Robert Fisk to Headline Eskijian Museum Conference

Journalist and writer Robert Fisk

MISSION HILLS, Calif.—The Patrons of the Ararat Eskijian Museum present a unique conference titled “Honoring Those Who Helped Rescue a Generation of Armenian Survivors (1915-1930).” The conference will feature special guest speaker and seven-time International Journalist of the year, Robert Fisk from The Independent newspaper.

Mr. Fisk is the author of the award winning book “The Great War for Civilization.” Other leading scholars from around the world will also be present to discuss the manner in which the international community, including the American Red Cross, American Near East Relief, and the League of Nations, participated in the first major humanitarian effort of the twentieth century.

On the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I, there is an unprecedented opportunity to give long overdue tribute to all the countries and individuals that sacrificed much to aid a perishing nation.

As part of the program, diplomatic representatives have been invited from over twenty countries that took part in the rescue efforts. As part of the commemoration, special guest and former California Governor, George Deukmejian, will be presenting the representatives of these countries with a “Service to Humanity” award represented by a replica of the Mother Armenia statue.

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7 Comments

  1. Perouz Seferian said:

    We live in a time when few of us any longer have heroes. Robert Fisk is my hero. This courageous man has repeatedly risked his life in order to stand up for truth and justice. He has stood firm and unwavering before criminals and liars and deniers. His prodigious intellect and astonishing writing ability are dedicated to revealing and affirming truth. This is a wonderful photograph of him with clenched fist. Indeed, don’t try muddying the truth with this man; Fisk won’t let you get away with it.

    On May 24, 1918, my father was shot in the head during the battle of Gharakilisa. Two American Red Cross women were on the battlefield. They immediately rushed over and cut off his bloodied hair and tied up his head. He was placed on the train going to Tiflis, (Tbilisi) where he spent a month in the Aramian Hospital.

    I also have my father’s lengthy narrative about Mr. P. Pulton, head of the American Relief in Yerevan in 1921, who saved a young woman from Bolshevik rape. She was being pursued by soldiers. She ran screaming into the American Relief Office. When Mr. Pulton told the soldiers to get out of the office, one of them insisted,” I will take her. She is a Tashnak’s daughter; she has occupied herself with anti-Bolshevik work.
    “Mister,” said Mr. Pulton, “this is a philanthropic American institution. A poor girl, in order to save her life, has taken refuge here. I will protect her.” And, indeed he did. He stood firm in front of armed soldiers, at his own peril, in order to save this young woman. There are institutions and men of courage who deserve honour. Their actions resonate down through the years.

    My father has also written about being almost naked and in rags. He was seventeen years old and had nothing and no one. Seeing his desperate condition, friends from Kghi went to the American Relief office and asked for clothing for him. My father expressed shame to be in such need. His Kghi friends said, “No, no, this is not charity. We wanted to help you get clothing, so we told the Americans about you. They have given you this clothing with great affection.” My father then writes: “Hamazasb got up, and opening the package, put shoes, a jacket, a pair of trousers, white wear, and a shirt on the table. I was shaking with happiness, but I did not want to reveal it.”

    On behalf of my father, I thank the American Red Cross and the American Relief Society for their generosity, their kindness, and their courage in going onto battlefields where cannons are roaring and rifles are screaming and men are falling. I thank them for that bundle of clothing that turned my father’s desperation into happiness. And I thank the United States of America for sending them.

  2. Perouz Seferian said:

    The following are excerpts from my forthcoming book, “Resistance: a diary of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1922.”

    “When we reached Yazmoudj, they distributed some clothing to us that had arrived that same day. Each of us received two sets of underwear, one pair of socks, and one pair of shoes. Only ten soldiers among us had the good fortune of receiving a jacket. Fifty English coats had come for our entire regiment. Our battalion chiefs decided that our soldiers in the front line should wear those fifty coats. When the soldiers wearing the coats were relieved of their duties by another group of fifty, they took off their coats and handed them to the men taking their place.

    The snow and rain of October 28, 1920 brought peace along the entire front. From dawn until noon, the First Battalion’s first group of fifty was in the front line. At noon, the second group of fifty of the same battalion arrived to change places with us. We took off the coats we were wearing and handed them to the second group. When we had put the coats on, we were already wet. When we took them off, we not only became wet to our very bones, but we also began trembling from the cold.

