Երեքշաբթի, 18. 06. 2024


For the Centenary of the Armenian Year of the Genocide: A Shakespearean Sonnet For the Survivors of the Genocided Armenians

by Phaedra Behrent

{ Poet, Researcher, Editor, Student of Psychology}

On YouTube I came across a 25 minute excerpt from Ravished Armenia, all that has survived of an invaluable old film (made in 1919), the more priceless, because it seems to have shared the fate of its own subject matter … an incredible event, albeit a tragic one, as if the film itself was … genocided by the Turkish genociders. I watched it in absolute horror. Greed for power makes monsters of men. 

I shall never understand how people can treat other people this way. I feel so inconsolably sad. How can politicians and armies be so brain-washed that they can look at a person and consider them worthless?

How can anybody possibly even begin to justify the extreme atrocities that the Armenians were forced to endure. 

I feel ashamed, for not having known that this actually has happened indeed.

I then read an article by Vaughan Pilikian, one of the most intensely educated young men – a graduate no less of the world’s three most famous Universities; Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard – on some of the most distinguished Armenian websites hailing from Germany, Sweden, and America ;




Vaughan (incidentally, a son of Professor H.I. Pilikian) raises some excellent points. What he says about people recognising the genocide as no longer being the priority is very true – now that, after a … century, the historical fact of the attempted genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turks cannot be denied by any sane person, now the world has to decide what steps must the Turkish Government take next, as the inheritors of their ancestral legacy, to pay for their undeniable crime against humanity, symbolized by an extremely ancient people (perhaps the first hominids walking the earth) deprived of their native lands in the Armenian Highlands at the skirts of Noah’s Ararat Mountains.

Surely, nobody in his right mind, can possibly even begin to justify (as the Turkish rulers do today) the unbearable atrocities that the Armenians were forced to endure.  They were tortured and used for the sadistic entertainment of the Turkish soldiers who then killed them for fun – Oh; it makes my skin crawl… I know in my heart that almost all of those Armenian men, women and children begged and prayed for … death, unable to suffer any more the torments by their Turkish captors, long before they were actually killed by their hands.

I feel so angry and let down by all governments in the world that have not sought some sort of reparation for the Armenians – Our own nation’s first histories, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles have a Preface confirming that “the oldest inhabitants of these Isles come from Armenia” – something instantly denied by pseudo-scholars that it does not mean Armenia but … “Armorica” – what ridiculous racist nonsense when the original manuscripts have unadulterated clearly written “Armenia”!

I feel ashamed to be part of the human race at this moment in time. Whole extended families were treated so heinously.  Only a classical Greek Tragedian or a Shakespeare could capture (if at all) the genocidal horrors of those foul deeds.

My heart is aching for the Pilikian families, and the million other innocent pilikians, Armenians eternally exiled among the nations of the world, and their new generations (of Vaughan Pilikian and his children) burdened with the weight of those genocidal Turkish times a century ago, but as if it were … yesterday.   

As an ordinary human being, I feel such deep compassion for what happened to the Armenians. I doubt that there are many people alive today in the so-said developed world that are unaware (and rightly so!) of the Holocaust of the Jews during WWII.

But what about the 1.5 million Armenians, who appear to have suffered equally unthinkable (if not worse) treatment 20 years earlier?

Where are the museums, films, books and school lessons about the plight of the Armenian people, truly the first truly Christian nation on this planet?

Life is such a precious miracle. The way some people treat others is so abhorrent and nauseating. The worst part is that lessons are never learnt. This horrific waste of priceless life goes on and on, still. World issues are complex – power games in play, hidden from public view, yet called democracy in shameless irony.

My poem below answers Professor Pilikian’s call to fight genocidal forces with creative energies and no violence, which is genocidal in itself.



I am no Shakespeare (needless to say …) but as Shakespeare is the greatest love-poet in the world, in humble imitation of him, I bring my following Sonnet as a bouquet of Love to the two million graveless Armenians buried deep in the hearts and the souls of their survivors everywhere.  


They Genocided Us

Eyes glazed, all hope is gone,

Our spirits annihilated by the evil Ottoman,
Abused and tortured, 1915, they murdered 1.5 million of us.
Oh dear God, how could you forsake us, alone in the dark,
Left to perish at the hands of those Young Turks.
They took our Fathers, our Brothers, our homes,
Our villages stand fallow, friends and family gone.
Here we are, stumbling and crawling along,
Through this endless desert, food and water all gone.
The very young and the old, will not survive this wasteland,
Babes burnt, buried «neath dirt,

Wrenched from their mothers» hearts …
And the powerful of the world stood by,
Without shame and conscience watching this genocide
Of us Armenians, all marching to die.










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