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iwitness

Ara OSHAGAN | California, United States

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Araxie Torossian, b. 1909

During the last days of the Ottoman Empire, from 1915-22, about 1.5 million Armenians were massacered on the orders of a racist Young Turk government. Around 2/3 of the Armenian population was wiped out and the remaining survivors were driven off their 3,000 year-old homeland. The Armenian Genocide was a systematic attempt to ethnically cleanse the Armenians from the region--the first major genocide of the 20th century. It paved the way for the Holocaust, Rawanda, Bosnia and a host of other major crimes against humanity throughout a very bloody century.

The portraits and voices of iwitness tell the story of this very dark chapter of human history, a hundred years later.

The survivors of the Genocide established the first post-genocide communities in the Middle East where I was born. The cataclysmic disruption in their lives and families gave rise to the global, multi-language Armenian diaspora, my diaspora. This project for me is also about my own identity and an attempt to find a narrative of the beginning of that identity.

Photography by Ara Oshagan and Levon Parian

Testimony Collected by the Genocide Project

 The Genocide Project, Glendale, CA

Ara Oshagan

ara@araoshagan.com

818-397-1658

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