    Our previous position holders were the soldiers of the Third Battalion. The fifty woolen coats were on them. As soon as we reached them, they handed those coats over to us. Battalion Chief Armenag and Sergeant Major Haroutyoun, with fairness, first gave the coats to those of us who had no warm clothing at all. I was one of the lucky ones. I received a coat for several hours. The coat I received had gone through snow and then become wet, but I wanted to keep that woolen coat on me so much that, even if it were asked of me to stay on the front line for twenty-four hours, I would have stayed there with joy, in order to not have to take that coat off. ”

    I thank the United Kingdom, on behalf of my father and all the men who shared those fifty English woolen coats, on that long-ago day. Those coats were more than warmth. They were a symbol of care and concern and support.

  3. Perouz Seferian said:

    The following excerpt is also from my forthcoming book, “Resistance: a diary of the Armenian Genocide 1915-1922.”

    “We reached the designated stable in military rank and placed ourselves in a circle of two rows with about two hundred soldiers. It was noon when they brought us news that the expected guests had arrived.

    Major Roupen Toytoyian of Moush came in before the guests. Behind him, standing on the threshold of the stable, was a white-bearded clergyman. A robust man, dressed with collar and tie, followed him. Two rear guards came in behind them. As soon as our guests entered, Major Toytoyian ordered us to stand at attention and salute. He also stood at attention at the end of a row of soldiers and saluted while our guests went to the center of the stable. After this ceremony, Toytoyian announced that our guest was the Supreme Catholicos of all Armenians, and the one accompanying him was the ambassador sent to Armenia by the people of Bulgaria. After introducing the other guests to us, the major kissed the hand of the Catholicos on behalf of us all. The guests then walked in front of our ranks and finally stood before the First Battalion’s fifty men.

    “My children, it appears you have just come from the battlefield, as you are very wet from head to toe,” said the Supreme Catholicos, in a voice choked with fatherly concern.

    Standing in front of us, Toytoyian saluted and answered, “Yes, Father. We came from the front just ten minutes before your arrival.”

    Father appeared very grieved. Pressing his two hands together and hunching his shoulders, he slowly looked at each wet soldier and then said in a trembling voice, “I bring you the greetings of your mothers and sisters and the entire Armenian people.”

    While he was speaking, our guard ran in, breathless, and reported that the Turks had just attacked us. Major Toytoyian promptly commanded all the soldiers to leave quickly and go to the positions. As we were going out in military order, the Supreme Catholicos closed his eyes, spread out his hands toward us, and said a prayer through running tears.”

    This event took place during the battle of Ardahan. My father writes: “We could hear the pounding thunder of Sebouh’s cannons coming from our rear. Ardahan’s field, spread out in front of us, was covered with thick fog, but we quickly moved forward.”

    I thank the government of Bulgaria for sending their Ambassador into the midst of thundering cannons in order to support and encourage our men.

  4. Ani said:

    Thank you for sharing all these valuable memories of your father with us.It is very interesting to know our history and the the real heroes. One of them is your father. God Bless His Soul!

  5. Missak Kelechian said:

    Ms Perouz

    Thank you for sharing the stories of your father with the American Red Cross nurses, as well as Near East Relief (NER) and formerly the American Committee for Armenian and Assyrian Relief (ACASR).

    I just forwarded your comments to Robert Fisk as I am sure he will be delighted to read about the 50 British coats. When you attend the conference you will be delighted to hear many heroic similar stories about American history that has been forgotten which I am personally re-igniting.

    Can you provide Mr. P. Pulton’s first name?

    Missak

  6. Christopher Jon Bjerknes said:

    Amazingly Heroic Ukrainian Civilians!
    Christopher Jon Bjerknes

    The courage and honor of the Ukrainian People are superhuman! Civilians charged sniper rifles and armor piercing ammunition armed only with plywood shields that wouldn’t stop a pistol bullet. When hit, they maintained their cool and most did not even cry out in pain. Their brothers and sisters unhesitatingly came to the aid of the wounded under direct fire. The positions held by the fallen were quickly taken back by other men who knew the risk as they fearlessly tread across the bloody trail of their wounded and dead countrymen. Never before have I witnessed such valor as that of the Ukrainians!

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