By Heide Rieck
BOCHUM, Germany and YEREVAN — The year 2015 has come to an end, and in both East and West the centenary of the genocide, often denied, has been commemorated.
And I recall an evening in the Turm (Tower) Theater in Cologne, Germany, in January 2013, when I, a German author, found myself among Armenians for the first time. Emotionally shaken by the play, “Anne‘s Silence” by the Turkish author Dogan Akhanli, I took part in the round table discussion after the performance, and heard Muriel Mirak-Weissbach say: “We have two years to 2015, a lot can still happen.” – And a lot has happened.
This unwavering confidence expressed by the daughter of two genocide survivors inspired me to dedicate three years to reading and writing about the fate of the Armenian people and to introduce Armenian culture to my region, a region where German steel production flourished in the 19th century – and with it, the industrial production of modern weapons in Germany. Where did this weapons production lead us? That is well known.
But birds speak a different language.
In October 2015 I flew to Armenia together with my Armenian travel companion, the historian Azat Ordukhanyan, to plant the third Armenian-German Friendship Garden that year in Jeghegnadzor, an old university city near Noravank, the famous jewel of medieval architecture in the mountains.