Anatolia.

`During my six days in Armenia, we also had the chance to visit the
towns of Vanadzor, Echmiadzin, Gavar and Kapan. And we were met with
respect everywhere.

`I understand hostility is not among the people; it is just an
argument used in politics by certain groups.

`Whatever corner of the world you go, all the grieves are close to one
another, with the wounds being so much alike... I had heard many stories
about massacres since childhood. I would listen to them with such a
feeling of fear and terror, but now I can no longer stand them x. We
all are, in a sense, the children of rape and massacres. Those
massacres pertain to everybody, so we all come from the same place.
The unhealed wounds belong to us. They bleed from the same source ...'

Armenian News - Tert.am