Historical Fiction Story Essay, Research Paper
Of All People, I Survived
As I stand today at the age of 60 I tell my story of suffer and agony. Years when I lost my beloved ones, and from then on saw no light shine upon me or the following days that led to the future. Those days passed by like months and years: a vivid picture of hell. I am not ashamed to share my story for it is the truth that nobody was willing to hear, and those people were the ones who showed no sympathy towards us. They were the ones who hid the true story of the Armenians. I announce these words of languish to touch those hearts whom never knew the reality of how we, Armenians, suffered from the eviction from our homes.
My name is Kerop Bedoujklain. I was 11 years old when I lived through the scenes of terror, horror and despair, but I survived. I was the second oldest of two siblings, Zareh, my elder brother of 14, and my young sister of five, Rebecca. My father was well known as the true, honest, and rich merchant of Sivas, our hometown in Anatolia. His name was Harouti Agas.
In one of the side streets of Sivas was our house, where I lived with my family. Our house was the best structured on the street. It was a house the right size to fit us all in. The house was built with wood that?s nails that were hung lose but strong enough to hold on for another winter or so. The ceilings were cracked and wet from the rain during winter, which then leaked through into our house. My siblings and I shared a room together. Rebecca slept beside me, and Zareh slept on a separate bed. My parents slept on a king size bed, which they were thankful for. It provided them rest and relaxation after a long day of work. There was no water system, no sewers or electricity, no central heating or any of the comforts of technology which the Western world takes for granted.
Early every morning mother would wake up at sunrise, dress noiselessly, walk hastily to the stable at the other side of the garden, crossing the courtyard. She would reach for a bucket from the shed to milk the two cows that supplied my family of five. Other than the cows, there would be two lambs which would be raised and fattened for winter meat. The sun would come out by the time the milking was done. I would wake up at that time and set the table; milk and bread, or cheese and olives were our typical breakfast food. After breakfast father would go to the stable and let the cows out into the garden.
It all began on March 21, 1915. After breakfast father packed up his luggage to travel to northern Iran. He informed us that he wouldn?t stay there for more than nine days. Rebecca wept and cried because seldom did father stay with us. But he promised. The time to greet him farewell came.
?Papa, no more than nine days an? come back,? five year old Rebecca cried.
?No more, Becky, I promise you,? father replied, but seemed uncertain. He kissed his young daughter farewell and then took little steps closer to me.
?Now, be my good boy, Kerop, and take care of Becky. She?s your responsibility,? father reminded me.
I replied with courtesy, ?Don?t worry Pa, she?ll be fine. You just take care of yourself and of your health. Please.? Father spread a grin on his face and instantly remembered the stable.
?By the way, don?t forget to feed the cows and lambs.?
And he hugged me tightly while a salty teardrop ran down my cheek and onto his left shoulder.
?I?ll miss you Papa,? I whispered into his baby-like ears.
?Remember if I die, you will go and die on one mountain and I will go and die on another, but we shall not deny our Christ,? he raised his voice. I remained silent.
Quickly he hugged mother and Zareh because time was running up. It was time for father to go catch the train to Iran to trade silk and crafts. We all waved him good-bye on our doorstep while he was running towards the right turn of the road. Everyone was back to what they were supposed to do, and I went to feed the animals like my father told me to do.
A few days passed by and we all sat around the dinner table and prayed to God to bring father back safely with money to live and provide us food. Suddenly there was a blaring sound that struck the front door. We all froze and mother grabbed Becky and me towards her fearful chests. As I laid near her chests I heard her heart pounding so fast, frightened and timid. Cautiously, Zareh paced to the door and opened it slowly. Becky began crying and was afraid.
A soldier came marching in with his heavy, dull footsteps. I was appalled.
?Hmmm, ahhh,? the soldier sounded lost, ? you are to pack up and leave with us now, whether you like it or not. Now that you have been informed, so go pack up,? he said straightening his voice.
?We are not moving out of here. This is our home, where we belong, where you have no right to move us anywhere,? mother declared heartily. At that instant I knew something harsh would harm us. The conflict that once started and hasn?t ended yet. Muslims wanted Armenia for themselves even though it was for the Christian Armenians. I couldn?t believe the violence and hate towards each other. I wished the conflict to end, but then there was no agreeable solution. It was the Turks again.
