Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope

Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope

Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope

Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope

Synopsis

A remarkable view of how geopolitics affects ordinary people, this book documents, in words and pictures, the lives of Armenians in the last two decades. Based on intimate interviews with three hundred Armenians and featuring Jerry Berndt's superb photographs, it brings together firsthand testimony about the social, economic, and spiritual circumstances of Armenians during the 1980s and 1990s, when the country faced an earthquake, pogroms, and war. At times shocking and deeply emotional, Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope is a story of extreme suffering and hardship, a searching look at the fight for independence, and an exceptionally complex portrait of the human spirit. A companion to the Millers' highly acclaimed work Survivors: An Oral History of the Armenian Genocide, which documented the genocide of 1915, this book focuses on four groups of people: survivors of the earthquakes that devastated northwestern Armenia in 1988; refugees from Azerbaijan who fled Baku and Sumgait because of pogroms against them; women, children, and soldiers who were affected by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh; and ordinary citizens who survived several winters without heat because of the blockade against Armenia by Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Millers' narrative situates these accounts contextually and thematically, but the voices of individuals remain paramount. The Millers also describe their personal experiences in repeated research trips, inviting us to look beyond the headlines and think beyond the circumstances of our own lives as they bring contemporary Armenia to life.

Excerpt

We struggled to lift our carry-on bags into the overhead bin of the KLM flight taking us to Paris. Inside were ten tape recorders, several transcribing machines, batteries, and much of the apparatus required to set up a research office in Yerevan, Armenia. Our checked luggage contained a small gasoline-powered electric generator and a thousand cassette tapes, not to mention clothes, a laptop computer, and gifts—inexpensive calculators and quarter-pound bags of coffee intended for the people we would interview.

Any anxiety we had about imperiling passengers with our heavy suitcases was laid to rest when we left Paris on a Russian-built Armenia Airlines plane. People were smoking during takeoff, and the stewardesses were walking around as the plane taxied down the runway. The seatbelts seemed to be at least as old as the carpet in the aisles, which was rumpled and worn. But whatever the plane lacked in style was balanced by the class of passengers, among whom were the conductor of Armenia's philharmonic orchestra, the head of the energy department of Armenia . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.