Today, January 12, marks the birthday of Aurora Arshalouys Mardiganian, a survivor of the Armenian Genocide. Mardiganian was an Armenian-American author and actress. She was born in 1901 and raised in the city of Harput in the Ottoman Empire. After witnessing the murder of most of her family during the genocide, she was kidnapped and sold as a slave. Eventually, she was able to escape to Tiflis (Tblisi, Georgia), where she stayed in Hovanes Toumanyan’s home. From there, she went to St. Petersburg at the same time the Bolshevik Revolution was occurring. She then made her way to Norway, and finally to the United States with the help of the Near East Foundation. When she arrived in New York, she was approached by a young screenwriter who helped her write and publish her memoir titled Ravished Armenia. The narrative was used for a film script that was created in 1919, in which Aurora played herself. Mardiganian admits that as much as the film tried to portray her stories, the horrors she had faced were alleviated in the film because they could not show such horrific things. Mardiganian became a spokesperson for the victims of the genocide. She lived the rest of her life in Los Angeles, where she passed away in 1994 at the age of 93.
During the 100 Days of Action, Tuesdays are going to be dedicated to survivor stories like Aurora Mardiganian’s. Social media campaigns with the hashtag #TurkeyFailed will follow on Thursdays throughout the 100 days. Together, these two actions will demonstrate our people’s resilience, courage and bravery. Survivor stories illustrate the atrocities and pain our ancestors endured in the first half of the twentieth century. They demonstrate the past generations’ will power and determination to maintain their Armenian identity and preserve their language and culture. Most importantly, these stories prove that we survived and we flourished. Our mere existence is a testament to Turkey’s failure. Its failure to erase us. Its failure to cover it up. Because we prevailed. We’re still here 100 years later, and we’re ready, we’re standing, and we’re mobilized.
The 100 Days of Action will begin in just 2 days. We ask that you join our movement and support our efforts to make our voices heard.
For more information on the 100 Days of Action, click here.