By Angelina Der Arakelian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
The early 20th century had lots of significant events happening simultaneously. It is no surprise that when thinking of the era of the First World War and the gradual introduction of electricity, the birth of modern civilization can be traced all the way back to its roots there. Though there was an impressive array of milestones achieved, this doesn’t mean that there was an adequate means of reporting every type of situation ordinary men crossed paths with during their lifetimes. Among the lessons the two consecutive world wars can teach us is the journey one must take to uncover bits and pieces of undiscovered treasures, stories which are buried in silence. These stories include those of people like my great-grandfather, who managed to save his life, regardless of having been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s four o’clock in the afternoon. My hand skims over a page of my notebook as I intently listen to the tape recorder blurting out my great-grandfather’s rusty voice. He is speaking a language I can’t comprehend — Turkish — as my father, who sits opposite me, partakes in translating what appears to be an interview he conducted with his grandfather about four decades ago. I am holding a pencil, vigorously writing down occurrences highlighted by my father’s approximate translation of the words being spoken. The words teleport me to a time and place my mind could only fathom dreaming of.
The Ottoman Empire, 1915