Armenia - then and now
From The Author - Tom Torosian
Armenia is a word that has widely different connotations for different people. To an American it means a vague country somewhere in Asia Minor; to the Turks it smacks of nationalism; to my mother and father, genocide and exile; to me a puzzlement.
I didn't know my identity. Armenian was a strange word. It looked like the word American. Whenever I met someone for the first time, they would ask me my nationality. There would be a long pause and a puzzled retort. "What's that?” or "You look like an Italian or Puerto Rican or Greek." "My parents used to tell me to eat my carrots, remember the starving Armenians." In school I learned about the Italian, German, Irish, English, Belgian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese cultures, but who were the Armenians?
In 1915, Turkey, an ally of the Germans in World War I, decided to exterminate the Armenians. Thus began the first planned genocide of the twentieth century. Between 1915 and 1918, one million, five hundred thousand Armenians were murdered by the Turkish government. "Why?" The answer is complex. This book is an exodus; about how my parents survived that “why” how they came to America; how they settled in Manhattan, New York; how their son was born in Bellevue Hospital on December 19, 1929. Thus, this book is about growing up with parents displaced from their culture and their son who sought recognition in a new culture; about community building and my coming of age in America.