Sose Mayrig (1868-1953), born Sose Vardanian, was an Armenian fedayee from the region of Sassoun. The fedayees were militias formed by Armenian civilians who voluntarily left their families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to form self-defense units in reaction to the mass murder of Armenians and the pillage of Armenian villages by Ottoman forces. They had the objective of achieving autonomy for Armenians or independence, depending on their ideologies. The term fedayee is of Arabic origin and means “those who sacrifice themselves”. It is widely used across the Middle East to refer to freedom fighters.
In April last year, Kamee Abrahamian (@29cents) contacted me on Instagram to ask me to collaborate on a project: an illustrated collection of proverbs from Armenian women. Fast forward one year, a lot of research and dedication: our little baby is finally here with 32 pages, 13 original illustrations, and 14 quotes from 13 Armenian women such as Zabel Yesayan, Srpuhi Dussap and Shushanik Kurghinian. The little book also contains a foreword and a list of sources so you can dig deeper and learn more about the women we featured!
“We put this together because as feminists and Armenians living in the diaspora, we often find ourselves searching (digging) and yearning (desperately) to hear/feel the voices of women in our ancestry and community – not only when our struggles become unbearable, but also when we want to celebrate ourselves, our powers, our-making-of-the-impossible-possible.”
Illustrations you will find in the book:
P.S.: This project is an ever-evolving, collaborative endeavor. We welcome thoughts, suggestions, and any form of support you are able to offer – so please write to us!
From 1940 to 1944, in the context of the Second World War, France was occupied by Nazi Germans. While the French state, through the Vichy regime, and some informal groups of individuals collaborated with the Nazis, many others set up movements for the liberation of France and the fight against fascism. These movements became known as the French Resistance. Among the fighters of the French Resistance were a number of Armenian immigrant men and women. While some of them, like Missak Manouchian and his wife Mélinée, have gained national recognition in France, others, like Louise Aslanian are less known.
[TW: genocide, slavery]
Today marks the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, where more than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred and deported by the Young Turks, a genocide that is still being denied to this date by the Turkish government. Though by definition, a genocide targets everybody belonging to a specific ethnic or religious group, and doesn’t spare neither women nor children, victims experience atrocities differently based on their gender (and age), which is the reason why experts have been carrying gendered analyses of genocide.
Yesterday, my city Issy-les-Moulineaux in the Paris suburbs signed a friendship protocol with the Armenian quarter of New Julfa, Isfahan, Iran. For this occasion, an exhibition of the photographs of Ernst Hoeltzer, a German engineer living in Isfahan, who documented the lives of Armenians of New Julfa in the 19th century was organized, together with a conference about the history of the quarter.
New Julfa was established in Isfahan, the then capital of the Safavid Empire, in 1606, and was named after old Julfa, a city in Nakhichevan. Shah Abbas I from the Safavid dynasty relocated by force more than 150,000 Armenians of Julfa to Isfahan, New Julfa, for strategic reasons and to benefit from the knowledge of Armenians with regards to silk trade. As Armenian merchants had a large trade network that extended from Europe to the Far East, New Julfa became a new hub, and Armenians benefited from royal favoritism to preserve their culture, language and religion. Continue reading “The Armenian community of New Julfa, Isfahan, Iran”