Family History 101

By Zepiour Shabani

It is my second week at my internship at the ANCA-WR and I am being productive.   We have deadlines to meet, projects to finish, and we learn new things in the meantime.  It is an exciting atmosphere to say the least especially this second week because of the traffic in the office due to the Armenian Cause 2.0 conference in Washington D.C.   The phones were ringing off the hook and distractions were at every turn.  This type of environment is exciting but does definitely test ones multitasking abilities.

Aside from the busy week we had here at the ANCA-WR office, I personally had a very educational week.  Conversations about family history and the Armenian Genocide brought up the reality that I don’t know much about my family history past my parents and even less about my grandparents.  The mini history lesson given by Haig was great. I learned about his family history and how they eventually arrived in the United States a century ago.  It is so interesting to me how humanity is able to relate to one another through story.

After I left the office I decided to investigate my family history.  I asked my mother why she does not have much information about her grandparents.  She responded with a very real simple answer.  Her maternal grandmother had witnessed her siblings murdered in front of her eyes during the Armenian Genocide. My great grandmother had also tried to save her pregnant sister-in-law by hiding her in a non-functioning tonir, but by the time the Turks had left, her sister-in-law had suffocated.  My mother mentioned that she never witnessed a smile on her face, and was not much of a talkative person, understandably so.  As for her father’s side, they also faced hardships and the grandchildren were never informed about the family history. Since I have my paternal grandfather still living I feel he is my best source to find out about our past and it will be my mission.

So I can say that thus far during my internship I have learned about some political processes regarding ANCA but mostly I have learned about myself.

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