Million Dollars for Activist Jamila Afghani
In the slave market in Anatolia Aurora Mardiganian sold for 85 cents. What can be of value An Armenian girl of about fifteen years old who was already broken by the death of her parents and a brother who was killed by the TurksFrom an endless march to Aleppo, from hunger, from rape, from Scary scenes he had to witness?
However, a century later, that little girl was wiped out by the Armenian Genocide somehow Compensation for the celebration in Venice ofAurora Prize for Awakening Humanity” (Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity) that Donates a million dollars annuallyexactly the amount allotted to the Nobel Prizes, For women and men who have saved lives around the world.
This year (after the victories in 2016 of a Tutsi who has been taking care of Hutu orphans for years, in 2017 a medical missionary in Sudan runs the only hospital with a capacity of 750,000 people, in 2018 a Burmese activist stood by the Rohingya, in 2019 a woman brought victims Yazidis from Iraq to Germany and continued to do so in a wheelchair after crashing into a helicopter, in 2020 a Somali mother-daughter team trying tirelessly to help raped women and recover child soldiers, in 2021 a Congolese activist who also participated in the defense of girls victims of violence) dedicated to beautiful afghanifounder of an association that has been trying for twenty-five years to give Afghans access to education. All the awards that allowed these heroes of solidarity to implement their projects.
But it is worth starting from the beginning. And that’s how long ago In 2015, Nubar Afian, entrepreneur, inventor (more than a hundred patents) and naturalized Armenian-American philanthropist, founder of Moderna Corporationthe biotech company that produces one of the most famous vaccines in the world, Together with two generous friends, Vartan Grigorian and Ruben Vardanian, also of Armenian descent, he decided to devise a prize for those who committed years ago. Not “for peace” in general (let’s face it: some Nobel Prize winners in the past turned out to be embarrassed) but for Save the lives and future of those in dangerLike many “righteous”s, they rescued her from the persecuted Armenians.
Who would allocate such an award? They asked historians and experts for suggestions, examined various hypotheses, and decided: Aurora Mardighanian. “The name also weighs,” Afian explains, “it heralds the dawn of day after night. Rebirth after dark. Four years ago, in Armenia, we wanted to celebrate the event at four in the morning. Sunrise. In the Khor Virap monastery, where Saint Gregory was held prisoner 13 years before the conversion of King Tiridat III, making Armenia the first Christian country in the world. It was a beautiful dawn, in front of Ararat, so close you can touch but far from the Turkish border. There was also a very young girl named Aurora. Since then there has always been one. Even here in Venice.”
remember how “Armenian Joan of Arc”She is the third of eight children of a landowner and silk producer in Shamskatzeg where she was born in 1901. A wise student and aspiring violinist, she ended up like so many others in Hell told by Antonia Arslan in larks farm. She saw her father and brother being killed, and she was dragged along with her mother and sisters on a long walk across the desert to the walls of Aleppo, Syria.
The ordeal of Armin Wegener, a young German Red Cross officer, immortalized in chilling images and indelible stories: “Never, as in these days, have I heard the rustle, silence, and cold smile of death, and often ask myself: Do I still live? Do I still I have the right to breathe, and to make plans for the fantastically unreal years to come, when around me is an abyss of dead eyes?
Raped, kidnapped, sold at auction, bought for a particularly violent Kurdish harem, escaped and returned, fled again And after “an 18-month journey in the mountains, hidden in caves and forests, living on plants and roots, I arrived barefoot, half-naked and hungry in Erzurum” between Trabzon and Lake Van, in the region of eastern Turkey at the time occupied by the Russians. She was rescued by a group of American missionaries, and eventually helped her get to New York. He told the story to other Armenian refugees. And they decided to tell everyone. It was published in 1918 and went down in history as the first eyewitness account of the genocide,
Collapsed Armenia (Armenia destroyed), caused a stir: nine hundred thousand copies were sold. So much so that the early silent film producers pushed to make a movie with thousands of refugees offered as extras and Aurora herself. Success was interrupted shortly after the debut due to controversy sparked by the Turkish authorities who shouted at the conspiracy. Tortured story, complaints, wounds, kidnappings, heated discussions in rooms with her, Aurora, to the point that one evening, in Buffalo, she fainted from tension and decided to call herself. And little by little all copies of the film somehow mysteriously disappeared. Of the eighty-five minutes, about ten could have been recovered in 1994 alone, and what’s the rest? I don’t know…
However, the legend of this book remained: “I could only read it when we actually immigrated to Canada,” he smiles Nubar Avian. A blow to the heart: the story had already lived in Aunt Armnohi’s memories. It was “the most important person in my life” who raised him as a child in Beirut where the founder of Moderna was born in 1962, and who helped him rebuild the family’s history. Grandfather businessman, represented in Anatolia for a large German bank, importing eggs, with his whole family fled to Bulgaria thanks to an Iranian passport he had for his offshore business with companies in Tehran.
The flight from communist Bulgaria to Beirut and again with the same Iranian document leaving for Canada. All things Avian taught her how “Armenians managed to survive by always facing new realities. Even my aunt, who was born at the end of the 19th century and lived 103 years, lived the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide. He remembered everything. I still have tapes for hours. And hours of stories. One day I’m going to make a book out of it.
As for the Collapsed ArmeniaThis book, so important to Armenians and all minorities, was never translated into Italy. Or rather, it is now finally on its way to publication (Thank God) but it was translated almost thirty years ago by Petro Kochikian (doctor, son of a survivor, essayist, author of many articles) without any publisher’s consent to publish it because it seemed to matter to no one. Amazing delay. Which prevented Italians for a century from knowing a story that helped many people understand.
October 15, 2022 (changed October 15, 2022 | 11:30pm)
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