?Don?t provoke me to do you harm. I may punish you and your family if you don?t do as I say. Now go pack up or I will force you to. GO!? he scolded at my mother. Mother had no other choice; she wasn?t stronger than him to challenge with words or by muscle. She seized our arms and walked to our rooms. We packed up our clothes and walked out to doorstep. I knew I had forgotten something to pack, immediately I remembered. The Bible. How could?ve I forgotten the precious treasure we all value? At that moment I sprinted back and reached for it from my table.
The Turkish soldier had some other men with him waiting outside. We were astonished when we walked closely to the trucks. They were full of Armenians. Some were our neighbors and some were from other neighborhoods. Zehar held Becky firmly while mother and I carried our luggage. Everybody was crying, old and young, men and women, boys and girls. Everyone was afraid. That was March 25,1915, five more days until father would come back, but won?t find us.
Without stopping, the trucks started and drove for a long distance. It was getting dark now and all was silent. There was nothing to talk about, and the Armenian laughter and joy won?t be found anymore for now it?s dead. It is like it has been stabbed in its people hundreds of times with a sharp stagger that still feel its pain, and its stain won?t wash away. I thought of father and whether he knew about this or not.
?Mama, does Papa know of this?? I asked.
?Don?t know son, but let?s pray he?s safe.?
?Will he find us or no?? I kept asking questions, anxious to find its answers.
?Kerop, I don?t know, son, maybe he is here but we can?t find him because of the crowd,? mother replied gently.
?Do you miss Papa? Ma, I do and I want to go back home to feed the cows and lambs we have. They will die without us. Will we ever go back again? I miss it.?
Mother remained silent and then said, ?I miss it too, Kerop, I miss it too.? Our conversation ended when dawn fell in the sky. Becky slept on my knees and then I knelt on her back. And the trucks still drove.
The next morning the sun was out but it had nothing special that was noticed back home. Finally after miles and miles of driving the trucks stopped. There were more than 10 trucks packed with Armenian refugees. Everyone stepped off and wandered around. We were starving and thirsty, and begging for food and water. The Turks refused and left us in the middle of the vast, hot desert. All of us cried and wept, but I knew that wouldn’t solve the problem. I opened my bag and reached out for the Bible. I read it for hours until my eyes got sore. Night filled the sky and that was our first day since our eviction from our homes.
Day after day, everything the same but people died of heat, hunger, and thirst. Most of the population were women and children. ?Nobody would survive around here,? I thought, ?including me.? The place began to spread diseases and was spread around everyone. Zehar was the first one to catch the severe flu, and couldn?t recover for a long time. After a few weeks, he passed away, but I knew he?d be sent to heaven for his sincerity and honesty. Mother, Becky and I passed a grieving period, but soon went by.
Nothing new was happening but people dying of suffer and starvation, sleeping with no covers on hard, solid sand in the hot, humid weather of mid-April. Fear already conquered the hearts of thousands and caused deaths of millions between the year 1915-1918.
November was on its way; almost a year passed by since our elimination from our home. Becky was unable to handle the humidity, and especially at her age. She died with fear but with great honor for her courage. A few weeks later my mother died by catching a harmful disease. God Bless Her Soul. Now, alone, at that time, I had to stand and face everything alone. I tried to make communications and relationships within the camp, and so I did. But I still missed my family. I read the Bible all day long for it was my only hope of surviving that disastrous reality.
Miracleousely, my prayers have been heard. God answered them by making me survive. One day the Armenian government sent trucks to move us out of there, and thankfully I was one of the first to move. I decided to go to Sofia. There my life began. At first I worked as a newspaper boy, who sells and sends newspapers to the public. I slept under the staircases of buildings and sometimes on the roof. I suffered and survived severe days in my life until I reached this position. Now I am responsible for myself and not Becky anymore. Enable to live I had to be dependable in what I work and earn from my job.
God stood by me until I reached to a good standard of living, and that was also because I didn?t give up. I lost my mother and father, my brother and sister, and my home, but I have not lost my faith in God and Christianity.
Kherdian, David. The Road from Home. New York: A Division of William Morrow & Company, 1979.
Avakian, Lindy. The Cross and the Crescent. Phoenix: UCS PRESS, 1989.
Bedoukian, Kerup. Some of Us Survived. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1978.